2011 marked the 20th season of the

5 weeks of 6-day intensive workshops and performances which were open to the public – plus our rehearsal residency lab where artists came from all over the country to cook up new work.

Performances were selected from throughout the US. Some of them were developed, in part, during rehearsal residencies at Ko. All of them were original works, created by the people who performed them. The 2011 season was curated around the theme of “SECRETS.” Where does the desire to tell intersect with the desire to hide? Join us as we peek into a diverse set of secret sorrows, secret joys, and just plain secrets!

Many of our audience members enriched their experience of the shows by staying for the discussion of the season’s theme that followed every performance. For first time, this year, you could deepen your experience of this season of “SECRETS” even further by taking the festival as a UMASS course led by post-show discussion facilitator, Kermit Dunkelberg! (Read more…)



SPECIAL EVENT: July 8, Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Gala Opening Night/20th Anniversary Cocktail Party

Live entertainment, delicious refreshments, and an opportunity to meet some of the 2011 Ko Festival artists. Come celebrate!


July 8 – 10, Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.


is a solo hand-crafted-story-spinning-shadow-puppet-memory-play-with-music evoking the secret creative lives of women, mother/daughter bloodlines, and the ghost of Emily Dickinson.

written & performed by Laurie McCants (Bloomsburg, PA; music by Guy Klucevsek (NYC); directed by Ko Artistic Director, Sabrina Hamilton (Amherst, MA); scenography by F. Elaine Williams (Lewisburg, PA) (Read more…)



July 15 – 17, Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.


is about a lifelong fascination with Joan of Arc. a difficult but often hilarious relationship with an acting guru and a traumatic assault— powerfully forged into a spiritually insightful play about passion and perseverance.

written & performed by Martha Kemper (Philadelphia, PA) (Read more…)


SPECIAL EVENT: July 17, ONE NIGHT ONLY! Sunday at 8 p.m.

THE OLD BOAT GODDESS: Songs of the Ainu

tales from Northern Japan of interactions between humans, gods and the natural world – told out under the stars with masks, puppets, giant figures and live music by our annual favorites, The Mettawee River Theater Company. (NYC/Salem, NY) (Read more…)


July 22 – 24, Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.


is about Lila, a girl who smokes, listens to Talking Heads and wants to be a violin rock star, but unwanted discoveries shove her toward the truth about her own birth. A suspenseful and inspiring journey that questions the will to go on and who to take with you.

written & performed by Kali Quinn (Buffalo, NY/Arezzo, Italy) (Read more…)


SPECIAL EVENT: July 24 at 8 p.m.


You’ve heard of poetry slams – competitive poetry events. Now, we’ve got one for first person, true stories – told live and without notes. Stories will be 5 minutes or under and on our season theme of “SECRETS!” There will be some pre-selected ringers, you may be able to participate! We’ll have some sign-up slots, and as we’re thinking now, we’ll audition some first lines of stories – and audience members will get to vote on which ones should be told in their entirety. Feeling a bit unsure? We’re offering private storytelling coaching sessions from Ko Festival artists! Call 413.427.6147 to sign-up for one of these slots or for more information.

Know a great racconteur – tell them about the event! Everyone should come prepared to listen, but you may want to come prepared to tell! And to help you whet your whistle we’ll have a cash bar. And prizes! All tickets $12.


July 29 – 31, Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.


RIPPLE EFFECT transports audiences from Springfield, MA to a U.S. army base, a Nepali family and their struggle for recognition, and a refugee camp in Tanzania. While local and global news media report political events and economic statistics, The FIRST GENERATION ensemble brings to light the stories of the individuals experiencing those events that are so often left untold.

FIRST GENERATION ensemble members may be the first in their family to grow up in the United States, the first to speak English, to graduate high school, go to college, to be incarcerated, not be incarcerated, be drug free, be openly GLBT, to break the silence, to be an artist, or many other firsts. RIPPLE EFFECT is a powerfully crafted work that examines the effects of racism, economic oppression, and violence – as well as our humanity, our strengths, and our possibilities.

Spanning four languages and three continents, RIPPLE EFFECT shares the strengths and struggles of the ensemble’s journeys, of family and community, as well as fantasy worlds – carrying us from Beyonce to Bollywood to a “Secret Recipe for Warriors Only,” and dreams for the future.

Created and performed by FIRST GENERATION Springfield-based ensemble of the Performance Project. Co-directed by Julie Lichtenberg, Julissa Rodriguez, Carla Wojczuk, and Lesley Farlow (Read more…)


SPECIAL EVENT, Sunday July 31 at 7 p.m.

PING CHONG: All Islands Connect Under Water

We are incredibly fortunate to have one of the stars of the international multidisciplinary arts world with us at Ko this summer. Ping Chong is in Amherst to initiate a new summer theater institute that has attracted students from all over the globe. In order for us to share that presence with more of the Ko audience, he has agreed to do a public presentation about his work, in which he will discuss the evolution of his approach to theatre in relationship to changes in contemporary arts and culture over the past 40 years. A question and answer period follows a slide presentation that will show his visually astonishing and socially compelling body of work in some of the most illustrious venues around the globe.

Admission is by donation.


August 5 – 7, Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m.


is a new play, inspired existential philosopher Albert Camus, that examines identity within the context of a broken rural family trying to make a living in the bitterly cold North. A black comedy, perfect for survivors of our recent, western Mass winter….

by the The Ghost Road Company (Los Angeles, CA) (Read more…)



2011 Workshops

July 11 – 16


Kali Quinn

Accademia dell ‘ Arte; (Arezzo, Italy)

(read more…)

July 25 -30


Devising New Work From Extant Text

Katharine Noon

The Ghost Road Company (Los Angeles)

(read more…)

July 31 – August 6


Ping Chong, Talvin Wilks, & Sara Zatz

Innovative community-based performance and documentary theatre practices behind Ping Chong’s award-winning “Undesirable Elements” series. For Performers, Directors, Scholars and Activists.

(read more…)