I really hope you are all staying home as much as possible and wearing a mask whenever you do go out. As Massachusetts rolls back to an earlier phase in the reopening plan, live in-person theatre feels further away than ever. Support your favorite theatre company now so that they will be around when we are able to have live performance again.
This is a good time to remind you that there are a number of productions you can experience from the safety of your own home. And there have been a good number of them already this year. Check out Chris Rohmann's synopsis of all things virtual this year here.
The next issue will include events through January 6. Submit upcoming events via the link below or by emailing me before Tuesday at midnight. Any questions, comments or feedback? Email me at email@example.com
When theatre houses around the world shuttered their doors back in March, we were all devastated. We watched our entire community lose everything from their income and health insurance to university admissions and even visa opportunities. Manhattan traded twinkling lights for refrigerated trucks. We stayed inside. We grieved.
And then we began to innovate. In no way was the pandemic a gift—no one would have chosen this. But like any major disruption, it caused the indie theatre industry to do what it does best: get creative. While Broadway remains closed for the foreseeable future, remote virtual theatrical experiences began popping up left and right as creatives used Zoom, Discord, text messages, VR, phone calls, streaming services, and more to bridge the gap between live theatre and staying safe. And, for the first time, performance became accessible to many.
Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me! firstname.lastname@example.org
The Smith College Theatre Department presents its digital fall production, THE AMPLIFIER an immersive website featuring original student work that addresses life in this disruptive and disorienting year.
When faced with the task of choosing a play for the fall mainstage production, Daniel Kramer realized that any established script written before 2020 might feel irrelevant to students isolated in remote locations and scattered across the country and the world. He wanted to devise a project that would center student experience and student creativity as they grapple with confusion, uncertainty and loss. The starting point for the piece was: “What have you experienced and how have you been changed through the transformative cultural events of the past 6 months –protests for racial justice, the pandemic, political unrest, and economic uncertainty?” To accommodate as many voices as possible and welcome a wide range of expressive media, Kramer decided to use an immersive website as the venue for the project. Like all main stage productions at Smith, THE AMPLIFIER is an extra-curricular activity open to all students, providing a space for building community and forming creative collaborations outside of virtual classwork.
THE AMPLIFIER features pieces that explore family dynamics in quarantine, how one comforts a neighbor when touching is not allowed, a poem mourning the death of a friend, Chinese-American experience through the pandemic, Shakespeare monologues, readings of anonymous survey entries created by Smith's Spatial Analysis Lab, and a rendition of Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Testimony among others. All told, THE AMPLIFIER brought together 85 participants to work on 29 projects creating over 100 minutes of video footage utilizing 25 actors, 17 writers, 17 directors, 9 designers, 8 editors, 8 web developers, 4 student leaders, 4 stage managers, 2 artists, 1 a capella group. Smith production faculty and staff assisted project teams by sending set pieces, costumes, props, lighting equipment and microphones to students working at home. The website will allow for randomized viewing of projects, as well as the ability to sort by participants and themes.
A celebration of our collective resilience in an evening that's classic Titanic style: some edge, some humor all mixed together with song and play and bring-your-own-cocktails (recipe provided)! Featuring two short plays:
The North Shore Reader’s Collaborative presents
a Zoom reading of The Caregivers
by Nancy Temple
directed by Arlene Barnard
A play about unacknowledged limitations, meanness, compromise, and incompetence, but also vulnerability and the need for love. What happens when characters with different agendas collide? Tickets: $10 suggested donation.
A 10-week series of new, contemporary short plays inspired by classical Greek theatre and mythology and produced by local creative teams with playwrights from New England and beyond. These plays reintroduce familiar characters and settings in ways that are surprising, hilarious, thought-provoking, and always original.
by James T. Washburn
directed by Leo Dameron
All The Time In The World
by Kai Austin
directed by Jay Connolly
Amphitrite and Poseidon: A Memory of Water
by John Minigan
directed by Rose Freudberg
Flower In The Underworld
by Amy Oestreicher
directed by Kate Devorak
Teleporting to the internet comes an intrepid Space Team, led by daring Space Leader Grizelda Braithwaite! Space Officers Keem and Expendable (an old family name) join the team on a mission to rescue a space diplomat - or possibly a space prince? - in this comedic play that's a loving homage to a certain popular, 50+-year-old science fiction franchise. Streaming now. Tickets: Free.
Journey down memory lane with us as we share filmed performances of all five past Naked I productions this fall, culminating with the world premiere virtual production of The Naked I: Revitalized!
Register for a ticket for one or all six Naked I productions and you will have access to view the filmed performance on each weekend specified below for the entire weekend - from Friday night through Sunday! You can experience the show on your own schedule, any time you like, pausing as needed to refill the popcorn! We will also provide a link to a PDF playbill so that you can follow along and learn titles of the pieces and the artists involved.
Closed captions have been created by 20% Theatre are available and recommended for all to use. Additionally, our brand new production screening in mid-December, The Naked I: Revitalized, will offer ASL virtually as well.
Registration for each production is pay-what-you-can, and no one will be turned away. Our plays & events have been $5-$25 Sliding Scale for many years, and we ask you to contribute what you can for yourself and any household viewers joining you.
Stay tuned for information about live panel discussions with some of the artists involved in these productions over the years - hosted by Artistic Director, Marcela Michelle.
The Naked I
2020 World Premiere Production
DECEMBER 11-13, 2020
An original, virtual production by 20% Theatre Company
The Naked I: Revitalized explores queer and trans experience through brand new monologues, scenes, song, dance and movement, featuring the contributions of over a dozen local and national artists on topics including gender identity/ies, relationships, transgender/gender non-conforming experiences and all-around self-defined queerness.
This production was originally intended to be performed live back in April 2020 with many more actors and directors involved. Due to Covid-19, we postponed once, and then again, and then decided to go virtual, which meant shifting gears a bit. Some artists created and filmed their own solo work, and some were able to safely involve other artists. We took what was given to us and edited it all together to create this incredible virtual world premiere performance.
Featured writers/creators include Connie Chang, Sami Pfeffer, Forrest Mainville, Tobias K. Davis, Sea Thomas, Ayesha Adu, Hannah Stein, Rubin Hardin, Kitty Sipple, Nick Malakhow, and Johanna Keller Flores.
The Naked I: Revitalized is the 6th and final Naked I production to be produced by 20% Theatre Company.
Original production postcard artwork by Ethan O'Brien.
SILVERTHORNE THEATER PRESENTS “HOLIDAY TALES FOR WINTER EVENINGS”
Many of Silverthorne’s best-known actors have joined with STC friends and family members to record a series of evenings full of song, music and spoken word, Holiday Tales for Winter Evenings, scheduled for December 18, 19, and 20 starting at 7 pm on the Silverthorne YouTube channel.
Each evening will feature a different menu of pieces: holiday stories and songs for children; reflections on the season for adults; and traditional favorites for the whole family. The full schedule for each evening will be posted on our web site (https://silverthornetheater.org) under Special Events by December 15.
Thom Griffin serves as host for the series. Featured performers include Chris Rohmann, Stephanie Carlson, Myka Plunkett and Kyle Boatwright, Chris Devine and Rosie Caine, Rona Leventhal and Larry Picard. Also taking part are David Rowland, Penney Hulten, Kimberly Salditt-Poulin, John Reese, Heather Tower, Kackie St Clair and Lucinda Kidder. And there are guest appearances by Bryan Griffin and Nathan Carlisle.
Selections include A Child’s Christmas in Wales, The Grinch that Stole Christmas, A Visit from Saint Nicholas, Channukah in Santa Monica, The Snowy Day and many more.
The full schedule will be posted on the Silverthorne website and social media (Facebook and Instagram) by December 15. Patrons can join us for some or all of these free offerings.
Further information at email@example.com, or call 413-768-7514. Silverthorne Theater Company is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) arts organization founded in 2014. Silverthorne’s mission is to present adventurous, thought-provoking theatrical experiences, including productions of classic, contemporary and new works for diverse audiences.
Phantom Sheep Players/ Phantom Sheep Productions
LaughCrafters Holiday Show Online!
Friday, December 18th starting at 7:30PM
Improv Show Tradition Adapts to Virtual Stage
Log in and Laugh as “Phantom Sheep” celebrates and satirizes the season
Each year over the past decade, local comedy troupe Phantom Sheep has presented a free performance celebrating the season and bringing laughter to the community. This year, to keep everyone safe, they are adapting this tradition to an online format to be presented live on Friday, December 18th starting at 7:30PM. “LaughCrafters: Holiday Show” will feature live unscripted scenes, each with a custom holiday twist, created right on the spot with plenty of audience interaction in an innovative webinar event.
The Phantom Sheep Players core repertoire includes Western MA natives Eric Boucher, Tommy Lynch, Jesse Redmond, and Jeff Tingley. This troupe of writers, performers, directors, and instructors has worked together over 20 years providing entertainment and Arts education for schools, theaters, libraries, and the theme park industry. This year they will be joined “on screen” by their adult improv class alumni Aaron Reynolds, Jodi Roberts, and Paige Stawasz.
Last year the troupe partnered with Unity House Players in Springfield, where they regularly offer improv classes and shows. When theaters started closing due to the pandemic, the troupe began to offer online improv jams to keep their students connected. Over the past months, those jams have grown to include improvisers from all over the country. Since the summer, the troupe has also routinely performed their stage show in an online format. “It’s another way improv has taught us to be flexible and resilient during challenging times,” notes Boucher. “This Holiday Show has always been a valued tradition for our troupe and we are proud to keep the laughs coming in a creative way.”
Like the audience, each performer will be safe in their own individual homes, but able to interact with each other virtually to create scenes that are based on suggestions the audience will type in the online chat, all in real time. There will also be at least two brand new pre-recorded pieces that will debut during the show, adding to the several Christmas themed comedy sketches the troupe has created over the years.
Information about this free Zoom webinar performance along with their open improv jam and upcoming classes can be found on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/phntmsheep.
MAJESTIC THEATER BRIGHTENS HOLIDAY SPIRITS WITH FESTIVE WINDOW DISPLAY BY SCENIC ARTIST BEV BROWNE
The café windows at West Springfield's Majestic Theater on Elm Street, which is temporarily closed due to the pandemic, have been transformed into a cozy living room adorned with holiday decorations to celebrate the season.
West Springfield resident and Majestic Theater Scenic Artist Bev Browne had the idea to create something to help lift spirits of passers-by. With the help of coworkers Jake Golen, Stephen Petit and Aurora Ferraro, she began to assemble the display, which is inspired by the set used in the Majestic’s annual “Home for the Holidays” show and also designed by Browne. The cancellation of this year’s annual holiday show, Browne felt, left a gap in the lives of show attendees.
“I’ve always loved Christmas lights and holiday music,” she said. I love the nostalgia that the holidays bring. I wanted to decorate the Majestic windows and brighten them up to bring some cheer to Elm Street. I remember how excited people used to get about the window at Macy’s in New York City during the holidays, and I wanted to create something similar that people could enjoy.
“We figured it would be fantastic to recreate the holiday show set and pipe some music outside, which we did. It’s like the holiday show is still going on, but without the audience inside. We want to encourage people to drive by the theater, open their windows to hear the music, and enjoy that nostalgic feeling. It’s been a tough year, but there’s an end in sight and we want to bring people joy for the holidays.”
Danny Eaton, producing director of the Majestic, agreed that the display, which is dubbed “At Home for the Holidays” will lift spirits. “Normally at this time of year we’re presenting our ‘Home for the Holidays’ show, and it’s especially disappointing to miss out on that,” he stated. “Families of all ages come, bringing children and grandchildren with them, to be entertained by some of the most popular and talented Majestic performers. It’s a tradition for many people. We hope that, while people can’t enjoy the show this year, at least we can share the spirit of the season with them with this terrific display. Bev did a great job of recreating that here.”
The holiday music is being played via a speaker mounted above the café windows. The speaker was installed by Ben Ashley, who played the lead role in one of the Majestic’s most popular musicals, “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.”
The display will remain in the theater’s windows until January 2, 2021.
The Majestic is currently selling tickets for its 25th Annual Classic Raffle, its biggest fundraiser. Two tickets will be drawn on December 31. First prize is a 1960 Corvette with red exterior and white coves. Second prize is a 2001 Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Tickets are $10 each and are available online at majestictheater.com or by calling (413) 747-7797.
AUDITIONS & OPPORTUNITIES
Northampton Community Making Space
Where: 33 Hawley - Eli’s room
When: Third Saturday’s of the Month from 4-7
Who: Our Community
Cost: Free - there will be a voluntary (NOT required) collection jar to help pay for the space rental
What: Northampton Community Making Space
As we continue to figure out how to be artists in this time, I would like to offer a space for us to make in a community, while still paying attention to the care that we need to take of ourselves and others in the times of COVID 19. Please join us at 33 Hawley on the third Saturday of the month from 4-7 in Eli’s Room for community making. All experience levels are welcome.
Who is a maker? A maker is a writer, a painter, a mover, a quilter, a weaver, a poet, a photographer, a digital artist, a filmmaker, a woodworker, a stained glass artist, a performer, a musician, a potter, a philosopher, an activist - so many things that it defies definition. A maker is someone who looks around them and asks of themselves and others, “what can this idea become?” A maker is in continuous evolution.
We will each have a 6’ space. You will be provided a table, a chair or easy chair, a dedicated power strip, and a drop cloth. You will need to bring your own materials and tools. Please bring projects that are appropriate for working on in a group setting. There will be three foot aisles between each space, and masks will be required at all times.
The space will accommodate 10 people at one time. You may stay for the full three hours, or just drop in for an hour or so. In order to organize our safe attendance, please follow this link to sign up for a time. Please indicate your interest and the time that you would like to attend by following the link and signing up for a slot.
I hope you are able to join us for making in community See you soon!
2020 has sparked an ever changing new normal. The instructors and staff at Arts Extension Service will wrap up this year grateful to all who stepped up for our field during this trying time. We remain committed to finding and sharing reliable information and place good resources into the hands of artists and our creative communities.
Be the first to apply for artist and organization opportunities listed on the AES Resource List. We update them weekly!
Gotham Early Music and Early Music America Relief Fund $250 mini-grants for musicians opens Dec. 2.
The National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest offers $5,000 to $20,000 grants to support NEA Big Read Projects. Deadline is Jan. 27.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences offers their Festivals & Filmmaking Education Grants $5,000- $25,000 for screenings, educational programs in film, and more. Deadlines range from Jan. 15-29 per grant.
Call for Dancers from Mark DeGarmo Dance’s virtual Salon Performance Series. Professional and student dance artists are encouraged to apply. Deadline is Dec. 3.
Harry Ransom Center is launching the Theatre 2020 Project, an international effort to document the impact the events of this year have had on the theatre profession - the pandemic, theatre closures, furloughs, online performances, reckoning with longstanding racial injustices in the industry, national politics and protests, and so much more.
We are inviting theatre artists and organizations to register and submit digital files - journals, emails, performance recordings, interviews, zoom meetings, press releases, photographs, written reflections, canceled contracts, revised mission statements, original works, etc. - that might reflect their experiences of this moment.
Please share this news with anyone you think might be interested in participating.
On September 18, 2020, TCG received a message from a group of production managers that organized around two requests: make ARTSEARCH free for all job-seekers, and require job-posters to include salary ranges. Even before the pandemic, many theatre-workers faced constant economic uncertainty and precarity. And as explained in Vu Le’s essential writing in Nonprofit AF, when organizations aren’t transparent about salary ranges, it perpetuates the gender wage-gap; discriminates against BIPOC theatre-makers, and drives away potential candidates.
Now with the devastating economic impact of COVID-19, we are making ARTSEARCH free for all job-seekers as of today, October 19, 2020, and requiring job-posters to list salary ranges. We know the pandemic’s impact has fallen especially hard on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) theatre-workers, and so making ARTSEARCH freely accessible aligns with TCG’s strategic commitment to center BIPOC in our programs and services.
WORKSHOPS & CLASSES
A Director Prepares: an Introduction to Katie Mitchell
12/10 & 12/17, 6-8:30 PM
Northampton Center for the Arts - Zoom
A Director Prepares: an Introduction to Katie Mitchell
What can a theater director do outside of rehearsal to ensure that her ideas about a play make their way onstage?
Using Samuel Beckett’s "Waiting for Godot" as an example, we will survey British director Katie Mitchell’s systematic and ‘objective’ approach to text work and rehearsal planning. This eminently flexible method emphasizes the importance of character and dramatic world in plays of all styles and from all periods, including new plays.
This Zoom workshop is designed for directors and for those who would like to try directing; for actors, dramaturgs, designers, playwrights and other theater artists; and for theater-goers who are curious about how a play is put together.
The fee is $90. Scholarships of any amount are available upon request with no explanation necessary. Donations to support these scholarships are welcome; any donation in excess of the total cost of the class will be returned. Class materials will be available via email and in a Google folder.
About the instructor: Josh Platt is a Valley-based writer and theater artist. His Pioneer Valley credits include: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Hampshire Shakespeare Company (dir.); Stupid F***ing Bird, Silverthorne Theatre Company (dram.); and The Life & Death of Queen Margaret, Real Live Theatre (dram.). He has an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College.