Word! A Five College Festival of staged readings (of recently written short plays or excerpts from them) builds on a highly successful model originated by the University’s New World Theater. The primary goals of the festival are to identify and nurture student writers who are engaging in multicultural themes and/or aesthetics; to increase contact between the departments of theater and the communities of color on the respective campuses; and to further Five College exchange through the mechanism of a rotating festival.
The writers of the works selected to be presented each year receive an award of $100 from the Five College James Baldwin Memorial Fund. The American writer James Baldwin spent several years at the five colleges as a Five College Distinguished Joint Faculty Appointee. Following his death in 1987, a memorial fund in his name was established by the Five College community. To date, over 100 students have been recognized with this award.
Word! is hosted by a different campus each year. it’s one of several activities supported by the Multicultural Theater Committee, which was established in 1986 by the chairs of the theater departments.
The 2019 Word! Festival will take place on April 4 and April 6, 2019 at UMass.