Thursday, December 17, 2020

Pioneer Valley Theatre News December 17, 2020

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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December 17, 2020 - January 6, 2021

We're probably waking up to a whole bunch of snow! I hope you all stay warm and safe and cozy. Just because you might not have to go anywhere doesn't mean you shouldn't get a snow day! Take some time to snuggle up with a good book or perhaps interact with some online theatre. 

The next issue will include events through January 13. 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
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Email me to reserve your dates.
from Howlround

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Play
by Ellen Lewis

From the article: 

Inspired by Wallace Steven’s poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” I began thinking about the various ways I look at a play I’m writing, as I’m writing it. Every lens reveals something different.

1. The shape. When you search for the shape of your play, it’s not something you want to impose, but discover. It’s not a cookie cutter (stamp, stamp, stamp), but a seed... How do you grow naturally into your best self, little play? What is it you’re trying to be? The instructions are encoded in the seed, but how to read them in that tiny, tiny blueprint? Sometimes you have to set it in the sun a while, and water it, and weed around it. Tend to it. And as it becomes itself you’ll begin to understand the shape it was always meant to take. You don’t have to force it. Just keep writing, and keep thinking about it.

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
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. 

View the project here.
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 ( 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, 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.
From the New England New Play Alliance:

Virtual Theatre and Podcasts


Hartford Stage presents 
A Community Carol
December 17-21

On a quiet winter’s night, the cast of Hartford Stage’s annual A Christmas Carol has Zoomed together to read the famous story in honor of what would have been the 23rd season. But, as the spine of the book cracks open, the cold wind sweeps in, the lights flicker, the Wi-Fi is unstable and the spirits that haunt its pages guide us on a journey through a story we thought we knew so well. Tickets: Free, donation requested

Third Citizen Theatre Company presents
Digital Dionysia
now-January 26

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. 

Week four:

Amphitrite and Poseidon: A Memory of Water
by John Minigan
December 15
directed by Rose Freudberg

Flower In The Underworld
by Amy Oestreicher
December 15
directed by Kate Devorak

Week five:

Murder Runs in Our Family
by Rex McGregor
December 22
directed by Emily Grove

The Theban Caper: A Radio Exercise in Comic Noir
written and directed by Ann Marie Shea
December 22

Tickets: $5 per week; $25 series pass.


Big Sweater Productions presents 
Space Team Go!
by Sarah Rae Brown

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.

You know our iconic Old Town Hall from the outside, now experience it from the inside. This is your invitation to virtually tour the building.

Explore one of Easthampton’s most historic structures from the comfort of your home. As you glide up the stairs and into the 2nd floor, be sure to explore all the nooks and vantage points.

Over the past decade, CitySpace has been working on plans to restore the building to full function, to equitably foster the arts, and to sustain the economic and cultural vitality of Easthampton. Experience Old Town Hall.

And when you visit, enter to win a Main Street gift box worth over $100!

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

Facebook page

From Eggtooth Productions:
Our friends at Punchdrunk Enrichment have created a holiday gift for their partners and that's us! It's a free enrichment program called Our Home Story

Our Home Story is a new experience from Punchdrunk, created for children and their parents or carers to enjoy. Suitable for children aged 5 - 11 years old, it’s a chance to get creative and enjoy storytelling and story writing together.

On ​the​ webpage​ below​ you will find all of the resources​ ​needed along with a step by step guide with how parents and guardians can take part.  The experience can be accessed on a smartphone, tablet or computer.

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 or by calling (413) 747-7797.

First Night Northampton Online

Live-streaming on Thursday December 31, 2020 from NOON to MIDNIGHT on

First Night Northampton has filled our Paradise City with a 12-hour, family-friendly festival of the arts since 1985. This signature New Year’s Eve event features memorable performances of your favorite artists. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit local arts enrichment.

In light of Covid-19 there will be many necessary changes to the celebration, most importantly there is no in-person entertainment this year. Watch all of the performances from the comfort of your own space and the screen of your choice. All of the exciting shows, the fireworks, and the ball raising will be broadcast online and on television for FREE! Tune in at or on Northampton Comcast Cable channels 12, 15, and 23.

Catch your favorite acts without having to wait in line! The Fawns, Kimaya Diggs, Tracy Grammer & Jim Henry as well as First Night newbies Mister G, Zoe Lemos, Priya Darshini + Max ZT. Don’t forget the entertainment for KIDS, ShowCircus Studio, Henry the Juggler, and The Yo-Yo Guy. Check out our performance page for more details

The lack of button sales this year will hamper our fundraising efforts to benefit local arts enrichment activities. Please consider donating to First Night Northampton. To show our gratitude for your donation, we will send you exclusive gifts to say thank you!

R.S.V.P. on Facebook

 Friday and Saturday, January 8 and 9, 2021
North StarThe Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA), and the Shea Theater are pleased to announce Get Down with Your Hometown (GDHT)GDHT is an online music festival with the goal of promoting the musical talent of North Star and the IMA, and benefiting the three non-profit organizations in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts..  The festival will take place on January 8 and 9, 2021 (details below).
North Star and IMA students and alumni will be performing along with local and nationally known musicians.  The event is open to the public with a sliding scale tip jar for donations throughout the event, the proceeds will be split between the three organizations.
Friday, January 8,  6 p.m. – 9:30  p.m
 Saturday, January 9,  4 p.m. – 9:30 p.m
Dates are confirmed, times subject to change.
Artists include:
Lake Street Dive          June Millington          Dar Williams 
Taylor Ashton           The Winterpills           Naia Kete & Say Real
Suitcase Junket             Erin McKeown           The Nields
Old Flame                          Kimaya Diggs                Martin Sexton
Kalliope Jones            Miro Sprague         Jaime Kent
                                                                                                                                                with many more and Special Guests TBA!

Northampton Community Making Space

Where:  33 Hawley - Eli’s room

When: Third Saturday’s of the Month from 4-7
Dec 19
Jan 16
Feb 27

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!

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.
Happier Valley Comedy presents
Resilience Training Through Joy: HVC's 30-Day Happiness Experiment

January 2, 2021 at 11:00 AM

How's your happiness and resilience going? If you just groaned or sad-chuckled incredulously, I'd like to offer you some support.

This online 30-day personal growth program provides simple yet game-changing resilience and happiness practices and the support to make happiness a life-long habit.

After the initial kickoff presentation - where I walk you through an interactive experience of scientifically-based, improv-enriched Happiness & Resilience Habits - this program is a commitment of about 1-10 minutes each day.Just for 30 days.

Best of all, the entire 30-Day Happiness Experiment is remote and completely customizable, so you choose the Happiness & Resilience Habits, time commitment, schedule,
accountability aids, and connection style that works best for you. Safe, easy, self-directed, introvert- and extrovert-friendly.

More information.

*The Completely Ridiculous Winter Conservatory*

The 2021 Winter Conservatory Program will run Monday, January 11th - Friday, February 19th.

Twelve students. Six weeks. Five days a week. Three and a half hours a day. Over 100 hours of laughter, failure, tears, beauty, triumph, wonder and play!

Applications are accessible via the link above and will be accepted until 11:59pm on December 20th.

Phantom Sheep Productions, in partnership with Unity House Players
LaughCrafters: Connections

Meets every Monday online

Join us for our weekly jam to play short form improv games together! Keep your brains in shape, meet new people, laugh, and stay connected!

Recommended for adults and teens 15+  All levels welcome!

Facebook event

The event is free. Donations are accepted.
Registration is required.
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

Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center

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
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Pioneer Valley Theatre Google Calendar
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