“I wanted to do something that was new to this area” says Batham, a native of Los Angeles, describing the play as “the search for whose truth is the real truth.”
Batham became involved with VTC in February, when he auditioned for a role in last season’s Shakespeare in the Park production of “Twelfth Night” and secured a role as Sir Toby Belch. In June, he pitched his idea to direct “Nuts” to the VTC’s artistic board, which gave him the green light.
Since September, Batham has secured a venue (the Hooker-Dunham theater in Brattleboro), finalized his cast, begun the work of set and lighting design, and driven to Brattleboro two to three nights a week for long rehearsals. “It takes a chunk out of time for homework,” he laughs, “but to be honest I would have spent those two hours procrastinating anyway.” In addition to directing, Batham sits on the VTC Board of Trustees’ finance committee, which solicits the funding for VTC and ensures that it continues to thrive.
Batham has had extensive experience in theater, kicking off his career as baby Jesus at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Burbank, CA (where his godmother was the director) at the age of six months and continuing to act at his first college in the Los Angeles area. That interest has carried over into his life in Vermont, where, as a Marlboro student, he focuses on American studies and politics. “Now that I’m here at Marlboro, theater has developed into something I enjoy doing. It’s difficult for me to sit down and study and analyze. I like to think that theater is fun, and that’s what it is for me. There really is a sense of community and collaboration and a ‘we’re all in this together’ vibe in VTC that I never really experienced in LA.”
This season marks the 30th anniversary of VTC, which prides itself on community inclusiveness and exploring a wide range of artistic expression. VTC auditions are open to the public as part of its mission of bringing theater to a wide variety of people in southern Vermont and the surrounding area. In addition, VTC is always on the hunt for new directors. “We serve the community,” says VTC board president Jessica Gelter, whose involvement in the Brattleboro theater scene extends into her capacity as a New England Youth Theatre teacher. “We’re a venue where a lot of people can participate in making art.”
The Vermont Theater Company is best known for its longstanding “Shakespeare in the Park” tradition, entering its 25th season this year. “This season turned out to be a little on the dark side,” says Bob Kramsky, treasurer of VTC and director of the theater department at Brattleboro Union High School.
“Nuts” follows this season’s production of the absurdist French play “The Maids,” directed by Josh Moyse.
The remainder of this season will feature productions of “Arcadia,” directed by Jodi Clark, in March; “Don’t Drink the Water,” directed by Marilyn Tullgreen, in May; and “As You Like It,” directed by Adrienne Major, in June.
“We are really proud to be able to say that we’ve been running for 30 years,” says Kramsky.
“It’s really incredible,” echoes Gelter.
“Nuts” will premiere on January 24 at the Hooker-Dunham Theater on Main Street in Brattleboro.