The 25th Annual
Ko Festival of Performance

This season we’ll celebrate Ko’s Silver Anniversary by bringing back outstanding artists from previous seasons to show us their newest work.


WEEK 1    July 8 – 10
We’ll start our opening weekend with several performances of a  “KO KABARET” a big party where loads of your Ko Festival favorites will perform 5-15 minute pieces. The exact line-up is still secret (for now) – but we’ll have Ko alums from as far away as New Orleans and as close as Amherst.

Also that weekend, NACL THEATRE brings us THE LITTLE FARM SHOW, outdoors on the Amherst Observatory Lawn, what the New York Times called “the greatest show on dirt” – with puppets and live music, for all ages.

WEEK 2    July 15 – 17
will feature SARA FELDER, who is perhaps America’s  favorite queer Jewish  juggler & solo performance artist.  She’s making IF I CAN’T JUGGLE, IT’S NOT MY REVOLUTION especially for us – a compendium your favorite bits from shows she brought to Ko before, and lots of new material. So many people have asked us to bring her back — and now the time is ripe!

And Sunday at 8 we’ll be hosting our annual SUMMER STORY SLAM & PARTY

WEEK 3    July 22 – 24
SANDGLASS THEATER Artistic Director ERIC BASS, after 30 years, is passing the puppets from his signature piece AUTUMN PORTRAITS into new hands. The result: a new piece, WHEN I PUT ON YOUR GLOVE, performed by his daughter SHOSHANA BASS. In it she weaves together AUTUMN PORTRAITS material with contemporary reflections about the complicated nature of navigating generational artistic legacy. Guest Director GERARD STROPNICKY.

WEEK 4    July 29-31
SOKEO ROS, who performed last summer’s FROM REFUGEE CAMP TO PROJECT, returns, this time with the full EVERETT ensemble, to perform THE FREEDOM PROJECT. It’s a stunning multimedia physical theater piece that interweaves gripping personal stories, evocative imagery, and athletic choreography  in an examination of mass incarceration in America. It’s a work that calls upon our common humanity to challenge the conditions that have transformed the “land of the free” into the most incarcerating country in the world.

Each performance  of  FREEDOM PROJECT will be followed by a FREEDOM CAFÉ, a  free public forums featuring artists, scholars, activists, justice workers and community members who will come together to spark dialogue about this important issue.

WEEK 5   August 5 – 7
The Performance Project’s “FIRST GENERATION ENSEMBLE,” a diverse group of young artists from Springfield, returns to Ko with the premiere of a new piece TENDERNESS. a multi-lingual, physical theater piece, that underscores the connections between racism, the school-to-prison pipeline and mass incarceration in contrast with the eternal power of human tenderness and connection.


July 4- 9

NIC ULARU teaches
DYNAMIC SPACE/POETIC OBJECT: The Intersection of Theater Design and Installation
Working in both traditional and non-traditional spaces, and with traditional and non-traditional materials, we will shape visual inspiration into rendered ideas, visual metaphors and theatrical objects. Participants will embrace the dynamic energy of these forms, as they collaborate to expressively transform the spaces that will be used by the Ko Festival for the opening weekend of eclectic performances celebrating 25 years of innovative work. (Read more…)

July 11-16

GERARD STROPNICKY returns to teach
FIRST PERSON: Crafting Your Story for Performance

An on-your-feet writers and performers story intensive designed to release the enormous potential energy already in you and your story. Particularly appropriate for those interested in performing in our Summer Story Slam. (Read more…)

July 18-24

A workshop on developing performance material using objects, character work, monologues and humor. We will write, try on different performance styles, create images, play with objects, investigate characters, consider different narrative voices, find the humor in the pain (and vice versa) experiment, fail, laugh and surprise ourselves. (Read more…)


Exact schedule T.B.A., but generally PERFORMANCES, unless noted, are  Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 4pm in the Holden Theater on the Amherst College Campus.  All performances are accompanied by lobby displays that contextualize the work, and dynamic post-show discussions that are an opportunity for civic dialogue.

WORKSHOPS take place 10-4, Monday – Saturday in Amherst College’s Webster Hall, in either Studio 2 or  Studio 3 .