The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Friday, September 7, 2018


WHEN: September 21 – 30, 2018
WHERE: FlexSpace Theatre, Northampton Community Arts Trust Building, 33 Hawley Street, Downtown Northampton

The Northampton Playwrights Lab and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, in association with the Northampton Center for the Arts and A.P.E. Gallery Ltd.  present:

Third festival of readings of new plays performed by local professional actors with INAUGURAL performances in the Arts Trust Building FlexSpace Theatre!

Featuring new plays by playwrights Leanna James Blackwell, Stephanie Carlson, Meryl Cohn, Harley Erdman, Peter Kennedy, Talya Kingston, and Tanyss Rhea Martula

All Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Sept. 23rd performances at 2 p.m and 3:30 p.m.
Sunday Sept. 30th at 7:30 p.m
Suggested donation at the door: $10


Week One:
Friday, Sept. 21:  Leanna James Blackwell, NEW SOUL, directed by the playwright
Saturday, Sept. 22: Tanyss Rhea Martula, FRESH AIR, directed by Sam Rush
Sunday, Sept. 23:  Stephanie Carlson, SEA MONSTER, directed by John Bruner
Sunday, Sept. 23:  Talya Kingston, CAMPUS UNREST, directed by Trenda Loftin
There will be a half-hour reception between performances on 9/23

Week Two:
Friday, Sept. 28: Harley Erdman, INSTITUTION, directed by Talya Kingston
Saturday, Sept. 29: Meryl Cohn, ALMOST HOME, directed by Will MacAdams
Sunday, Sept. 30: Peter Kennedy, FAMILY GAME NIGHT, directed by the playwright

The Plays

NEW SOUL by Leanna James Blackwell
A young, mixed-race couple in love in France in the early 1960s. A married couple in urban America at the dawn of the new millennium. Long-buried secrets and a search for a stranger. New Soul is a full-length drama about race, family, religion, love, and the eternal question: what makes us who we are?

FRESH AIR, a letter play by Tanyss Rhea Martula
Two very different families in the 80's participate in a summer program that sends inner city children to the country. What happens? Who benefits? What happens when relationships develop long-term? What happens to the children?

SEAMONSTER by Stephanie Carlson
Jane and Kim are at an awkward stage in their relationship: They're not sure when they're getting in each other's way or getting in their own way.  Internal conflicts come to the fore in this offbeat one-act comedy, as Jane and Kim's inner voices take the stage to banter and bitch. A funny, honest story about creativity, trust, communication ... and seamonsters.

CAMPUS UNREST by Talya Kingston
Mia arrives full of excitement and hope for her Professorship at a prestigious New England College. She soon discovers that while in Britain it was enough for her to lecture about identity politics, in America she is expected to embody her politics. Her partner Kwame finds his place in the burgeoning campus Black Liberation Collective, but Mia is increasingly intimidated by the spectre of the beloved gender studies professor that she is replacing.

INSTITUTION by Harley Erdman
 An academic search committee. A professor who refuses to retire. A case of champagne, and four colleagues with vastly different ideas for the future of their institution. These are the ingredients for a fast-moving, madcap 90-minute play that is a mirror of our times – and full of surprises.

ALMOST HOME by Meryl Cohn
When Phoebe’s poet partner, Amanda, takes off with a young fan, Phoebe is left with Amanda’s teenaged daughter Jody. Both Phoebe and Jody are outraged at being dumped by Amanda, but is that enough to keep them together as a pseudo-family? Phoebe confronts her past and tries to launch her photography show, while Jody pushes against every boundary she can find. Will the two succeed in their struggle to recreate their relationship without Amanda?  Almost Homeis a drama/comedy about the search for a place to belong.

FAMILY GAME NIGHT by Peter Kennedy
 On the third Saturday evening of every month, the Mortons gather together for their traditional board game night at Mom and Dad's house. Tonight, however, will be a little different than the usual round of Monopoly or Clue.   What begins with a mildly irritating board game featuring glitter and Grim Reaper hand puppets suddenly turns darker as three generations of the Morton family struggle with articulating wildly different views about their individual end of life (and afterlife) choices.

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