The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu


We are presenting a non-traditional season of short works (10-45 minutes), rehearsed and presented digitally. 

We are currently looking for collaborators for four of those works! Please read below for details on how to get involved.

On-Going Call for Participants: Performers and Project Coordinator for
When The Soul Looks Out: Selections from Dr. Yusef Lateef’s Creative Writing 

This project is a 20-minute edited recording of excerpts from Dr. Yusef Lateef's creative writing: Midnight in the Garden of Love, Spheres, and Another Avenue.  Dr. Lateef is a towering figure in jazz whose recordings and teachings have left a lasting imprint in the world of music. He was also deeply spiritual and philosophical. His ideas about creativity and the natural world can be found in his short stories and novellas. Over the summer, I have read and selected excerpts to be performed as part of the Yusef Lateef Centenary Celebration, coordinated by Glenn Siegel as part of the Magic Triangle Series in the Fine Arts Center.  
This is a remotely produced, online event that will feature UMASS and Five College faculty and alums. There are four additional slots available for undergrad or grad students who would like to be involved as performers. We will begin working on this project at the end of August with the goal of having recorded the readings by September 14, 2020. The online celebration and website will be launched on October 9, 2020;  
Judyie Al-Bilali, Djola Branner, Ifa Bayeza, Sabine Jacques, Ron’na Lytle Russworm, Gilbert McCauley, Taylor Mickens, and Darius Taylor will read/perform excerpts. There will be three guest vocalists who will create improvisations based on Dr. Lateef’s words.  
I am seeking performers who are interested in Black theater and aesthetics as well as experimentation in dramatic forms. If you are interested in performing, please email me at I will schedule a time for us to talk further about the project and for you to give a cold reading of the material. As the curator, I would love to work with a project coordinator and someone who can assist with digital material. 


Sept. 8&9: COVEN-19, Or, Magicks for Unprecedented Times

Produced by Maegan Clearwood, Percival Hornak, and Helen Rahman
If you are a witch, witch-curious, magickally inclined, or somewhere in-between, you are warmly invited to audition for COVEN-19, or Magicks for Unprecedented Times. 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. This Samhain, when the veil between our world and the next 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.

Who we’re looking for:
Witches of all practices! We welcome pagans, Wiccans, kitchen witches, techno witches, eclectic witches, astrology nerds, psychics -- however you manifest your magicks, you are invited to audition for the Coven. If you practice a traditional form of witchcraft that’s embedded in your own cultural history or ancestry, we would also love to have you join us, provided you are comfortable sharing your practices with a Coven of secular witches (we will be mindful of cultural appropriation, which has such a pervasive and ugly presence in many witchy circles, throughout this process).

Witches of all experience levels! Perhaps you love reading your friends’ natal charts but don’t really know what this Witch stuff is all about. Or you think being a witch would be cool, but you haven’t had the time or resources to learn more. Or maybe you’re a seasoned witch who’s been making spell jars since you were in kindergarten. Whether or not you expressly identify as a witch, we welcome you. 

Witches of all skill-sets! Singers, actors, poets, computer nerds, creators of all kinds -- this is an ensemble-driven project that will be unique to who is in the room, so the more skill sets and passions, the better. If performing isn’t really your thing, we still encourage you to audition: there are behind-the-scenes Coven needs to be filled as well. 

Witches of all genders! 

What to expect in auditions:
Auditions are Tuesday, Sept 8 and Wednesday, Sept 9 from 6pm to 10pm. Please sign up for both a group slot and an individual slot. Group auditions may not take up the entire hour time slot, but please set aside that time just in case.
Be prepared to PLAY! The group auditions will consist of group spell-casting/play time, so come ready to be creative and collaborative.
Please prepare a performance that shows off your brand of magick for your individual audition. This can take any form, as long as it’s witchy (whatever than means to you). We ask that you keep your performance under 2 minutes.

What to expect of the Coven:
We will meet multiple evenings a week for “rehearsal,” but not every night of the week until we are much closer to performance dates.
Performance dates are Thursday, Oct 29 (invited dress), midnight on Friday/Saturday, Oct 30-31, and performances the evening of Oct 31 and/or Sunday Nov 1.

How to sign up:
Please click to select an audition time at SignUp Genius.
Then, please click to complete and submit this Google Form once you have registered for your audition. This will allow us to send the Zoom link for the audition to your preferred email.
Questions? Email Production manager Julie Fife or project creator Maegan Clearwood.


Sept. 8 & 9: Pandemic Podcast

Created by Bianca Dillard
Behind the statistics and rhetoric there are stories, stories that illuminate the social and cultural complexities of this moment. 
Created by a team of student and faculty collaborators this podcast will bring together experts and folks with first hand experience to document and investigate the pandemic from a multiplicity of perspectives. We will work to humanize the experiences of those that, in our isolation, we might not have access to.  
Are you curious about the process of making a podcast? Are you a storyteller, theatre maker, sound artist, musician? Are you simply curious about the world around you? Are you looking for ways to put your theatre skills to work in a medium well suited to making in the safety of your bedroom, until we are all able to crawl out of our isolation and make theatre together again?! 
This project is well suited for students in sound design, playwriting, dramaturgy, and any student or community member who is interested in theatre making, social justice, and storytelling. This project values and will rely on many collaborators with different types of skills, experiences and curiosities. You needn't have any formal experience with making this sort of content. A commitment to dive in is all you need. Let us learn together while making something we can feel proud of! 
Some of the topics we hope to tackle include:

  • What is going on with masks? Why aren't people wearing them? How have they become so politically polarized?
  • How and why are communities of color disproportionately adversely affected by this pandemic?  Is there anything to be done about it?
  • What is actually happening in hospitals and hospital rooms? What are nurses and doctors seeing and experiencing? How are treatments and conditions in overcrowded and isolated hospitals affecting patients, outcomes, and family members? What does this mean for our medical infrastructure? 

How to audition:
If you are interested in participating, or learning more about whether this project is a good fit for you this semester please join us for a group information session on either night and get to know the project and the team so far, and sign up for for an individual meeting time as well

Please include the best email to reach you at when the Zoom link is distributed.

Questions? Email Production manager Julie Fife or project creator Bianca Dillard.


Sept. 14 & 15: Café Subterrain

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 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 goal is to launch the first performance late in the fall semester.

How to audition:
Rather than having individual auditions, interested artistic collaborators will meet as a group with the director to talk about the piece, share ideas and interests, and then work together on creating short performances to showcase their passion, versatility and ability to work as a team. If needed, callbacks will happen later in the week. 
Please visit SignUp Genius to select an open audition slot and include your preferred email to receive the Zoom link with your sign up.


Oct. 20 & 21: Visionary Futures: Science Fiction for Social Justice Movements

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 (M Sloth Levine, Jaymes Sanchez, and Phaedra Scott) 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.

We are looking for actors to participate in our digital November workshops and public readings of these plays. All work will take place over Zoom.

Auditions will be held on October 20 and 21 from 6:30pm-8:30pm. We will be seeing individuals in 10 minute slots over Zoom.

Visionary Futures workshops will be held in Nov 12, 15, & 19. Actors may be cast in one, two, or all three plays so a flexible schedule in November will be important.

All are welcome to audition. Our writers are excited to write their plays around our acting pool. We are especially interested in seeing trans and/or non-binary actors and actors with experience in drag performance for Sloth's play.

If possible, please come prepared with a 1 minute contemporary monologue. If you're interested but don't have a monologue, you should still sign up! We'll chat with you about the process and see if it's a good fit.

General Casting Policies

The Department of Theater is committed to racial, cultural and individual diversity.
Casting for all department-sponsored productions is open to any student, staff, or faculty member of the Five College Consortium, any member of the community, or any invited guest artist regardless of race, ethnic origin, abilty, sexual orientation or gender identification.
Equal-opportunity casting is encouraged.

All Theater majors are welcomed and strongly encouraged to audition. The Department chooses plays each year with the intention of using as many majors as possible, but casting of any individual theater major student is not guaranteed.
Most casting will be determined by open auditions.
You are expected to sign up for a given audition appointment, and to arrive at the audition site well ahead of the scheduled time. Performers who arrive after their scheduled time may not be allowed to audition.
After open auditions have been completed, the director will post call back announcements. If you are called back, you are expected to initial next to your name to acknowledge the call back.

Auditioning for multiple shows

Our experience has shown that having cast members in shows with overlapping rehearsal and/or performance schedules is complicated and disruptive to both shows. 
Cast members are still welcome to be in multiple shows whose rehearsal schedules do not overlap; please check with stage managers or production staff if you have questions about scheduling.
Please note: This does NOT mean that actors cannot audition for all the shows -- just that they will have to consider their options and limitations wisely. Casting decisions will result in the production's exclusive service of the actor when rehearsal/performance periods overlap.

Thank you and break a leg!