The Social Justice in the Arts and Media series was the brainchild of LAVA Manager and Co-coordinator Vanessa Query, inspired by presentations held at The LAVA Center last year by Lillian Ruiz and Philippe Simon. Vanessa is also the Project Director. LAVA Co-coordinator Jan Maher secured the project’s funding and is producing the theatrical productions. We are all thrilled with how many folks have come on board to make this series the powerhouse that it is! Learn all about those people here.
Listening Ear sessions
Christian McEwen is a freelance writer and workshop leader, originally from the UK. She is the author of several books, including World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down, now in its eighth printing. She is currently working on a book called In Praise of Listening. www.christianmcewen.com
Playwright Christine Benvenuto’s books are published by St. Martin’s Press, and her stories and essays have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. Her plays have been performed at the Boston Theater Marathon and online. A version of the first act of Bridges will be performed in venues around Los Angeles this month as part of “Star- Spangled Sabra,” produced by The Braid, and a short story version of some of this material is forthcoming in an anthology from Michigan State University. Another play is forthcoming in an international anthology to be published in London.
Director Jan Maher lives in Greenfield, MA with her husband Doug Selwyn where she is a co-coordinator of The LAVA Center. Her directing credits include Cascando by Samuel Beckett, featuring Joseph Chaikin (Empty Space Theater, Seattle, WA) and her own play Widow’s Walk which was a finalist in the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville 10-minute play contest and won Best of Week Four in Seattle’s New City Theater’s Directors’ Fest.
Cast (bios to come): Amanda Bowman, Shannon Chabot, Andrea Cohen-Kiener, Nina Gross, Jim Merlin, Alfonso Neal, and Kimberly Salditt-Poulin.
Norbert Goldfield MD is founder/ CEO of Healing Across the Divides, which focuses on peace-building through health in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and founder/CEO of Ask Nurses and Doctors or AND, that organizes local health care professionals in support of health reform and universal coverage. His latest book is Peace Building through Women’s Health: Psychoanalytic, Sociopsychological, and Community Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Routledge, Taylor Francis, 2021).
Court Dorsey is a theater artist, writer and conflict resolution specialist, who has performed with numerous ensembles in venues across North America and in Europe. He is currently writing a new play, Swamped, which he hopes to produce this spring at The Wendell Meetinghouse, a venue he is renovating with other community volunteers.
Yael Petretti has been a practicing Compassionate Listening facilitator for over twenty years, leading workshops, listening delegations abroad and domestically to bring people together. The work is to humanize the “other,” to melt hard or frightened hearts and to connect in heart-felt ways.
Andrea Cohen-Kiener led citizen delegations to the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. She is a trained Compassionate Listening facilitator and is the rabbi at Temple Israel Greenfield.
Every Moment of Every Day performances
Performed by Amanda Bowman, Cynthia Fritz, Emily Gopen, Penney Hulten, Kaia Jackson, Patricia Williams, and EJ Worth. Script Team: Cynthia Fritz, Jan Maher, Annie Quest, and Lindy Whiton. Directed by Lindy Whiton. Graphics by EJ Worth. (more details to come)
Lindy Whiton is an original mother who relinquished her daughter in 1972. For most of her professional life she has worked to help others find voice through reading, writing and building community. In 2015 she joined a community of original mothers and interviewed them about their experiences, encouraging voice in this disempowered group.
Most Dangerous Women performances
Writer/director Jan Maher lives in Greenfield, MA with her husband Doug Selwyn where she is a co-coordinator of The LAVA Center. Her directing credits include Cascando by Samuel Beckett, featuring Joseph Chaikin (Empty Space Theater, Seattle, WA) and her own play Widow’s Walk which was a finalist in the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville 10-minute play contest and won Best of Week Four in Seattle’s New City Theater’s Directors’ Fest.
Performed by Emily Gopen, Nina Gross, Kaia Jackson, Jean Devereux Koester, and Kirsten Levitt. Music Director: Laura Josephs. (details to come.)
Eveline MacDougall grew up in a family of professional musicians and social justice activists. Those two activities tended to happen separately, but MacDougall yearned to bring them together. At age 23, she founded the Amandla Chorus–now known as Fiery Hope–bringing messages of social justice and community building into schools, prisons, homeless shelters, elder residences, and public gatherings of all sizes. In smaller groups, the singers also bring songs of comfort to people in hospice and other end-of-life settings. MacDougall has worked with and performed for Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Malala Yousafzai, and Cesar Chavez. She had longtime collaborations with the folk singer Pete Seeger, and with right livelihood activists Wally and Juanita Nelson, whom she considered her second set of parents. MacDougall is the author of ‘Fiery Hope: Building community with the Amandla Chorus,’ released in 2020 by Haley’s Publishing. Audience members may purchase copies of her book at the presentation.
María Sparrow is a painter, teacher, and musician living in Greenfield, MA. The daughter of an Argentine mother, María grew up in Iowa and Maine and was awarded a scholarship to attend Amherst College in 2011. In her work she is interested in representations of womxn and in themes of belonging and alienation. María Sparrow es pintora, maestra, y música, quien vive en Greenfield, MA. Hija de madre argentina, María se crió en Iowa y Maine y fue otorgada una beca para estudiar en Amherst College en 2011. Su trabajo artístico aborda temas de la representación de las mujeres y de la pertenencia y la alienación. https://mariatsparrow.wixsite.com/mysite
JuPong Lin is a Taiwan-born interdisciplinary artist-researcher, writer and educator working to shift climate colonialism through culturally-responsive contemplative arts. Her installations and community performances blend paper-folding, poetics, story circle and qigong to activate personal and systemic transformation for climate justice and community resilience. As a de/colonizing artist and ceremonial activist, JuPong is dedicated to reclaiming ancestral traditions and language liberation. Her workshops cultivate kinship between our beloved 地球 (earth), Land, human and nonhuman Beings. JuPong is a PhD candidate in the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England and a faculty member of the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts (MFAIA) program at Goddard College for over 15 years. As the Director of the MFAIA, she led an initiative to establish a concentration in decolonial arts. https://www.juponglin.net
Orice Jenkins is the Executive Director of Música Franklin. He was previously a full time performing artist, and a manager and Teaching Artist at several educational arts programs in New England. His music has been featured in publications in England, Italy, Germany, Japan, Puerto Rico, and the mainland United States, and he has been conducting and arranging for string ensembles since he was 13 years old. He is also a genealogy researcher and published author with a passion for social justice and community unification.