Ko celebrates its 15th Anniversary
by bringing back  artists from the first 14 years, to show their latest work



FRIDAY, July 14 at 8 p.m.

Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Company of New York

A visit from our annual favorites with their new production which is based on a sprawling medieval French folk tale. This show will incorporate live music and a variety of masks, large and small puppets and other strong visual elements, in a response to the pageantry of court, castles and dark forests conjured up in the medieval imagination. Ralph Lee will designs and directs, with costumes by Casey Compton.

An all-ages event, outdoors on the Amherst College Observatory Lawn off of Snell Street. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and insect repel

The production will be ASL Interpreted by Joan Wattman.


Special Anniversary Gala: THE KO KABARET

SATURDAY, JULY 15 at 8 p.m.

In an echo of The Ko Show that closed our first season 15 years ago, the Ko Festival welcomes back a surprise roster of artists from the first fourteen years in a special anniversary gala cabaret, performed in a stunning environment designed by members of Boston’s TENT Collective.



SUNDAY, JULY 16 at 8 p.m.

Conceived and performed by Nicky Paraiso of NYC

Directed by Ralph Peña, Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater of NYC

Direct from La MaMa in NYC and Mexico City’s International Cabaret Festival, Nicky Paraiso’s third autobiographical evening-length solo work (ASIAN BOYS appeared in the 1994 Ko Festival) dealing with identity, sexuality and the enduring theme of what “home” means to Filipino Americans.

N (Bonaparte)

FRIDAY – SUNDAY, JULY 21-23 at 8 p.m.

By Laura Harrington of Cambridge, MA

Performed by Pilgrim Theatre of Ashfield, MA

Exiled to an island on the edge of nowhere. Plagued by Rats. Haunted by Joan of Arc. Seduced by fame. One small politician prepares to conquer the world.

A contemporary theatrical confrontation with our lust for power, with Ko Festival favorite, Kermit Dunkelberg, as the Little Emperor.

The performance on Sunday, 7/23 will be ASL interpreted by Joan Wattman.



FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JULY 28 – 30 at 8 p.m.

by Wendy Woodson of Amherst, MA and Present Company

Wendy Woodson & Present Company Inc. brings its innovative and provocative multi-media work to the Ko Festival in an evening of new and recent work. Featured in the program is Veronica’s Fold: Take 1 a video and performance piece featuring 5 characters lost and found in an off kilter world of missed connections, disputed recollections and unexpected acts of compassion. Joining Woodson are New York and Western Mass artists Peter Schmitz, Marina Libel, Lisa Biggs, Candice Salyers and James Emery. Kathy Couch is set and lighting designer.




Touchstone Theatre of Bethlehem, PA

Directed by Daniel Stein of the Dell’Arte Company of Blue Lake, CA

In Touchstone’s brand-new, dark and funny work, the life of a seasoned, successful, and world famous comic-strip artist begins to violently unravel. How can art possibly inspire change in a world so filled with very real suffering? He almost gives up, until his favorite comic strip characters manifest before his eyes and lead him on a life-changing journey.

WARNING: Viewer Discretion Advised! This piece contains adult themes, graphic language, strong sexual content, the devil himself, and a healthy dose of broccoli! Think Looney Tunes meets David Lynch. So keep the kids with a babysitter.



SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING: Designing from Non-Traditional and Found Materials

July 10-15

with Justin Townsend and Shannon Scrofano

Theatre can develop from visual, as well as from textual or performative beginnings. Learn to develop a vocabulary for making visually striking theatre that combines materials, performers, and actions. Create work using an “inside out” approach that links image and action from its inception. In this work, the economy of means that is often necessary from a budget point of view becomes a liberating factor. Using inexpensive, non-traditional and found materials, the workshop will culminate with an actual design and installation for a live performance – the Ko Festival’s 15th Anniversary Gala: THE KO KABARET. Open to all theater makers.


RE-IMAGINING OUTREACH: Community Engagement Programming

July 17-19

with Michael Rohd

Sojourn Theatre’s Michael Rohd, author of Theatre for Community Conflict and Dialogue: The Hope Is Vital Training Manual, offers a three-day workshop mixing case studies of best practices with active exploration of values, goals, and strategies for looking at theater and civic engagement. How do healthy partnerships and collaborations develop? What’s the difference between audience development and civic engagement? What types of processes support and nurture ethical, mutually beneficial projects that reach beyond your walls and intersect with populations that may not traditionally be served by your programming? The work will focus on project planning, partner-building, and arts-based civic dialogue practice.




ACTOR ON THE ROAD: Encountering the Legacy of Grotowski’s Polish Theatre Lab

July 24-29

with Kim Mancuso & Kermit Dunkelberg of Pilgrim Theatre

A six-day intensive, practical workshop for performers, directors and other theatre makers. Open to all levels of experience.

Explore Pilgrim Theatre’s unique approach to performance creation developed through years of work with members of the Polish Laboratory Theatre, (Zbigniew Cynkutis, Zygmunt Molik, Rena Mirecka, Jerzy Grotowski) and others on the continuum of experimental theatre practice. Work will include physical training (presence, impulse, expressivity); vocal training, resonators, group sound, approaching text as partner); and generating provocative performance material.

You, the actor, are the source. We will utilize body, voice, imagination, experience, sense memory and association to seek new forms of creative expression and go beyond our perceived limits. The process will culminate in a brief final presentation.


MASK PLAY: A Lecoq Intensive

July 31-August 5

with Jennie Gilrain, E’cole Lecoq Graduate/Touchstone Ensemble Associate & Mark McKenna, E’cole Lecoq Graduate/Artistic Director of Touchstone Theatre

“Whatever its dramatic style, all theatre profits from the experience an actor gains through mask performance” –Jaques Lecoq

A six day, Lecoq-based intensive on discovering the levels and structures of mask play. A mask demands that the actor support it, fill it, be led by it. Pre-conceived ideas will not play. Working with a variety of masks and styles, participants will hone performance skills such as presence, sensory awareness, spontaneity, clarity of gesture, and the ability to motivate, full-bodied physical action. This journey into mask play will also address mask-making and each student will leave the workshop with an individual maquette – a base for customized masks. This rigorous master class is meant for the experienced actor but also suitable for any serious student who wishes to explore his or her expressive and creative ability.