Through the cold, local writers read their stories

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Winter is coming, but despite the cold, local Burlington artists are celebrating.

The 11th annual showing of “Winter Tales” by the Vermont Stage theatre company will take place at the Flynn Dec. 9 – 13.

The show will include pro- fessional readings of stories and poems by local novelists and members of the Young Writers Project in Burlington as well as folk music by Patti Casey and Pete Southerland, director Cristina Alicea said.

“It has become a holiday tradition,” Alicea said. “A lot of people have been coming since the very first year.”

For newcomers like first- year Jill Brooks, the show could become part of a new tradition.

“I’ve been looking for a way to get into the holiday spirit and unwind during exams,” Brooks said. “‘Winter Tales’ definitely seems like an event where I could do that.”

“What’s also part of the tradition is that we have had the same set for 11 years,” Alicea said. “It looks like a comfy, cozy holiday living room.”

She said this set includes a fireplace, couches and chairs.

There are usually four short stories, each told by a different actor, Alicea said.

“We also have a have a fifth actor, who is usually a young person,” she said. “Someone that is in high school or ear- ly college that reads poems or prose written by middle and high school students in the region.”

“It has kind of the same format every year,” Alicea said. “We have one song that starts us off that Patti Casey wrote specifically for ‘Winter Tales’ called into this Night.'”

Though they are always winter or holiday-themed, she said the content of the four stories changes year to year.

In the past, Alicea revealed that well-known local authors like Chris Bohjalian, Stephen Kiernan and Kathryn Blume have submitted pieces for “Winter Tales.”

“The most successful stories are funny,” she said. “They also remind us why we love this time of year.”