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Oldcastle and Downtown

January 1, 2015

Chuck Putney
Recently, during a nostalgic visit to Bennington Rotary Club, I heard Oldcastle Theatre mentioned three times. The first was by me - thanking the club of its support of the new hearing assist system for the theater.

The other two, however, were parents and grandparents talking about school-related programs at Oldcastle. This is a sign that the building is increasingly used for a range of activities. There are, of course, the plays from early summer to mid-fall. But there are also concerts, readings, opera, student plays and variety programs like the WBTN Holiday Show.

On evenings when Oldcastle is open it's a bright spot on Main St. well after the folks at Madisons' have gone home for the night. With the building lit up and cars lining the street from Washington to South Sts. and in parking lots, it's a sign of what the arts bring to our community.

This is not just about Oldcastle. Restaurants and inns have cooperative relationships with Oldcastle. With two-thirds of our audiences coming from outside of town we bring people to town that shop, dine and sometimes spend the night here. The potential for an arts district could lead to even stronger connections. With three galleries plus Jay's on the same block or across the street, the Owls Nest and Katie Cleaver nearby, the arts are contributing to our local economy.

So, thank you Rotary for your generous support for Oldcastle. It has a ripple effect that's good for the entire community.

Author: Chuck Putney

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