Thursday, August 26, 2021

Pioneer Valley Theatre News August 26, 2021

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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August 26 - September 15, 2021

In response to last week's article about creating an actively inclusive theatre course, this video about inaccessibility in the theatre was shared by its creator. As a reminder, I share an article every week about something happening in the theatre world - typically an essay from Howlround. If you have an interesting article you find (or write!) that you think more people should be reading or talking about, please send it my way! Everything in this newsletter is open for reader submissions. 

If you are heading to the Cape, or just want to go on a little mental vacation, read Chris Rohmann's postcard from the Cape here.

The next issue will include events from September 2 - 22. 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
Starlight's Youth Theatre's fall classes will start September 4th.  
All classes will be held at Maple Ridge Community Center, Sunderland. 
To register please go to     
$5 per week for your poster and ticket link in top billing!
Email me to reserve your dates.
Click to Access: Pioneer Valley Theatre Google Calendar
Click to Access: Pioneer Valley Theatre Personnel Spreadsheet
from Howlround

Instead of a Vision: Listening and Dialogue as the Work of a Theatre Director
by Charlie Peters

From the article: 

Vision. The word has come to almost define the work of a theatre director. Influenced by notions of the auteur film director, in some cases the so-called vision for a theatrical production is all the director is given credit for as an artist. This must change if we are to create a more equitable future. How we conceive of and discuss directing may not seem of primary importance in seeking a more just theatre, but it is a central concern that reflects and embodies many beliefs about how good art is made, how power can and should be used, and what we believe about the individual and the collective.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
The Majestic Theater
 Majestic re-opening; completing run of the play “The Pitch” by Stan Freeman
 The Majestic Theater, 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. 413.747.7797
NOTES:  The Majestic Theater temporarily closed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  At the time it was in the middle of a six-week run of the play “The Pitch.”  After 17 months, the theater will re-open on Saturday, August 7 and present the remaining three-week run of the play for ticket holders who were unable to see it.  The run concludes on August 29.
 “The Pitch” tells the story of retired sportswriter Roger Pennell who reluctantly agrees to collaborate with a young reporter, Mike Resnick, on the biography of a boyhood friend of Roger's.  That friend, Vernon Peters, was a pitcher who had been languishing on a farm team for the Yankees, but finally got the call that brought him to the mound at Yankee Stadium.  Peters threw only one pitch that day, and his career in the Major Leagues abruptly ended.  In digging into the story, the young writer discovers a secret at the heart of it all, a secret the older writer fiercely intends to protect.
The play was written by Pioneer Valley-based writer Stan Freeman, who was a former reporter for The Republican/
Ticket for the play range from $24-$31 and are now available by calling or visiting the box office at (413) 747-7797.
To Bee or Not to Bee: Popular Pollinator-themed Performance for All Ages Buzzes to Springfield and Westhampton

Piti Theatre Company, based in Shelburne Falls, is bringing their award winning all ages musical To Bee or Not to Bee to Springfield Libraries' East Forest Park Branch, 136 Surrey Road on Saturday, August 28 at 11 am. This is a free event. To Bee tells Farmer James’ comic, tragic and hopeful story complete with puppets, clowning, live music and plenty of audience participation. The performance is designed for ages 4 and up and is 45 minutes long. To Bee has been touring in Europe and North America since 2012.

The show's next in-person performance will be another free outdoor event hosted by the Kestrel Land Trust on Saturday, September 11 at 3:30 pm at the Greenberg Family Conservation Area in Westhampton. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Visit to reserve your tickets.

Piti will also be performing school shows this fall at Colrain Central School, Hawlemont Elementary, Munger Hill Elementary in Westfield and Bowdoinham Elementary in Maine.

These tour dates are supported in part by grants from the Colrain, Hawlemont and Westfield cultural councils, local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. The premiere of the troupe's new virtual version of the show wrapped up on August 22nd at the Toronto Fringe Festival and now presenters and schools around the world will be able to schedule live streams of the show followed by zoom-based beekeeper/creator talkbacks (yes, the performers are also beekeepers). Touring and the live streaming version are also made possible in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts Resilience Fund and the New England States Touring Program.

Why To Bee or Not to Bee?

In 2006-2007, U.S. beekeepers lost 50% of their bees. In the years since, beekeepers around the world have continued to struggle with 30 – 40% annual losses resulting from factors including pesticide use, loss of habitat, the proliferation of wireless radiation and industrial beekeeping practices. Meanwhile native bee species are simultaneously disappearing.

Piti Theatre's response is the creation of To Bee or Not to Bee - a new play with music that inspires wonder and curiosity about honeybees and by extension the natural world. The show raises awareness about the honeybee's plight and gives children and adults tools for helping bees thrive in their communities.

To Bee tells the tale of a farmer-beekeeper named James who gradually replaces his diverse crops with corn in order to fill a growing corporate demand for corn bi-products. The action opens with the audience protesting in front of Farmer James’ barn chanting “There’s no good food, we’re in a bad mood.” Only after James recounts his tale with music and puppets to appease the angry mob does he realize, with the help of his friend the Piano Lady, that by getting some advice (and bees!) from a wise woman beekeeper about reviving his land will his bees again be able to thrive. Children are invited onstage to help James re-transform his farm at the end of the show. The performance connects to a real world grassroots campaign launched in called 10% For the Bees which encourages replanting of 10% of lawns with bee friendly habitat and transitioning to organic lawn care methods.

Cast: Jonathan Mirin and Laura Josephs (USA)
Music: Jonathan Mirin and Carrie Ferguson (USA)
Book: Jonathan Mirin
Choreography and Design: Godeliève Richard (Switzerland)
Director: Dominque Bourquin (Switzerland)
For video, music and more about To Bee or Not to Bee and Piti Theatre’s Bee Week program go to
Eggtooth Productions is pleased to announce their first full scale, in-person production on September 10 and 11, 2021 at 7:30 pm at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls, MA.
The Drag Sisters: Back Where We Belong
is a glittery, fun-filled, musical extravaganza where the musical magic of Etta James meets Dolly Parton meets Lou Reed meets Sia fully glammed and busting dance moves, not to mention extra dry martinis. Tickets are $20 at

The show features Joe Dulude, II as the ever fabulous Mr. Drag with Jane Williams of New Salem and Myka Plunkett from Northampton as his gloriously bungling yet dazzling sisters, all of whom are kept in check by an Alexa-like creature played by Linda Tardif of Turners Falls. Emily Pritchett of Amherst tries very hard to clean up after them all. 

Said Mr. Drag, "The Drag Sisters are back! That’s right! Join the Drag Sisters as they officially put down their martinis (for a moment to fix their wigs…I mean hair) and open up the Shea Theatre for performances again! The Drag Sisters: Back Where We Belong reunites some of your favorite members of the Drag Family with stories, song and maybe a surprise or two. Join us for a night of fun, frivolity and of course cocktails. Cheers!"

Linda McInerney, producer and artistic director of Eggtooth Productions said, "We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Drag et al back to the stage after far too long in a far too weird time and this reunion gives us all the chance to be together safely and joyfully. I can't think of a better way to experience collective delight and laughter than with this ridiculously motley crew. We can't wait to greet you and show you to your seat."

Virtual Tickets

We had two wonderful, warm, and engaging audiences for our Piedmont Plays Project live and in-person showings on August 14th and 15th in the Parking Lot of Northampton Center for the Arts on 33 Hawley Street in Northampton, MA.

We are pleased to offer virtual viewing of these performances including both evening's post-show dialogues. The recording will be available beginning on Sunday, August 22nd and will be viewable through the following Sunday August 29th. Tickets will continue to be available until the evening of August 28th. Time is running out to grab your virtual ticket. Don't wait. Click here to purchase a $5.00 virtual ticket.

Tell Your Friends!
We would love for as many people as possible to experience Darcy phenomenal writing and story, and could use your help! Please consider forwarding this email to a friend, or send them to!


From the New Play Alliance Newsletter: 

Virtual Theatre


Depot for New Play Readings presents
a Zoom reading of
The Difference
by Jack Rushton
110 Columbia Heights
by Germaine Shames
August 29, 2:00 PM
directed by Anne Flammang

In The Difference, getting ready for a neighborhood party is never easy.

Part love letter, part indictment, 110 Columbia Heights plumbs the dark recesses and soaring heights of a country still struggling to live up to its own rhetoric, and whose future, now as then, hangs in the balance. In the 1870s, Emily Warren Roebling, wife of the Brooklyn Bridge’s paralyzed chief engineer, moves to 110 Columbia Heights to take over the day-to-day supervision and diplomacy needed to complete the project. A half century later, Jazz Age poet Hart Crane occupies the same apartment as he labors on his seminal poem, The Bridge. Peggy Baird Cowley, a free-spirited painter and Hart’s one heterosexual lover, often visits the poet there. In 110 Columbia Heights, a comi-tragic marriage of fact and fantasy, their lives intersect as they grapple for a toehold in an age of frayed morals and accelerating flux. Tickets: free.

the Drama Studio

08/31/2021 & 09/01/2021 6:00pm

Join us for our 2021 on-site Open House to learn about our acting classes and Conservatory program!  Come and visit the Drama Studio on Tuesday, Aug. 31st, 6 pm for ages 9-12, and Wednesday, Sept. 1st, 6 pm for ages 13-18. Please note, all participants must be masked. To R.S.V.P. for the Open House or more information about the Drama Studio, please call (413) 739-1983 or email us at
Silverthorne Theater seeks White, female-identifying, Queer-identifying Equity and Non-Equity actors to audition for the role of Erica in Bright Half Life, a two-character play by Tanya Barfield, directed by Gina Kaufmann, with performances December 3, 4, 5, 10 and 11, 2021, at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, MA. Auditions will be on Saturday, September 18 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at The LAVA Center, 324 Main Street in Greenfield, MA.
Erica meets, falls in love and marries Vicky over the course of the play.  Wants to be a teacher, a bit of a dreamer.  Lots of energy, lots of fun.  Her unpredictability is her best and worst feature. Erica identifies as a lesbian and is described by the playwright as “soft butch”.  The role of Vicky has already been cast. Although the play spans four decades, we are looking to cast an actor in her late twenties to mid-forties.
Audition sides will be provided in advance. Rehearsals will begin in early November and performances will be. Auditioners and performers are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID19. For full details, visit our web page
To schedule an audition, contact the theater at or call 413-768-7514.  Auditions are open to Equity and non-Equity performers ; all roles are paid.
Are you Ariel? King Triton? Or maybe Ursula or Prince Eric? Yes, Amherst Community Theater is bringing Disney's The Little Mermaid, coming in January 2022! Auditions are September 24, 25, and 26, and appointments are now open! 

A hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages, this timeless fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs, lavish sets and costumes, and a full live orchestra. Enthusiastic audiences will fill the 600-seat UMass Bowker Auditorium for 9 performances in January, 2022. Actors, singers, and dancers ages 7-107 are encouraged to audition. We want  YOU to find your place under the sea!  INCLUSIVE CASTING. For an audition appointment,  call Amherst Recreation at 413-259-3065.  

For more info about auditions, including character descriptions and audition music and readings, visit 
Contact person- Cynthia Strycharz   
Company- Starlight's Youth Theatre
Starlight's Youth Theatre accepting registration for Fall Acting Classes 
image.pngIntro to Theater – This class is for the first or second term student who loves to use their imagination creating their own plays. Working with the theme of being unique and special we will create different scenes which will come together in their original play “The Unicorns”. Grades 1-3     Saturdays 9:00-9:45   Sept. 4- Oct. 23 Show at Eric Carle   Fee- $125.00
image.pngActor’s Toolbox-  Once the student actor has some experience on stage, they need to fill their tool box with skills such as: how to develop a character, how does that character walks, talks, thinks and feels. During classes students will use these tools to create and then perform in their original adaption of  “Alice In Wonderland”.Grades 3-5    Saturdays 10:00-10:45   Sept. 4-  Oct. 23  Show at Eric Carle    Fee- $125.00
image.pngPlay ProductionThis class will focus on character development and the decisions the actor makes to bring their character to life.  The cast will be involved in multiple areas of the production such as costumes, props and set design and painting.  They will be presenting “Fight for the Right”, a play about Susan B. Anthony’s journey to achieve the vote for woman.Grades 6-8:  Saturday 11:00-12:00  Beginning Sept. 4- till show Nov. 6  at Northampton Center of the Arts Fee      $140.00 
image.pngLights Up   With a focus on the performance the students will learn about timing, pace and finding moments within the play as they use these new skills to present their original play “The Story of Dr. Dolittle”.  This play will be recreated by the students themselves as they work to develop the story in “you finish it scenes” during class.Grades 3-5th   Mondays 4:00-4:45  Beginning Sept. 13- till show Nov. 6 at Northampton Center of the Arts    Fee-  $140.00 
image.pngSherlock Holmes and Dr. WatsonSherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are looking for your help to solve their new mystery.  Come join the fun and cast while they not only rely on each other to help solve this mystery, but also the audience as they engage them in finding the clues to solve this very funny mystery. 
Grades 6-8   Mondays 5:00-6:00   Beginning Sept 13 till show Nov. 1 at Maple Ridge                Fee $145.00
All classes will be held at Maple Ridge Community Center, Sunderland.  To register please go to   

Fall Classes from Completely Ridiculous Productions

Starting in September we have a series of classes on offer! Click on any title for more information, teacher bios and students testimonials.

*Wellness Practice* with Annie Piper

Wednesday mornings from 10-11am EST, starting September 15th on Zoom.
Ongoing. $18/Class. $60/Month.

*Russian Etudeswith Annelise Lawson

Thursday nights from 6-9pm EST, starting September 16th on Zoom.
6 weeks. $445. ​Open to 12 students.

*Sourcing Selfwith Chalia La Tour

Saturday afternoons from 1-4pm EST, starting October 2nd on Zoom.
6 weeks. $445. Open to 12 students.

*Actors AT Practice Groupwith Tracy Einstein

Tuesday mornings from 11-12pm EST, starting October 5th on Zoom.
Ongoing. $18/Class. $60/Month.

*Character and Energetics* with Ato Blankson-Wood

Wednesday nights from 6-9pm EST, starting October 13th on Zoom.
6 weeks. $445. Open to 8 students.

Sign up now!

Double Edge Theatre
Fall Intensive: October 8-11

We’ll work daily from morning until night, both in Double Edge’s indoor training spaces and outside in the fields, hills, pond and pastures of the Farm. Layering our physical training practice with music, design, dramaturgy, large object work and individual and group research, intensives are a full-body experience of our multidisciplinary creative process.

The intensives are open to participants of all levels of experience and are ideal for pushing the boundaries of your physicality, creativity, and imagination!

We are continuing to follow MA State Guidelines regarding COVID-19 precautions and safety. Please contact us if you have any questions about our protocols and procedures.

To learn more and apply, visit our website here and/or contact Travis Coe at

Apply Today! 
Submit your workshop, class, audition, performance, or any other theatre opportunity here!
Pioneer Valley Theatre Companies
Academy of Music Theatre

Amherst Community Theater

Arena Civic Theatre

A.C.T. Youth Theatre

Black Cat Theater

Chester Theatre Company


Cold Spring Community Theatre

Completely Ridiculous Productions

Drama Studio

Double Edge Theatre

Eggtooth Productions

Exit 7 Players

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

No Theater

Northampton Community Arts Trust

Northampton Playwrights Lab
PaintBox Theatre


Pauline Productions

Performance Project

Phantom Sheep Players

Play Incubation Collective

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

Unity House Players

Valley Light Opera

Ware Community Theatre

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
In the Spotlight, Inc.

Berkshire on Stage
ArtsBeat TV/Radio and News Column
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