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Goffstown’s Nicole Riel produces series about Redcoats in New Hampshire

While movies and television shows about vampires may be trendy, a new series about Redcoats in New Hampshire may offer up some competition, and a Goffstown woman is looking to bring it closer to home.

Nicole Riel of Goffstown is an associate producer of “Courage, New Hampshire,” a Revolutionary War-era drama produced in California that chronicles what life was like for people in the fictional town of Courage.

According to information provided on the show’s website, “Courage, New Hampshire” tells the seasonal story of the great events of the era, as seen from a country town far from the colonial capitals, beginning in the winter of 1770.

“This is a show that’s based in New Hampshire, and talks about our fantastic state,” Riel said.

Riel found out about the series on Facebook.

“I watched the first two shows and I fell in love with them,” she said. Before she knew it, she had a job with Colony Bay Entertainment and has been marketing the show here in New Hampshire.

Show creator James Patrick Riley said there are many people who don’t know about New Hampshire’s history or the pivotal role the state played in the Revolutionary War, and there are very few movies and television shows about it.

“American film is heavily skewed toward the Western,” said Riley. “There are few films about the eighteenth century.”

Riley owns and operates a 700-acre living history farm in California, visited by thousands of school-age children every year, where the show is filmed. Actors in period costume give students a feel for life in the late 1700’s, and Riley, who majored in history, said the leap to creating a television show was made easier because of the farm. Riley wrote all four episodes of the first season and it is scheduled to run on public television in California this week. He hopes the show will be picked up by other PBS affiliates in the spring and that it will reach New Hampshire next year.

Executive Producer Jonathan Wilson said much of the fundraising for the show has been done online.

“We’ve been doing online fundraising through our fan base,” he said, offering incentives for different levels of donation.

“Our main goal is to self-distribute, but we are pursuing traditional distribution,” he said. “PBS is a great place for period drama, and we think it’s time for the American Revolution to be represented.”

Wilson said he hopes history buffs in New Hampshire will tune in to the show’s first episodes, which are available online.

“We think the American Revolution has been underserved by Hollywood,” he said. “The whole period is rich with drama.”

Riel has even higher hopes for the series. “We could be the Downton Abbey of New Hampshire,” she said.

Wilson said he hopes to be able to shoot some of the episodes in New Hampshire in the future.

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