Five College Multicultural Theater presents the WORD! Festival of staged student readings

WORD!, an annual presentation of student-written scripts dealing with issues of race and diversity, will be presented Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m. at New Africa House at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The event is free and open to the public. 

The productions, written by Five College students, address race and diversity based on playwright August Wilson's idea that theater can raise consciousness and politicize communities of color. 

The featured scripts and their playwrights:

Oceans and Concrete, Zubaida Bello, Hampshire College
Tending Little Me, Fynta Sidime, Hampshire College
The Night Train Came to Georgia, Ayibatari Owei, Smith College
I Ain’t Gone (An Antigone Adaptation), Afrikah Smith, University of Massachusetts Amherst 

The students took part in a series of workshops with playwright and director Nia Witherspoon, currently playwright in residence in the department of theater at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

A graduate of Stanford, Witherspoon is a former 2050 fellow at New York Theatre Workshop and Restorative Justice Director at Boerum Hill School for International Studies. Her work has been supported by BRIC, HERE, National Black Theatre, the Mellon Foundation, Astraea Foundation, Theatre Bay Area, Painted Bride, 651 Arts, and Lambda Literary, among other prestigious organizations. 

Since 1986, the Five College Multicultural Theater Committee, supported by the Five College theater chairs and the Five College Consortium, has worked to creatively foreground the experiences of people of color. In addition to the annual WORD! Festival, the committee does this by awarding mini-grants for student-centered productions. For more information about Five College Multicultural Theater projects, visit www.fivecolleges.edu/multitheater 

Based in Amherst, Massachusetts, the Five College Consortium is a nonprofit educational consortium created in 1965 to advance the extensive educational and cultural objectives of its member institutions—AmherstHampshireMount Holyoke and Smith colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.