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.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Ko Festival of Performance: 5 Weekends of Original Theatre on the Season's Theme: Habitat

WHAT: The Ko Festival of Performance
WHERE: Amherst College campus in Amherst, MA
WHEN: July 5—August 4, 2019


July 5—August 4, 2019 on the Amherst College campus in Amherst, MA

The Ko Festival of Performance, in its 28th summer season on the Amherst College campus, is a perennially popular summer experience in Western Massachusetts, featuring five weeks of theatrical performances, the KoFest Story Slam, and three 6-day intensive theater workshops. Unlike standard summer stock theater, Ko Festival performances are all original, devised pieces, created by distinguished professional solo and ensemble theatre artists from across the U.S. Each year, the performances at Ko are curated around a theme designed speak to area audiences. Lively post-performance discussions, often with guest experts, follow each of the performances.

This summer, KoFest will present five weeks of performances curated on the theme of “HABITAT (human).” Artistic Director Sabrina Hamilton says, “We’re thinking about transplants, displaced persons and the effects of sudden habitat change. About endangered and vanished cultures. About cracking open the past by re-examining the habitat one grew up in. Entertaining and thought-provoking, the season is all original work – created by the artists who come to us from across the US.”

July 5 & 6 at 8pm, July 7 at 4pm

THE LAST RAT OF THERESIENSTADT written and performed by Hilary Chaplain & Co. A Berlin cabaret star transported to a concentration camp forges an unlikely friendship with Pavel, a rat (played by a puppet) who, despite the lack of food remains out of love for her & her art
July 12 & 13 at 8pm, July 14 at 4pm

OK, OK written and performed by Katie Pearl. Hilarious & heartbreaking, a reckoning with the racism of today through the lens of what Katie learned—and didn't learn—about Oklahoma history while growing up in her native habitat of Tulsa, OK.

July 20 at 8pm

KoFest STORY SLAM & PARTY. An annual event that serves as a local take on Ko’s season theme of “HABITAT (human)” via short, true, first-person stories. There will be some ringers, but Ko invites you to throw your hat in the ring. See the for slotting details. Prizes are awarded; snacks & festive beverages are served! All Tickets: $16

July 21 at 8pm (Special event. One performance only.)

THE RING DOVE performed by The Mettawee River Theatre Company. For all ages, based on a tale from THE PANCHATANTRA, a collection of stories whose origins reach back over 2,000 years, to ancient India. Performed out under the stars, with live music, masks and exquisite puppets On the Amherst College Observatory Lawn off of Snell Street in Amherst. Tickets: $9 Adults, $7 Children. Rain Space: Holden Theater.

July 26 & 27 at 8pm, July 28 at 4pm

(dis)Place[d] written and performed by Debórah Eliezer (foolsFURY Theater Company)

Eliezer cracks open her own identity through the story of her father, Edward Ben-Eliezer, an Iraqi Jew born in 1930, member of the Zionist underground, refugee, Israeli spy, and immigrant to America.

August 2 & 3 at 8pm, August 4 at 4pm

LESSONS OF HUMANITY written and performed by Samite. A message of resilience and healing transmitted via Samite’s transcendent African music and his personal stories of a life displaced by Idi Amin’s genocide in Uganda.

KoFest performances take place in Amherst College’s air-conditioned Holden Theater, located behind the Admissions Office off South Pleasant Street in Amherst, MA. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are priced at: $22 Adults / $18 Students & Seniors and $10 for SNAP/EBT cardholders. Tickets and further information on the savings that come with the KoFest “Passes & Posses” program are also available at or by calling the box office after July 1 at (413) 542-3750. Before July 1, information can be found online or at (413) 427-6147. Call about a limited number of $8 tickets.

In addition to the performance schedule, KoFest is now accepting registrations for three 6-day workshop intensives for performers, writers, puppeteers, storytellers, directors, educators, visual artists, crafters, and all those wanting to kick-start their creativity. Workshops meet from 10am- 4pm in Amherst College’s Webster Hall. Past participants have ranged in age from 18 to 80 and the workshops are taught by expert teachers who are adept at gearing their classes for all levels of experience. Visit for details.

July 8 – 13

TOY THEATRE with JOHN BELL and TRUDI COHEN of Great Small Works
Our workshop will present the history and practice of this intimate and highly accessible puppetry form.

July 15 – 20
FIRST PERSON: Crafting Your Story with Gerard Stropnicky Come with a story. (Or two. Or three.) Leave with a performance. (Or two. Or three.) Perfect for Story Slam participants!

July 29 – August 3
UNLOCKING INSPIRATION: The Vital Act with Debórah Eliezer of foolsFURY Theater This fun, participatory workshop will explore embodied creation methods that will remove your inner critic and allow your uninhibited creativity to flow.

The Ko Festival, where the only certainty is surprise!




TWITTER: @kofest

Funded, in part, by The Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, the Amherst Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies; and Art Angels.

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