Thank you for a wonderful, sold-out Spring Story Slam at the A.P.E Gallery in Northampton! See below for info our our July Story Slam.


5 weekends on our season theme of

Each year the performances at Ko are curated on a theme that we think will entertain, provoke and inspire our audiences! In 2013 we’re investigating COURAGE. The shows are by a diverse group of artists who are coming to us from Iowa; NYC; Texas; upstate New York; Boston and Hartford. All are original works, created by the people who perform them & their teams of collaborators.

Many audience members enrich their experience at Ko by staying for the discussions that follow every performance. We use the show as a lens to help us discuss our season theme. The discussion is yes, artist/audience — but here in Amherst, famous for being the town “where only the ‘h’ is silent” — post-shows quickly become opportunities for community dialogue. There are other special events & ways for you to participate including an interactive visual art installation by KALI QUINN.  Scroll down for all the info!


July 5-7, Fri. & Sat, at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m.


Sean Christopher Lewis (Iowa City)

Spending lonely weeks in rural Kansas teaching a group of kids with violent psychological issues,  Sean Lewis is pulled into a sudden rush of discoveries about his own unsettling past as he confronts the similarities in his own background as his father –  abusive, estranged – and charming, enters the picture one last time. In a performance described in one review as a “one man NPR,” Christopther plays all the characters from the kids to the his biological father Rick  who MC’s the festivities. (more coming soon…)


July 8-14, Fri. & Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m.


Loading Dock (NYC)
The depths of mankind’s last unknown frontiers – outer space and a grieving heart – are explored in this brave and funny new play about a woman’s solo journey to Mars by playwright Leegrid Stevens, featuring a bravura performance by Erin Treadway. Radiation exposure, long term weightlessness, low light, extensive communication delays and poor hygiene are just a few of the challenges astronaut Molly Jennis must face as the first to Mars.  But she soon finds nothing compares to the psychological effects of having so much time alone. (more coming soon…)


July 14, Sun. at 8:00 SPECIAL EVENT – One night only!


An all ages event by our annual favorites, the Mettawee River Theatre Company (NYC), on the Amherst College Observatory Lawn off of Snell Street. The story of Taliesin comes from a medieval Welsh tale of sorcery and court intrigue, in which the power of inspiration is accidentally bestowed on an unlikely kid, who can suddenly see beyond everyday reality, becoming Taliesin – “radiant brow,” inspiration for all poets in the Welsh bardic tradition. Performed with live music, live performers and exquisite puppets, performed out under the stars in an atmosphere of magic and celebration. (more coming soon…)


July 19-21, Fri. & Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m.


Progress Theater (Prairie View, Texas)
A new a capella musical inspired by two tragic events: the 1940 Rhythm Club Fire in Natchez, MS which killed 209, and a tragic event in Chicago when a popular hip-hop and R&B club caught fire in 2003. 21 died and a stampede injured another 50 young, African-Americans ranging from 18-35. An imaginative exploration of the COURAGE it takes not just to face calamity, but also to redefine/un-define or reject/embrace of the way young African Americans receive legacies of Black identity. (more coming soon…)


July 26-28 Fri. & Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m.


Michael Mack (Cambridge, MA)
Like many Catholic boys in the 1960s, Michael Mack wanted to be a priest. That dream ended at age 11 when his pastor invited him to the rectory to help with “a project.” In the decades that followed, Mack wrestled with disturbing questions about sexuality and spirituality, and imagined one day meeting his abuser for a conversation. In 2008 he had that chance…  One of only four playwrights to receive the 2013 Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Fellowship in Dramatic Writing. (more coming soon…)


July 28 at 8:00 ONE NIGHT ONLY!


You’ve heard of poetry slams – competitive poetry events? Now, we’ve got one for first person, true stories – told live & without notes. Stories will be 5 minutes or under & must somehow relate to our season themes of “COURAGE.” A huge hit in previous seasons and at Northampton’s  A.P.E. Gallery this spring; this event might be your opportunity to take your place on the Ko Festival stage alongside KoFest artists & staff. Feeling a bit unsure? We’re offering storytelling coaching sessions from Ko Festival artists! 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 $15. (more coming soon…)


August 2-4 Fri. & Sat, at 8 p.m., Sun. at 4 p.m.


Judy Dworin Performance Project (Hartford, CT)
This multi-media work draws upon two sources—an essay on gardens and healing by social critic Harriet Beecher Stowe, and narratives, songs, and dances by contemporary women who are in or out of prison. Questions of history, equality, and social justice; and the potential for transformation within the individual and society at large, are explored in a blend of dance, spoken word, song, and visual elements that intended to challenge common perceptions of the incarcerated by depicting their courage, questing spirit, sorrows, and joyous transformations within the barren confines of prison. (more coming soon…)


Interactive Visual Art Installation

Kali Quinn is back again this summer to create an interactive piece around our season theme of COURAGE –  where all are invited to participate.
Click here to see more about what was created last summer.  Stay tuned for more info on how you can participate in 2013!