Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 23, 2022

PREVIEW: Ko Festival, "Stepping Up/Stepping Back

Ko Festival, Hampshire College Campus, Amherst, MA
July 18-31, 2022

The Ko Festival of Performances’ 31st and season will include two productions curated around the theme of “Stepping Up/Stepping Back,” plus a Story Slam and the return of a favorite Personal Narrative workshop. This season’s events will take place on the Hampshire College campus, with indoor events in the air-conditioned Mainstage Theatre in Emily Dickinson Hall, and an outdoor event that will begin with a guided walk from Emily Dickinson Hall to an outdoor performance site at the Hampshire College Farm Center.
Scene from "Flushing"
The festival opens with “FLUSHING (Make Room for Someone Else),” created by Eric Bass, co- founder/Sandglass Theater and Linda Parris-Bailey, co-founder/Carpetbag Theatre, and directed by Kathie deNobriga. A puppet show with songs, made for adults, "FLUSHING" begins at the Brink, where two theater directors are passing the leadership of their ensembles to the next generation.This moment sparks a reflection on what it means to retire and what it might mean to inherit. For those stepping down, what do we leave and who do we become? For those stepping up, how do we take what is given and make it our own? Performances will be July 22- 24.
This year Ko welcomes back the “Story Slam & Celebration" on the Sunday evening of the first performance weekend, July 24 at 8pm. A celebration of KoFest’s three decades, featuring true stories on the season’s theme of “Stepping Up/Stepping Back.” There will be some ringers, and also some wild-card slots, for these stories about transitions. Special guest appearance by Sara Felder whose previous performances at Ko have made her a Ko audience favorite. Potential storytellers can email to pitch a story.
The season closes with Clear Creek Creative’s “EZELL: Ballad of a Land Man,” with performances on July 29 -31. An environmental, cultural and spiritual parable of domination and resilience that explores the complexities of climate change, indigenous erasure and environmental extraction (fracking) is based on the artists’ lived experience in their rural Kentucky. This immersive outdoor experience features a contemplative walk through the woods to the performance site with live music, the play, a return walk and a post-show dialogue with the artists and a panel of local experts.