Multicultural Theater

About the Committee

The Five College Multicultural Theater Committee, supported by the Five College Theater chairs and Five Colleges, Inc., is charged with furthering multicultural perspectives in theater in our community. For more than three decades, it has done so by supporting visits from guest artists, five college productions, and workshops that foreground the experiences of people of color. More recently our efforts included supporting in-depth residencies for artists of color to work and interact with students and faculty on specific performance projects.

Our work falls into three categories:

• WORD!: Our annual multicultural student play-reading festival designed to encourage student writers who engage multicultural themes in their work. Each year in the spring semester,up to 3 students per campus are chosen to participate in a series of workshops led by a professional playwright. After the workshops, participating students submit their plays to the committee, and up to five are selected to be presented as staged readings at the annual festival. Their authors receive an award from the James Baldwin Memorial Fund. A different campus hosts the festival each year. The host for 2019 was UMass Amherst.

• Mini-Grants for student-centered productions: The committee will award matching funds to support productions, newsletters, and honoraria for workshops and guest artists. Awards are normally no more than one half of the total budget for the event.

• Artist Residencies: Artists and projects selected by the committee will teach and present on at least three of the five colleges culminating with a public presentation of their work. (Please note that the Artist Residency program is currently on hiatus.)

Guidelines for Mini-Grants, and applications to WORD! are available from members of the committee and Ray Rennard, Director for Academic Programs at Five Colleges. 

Five College Multicultural Theater Committee:

Amherst: Yagil Eliraz,
Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance, 542-5349
Hampshire: Djola Branner, Professor of Theatre, 559-5511
Mount Holyoke: Noah Tuleja, Lecturer in Theatre Arts, 538-2836
Smith: Kiki Smith (fall), Professor of Theatre, 585-3216
University: Megan Lewis, Associate Professor of Theater
                  Nia Witherspoon, Playwright in Residence, Department of Theater