AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS– The Ko Festival of Performance, in its 27th summer season on the Amherst College campus, is a perennially popular summer experience in Western Massachusetts, featuring five weeks of theatrical performances, the KoFest Story Slam, and three 6-day intensive theater workshops. Unlike standard summer stock theater, Ko Festival performances are all original, devised pieces, created by distinguished professional solo and ensemble theatre artists from across the U.S. Each year, the performances at Ko are curated around a theme designed speak to area audiences. This year it’s “RADICAL ACTS” and audiences will have an opportunity to meet a group of 60’s radicals, hear true tales of going A.W.O.L. in the jungle, examining one’s relationship with the planet and the courage to create. Lively post-performance discussions, often with guest experts, follow each of the performances.
July 6 – 9 | THE RADICALIZATION PROCESS | The Hinterlands
Layering historical accounts of the radical left in the 1960’s and 70’s with socialist pageantry, and a gleefully obtuse reproduction of The Living Theatre’s “Antigone,” this show asks us to question our assumptions about what drives us to take action.
July 13 & 14 @ 8pm | July 15 @ 1:30pm| THE OVEN | Ilan Stavans, directed by Matthew Glassman
AWOL, on a shamanic journey into the Amazon, Ilan Stavans, the internationally renowned public intellectual, discovers just how precarious our Western views on faith & reason really are.
July 21 | 8pm |KoFest STORY SLAM & PARTY
returns this year so that we can get a local take on Ko’s season theme via short, true, first-person stories of “RADICAL ACTS” told by community members and KoFest artists and staff. There will be some ringers, but Ko invites you to throw your hat in the ring. See the kofest.com for slotting details. Plus, there will be a couple of wild-card slots waiting to be filled on the night. First lines are auditioned and the audience votes on which ones they want to hear in their entirety. They also vote for the winners: “Most Humorous,” “Most Moving.” and “Best Storytelling Skills.” Prizes are awarded; snacks and festive beverages are served! All Tickets: $16
July 27 – 29 | LIKE A MOTHER BEAR | Helen Stoltzfus/Black Swan Arts & Media
One woman’s journey to healing in which she discovers the Great Bear Mother of the imagination, the intimate connections between her infertility & the environment, and a real-life encounter with an endangered grizzly bear.
Aug 3 – 5 | INDUSTRIOUS ANGELS | Laurie McCants, music by Guy Klucevsek
A solo hand-crafted-story-spinning-shadow-puppet-memory-play-with-music evoking the secret lives of women, mother/daughter bloodlines and the ghost of Emily Dickinson. Directed by KoFest’s Sabrina Hamilton.
KoFest performances take place in Amherst College’s air-conditioned Holden Theater, located behind the Admissions Office off South Pleasant Street in Amherst, MA. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are priced at: $22 Adults / $18 Students & Seniors and $10 for SNAP/EBT cardholders. Tickets and further information on the savings that come with the KoFest “Passes & Posses” program are also available at kofest.com or by calling the box office after July 2 at (413) 542-3750. Before July 2, information can be found online or at (413) 427-6147. Call about a limited number of $8 tickets.
In addition to the performance schedule, KoFest is now accepting enrollment for three 6-day workshop intensives for performers, writers, storytellers, directors, educators, and all those wanting to kick-start their creativity. Past participants have ranged in age from 18 to 80 and the workshops are taught by expert teachers who are adept at gearing their classes for all levels of experience.
July 9 – 14 | SOUND & FURY: An Embodied Approach to Voice, Text & Sound Design for the Theatre | Richard Newman of The Hinterlands | Radial sonic exploration using everyday objects, instruments, technology, architecture & the voice.
July 16 – 21 | FIRST PERSON: Crafting Your Story | Gerard Stropnicky Well-crafted story can bring laughter, tears, understanding & social change. Perfect for Story Slam participants!
July 30 – Aug. 4 | THEATRE AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT| Helen Stoltzfus
What is the story within you that “must be told?”
The Ko Festival, where the only certainty is surprise!