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 on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 8 p.m. at Smith College’s Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre in the Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

The productions, written by Five College students, take on themes reflecting issues of race and diversity using playwright August Wilson's idea that theater can raise consciousness and politicize communities of color. The scripts were chosen by the Multicultural Theater Committee, which then offered artistic and dramaturgical support for students to prepare their work for the stage.

The featured scripts:

ISTIKHARA: Not a Partition Play, Sara Amjad, Mount Holyoke College

Black Dot, Manqing Cang, Smith College

Minority Status, Madison Cortez, Amherst College

Fat. Black. And Ugly., Eshe Shukura, Hampshire College

The students whose scripts are featured in this year’s festival took part in a workshop led by Vicki Grise, an activist, performer and award-winning playwright.

A San Antonio native and current New York resident, Grise has performed both nationally and internationally and has won several awards for various pieces she has written. Most notably, Grise won the prestigious Yale Drama Series Award in 2010 for her dramatic play, Blu. Grise has taught writing for performance in various educational settings and has spent years as an activist promoting organizing efforts of many minority groups.

For nearly two decades, the Five College Multicultural Theater Committee, supported by the Five College theater chairs and Five Colleges, Inc, has worked to creatively foreground the experiences of people of color. In addition to the annual WORD! Festival and visiting artist residencies, the committee does this by awarding mini-grants for student-centered productions. For more information about Five College Multicultural Theater projects, visit

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