Vermont Stage presents “Winter Tales”

Shelburne resident Paula Cope will be a contributing author for this year’s “Winter Tales.”

Shelburne resident Paula Cope will be a contributing author for this year’s “Winter Tales.”

Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 4, through Sunday, Dec. 8, Vermont Stage Company (VSC) will bring back “Winter Tales,” conceived by former Artistic Director Mark Nash and directed by Cristina Alicea. Featuring an all-local cast, this Vermont Stage tradition returns for its ninth year with fresh stories and songs to lighten up the dark days of winter.

This annual event features new stories by Vermont writers Paula Cope, Stephen Kiernan, and Burlington Writers Workshop members Hillary Read and Colleen Ovelman. There will be poetry provided by student participants from the Young Writers Project and songs written and performed by Patti Casey and Tom MacKenzie. Tickets to the show include complimentary hot cider and molasses cookies from B’s Pantry.

Shelburne resident Paula Cope wrote her debut play, titled “Simple Gifts,” specifically for Vermont Stage. “I was introduced to Vermont Stage years ago by my son, Evan,” Cope shared. “Winter Tales is one of my favorite events during the holidays, yet none of the stories I had seen in years past addressed Hanukkah. So that’s what I wrote: a story about a menorah, a little girl, her grandmother, and their relationship during the holiday,” she explained. “‘Simple Gifts’ only took me about five hours to write, but it took me 29 more short stories before I finally got brave enough to send one in to [Vermont Stage director] Cristina.”

Accepted immediately, “Simple Gifts” is a tribute to Cope’s grandmother. “I can’t thank Vermont Stage for this opportunity to honor my grandmother,” Cope said. “I would have been lost without her.” In addition to writing, Cope is president and CEO of Cope & Associates, Inc. (a consulting and training firm) and a Vermont Trustee for Northeast Delta Dental, a proud sponsor of Winter Tales.

A six-year veteran of Vermont Stage productions, Stephen Kiernan is thrilled to be part of this years’ Winter Tales with his play, “Buried Gift.” A graduate of Middlebury College and the Iowa Writers Workshop, author Kiernan has four million words in print, including nonfiction books “Last Rights” and “Authentic Patriotism,” and his latest novel “The Curiosity” (which 20th Century Fox has already acquired for a film). An avid supporter of the Young Writers Project, Kiernan lives in Charlotte with his two sons.

Winter Tales runs for one-week limited engagement from Dec. 4-8 at FlynnSpace. Show times are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Flynn Box Office at 802-86-FLYNN or by visiting www.flynntix.org.

There will also be a special Gala performance on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 6 pm. The gala includes hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, champagne toast, hot cider, gingersnaps, and homemade molasses cookies – and the show! – for just $55. Tickets for this special event can be purchased by visiting www.vtstage.org.

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