Thursday, April 9, 2020

Pioneer Valley Theatre News April 9, 2020

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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April 9 - 29, 2020

Hi, everyone! Here we still are. I hope you are holding up. And being as productive or unproductive as you need to be. Everyone has been sharing this article about how theatre makers should stop making in this time, and saying how much they agreed with it. While I agree with most of the sentiment of the article, I can't help but also feel like we have an incredible opportunity to rethink (maybe only a little bit of) how we approach theatre. 

Whether or not you are actively making any theatre in this time, you can connect with the theatre community. Read a play. Stream an older production (National Theatre Live has some quality recordings to share.) Be a part of a Zoom reading - this time can help a new playwright get to the next step of their process. Engage with your community. Support a theatre company. Do what you can. Or choose not to.

Either way, we may be here awhile. Let's see how we can change up what theatre means in this time, how we can engage virtually, how we can still learn and grow and rehearse and bring theatre into the future. I'm excited about the opportunities we wouldn't have had before that are now necessary. I'm not a traditionalist though - I think the fact that we are all going to come out of this with some idea of how to properly set up a video conference is incredible.

And if you aren't ready yet, or want to spend this time not making, that's more than fine. 

The next issue will include events through May 6. Submit upcoming events via the link below or by emailing me before Tuesday at midnight. Any questions, comments or feedback? Email me at

Submit Your Theatre Event
$5 per week for your poster and ticket link in top billing!
Email me to reserve your dates.
from Howlround

Taking A Pause in Response to a COVID-19 World
by Kaja Dunn

From the article: 

“What is easy is sustainable. Birds coast when they can.”
― adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy

It started on 9 March. In the course of a few days, jobs were postponed or cancelled; schools were shut down; a text message informed me stores were out of toilet paper, eggs, and milk; and in the middle of all this I was following hourly updates on my phone because my internet went out. It’s not business as usual in the academy or the theatre, so let’s respond accordingly.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
Click to Access: Pioneer Valley Theatre Google Calendar
Click to Access: Pioneer Valley Theatre Personnel Spreadsheet
Happier Valley Comedy presents Virtual Storytelling Standup Showcase

April 10 at 7:00 PM

See new local talent trying out their latest material, now done virtually! And if you've completed at least one level of our "Hello You" Storytelling Standup classes, you can throw your name in the hat for a chance to get up and do your thing!

The show will always be hosted by the amazing Kelsey Flynn, the teacher and creator of our "Hello You" Storytelling Standup program at HVC and a veteran performer of improv and standup comedy for 30 years! (Really!?)



From April 2, under the banner of National Theatre at Home, every Thursday (7pm) will see a new National Theatre play released – free to watch for one week – along with bonus content including cast and creative Q&As and post-stream talks.

The initial programme is:

April 9 ‘Jane Eyre’, adapted by Sally Cookson. Read our review

April 16 ‘Treasure Island’, adapted by Bryony Lavery. Read our review.

April 23 ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare, starring Tamsin Greig. Read our review.

For more information on National Theatre at Home, click here.

Western-Mass Low Income Freelancer Relief


New musicals available streaming on YouTube every Friday for 48 hours!
Even More Things to Stream While Broadway Is Shut Down

I am writing to share a new, quarantine-inspired idea and invite you to participate. The Center for the Arts will be producing four episodes of what we are calling “Hawley Street,” a cross between Sesame Street and an online variety show. We want to keep our artists and other community members connected, and are excited to give this a try for the next two months!

Each 20-minutes episode (geared towards children and families but hopefully entertaining for all ages!) will incorporate performances, tutorials, dance parties, and more, and we hope you will join us by submitting content!

Please email a high quality 2-5 minute video (smartphones are fine) filmed in landscape/horizontal mode of your original, arts-related content. The content must belong to you or not be copyrighted, but doesn’t have to be new. Some suggestions include:

--performances (music, dance, spoken word, skits, puppets, etc)
--tutorials/instructional videos
--magic tricks
--animated shorts
--stop motion
--dance party (you/your family dancing to fun music in your house or yard - this will be edited together into a collective dance party sequence)
--videos of you/your family laughing!
--cute videos of your pets!

Please send any contextual information (for explanation and credits) via email. We are accepting submissions throughout the month of April, but hope to get our first episode out by mid-month so please send videos soon!

We are also welcoming music (mp3s or links to downloadable original music) to use for the crowd-sourced dance parties, background music, and transitional moments.

"Hawley Street" will be available for free, but we hope people will consider making a donation to the Center. As a small nonprofit committed to serving our community, the Northampton Center for the Arts needs help so that we can continue to provide affordable space for artists, performers, and educators after this crisis is over. We will be inviting people to make a donation of any amount through our website or Venmo @Northampton-CenterForTheArts at the end of each episode.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and we can’t wait to see and share your art!

All the best,


Links from last few weeks:
More excellent resources for freelance artists

This article has links to great free online trainings for theatre technology

More Digital Arts and Culture Resources

List of Arts Resources During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Stay At Home Fest: Online Entertainment Calendar

Join the New Performing Artists Network, created by Seth Lepore

UMass Arts Extension Services List of Resources

Live Puppet Theatre Online - from the Jim Henson Foundation

A message from Amy Rist:

Good afternoon my friends from area non-profit arts facilities (dance/music/acting is etc.).

I am an experienced grant writer, primary investigator and researcher. I have helped non-profits successfully obtain grants up to 500K federal and state and can help anyone interested in obtaining a grant at this site below or many other funding opportunities. This includes other funding available for nonprofit arts organizations etc. Please message me if interested. I’m happy to forward you proof and examples of my work. I am also a political consultant and able to obtain local political support is wherever necessary. Grant and Political references available upon request. 


Please contact me at
Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts

We understand the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting nonprofits in many ways, including increased demand for their services, lost revenue due to closures and cancellations, as well as other challenges. We are happy to announce the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. With local businesses partnering to help raise over $1 million, this fund will provide flexible resources to organizations that are working with communities at the intersection of being most vulnerable to the virus and most impacted by inequity.
Go to 
Click on the link when it goes live tomorrow and enjoy! Or go to the Silverthorne or LAVA Center Facebook pages for the link.

Get in touch with LAVA to reserve your spot for the next
ONLINE OPEN MICs -- Tuesday nights: April 14 and April 28

Greenfield, MA – As the nation and the Valley continue to grapple with the repercussions of the COVID19 pandemic, Silverthorne Theater will perform online a play that remembers another watershed moment in our nation’s history New York playwright Rich Orloff’s Days of Possibilities will be performed by volunteers on an online platform (yet to be determined) on Monday, May 4, at 7 pm, the fiftieth anniversary of the day National Guard troops shot and killed four student protesters at Kent State University.

The playwright describes the piece as “based on letters and interviews with students who attended Oberlin College during the 1960's.  Mixing monologues and simple "story theater" scenes, Days of Possibilities charts the journey of one college's response to the Vietnam War. Although the play is about another era, I think its message of hope in the face of uncertainty will resonate with this time.  The 50th anniversary of the Kent State killings will be on May 4, and the play climaxes with scenes reminding us of the strength and courage of students during that time of crisis.”
Orloff has offered the Zoom version of the play royalty-free for the Silverthorne performance. The Company will record the performance and make it available free of charge for STC subscribers, or students and their parents until June 4, 2020. Requests for the recording should be made to
Volunteer reader/performers will be recruited from the community, and anyone is encouraged to take part. Online rehearsals begin the week of April 13. For full details, go to the Company web site at
The Northampton Arts Council is now accepting performer applications for First Night Northampton 2021.

On Thursday December 31, 2020 the Northampton Arts Council will present the 36th annual community New Year’s Eve celebration and festival of performing arts. Since 1985, First Night Northampton has filled the Paradise City with a 12-hour family-friendly festival of the arts, culminating in a traditional ball-raising from the roof of the Hotel Northampton. Proceeds from First Night Northampton will benefit local artists and community arts activities. 

We look forward to receiving many proposals and to creating a diverse, exciting, family-friendly event. Complete and submit the application no later than August 31, 2020. Proposals are reviewed as they are received, so early applications are recommended. Please submit separate applications for each proposal. Proposals without support materials will not be reviewed. We will be notifying applicants at the end of September. To apply to perform at First Night Northampton please complete the online application which can be found here.

Contact: Steve Sanderson, Events Producer, 413-587-1247,

Photo Credit: Steven E Nanton

The Play Reading Co-op is currently seeking submissions of full length plays from New England writers for a monthly, ongoing reading series. The mission of the co-op is simply for local theater makers to have a chance to get in a room together to work on high quality material for our own learning, enjoyment, and camaraderie. It's also a great way to learn about new works and writers. The reading is intended to be informal and without an audience other than other co-op “members” and potentially a friend or colleague(s) of the writer. If the writer is looking for a discussion or feedback afterward, we are happy to make space for that as well. We are ideally looking for plays with at least 2 female identifying roles.

Starting next Monday, April 6, USITT will be launching two all-new FREE webinar series for anyone to attend called New@Noon and Forum@Four! These new offerings are a way to provide those in the technical theatre and live entertainment industries with online education.

The New@Noon series will be similar to our New Products Showcase that takes place every year at the annual Conference and Stage Expo. Companies who were set to exhibit their latest tech will now take the virtual stage to explain what the product is and to answer questions that participants may have.

The Forum@Four series is essentially taking a selection of curated sessions and translating them to a virtual environment. These webinars are brought to you by the various USITT commissions and other industry experts, and presenters will be available during the sessions to answer questions that participants may have.

Visit to learn all about next week's slate of webinars and to register in advance.

Happier Valley Comedy presents Improvise Into the Unknown

April 17 at 3:30 PM

Improvisers are trained to eat the unknown for breakfast.
As a professional improviser, Pam Victor's job is to jump into the unknown and instantly create content out of thin air with her colleagues. And now, Pam would like to share easy-to-learn techniques to support you in improvising opportunities in this unexpected new reality. Because that's what improv is all about:
The acceptance of the reality of the moment and the agreement to move forward together with positivity.

In this insightful interactive presentation, Pam uses wise-cracking stories and the wisdom of improv tenets to provide immediately-applicable, game-changing tools to help you reframe challenges, redefine failure, reduce anxiety, and quiet the internal voices of fear and self-judgment that may be getting in the way of your progress and forward momentum in these uncertain times. Using the wonders of Zoom, Pam leads the small group through solo and group interactive exercises to deepen and individualize learning through laughter. This professional development presentation is designed to support the resilience, flexibility, and creativity of members of work and leadership teams, entrepreneurs, and anyone whose business has been shaken up by the current health situation.
Ask yourself this: Given the reality of this moment, could you use more ease and joy?
A Completely Ridiculous Laughing Club, Saturday April 18th from 1-2pm
Completely Ridiculous Productions would like to welcome you to the Pioneer Valley’s one and only Laughing Club!
In this ongoing practice, beginning April 18th, we will gather together for an hour on zoom - introduce ourselves, warm up our bodies, and then laugh, and laugh so hard that we begin to cry a little, and then a little more until we we can’t help but laugh even harder than we were before.. 
Because I believe it is important to remind ourselves that it's ok to live in a happy body and laugh uproariously, especially in such crazy and chaotic times.
But seriously, Why?
Because laughter is a necessary survival skillthat's why.  Also, super serious people like Doctors, Ministers and Therapists all around the world say that laughter strengthens the immune system, purges toxins, burns calories, works as a natural anti-depressant and keeps us resilient, happy and healthy! Laughter is the Best Medicine after all - and it's FREE!! 
This practice is open to any and everyone – just like going to the gym or taking a yoga class. However, a sense of humor will certainly help - So be sure to bring yours along!
Each session is $15 suggested donation/pay what you can. 
To sign up, please email
What in the what is Completely Ridiculous Productions?
CRP is a performance laboratory/training center dedicated to professional actor training, developing and producing new works of physical comedy, and strengthening each individual’s Empathic Vulnerability - the willingness to fully see and be seen by an other, while staying open to the possibility of being changed. For more information visit:
And who the heck is running this thing anyway?
Professional Laugher since birth, Gabe Levey is an actor/theatre maker who recently moved back to Northampton. In addition to running workshops and producing shows in the valley, Gabe teaches Physical Acting, Clown, Clown to Text and Shakespeare Performance at NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. Founding Artistic Director, Completely Ridiculous Productions. MFA, Yale School of Drama.
Happier Valley Comedy presents Let's Get Happier!

April 25 at 7:00 PM

As the Head of Happiness of Happier Valley Comedy, happiness is literally Pam Victor's title and business. It's also her life practice. Yes, happiness is more than something that just magically lands on us. Happiness is a muscle we can build and develop. In this fun and informative personal empowerment remote interactive presentation, Pam shares immediately-applicable techniques and tips to make happiness a habit in your life. Using improv-based exercises and amusing stories, we actively experience, explore, and expand on the
practices of happiness, gratitude, and play. By the end of our time together, you’ll create your own personalized happiness plan, get practice with a bunch of happiness-enhancing techniques, and make connections with like-minded folks through remote interactive activities and discussions.
Join us to harness the power of happiness in this laughter- and skills-building interactive remote presentation.
Pioneer Valley Theatre Companies
Is your theatre company missing? Email me!
Academy of Music Theatre

Arena Civic Theatre

Black Cat Theater

Chester Theatre Company


Cold Spring Community Theatre

Completely Ridiculous Productions

Drama Studio

Double Edge Theatre

Eggtooth Productions

Exit 7 Players

Franklin County Youth Theater

Ghost Light Theater

Greenfield Community College's Theater Department

Hampshire Shakespeare Company

Happier Valley Comedy

Ja'Duke Center for the Performing Arts

K and E Theater Group

Ko Theater Works/Ko Festival of Performance

Majestic Theater

New Century Theatre

No Theater
Northampton Community Arts Trust

Northampton Playwrights Lab

PaintBox Theatre


Pauline Productions

Real Live Theatre

Red Thread Theater

Royal Frog Ballet

Serious Play Theatre Ensemble

Shakespeare Stage

Shea Theater Arts Center

Silverthorne Theater

Smith College Department of Theatre

St. Michael's Players

Starlight's Youth Theatre, Inc.

Strident Theatre


Turbulent Times Theater

UMass Department of Theater

UMass Theatre Guild

Valley Light Opera

Westfield Theatre Group

Wilbraham United Players
Want to know even more about events in the Pioneer Valley and beyond,
including reviews, interviews, and previews?
Pioneer Valley Theatre Google Calendar
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