Mission & History

Changing Lives, One Story at a Time…


Northern Stage is a regional non-profit Actors’ Equity LORT-D professional theater in White River Junction, Vermont. Northern Stage’s mission is to change lives one story at a time.

Northern Stage produces unique, exciting, world class theater that resonates with its audiences long after each performance is over. The company seeks to program work that speaks to its audiences and engages community members from across Vermont and New Hampshire in meaningful dialogue and community action. The theater’s intimate setting, sophisticated productions, and expansive educational programs set the stage for active engagement with all of its community and audience members.

Founded in 1997 by Brooke Ciardelli, Northern Stage has since become the preeminent year-round theater company in the region, offering professional productions of world premiers, classics, and musicals. In 2013, the Board of Directors engaged a new leadership team to galvanize Northern Stage for its next stage of evolution. Led by Producing Artistic Director Carol Dunne and Managing Director Eric Bunge, this new team has illuminated Northern Stage’s impact on its community with a firm commitment to intimate engagement. Now, more than 30,000 audience members walk through our doors each season, and each year, more than 2,000 students of all ages feed their hunger for knowledge and art in our Educational Programs.

In 2014 Northern Stage launched its commitment to the incubation and development of new work for the American theater with New Works Now. The program is extraordinarily successful with world premieres continuing to Off Broadway and beyond.

Through its work on stage and off, Northern Stage reinvigorates the members of our community by reconnecting them with the limitless imagination of their inner child; it provokes the next generation of entrepreneurs, astrophysicists, trombone virtuosos, algebra teachers, heart surgeons, and magicians to think creatively about problems and their solutions; we forge profound connections between our theater patrons, their community, and their fellow human beings; and it cultivates audience members who will continue to be arts patrons for years to come. Most importantly, Northern Stage aims to inspire those who engage with us to effect positive and creative change in their communities.


In 2014, Northern Stage embarked upon The Campaign for Northern Stage, a $9 million plan to build our own theatrical home and capitalize the company for future stability and growth. The Barrette Center for the Arts was opened – on time and under budget – in October of 2015. With a building cost of $7.4 million, this 240-seat modified-thrust theater enhances the live theater experience and allows Northern Stage’s audiences and artists to explore exciting new dimensions in theatrical programming and artistry. Additionally, The Campaign for Northern Stage raised $1.6 million to build a financial foundation upon which the organization will thrive.


  • At Northern Stage we value EXCELLENCE: We strive for world class in all we do. We offer a breadth of programming and depth of experience that is worthy of our audiences.
  • At Northern Stage we value COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: As a vehicle to building the arts/community connection. Through our actions, on-stage and off, we are responsive to the desires of our community and speak to their truths, here and now, making Northern Stage indispensable to the lives of those we serve.
  • At Northern Stage we value INTIMACY: We leverage the power of Northern Stage’s 240 seat state of the art venue and our location in a rural region to connect more deeply to our audiences.
  • At Northern Stage we value COLLABORATION: We cultivate a work culture of support, integrity and inspiration that propels our artists, administrators, and community partners to their highest achievements.
  • At Northern Stage we value RESPONSIBILITY: We gather and carefully manage our resources to ensure a vital Northern Stage today, tomorrow, and for the future.
  • At Northern Stage we value INNOVATION: We steward emerging writers, embrace cutting edge theater technology and cultivate the development of best practices in all aspects of the company.
  • At Northern Stage we value EDUCATION: We teach, nurture and inspire all generations of theater artists and theater lovers.


Main stage Productions

The company offers 6 full productions from September to May. Operating under a LORT-D contract with Actors’ Equity, Northern Stage draws talent from the region and across the country, including many with Broadway, Regional Theater, and National Tour credits. Seasons include comedies, dramas, musicals from the classic cannon, new shows fresh from Broadway and London’s West End, and world premiere productions. Click here to view a list of our past productions.

Educational Programs

Northern Stage offers students of all ages a year-round schedule of education programs, including week-long intensives, one-day and drop-in workshops and master-classes, and multi- week, all day summer camps. The programs are taught by working theater professionals; topics include Shakespeare, dance, singing, musical theater, storytelling, creating a play, and more. All classes are experiential and culminate in a final performance. Classes are designed and tailored to specific age groups and skill levels. Additionally, Northern Stage produces a musical theater intensive each summer for students ages 12-18, which includes four weeks of rehearsal and culminates in four performances of a fully-staged, fully-realized musical theater work. Integral to Northern Stage’s education programs is the Youth Ensemble Studio (YES), a group of young actors who develop, rehearse, and perform work at Northern Stage under the direction and tutelage of the Director of Education and the Producing Artistic Director. These young artists are encouraged to learn the craft of theater by creating it, practicing it, and refining it through disciplined study of technique and theory and by engaging with the professional theater artists and administrators of Northern Stage. Click here to learn more about our current education programs.

New Play Development

Northern Stage is committed to the development of new works for the American theater with its New Works Now Festival of staged readings. The first two festivals, held in January of 2014 and 2015, each featured three new plays, identified by Northern Stage artistic staff based on relevance, literary merit, likely appeal, and potential impact on the community. The selected works received one-week of rehearsal with professional actors, directors, and staff and culminated in a public staged reading and audience conversation. New Works Now is a valuable opportunity for Northern Stage to identify new plays that may be fully produced in subsequent Mainstage seasons here and at other theaters across the country and to give those plays and playwrights the attention and resources they need to grow. The 2014 New Works Now Festival included Joe Sutton’s Orwell in America; the world premiere full production of this play was included in the 2014-2015 season. Subsequently, this production was selected for a New York premiere in fall of 2016 at 59E59 Theaters. Northern Stage’s 2015-16 Season included the world premiere of Marisa Smith’s Mad Love, and the 2016-17 season included Jack Neary’s Trick or Treat – both of which were born through Northern Stage’s New Works Now Festival. Click here to learn more about New Works Now.