Gem of the Valley
Thursday, July 18 at 3pm
Friday, July 19 at 6pm and a newly added 8pm show
Saturday, July 20 at 3pm and 6pm
Chester, MA – Chester Theatre Company (CTC) is proud to present Gem of the Valley, an immersive special event taking place July 18-20. The town of Chester is the focus of the piece which pays homage to the village, and the theatre that has called it home for 30 years. The work is being produced with assistance from Eggtooth Productions, and with support from Art Angels.
Participants will first check in at the Town Hall, and they will then be transported to Chester’s historic train station. There, guests will be provided with special headsets that contain a soundtrack that will guide them on their journey through town. A cast of over 20 will perform scenes along the way.
“Chester Theatre Company is celebrating its 30th anniversary and was interested in supporting a piece that could commemorate the town and theater’s enduring relationship in a new and interesting way,” said creator and director John Bechtold. “With that as the starting point, Gem of the Valley has been designed as an hour-long guided walk through the middle of Chester for groups of six audience members at a time. This group of audience members will be navigating the show, often together, with a pair of headphones and pre-recorded soundtrack. The soundtrack will blend with live performances that will put audience members in direct engagement with the 20-plus performers scattered across the show.”
“Since the town of Chester is the biggest and most important character in the show,” continued Bechtold, “it is not a particularly spectacle-laden piece, which would distract from this place. Gentle emphasis is put on the audience to explore the town, to see it through an aesthetic frame, much like a film director frames their shots, and to have a blurry line between the actors in the play and the other presences around the town.”
Bechtold has been devising original immersive theater productions since 2010, often working in collaboration with Eggtooth Productions (Greenfield, MA). Recent works include Sam’s Place and Deus Ex Machina (Shea Theater), Before You Became Improbable (Emily Dickinson Museum), and an adaptation of The Winter’s Tale (Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center). He is a consultant on immersive projects, most recently working with the UMass Amherst Department of Theater on A Dream Play, and he is leading the collaboration between Eggtooth Productions and Punchdrunk (London, UK) to produce Punchdrunk Enrichment’s US debut of A Small Tale in Spring 2020. Bechtold is the head of the Performing Arts department for the Amherst Regional Schools in Amherst, MA and the director of DASAC – an ambitious visual and performing arts program for teens – at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, MA.
Available performances are Friday, July 19 at 8pm, and Saturday, July 20 at 3pm and 6pm. Performances on July 18 at 3pm and July 19 at 6pm are SOLD OUT. Individual tickets are $30. Chester and Middlefield residents, members of the military and their families, and those holding EBT/SNAP cards may purchase $10 tickets by calling the box office. Tickets may be purchased online at chestertheatre.org, or by calling 413.354.7771.
About Chester Theatre Company
Chester Theatre Company, a professional theatre company located between the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley, and convenient to both, is known for presenting high-quality productions with top-notch actors, directors, and designers from across the country since 1990. Co-founded by former Artistic Director of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre Vincent Dowling, CTC is now in its 30th season, and produces four thought-provoking plays each summer in the intimate setting of the Town Hall Theatre at 15 Middlefield Road in Chester, MA.
For further information, please call CTC at 413.354.7770, or visit http://www.chestertheatre.org.