WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — All the world’s a stage, but for Tony Award-winning theater company Williamstown Theatre Festival, its hometown in the Berkshires will become the stage this summer.
After a yearlong hiatus from live, in-person theater because of the coronavirus pandemic, the festival has announced a return to live performances this summer — but instead of performing indoors, in the theater’s traditional home on the campus of Williams College, at the ‘62 Center for Theatre & Dance, performances will be held outdoors.
In what is being called “The 2021 Live Season in Williamstown,” the season will include three productions mounted around Williamstown, including a production at The Clark Art Institute.
“This summer, the conditions for our audiences, administrators and artists will be safe, but the theater we make will be anything but,” Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield said in a statement announcing the season. “Join us for the kind of work you know and love — bold, impactful world premiere plays and musicals — produced in a way that transforms the town of Williamstown itself into our stage.”
The season will begin with the world premiere of “Outside on Main: Nine Solo Plays by Black Playwrights” (July 6–25) held on the front lawn of the ‘62 Center for Theatre & Dance. Guest curated by 2021 Tony Award nominee Robert O’Hara, (“Slave Play,” WTF’s “A Raisin in the Sun”), this series of three shows centers and celebrates Black artists and their voices through theatrical storytelling. Each performance consists of three of the nine 30-minute world premieres, created by Black writers Ngozi Anyanwu, France-Luce Benson, J. Nicole Brooks, Guadalís Del Carmen, Terry Guest, Ike Holter, Zora Howard, NSangou Njikam and Charly Evon Simpson; written for actors of color; and brought to life by directors Wardell Julius Clark, Candis C. Jones and Awoye Timpo. The season will continue at The Clark Art Institute with the world premiere musical “Row” (July 13–Aug. 8), with book by Daniel Goldstein, music and lyrics by Dawn Landes, directed by Tyne Rafaeli and inspired by “A Pearl in the Storm,” by Tori Murden McClure.
“Row” will feature Grace McLean, who also appears in the WTF Season on Audible recording of “Row,” which is available within the Audible Plus catalog. The Clark’s reflecting pool will become the stage for this uplifting world premiere musical that interrogates the resilience, fear and ambition inside one individual as she aims to be the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. The season concludes with the world premiere of “Alien/Nation” (July 20–Aug. 8), an immersive theatrical experience from two-time Tony Award-nominated director Michael Arden and the company of The Forest of Arden that takes audiences on a journey throughout Williamstown. Audiences will choose to experience this site-specific performance by foot or by car and plunge themselves into the center of stories inspired by real events that took place in Western Massachusetts in 1969. Additional programming and events, as well as complete casting and creative team information, will be announced. Tickets will go on sale to the public in mid-June. For more information, visit wtfestival.org.
Williamstown Theatre Festival is part of a Berkshire-based consortium of cultural organizations that has developed a unified “COVID-19 Code of Courtesy” that addresses public safety for all visitors to the region. These guidelines have been reviewed and endorsed by the Berkshire Public Health Alliance.