This semester, our venue is a space online instead of a stage. We invite you to join us as we fuse theatrical creativity with modern technology to safely reach the farthest corners of our community.
We look forward to bringing theater to you in new ways, whether it's the lesser-known literary side of a jazz giant, using science fiction conventions to dream a better future into existence, or the coolest Zoom rooms ever as artists evoke magic to incite change and empower us all to perform acts of resistance.
All events are free of charge (although we will gratefully take donations from those who have the means); view links to register for events below.
When The Soul Looks Out: Selections from Dr. Yusef Lateef’s Creative Writing
Curated and directed by Priscilla María Page
Dr. Yusuf Lateef is a towering figure in jazz, a deeply spiritual and philosophical man whose recordings and teachings have left a lasting imprint in the world of music. We are proud to be a part of the Centennial Celebration of Yusef Lateef, coordinated by Glenn Siegel as part of the Magic Triangle Series out of the UMass Fine Arts Center. To honor Dr. Lateef’s legacy, Dr. Page has curated a filmed presentation of his writings, Midnight in the Garden of Love, Spheres, and Another Avenue, performed by Five College and UMass Theater alumni, faculty, and students with guest artists Miles Griffith, Mary LaRose, and Fay Victor.
Presented by the UMass Fine Arts Center’s Magic Triangle Series and UMass Theater.
When the Soul Looks Out will premiere online on Oct. 9 and remains accessible to viewers. Visit this and all presentations that are part of Dr. Lateef's Centennial Celebration.
COVEN-19, or, Magicks for Unprecedented Times — Samhain and Beltane Productions
Produced by Maegan Clearwood, Percival Hornak, and Helen Rahman
2020 is on fire, and more than ever, we are being called upon to own our individual and collective powers, make meaning out of utter chaos, and manifest tangible, seismic change. In late October, when the veil between our world and the other is at its very thinnest, our Coven will perform a live, remote ritual for the community that addresses the grief and pain we are all experiencing — but also the potential for transformation in these strange times. The time is ripe for magick-making: join us.
Presented at Samhain in the Fall 2020.
The second version will be presented in conjunction with Beltane, running April 29 & 30 and May 1 at 7:30 p.m. Registration opens soon.
Visionary Futures: Science Fiction Theatre for Social Justice Movements
Conceived and directed by Josh Glenn-Kayden
This project takes its inspiration from the Octavia’s Brood anthology, which explores the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. We are commissioning three professional playwrights to each write a 30-minute play of visionary fiction that confronts urgent issues of our time. Each writer will be paired with an activist whose work intersects with the play's subject matter. These writer/activist teams will collaborate to create work that is visionary in its approach while also grounded in contemporary activist thought.
The plays, written to be performed digitally, will be in conversation with each other and will present three different visions of future worlds. Join us for staged readings of excerpts in the fall, with full productions during the spring semester.
Presented in a series of staged reading in November 2020, and streamed online in March 2021.
Wednesday, March 24, 7:30 pm: Gender Experience TM by M Sloth Levine
Thursday, March 25, 7:30 pm: Unity by Phaedra Michelle Scott
Friday, March 26, 7:30 pm: Beyond Reform by Jaymes Sanchez
Wednesday, March 31, 7:30 pm: SCHEDULE CHANGE: Visionary Futures panel discussion
Thursday, April 1, 7:30 pm: Gender Experience TM by M Sloth Levine
Friday, April 2, 7:30 pm: Unity by Phaedra Michelle Scott
Unity, by Phaedra Michelle Scott, depicts a future in which the people of an overcrowded, ever-warming Earth have begun to explore new worlds in the hopes of finding a new place for humanity to thrive, even a the expense of alien populations.
Gender Experience TM, by M Sloth Levine, posits a future in which the definition of gender has expanded beyond our current understanding and can be made manifest through a new technology. What would you do if there were no limitations on your gender experience?
This in-process peak at Beyond Reform, by Jaymes Sanchez, will highlight multiple ideas and concepts from the prison abolition movement and how they exist within a future not too distant from our own.
Registration open now through Google Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeO45MXDHqFKtOXWiX2BS_dWJycrAyS8LW7-_WRFhbud7FSVA/viewform?usp=sf_link
or at the Fine Arts Center Box Office https://fac.umass.edu/Online/article/TheaterDepartment
Café Subterrain — December and February productions
Devised and directed by Rudy Ramirez
Immersive theater works by placing its audience amid the action; we’re taking this concept remote. Café Subterrain invites audience members to gather in a digital café where they’ll journey through virtual rooms to meet resistance agents from across time and space who will share their stories and empower audience members to commit small acts of change in their home communities. The idea: to give comfort and hope that the world can emerge from hardship to a better place, and that the struggle can feel like celebration.
The first version of this production was presented December 2020.
The second version will be presented live online Feb. 10, 11 & 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Registration now open at https://fac.umass.edu/Online/article/TheaterDepartment
Speaker Series: Women in Theatrical Design
March 2, 1-2 p.m.: Costume Designer Anita Yavich in conversation with Prof. Yao Chen
March 8, 10:10-11:10: Sound Designer Jane Shaw in conversation with Prof. Amy Altadonna
March 16, 1-2 p.m.: Lighting Designer Jane Cox in conversation with Prof. Penny Remsen
March 30, 1-2 p.m.: Scenic Designer Mimi Lien in conversation with Prof. Anya Klepikov
Free and open to the community on Zoom
Registration for this event is encouraged but not required: https://fac.umass.edu/Online/article/TheaterDepartment
In a series of Zoom conversations that will be free and open to a national audience, UMass Theater presents four brilliant practitioners of theatrical design who will share their thoughts on their work and how they experience their field as women.
Costume Designer Anita Yavich (March 2), Sound Designer Jane Shaw (March 8), Lighting Designer Jane Cox (March 16), and Scenic Designer Mimi Lien (March 30) will talk about their art and practice, how they have found ways to assert their voice in a male-dominated sphere, and how they view the economics of making a career in their field. The conversations will be moderated by the designers' counterpart faculty members in theater, Yao Chen, Amy Altadonna, Penny Remsen, and Anya Klepikov. Registration for the conversations will open soon through the Fine Arts Center Box Office.
Made possible by Women for UMass Amherst, with additional support from the UMass Arts Extension Service.
The Rights of Spring Festival
Let’s Imagine Out Loud!
With this rallying cry, the UMass Amherst Department of Theater embarks on its Rights of Spring festival, a mix of virtual and live, outdoor, socially-distanced events. What better antidote to the isolation and disconnection of this particular winter than to gather to celebrate who we are and what’s important to us: liberation, myth, magic, community, heroism. Join UMass Theater for a series of events meant to inspire, amuse, entertain, and spark hope for what’s to come.
Events run April 22 to May 2, and include elements presented on live and pre-recorded online, as well as outdoors, in person per UMass COVID protocols.