Thursday, December 14, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre News December 14, 2023

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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 December 14, 2023 - January 3, 2024

Playwrights! Don't miss an opportunity to have your play read as part of PIC PIPS! Play Incubation Collective is accepting submissions for the Plays in Progress Series that will be presented monthly in the Workroom at 33 Hawley Street throughout 2024. Submissions will be taken until December 20. 

The next issue will include events from December 21- January 10. 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.
Click to Access: Pioneer Valley Theatre Google Calendar
Click to Access: Pioneer Valley Theatre Personnel Spreadsheet
from Howlround

The Amateur Botanist Talks Merrily Into the Night: Some Notes on Neurodivergent Performance (and How to Make It)
by Rob Onorato

From the article

I’d like to say a few words in support of a neurodivergent way of creating and experiencing theatre and performance.

I’ve loved theatre as long as I’ve loved anything, but it has been harder to live in that world for the past five or six years. About two years ago, I came to realize that I’m neurodivergent, an ADHDer who’s also somewhere on the spectrum. A lot about my life has changed since learning that fact—entirely and enthusiastically for the better—and it feels like time to look at what theatre might look like if it was more apt, welcoming, care-rooted, and honestly pleasurable for me and people like me.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!


Majesters Bring Night of Holiday-Themed Improv Comedy to Theater December 18

West Springfield’s Majestic Theater will present its annual seasonal variety show, “Home for The Holidays,” December 7-22. 

The family-friendly show, featuring Pioneer Valley-based performers, has become a tradition at the theater for more than a dozen years.  Similar in style to nostalgic holiday specials of years past headlined by Andy Williams and Perry Como, “Home for The Holidays 2023” will be co-hosted by singer Ray Guillemette, Jr., who has headlined countless "A Ray of Elvis" sold-out shows at the Majestic, and Ben Ashley, a Majestic favorite who has performed in several hit shows including “Mamma Mia” and “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.”

Joining Ray and Ben onstage will be several veteran Majestic performers, including Kait Rankins, Steve Sands, Nikki Wadleigh, Myka Plunkett, Brad Shepard, Lori Efford, and special guest Santa Claus.  The show will be directed by Stephen Petit, who also serves as production manager, and Mitch Chakour is the music director/arranger.  Set design is by Bev Browne, Dan Rist is the lighting designer, and wardrobe mistress is Christine Thompson.

Tickets are $28 & $26 for adults, and $15 for children 10 and under, and are available by visiting or calling the Majestic Theater Box Office at (413) 747-7797 during its hours of operation (Monday – Friday 10am - 5pm, and Saturday 10am - 1pm). 

“Holiday Stress Relief,” a night of improv comedy with The Majesters is set for Monday, December 18 at 7:30 p.m.  General admission seating is $15 at the door the night of the show.

The Majestic is also selling its popular holiday gift packages which consist of gift certificates (redeemable for tickets and café purchases), café gift cards, and a gift item packaged in with the certificates, and they will be available during the holiday season.

For additional information, visit

Phantom Sheep Players
LaughCrafters Holiday Show
December 15 at 7:30 PM

Unity House Players, 245 Porter Lake Drive, Springfield, MA
Annual free performance full of improv and sketch comedy that celebrates and satirizes the holiday season.

Facebook event
Phantom Sheep is Western MA's longest running professional comedy troupe. They also offer weekly improv classes for adults at Unity House Players.

A beloved, annual holiday tradition returns to Shakespeare & Company December 15, 16, and 17: a lively, costumed reading of Georgiana & Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley, written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon and directed by Ariel Bock.

Drawn from the pages of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, four performances of this imagined sequel will be presented on the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre stage at Shakespeare & Company on Friday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

Bock has directed readings of the two preceding plays – Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley and The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley –  at Shakespeare & Company, and said she looks forward to directing the third and final play in the trilogy.

“I am so happy to be directing this new play, based on Austen’s much-loved characters,” she said. “You don’t have to be a Jane Austen fan – though why not? – to be delighted at what our creative team puts together in this special holiday treat.”

Georgiana & Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley takes place at the home of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, and focuses on Georgiana Darcy – an accomplished pianist wary of romance. Georgiana’s best friend, Kitty Bennet, is a bright-eyed optimist. These two younger sisters are ready for their own adventures in life and love, starting with the arrival of an admirer and secret correspondent to Pemberley.

“The younger generation of Bennet and Darcy women test their wings as they continue the family traditions of sisterly warmth, witty repartee, and pushing boundaries,” added Bock. “Kitty and Georgiana support each other as they navigate secret suitors, the excitement and the agonies of romance, and their desire to break away from the confines of society to establish themselves as independent women and artists.”

Tickets are $28 for general admission and $18 for students; $5 EBT Card to Culture pricing is also available for up to four tickets per EBT Card.

Mike’s Place will be open one hour prior and following each show, offering a full bar, concessions, and gift-shop items.  

For more information, visit, or call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353. 

Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Public Charter School
PVPA Presents: Tartuffe
December 15 and 16 at 7:00 PM
15 Mulligan Drive, South Hadley, MA

The Pioneer Valley Performing Arts (PVPA) Charter Public School Theatre Department is pleased to present Tartuffe. Moliere's classic French farce sees the conman Tartuffe worm his way into the good graces of a wealthy family. Hiding behind false piety and humbleness, he enraptures Orgon, the patriarch of the family. Orgon has completely fallen for Tartuffe's guise, and promises him his daughter's hand in marriage. Hijinks and hilarity ensues as Orgon's family rushes to stop the marriage and expose the imposter Tartuffe!

Tartuffe is directed by PVPA Teacher Cullen Burling, Assistant Director AJ Kirby, costumes designed by PVPA Costume Teacher Lauren Reuter and created by students under their direction. Lighting by PVPA students, designed by Stage Manager Jay Winter. The set for Tartuffe was designed by PVPA’s Visual Arts and Technical Theater Dept Leader Martin Bridge, and created by Stagecraft students under his direction.

Ticket prices are as follows: $10 general admission; $7 military and seniors; $5 PVPA alumni, and $3 students. Tickets are available online at or at the door on a first come, first served basis. This performance is part of PVPA’s extensive production calendar, available at
Happier Valley Comedy
Happier Valley Comedy Presents Not In Charge
December 16 at 7:00 PM
The 3rd Saturday of Every Month
Happier Valley Comedy, 1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley

HVC Presents: Not In Charge!
Join the talented group Not In Charge for a fast-paced improv show inspired by true stories from the cast! Third Saturday of every month at 7pm at the Happier Valley Comedy Theater (1 Mill Valley Rd, Hadley, on rte.9). Tickets: $15 online and at the door.

For more info:
Falling in Love During a Pandemic, and Waking Up in Reality
Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 at 6:00 PM
43 Main Street, Easthampton, MA 01027

"Falling in Love During a Pandemic, and Waking Up in Reality" is a story of one woman's journey through love during a Global Pandemic. In a time where millions of people feel lost, scared and alone, she finds herself at the beginning of the one thing she has wanted her entire life - a romantic relationship. "Falling in Love During a Pandemic, and Waking Up in Reality" is an epic tale of Love, Loss, and Betrayal. Less Rom-Com and more mask wearing first dates.

Tickets: $10-$15 - General Admission

Alexandra Paquin is a Cook by day and a Comedian by night. In a quest to find meaning and have hobbies, she found something raw and entertaining within herself. Through Storytelling and Improv, Paquin will present life from her own lens and show you that there isn't much separating the lives between you and the stranger next to you. As a twenty something living through a global pandemic, just trying to retain some kind of normalcy.

This event is a CitySpace Pay It Forward Project.
More information
In 2024, PIC will be holding free, monthly salons called PIC PIPS, or Plays In Progress Series, at the Workroom (33 Hawley St, Northampton) featuring readings of new work in front of an audience. PIC is seeking a wide selection of plays representing diversity amongst the writers (age, race, gender, location, experience, etc) and diversity in terms of writing genre and approach to storytelling. PIC is specifically looking for plays with the potential to spark community conversation.

From November 20-December 20, PIC is accepting submissions of full-length and one-act scripts-in-progress by local playwrights. Priority will be given to playwrights based in Hampshire, Hamden, and Franklin counties, but  playwrights also based in Worcester, Berkshires, Northern CT, and Southern VT may apply.

Submission Form Due By December 20, 2023

We WILL continue to have a few multi-disciplinary salons this year which will feature short excerpts of works-in-progress (scenes, songs, poems, dances, video etc). If you are interested in sharing an excerpt of work, fill out the salon submission form here.
Theater Between Addresses
To Serve The Hive Auditions
December 15 at 6:00 PM
Event location will be sent to the auditioners

The world is no longer plentiful, and the hive is growing restless. If the divine right of queens is no longer enough to keep the hive secure, how do they survive starvation? How does a vain, aging queen accept the need for a successor? How far can a subservient go outside her bounds? To Serve The Hive is a queer political thriller and a climate crisis drama set in a beehive (all the characters are bees).

To Serve The Hive is written by Atlanta-based playwright Julia Byrne and directed by Ezekiel Baskin. This Theater Between Addresses production will be the script's Northeast premiere. Rehearsals will begin in early January 2024, and performances will take place in March 2024. Actors will be paid a minimum guaranteed stipend of $300.

We're looking for actors who love to work collaboratively, and are interested in exploring the world of the hive through movement and voice. No experience is necessary; all are welcome to audition!

More details and sign up form here:

Real Live Theatre seeks a stage manager for our Summer 2024 premier of When the Mind’s Free, an original dance-theatre piece which lifts language, ideas, and story from Shakespeare’s King Lear and places them in a contemporary context, that of a lesbian family dealing with the early onset Alzheimer’s of the matriarch and the addictions of the youngest daughter.

We are looking for an experienced stage manager, and it is a plus to have stage managed dance-theatre specifically.

The ideal candidate will: 

-have excellent communication skills

-be comfortable with Google Drive, Zoom, email, etc.

-be highly organized and detail-oriented

-have a patient and supportive management style

-be a cooperative and thoughtful team player 

Life experience relevant to the themes of the play are a plus.

The language in the piece is mainly contemporary and has emerged out of improvisations outlined and shaped by the director and performed by the ensemble, as well as in consultation with memory care organizations, caretakers, families, and individuals dealing with memory loss. In When the Mind’s Free, the epic arc of King Lear is condensed into one day in the life of this family. Scenes of caregiving, some of which blossom into imaginative play, others of which devolve into frustration and tears, are interspersed with dances which take the audience outside of that repetitive reality, into the inner thoughts and emotions of the characters.

We are guided in our work not only by our study of the text of King Lear, but also by these big questions: What does it mean to have accurate memories, and why do we need them? Separated from our memories, who are we? Can we maintain intimate relationships without shared memories? How can the Buddhist principle of non-attachment help us in caring for those with memory loss and those who struggle with addiction? And finally, how do we bring levity and light into our darkest hours?

A core component of this project is direct community engagement; each performance of the piece will be accompanied by a facilitated space for discussion. We hope to give audience members time to reflect on their experiences of caregiving and being cared for, to share stories and resonances, and to connect with local resources and with one another. From our own experiences, we know how lonely caregiving can be, and we hope to provide space to foster community connectedness.

The piece will rehearse and perform in the CT River Valley of Western Massachusetts between July 1 and August 11, exact schedule and dates TBD. 

During that period the stage manager must be available during a mix of times, including weekdays. There will also be some minimal remote work (emailing and zoom meetings) starting January 2.

Stipend $1,500. 

Please send a letter of interest and resume to Ellen and Toby at

We're looking for a booking agent and/or tour coordinator to help us plan a local and regional tour of First Generation Ensemble’s Mother Tongue, a 90 minute multilingual physical theater piece. (info below). We have funding for a position averaging 20 hrs a month. 

We’ve received a grant from the NEA specifically to tour Mother Tongue, and although we have extensive experience performing in our area (Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties), we need to hire someone with experience who can help to broaden the reach our of tour to other states. 

We hope to find someone who can jump in asap and begin to connect with venues, reach out to new presenting partners, and developing our tour schedule for 2023-2024.  As a starting point, we already have a list of potential venues, some with already existing relationships and connections. 

The Performance Project’s First Generation is a multilingual physical theater ensemble based in Springfield Massachusetts. Members participate in artistic and leadership training, community building, social justice dialogues, and intergenerational mentoring. First Generation  creates multilingual physical theater performances inspired by their own life experiences,  and the experiences of their families and communities. Their work touches upon themes such as diaspora, language, culture, xenophobia, transphobia, hypermasculinity, racism, the power of youth voice, liberation, and revolution. 

$35/hr, approximately 80-100 hours of work
CONNECTING WITH VENUES: (some known / some new) 
REGION: Within 8 hrs drive 
VENUES: theaters, colleges, community venues, high schools, social justice conferences, festivals, corporate events (if only!) 
FEES FOR PERFORMANCES: to be negotiated 
The Performance Project, based in Springfield MA, is seeking a Lighting Designer/Board OP, Sound Op and Stage Manager for a local and regional tour of First Generation Ensemble’s Mother Tongue, a 90 minute multilingual physical theater piece. We’ve received a grant from the NEA specifically to tour Mother Tongue, and although we have experience performing in our area (Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Massachusetts counties), this will be our first time touring to other areas in MA and nearby states.  

We currently have two professionals (lights/sound) who know the show and have been running lights and sound, however they will not be available for all  performance dates, so we are looking for people to learn the show and take some of the performances. We do not have a stage manager and are looking to full that position. 
Contact: Julie Lichtenberg and
Fig Lefevre

Mother Tongue is a devised multilingual physical theater piece created by the Performance Project’s First Generation Ensemble. The piece is inspired by the experiences of First Generation ensemble members, their families and communities who are from Congo/Tanzania, Bhutan/Nepal, South Sudan/Darfur, Holyoke, and Springfield, Massachusetts. The 90 minute performance weaves together movement, music, dance, and stories in Arabic, Swahili, Nepali, and English. The piece incorporates themes of language, culture, identity, diaspora, hypermasculinity, xenophobia, transphobia, racism, the school to prison pipeline and revolution.  


The Center for Actor Training at Shakespeare & Company will hold its 43rd session of its Month-long Intensive for mid-career actors at its Lenox campus from January 3 through 29.

For six days a week, morning to night, participants immerse themselves in voice, movement, text analysis, exploration of the actor/audience relationship, sonnet work, scene work, clown, stage fight, and in-depth discussions about the function of theater and the role of the actor in today’s world.

Director of the Center for Actor Training Sheila Bandyopadhyay said the Intensive offers training in classical text that can easily be applied to all forms of acting. 

“The Month-long is a unique opportunity for actors to concentrate on their craft in a supportive and courageous community of artists,” she said. “Alumni of the Month-long routinely find that our training is transformative for their work and is applicable to contemporary as well as classical acting.”

Complete applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the Intensive is filled, however an  early payment discount of $500 is offered until Saturday, Sept. 30. 

A limited number of scholarships are available for People of the Global Majority/BIPOC artists through the Dennis Krausnick Fellowship Fund; scholarship applications are due Sunday, Oct. 1.

Tuition costs include double-occupancy housing and all meals. Housing is located on the Shakespeare & Company campus; a limited number of single rooms may be available for an additional fee of $750. The campus is fully, COVID-19 vaccinated, including full-time employees, seasonal staff, artists, volunteers, and program participants. To ensure the health of the Shakespeare & Company community, all Center for Actor Training participants must be vaccinated against COVID-19 including the latest booster shot. Masks may be required for certain classes and events. As conditions of the global pandemic are ever-evolving, these guidelines are subject to change and will be updated accordingly. 

For more information, including regarding the topics covered during the Intensive, contact

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

Easthampton Theater Company

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

Mount Holyoke College Rooke Theatre

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

Theater Between Addresses


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

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