The Selectboard Show

2021, for me, marks 20 years of watching the Brattleboro Selectboard.

I first turned the show on when we moved to Brattleboro in 2001. At first, it was to learn about Brattleboro and what was going on here, but soon the experience evolved more into watching something akin to a soap opera.

The show has the regular cast of characters: Town Manager, department heads, and support staff. They stay on the show season after season with few changes, though major roles get recast from time to time. New roles have been introduced, too: the Assistant Town Manager, the Human Services Director, and the Sustainability Coordinator are examples.

There are also featured players – the elected board members that come and go, much like cast members on Saturday Night Live. They get introduced and perform for a season or two (sometimes more) then move on to other projects.

There are extras: BCTV camera operators, reporters, and special guests with presentations for the board.

The live audience gets to participate in the show by interacting with the cast. Occasionally we see members of the audience auditioning for a role on the show. Sometimes an audience member becomes a major character for a while.

There are many story arcs (a location for the skatepark, a location for the police station…) and regular plot devices (setting board goals, budget season…) to keep viewers engaged. 

Outlines of each meeting’s plot are provided in advance along with supplemental materials that improve viewing. 

There are no scripts – everyone improvises live in front of the audience. The Selectboard Chair and Town Manager each get to give a monologue to kick things off.

Some characters come across as heroes to some viewers. Others can act like villains at times. There can be drama.

It can be difficult for a new viewer to get up to speed with all of this – there are cast members to become familiar with, references to past characters and episodes to pick up on, and occasional diversions that can appear as if everyone has lost the plot. As of yet, there is no viewer’s guide. 

There are reviews of each show, complete with spoilers, in the news stories that follow each meeting, though, and new fans of the show are always encouraged.

All in all, the longest running soap opera in Brattleboro is a pretty good show.  Adding a house band, scheduling the equivalent of a stretch every 30 minutes or so, and selling some merch could be good next steps.


Have you seen this show? Binge-watched any of it?  Would you recommend it to friends and family?

Comments | 2

  • Selectboard show

    And for real action you could watch and follow the Bellows Falls/ Rockingham show.

  • One credit omitted

    You neglected to mention the awesome work you do to provide recap services for fans who have other/better things to do with their Tuesday nights. I, for one, am grateful.

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