Left to right: Robert O’Hara ’96, Justin Scribner, and Tyne Rafaeli ’14

Williamstown Theatre Festival Hosts Three Shows By Columbia Alumni & Faculty

BY Robbie Armstrong, May 6, 2021

The 2021 Williamstown Theatre Festival will feature an outdoor season of works, all of which include Columbia alumni and faculty. Alumnus and Adjunct Professor Robert O’Hara ’96 will curate a collection of plays by Black playwrights. Directing alumna Tyne Rafaeli ’14 will direct the world premier musical Row. Adjunct Professor Justin Scribner will produce Alien/Nation alongside the company he co-founded, The Forest of Arden. The Williamstown Theatre Festival is presented at William and Mary College in Massachusetts. Productions traditionally present in the theatre spaces on campus, but this year picturesque outdoor spaces on campus and in the city of Williamstown will become the backdrop for three world premiere productions.


O’Hara’s tentatively titled “Nine Solo Plays By Black Playwrights,” will celebrate Black artists and their voices through theatrical storytelling. Each show consists of three, 30-minute world premieres, created by Black writers, written for actors of color, and brought to life by directors Wardell Julius Clark, Candis C. Jones, and Awoye Timpo on the Front Lawn of the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance. Play titles will be announced in the near future.


Rafaeli's new musical, Row, is inspired by the biography A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure, with a book by Daniel Goldstein, and music and lyrics by Dawn Landes. This outdoor production will transform a serene reflecting pool into 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. Row exposes you to the elements endured by an extraordinary woman undeterred by the odds.


Scribner and The Forest of Arden are devising Alien/Nation, an immersive world premiere theatrical experience. The play is billed as “An immersive experience that takes you on a journey throughout Williamstown, revealing unexpected surprises around you and within you. Choose to experience this completely unique site-specific performance by foot or by car, and plunge yourself into the center of stories inspired by real events that took place in Western Massachusetts in 1969. Alien/Nation engages all of your senses for a theatre experience unlike any other.” The show is created in collaboration with writers Jen Silverman and Eric Berryman and featuring members of WTF’s Community Works program.


Tickets to each production are not on sale yet, but will be available to purchase on WTF’s website at a future date.