A Story of Race, History, and Power on an Elite College Campus

Chester, MA – Chester Theatre Company (CTC) is proud to present Eleanor Burgess’s The Niceties at Hancock Shaker Village, 1843 W. Housatonic St., Pittsfield, MA, from July 14-25.

The play is inspired, in part, by a 2015 controversy at Yale, where a professor’s email set off a debate and subsequent protests about the role white supremacy can play on campus, contributing to a hostile environment for students of color. It explores the critical need for communication and reaching across a divide to find a place of understanding.

Actors Stephanie Everett and Andrea Gallo and Director Christina Franklin are all making their CTC debuts.
“At first glance, this play could easily be seen as a fencing match of academic and social political ideas,” said Franklin. “After the year we’ve had, the thought of diving into a story like that sounds exhausting. But when you look again, and/or look closer, you find two individuals desperate to connect and find understanding, not for the purpose of winning the fencing match, but rather for the purpose of being able to return to love.”

Everett is an actor, writer and entrepreneur based in NYC and DC. A Dartmouth grad, her favorite credits include her award-winning one-woman show, It’s Fine, I’m Fine (United Solo Festival, Northern Stage), Citrus (Northern Stage), and Rachel (Roundabout). She is a Co-Founder of The Sappho Project, a theater development nonprofit for new musicals by women, transgender, and gender non-conforming writers. Gallo has appeared on stages in New York and in regional theatre, including TheatreWorks Hartford, St. Louis Rep, Florida Rep, Public Theatre, NJ Rep, and others. She is an Earphones Award winner for audiobook narration. Franklin has written and developed new work with TADA!, Royal Family Productions, The Public, National Black Theatre, The Lark, Ogunquit Playhouse, and the NYC & Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. Recent directing/associate credits include The Last Five Years (OOTB), Don’t Stay Safe (Prospect Theatre), Coal Country, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, and White Noise at The Public, and Slave Play at New York Theater Workshop. She will be the Associate Director of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf when it moves to Broadway.

The artistic and design team also includes Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor (Associate Professor of History, Smith College/Consulting Scholar), Lara Dubin (Lighting Designer), Juliana von Haubrich (Set Designer), James McNamara (Sound Designer), Charles Schoonmaker (Costume Designer), Leslie Sears (Stage Manager) and Keri Schultz (Assistant Stage Manager).

Individual ticket prices are $47.50 and are available at the door or by calling the box office. Chester and Middlefield residents and those holding EBT cards may purchase $10 tickets, and members of the military and their families may purchase $15 tickets. Student Rush $10 tickets are available day of show in person or on the phone. Tickets may be purchased online at chestertheatre.org, or by calling 413.354.7771. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available.

About Chester Theatre Company Chester Theatre Company, an award-winning professional theatre company located between the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley, and convenient to both, is known for presenting high quality, contemporary productions with top-notch actors, directors, and designers from across the country since 1990.
Founded by a former Artistic Director of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, Vincent Dowling, CTC normally produces its thought-provoking works in the intimate setting of the Town Hall Theatre in Chester, MA, but operations have shifted to Hancock Shaker Village for the 2021 season. For further information, please email info@chestertheatre.org, or visit www.chestertheatre.org.

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