Fall in Love with The Haskell

When we first moved to Stanstead - going on 7 years ago - Di and I took a drive up to visit the Haskell Free Library & Opera House.

Of course, we made a wrong turn, crossed the bridge at Rock Island and saw the sign 'Welcome to Vermont'.

I made a quick u-turn and then realized we were going to have to go through the Canadian border crossing to get back home. We explained we had just moved to Stanstead. We didn't have our passports. The Canadian border agency officer was kind and accepted our excuse with a knowing smile.

Emma and Sophie were just kids when we moved here. They performed in the Haskell Opera House as part of their hip-hop dance class. International artists at a young age.

We have been steady users of the Haskell Free Library. The staff is always warm and accommodating and can arrange for inter-library loans from libraries on either side of the border if the book you want isn't part of the collection at the Haskell. Loading up with new books is part of our weekly summer tradition as a family.

And now, I'm the new Director of the Haskell Opera House. My role is to breathe new life - and performing arts programming into our little gem of a theatre which sits directly astride the border between the United States and Canada. Our artists - young and not-so-young, amateur and professional - perform on our stage in Quebec. Our audience sits in both Quebec and Vermont.

The Haskell Opera House is a performing arts gateway between two towns, regions and countries. We have everything we need to become a destination for people wanting to experience beautiful vistas, great food, and world-class arts, theatre and music.

There is one thing missing... and that's you. I need each and every one of you - in Stanstead and the Eastern Townships, in Derby Line and the Northeast Kingdom and far beyond - to remember the magic the first time you experienced the Haskell Free Library & Opera House.

We need you to fall in love with the Haskell Free Library & Opera House.. again - or maybe for the first time.

We encourage individuals and corporations to explore the many ways to support The Haskell. Help underwrite the performing arts onstage and in the community with your generous support. Please visit the You Are The Haskell page on this website.

You can drop me a line via email to arrange for a visit once the Opera House season opens in April. You know I'd love to see you here - and welcome you to the most unique library and opera house in the whole wide world. ​ Please contact me via Email

Thanks for your consideration.

Be well. Practice big medicine.*


Hal Newman

*Big Medicine = the right people working together at the right time will be Big Medicine. I’ve been saying ‘Be well. Practice big medicine’ for as long as I can remember. It is my own very personal version of ‘Sawu Bona’, the Zulu greeting which means ‘I see you’… I see all of you, I see your good works, I see the difference you are making in the world.