Arts & Entertainment
The 800-seat Lebanon Opera House is the cultural heart of the community. Renovated in 2002, it is the largest proscenium theater in the Upper Connecticut River Valley and hosts events on more than 250 days each year. Opera House performances include theater, music, dance, educational programming and a diverse array of family entertainment, connecting over 60,000 people annually to the performing arts. Recent performers have included Garrison Keillor, Natalie MacMaster, Suzanne Vega, Toots and the Maytals, Momix, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, “Jungle” Jack Hanna, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
The city is also home to local performance groups, such as North Country Community Theater, which stages a full-scale musical every summer and a musical production for Upper Valley teenagers each spring. Every August, Opera North presents two fully staged operatic productions, featuring leading stars of the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera and New York City Opera, supported by talented young artists and an array of local performers.
Downtown Lebanon is home to the Upper Valley Music Center, a full-service music school that enrolls hundreds of adults and children in music programs featuring all instruments and styles.
Dance is flourishing in Lebanon, with the City Center Ballet Company providing classes in ballet and jazz and Creative Movement School of Dance offering classes in ballet, jazz and tap. Both schools host performances throughout the year.
In Hanover, Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center is another prominent cultural center, hosting plays, operas, musical performances, and special programs and events all year long.
For more informal entertainment, various musical groups (including the Lebanon Community Band) perform free concerts in Colburn Park every Monday night throughout the summer. Thursdays during the summer feature a full day of activities in the park, with a children’s concert series at noon, farmers market and crafts from 4 to 7 p.m., and evening concerts highlighting nationally known folk and acoustic artists.
Lebanon’s Entertainment Cinemas movie theater complex features six screens, while Hanover’s Nugget Theater has four. Serious movie buffs may join the Dartmouth Film Society series, which features a selection of American and foreign films, from well-known titles to obscure art films.
Across the river in Norwich, Vermont, the Montshire Museum of Science is a great place for children and fun-loving adults who enjoy learning. Carefully designed exhibits with scientific themes provide visitors with hands-on interaction that teaches as well as entertains. The Montshire also offers programs for school groups, summer nature camps, and a network of hiking trails.
The Alliance for the Visual Arts (AVA), located just off Colburn Park in downtown Lebanon, has nurtured artists young and old for three decades with a wide variety of classes and exhibits. The recent renovation of its 41,000-square-foot facility has received recognition as a “green” sustainable building project. The Hood Museum of Dartmouth College displays paintings, sculptures and artifacts from college collections and traveling exhibits.