Sunday, July 30, 2017

Classical Pianist Adam Bergeron at Village Lyceum Sunday, August 6 in Petersham MA

Adam Bergeron
Classical Pianist Adam Bergeron at Village Lyceum Sunday, August 6 in Petersham MA

The Village Lyceum will present pianist Adam Bergeron in the third of his 5-Part Concert Series with Two-Step Dances featuring composers: Beethoven, Schubert and Grieg at 3:00 p.m. in the Davis Memorial, 3 West Street, in back of Unitarian Church in Petersham. Adam Bergeron's 5-Part Concert Series is funded, in part, by a grant from the Petersham Cultural Council.  

All Lyceum proceeds will benefit the parish building fund and are used to maintain their historic buildings on the Town Common.  Refreshments will be available.  For further information, including Village Lyceum ticket prices, contact Genevieve Fraser at email: or call telephone 978.544.1872.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Village Lyceum presents John Sheldon July 29 in a performance inspired by Standing Rock

The Village Lyceum presents John Sheldon July 29 - in a performance inspired by Standing Rock –
“The Same Water, Music for a Deep Ecology”

John Sheldon and his famous red electric guitar – the one James Taylor sold him in the 1960s for $100 - return to the Village Lyceum on Saturday, July 29 at 7:00 pm to present “The Same Water, Music for a Deep Ecology.” The program, which will be held in the sanctuary of the First Congregational Parish, Unitarian on the Petersham Town Common, is inspired by Sheldon’s 5-day stay at Standing Rock Indian Reservation during a gathering of native tribes from across the nation to protest a proposed oil pipeline that threatens reservation water and ancient burial grounds.

Now, in his 51st year of writing songs and composing music, the former lead guitarist for Van Morrison and songwriter for James Taylor admits that in the past few years, the way in which he writes music, his music process itself has been changing. Today, his inspiration, his muse comes more directly from nature.

“Water, essential to all of life on earth, is the unifying element. I have put together a cycle of songs and improvisations to celebrate water in all its forms, including rivers, plants, animals, and of course, us,” Sheldon explained.

“A trip to North Dakota to help the effort at Standing Rock has made me realize how others on this planet have been listening to the spirits in nature for a long time. I dedicate this music to all of them, whether they be activists, gardeners, water protectors, or simply people who have at one time simply felt awe and wonder in the presence of the natural world,” he said. 

“Some of the spirits that appear in the music are: the wolf, the bee, the cricket, the redwood, the crust of the earth, and the light from the stars. So, prepare to take a journey through sound into the heart of nature itself,” Sheldon advised.

Sheldon has written hundreds of songs and instrumentals, and released 15 CDs of his own music. In the past few years, he has also been busy in theater, including composing music for and performing in "Milosevic at the Hague", "Ambush on T Street", "What She Knows", "Blind Dreamers”, "Skyscraper" and his own musical monologue, “The Red Guitar," which traces his musical journey and recalls the tumultuous era when it began. Last year, Sheldon performed "The Red Guitar" during a two-week run at the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

Tickets for “The Same Water, Music for a Deep Ecology” are on a sliding scale from $8 to $15, children 10 and under are free of charge. All proceeds for the Village Lyceum are used to maintain the First Congregational Parish Unitarian Petersham Church and the Davis Memorial Center.  For further information, please contact Genevieve at (978) 544-1872.

John Sheldon will perform “The Same Water, Music for a Deep Ecology” at the Village Lyceum on Saturday, July 29 in the sanctuary at the Unitarian Church in Petersham, starting at 7:00 p.m. The program is inspired by Sheldon’s stay at Standing Rock Indian Reservation during the 2016 protest of a proposed oil pipeline. Ticket prices are on a sliding scale from $8 - $15, children 10 and under are free of charge. Proceeds are used for the parish building and maintenance fund. For further information, contact Genevieve Fraser at (978) 544-1872 or email:

Monday, July 3, 2017

INTRODUCING The Drama Circle @ The Village Lyceum in Petersham (MA)

INTRODUCING The Drama Circle @ The Village Lyceum in Petersham (MA)

The Drama Circle, which was started in the 1990s at Mount Wachusett Community College, has a new home at The Village Lyceum in Petersham. We invite writers to submit their scripts for possible readings and will occasionally have readings of classical works, Shakespeare and more modern authors such as Horton Foote. One play we hope to "read" and possible produce is The Traveling Lady which in many ways can also be filed under the Petersham Unitarian's dedication to social justice issues.

"Foote’s play tells the story of dreamy Georgette Thomas, who has traveled with her daughter to meet her husband, Henry, an alcoholic who has served time in jail but who’s currently newly employed and on the wagon. It all takes place on a porch where various townspeople come and go and comment on the troubles of this young couple."…/horton-footes-maligned-cham…/

Genevieve Fraser​
Artistic Director, The Drama Circle
For further information: (978) 544-1872

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

“Digging Deep to Find Your Voice” Writing Class offered at New Salem Academy Summer Arts Intensive 2017

Genevieve Fraser

“Digging Deep to Find Your Voice” Writing Class offered at New Salem Academy Summer Arts Intensive 2017

Creative writing course offered by Genevieve Fraser


When I was a freshman at UNH, my English professor gave a talk on the Great American Novel literary genre.  I determined to someday write such a novel, but first I had to find a story with a theme worthy of the subject.  Though I dropped out of college before graduating, through the years I toyed at writing with stream of consciousness poetry and fits and starts of short stories and plays. Later, with child in tow, I returned to UNH and got serious. I graduated with degrees in Communications and Theater and a minor in English, which was followed by an MFA in Theater/Writing at Brandeis. 

Since then, I’ve used my writing background as an exhibits developer, journalist, environmental technical writer, in public relations, as an aide to a state senator, a planner for the Private Industry Council and community college, and as a commissioned playwright.  Finally, while working as an aide to the senator on a veteran’s project, I happened upon a subject worthy of the designation - a Great American Novel - and spent 10 years researching, interviewing and writing the story.  The result was a creative, non-fiction novel, “In the Claw of the Tiger,” a true story based on the life of a World War II survivor of the Bataan Death March and POW camps in the Philippines and Japan. 

Course Description

The three-day, creative writing course, “Digging Deep to Find Your Voice,” will encourage participants to explore creative writing for two hours per day through journaling, observation techniques, theatrical role playing, poetry, narrative essay development and story-telling.  The exercises are meant to enhance each author’s observation of an environment, whether it’s a room full of people, sidewalk, cafĂ©, beach or any other place they find themselves.  Immediacy as well as memory will be explored. Each of the five senses will be engaged in terms of the potency of observation and how this might become transposed onto the written page.
The course is meant to be a 24-hour a day journey, where even dreams play a role in creating a narrative. But along with developing an awareness of self, personal attitudes and reactions, authors are expected to spend non-class time observing others and sharing what they observed verbally and in brief role play. The awareness of their inner and outer life should help participants explore character and narration as well as a sense of place and time. But for plot, the class may draw from personal history or observation of comings and goings or from historic characters and events.

In-class writing will consist of stream of consciousness writing where brief exercises will encourage unedited rapid writing.  One of the purposes of stream of consciousness writing is to break down barriers we often build that block creativity.  Even apparent nonsense, at times, can reflect hidden truths. Poetry will also be used to explore word juxtaposition and meaning rarely used in everyday language.  Physical objects, art and photos as well as subjects such as fear, shopping and jewelry might be used as writing prompts. Along with shared prompts, a basket filled with written prompts where authors can grab a prompt at random will be on hand.  By mid-week, the class will focus on an original story, play or poem to complete by the end of the week.Course MaterialsNotebook, pen and pencis and/or laptopLocationNew Salem AcademyLecture“Digging Deep to Find Your Voice”Exploring the world around you, as well as yourself, to create art.

The course will run on Monday - Wednesday, July 17-19 from 9:00 - 11:30 am. For further information on available courses, check out

Courses are still open. Call today to reserve your space. Electronic Registration can be paid online via PayPal, or by phone with credit card. Please submit the electronic form to Amy Fagin: or mobile 978-799-5332. Mail in registration to: Amy Fagin 236 Neilson Rd. New Salem, MA, 01355. Contact us for information on scholarships. Please make checks payable to Friends of Historic New Salem Look for us on Facebook at New Salem Arts Intensive.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Drama Circle Opens at the Village Lyceum, Petersham Massachusetts

The Drama Circle Opens at the Village Lyceum, Petersham Massachusetts

Genevieve Fraser, artistic director of the Drama Circle has announced the organizational rebirth of the Drama Circle at the Village Lyceum in Petersham, MA.  The Drama Circle is dedicated to showcasing original scripts for the stage and screen.  The organization also plans to sponsor readings of Shakespeare and other classical works. Events are free and open to the public with audience members often enlisted to read and comment on scripts.  

The Drama Circle which originated at Mount Wachusett Community College, Gardner, MA reviewed dozens of original scripts throughout New England during it's eight year run and offered staged readings for a dozen more. One of the scripts, "Lincoln: The Musical" by Dr. Michael Riccards went through readings and staged readings and was ultimately showcased as a full scale production at the Town Hall in Orange, MA in 2012. 

Josef DellaGrotte
Sunday, May 21, 2017, Michael Riccards original play, The Poor Man of Assisi was presented. Nearly all those who attended participated in the reading and the discussion that followed. The Poor Man of Assisi follows in historical sequence the life of the Catholic saint, Francis of Assisi who founded the Franciscan Order of monks.

Charles Tower
A special thanks to Josef DellaGrotte for playing the part of St. Francis and Charles Tower who played several of the major roles, along with Phil Hubbard. Both actors, Charles and Phil, had also appeared in Lincoln: The Musical.  Charles played John Wilkes Booth and Phil was Secretary of State Seward who survived an assassination attack in his home at the same time that Lincoln was assassinated in the Ford Theater.
James Carmody (rt) with Phil Hubbard and Charles Tower

Additional readers for The Poor Man of Assisi included Janet Lawson, Melody Salvadore, James McCrohon and his father, Jim McCrohon. James Carmody read the part of Pope Innocent. I had cast Jim Carmody many years ago as the Duke of Norfolk in A Man for All Seasons. It's always wonderful to have former cast members join in the readings, but people of all ages and abilities are welcome.

Once a script is accepted and scheduled, the writer is expected to provide scripts for the reading. The Drama Circle will be held in the Davis Memorial Hall in back of the Petersham Unitarian Church on the Town Common. Dates for future readings, to be announced. For further information, contact Genevieve Fraser at or call (978)-544-1872.

Janet Lawson, Genevieve Fraser and Melody Salvadore, readers at the Poor Man  of Assisi by Dr. Michael Riccards.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Village Lyceum reading of Michael Riccards play, “The Poor Man of Assisi,” Sunday, May 21 at Davis Memorial, Petersham, MA

Village Lyceum reading of Michael Riccards play, “The Poor Man of Assisi,” Sunday, May 21 at Davis Memorial, Petersham, MA

The Village Lyceum is inviting audience participation in a reading of Dr. Michael Riccard's original drama, "The Poor Man of Assisi," to be held in the Davis Memorial building, in back of the Petersham Unitarian Church on Sunday, May 21 at 2:00 pm. A discussion will follow the reading. Dr. Riccards is a past president of Fitchburg State College and author of "Lincoln: The Musical" which was performed at the Orange Town Hall as part of the Quabbin Civil War Remembrance in 2012 with Genevieve Fraser directing.

According to the playwright, "This play predates the pope's use of the name and describes one of the most popular Catholic and Protestant saints in history. Francis, the son of a wealthy merchant, was a soldier and troubadour who came home from captivity after fighting for Assisi and heard God tell him to fix his church. He thought God meant a local rundown church, but it was a call to fix the Roman Church," Riccards explained.

"His gospel was one of poverty, chastity and Christ's admonitions. His rule was too strict for some but after generations had passed was respected throughout western Europe. On one occasion, he avoided the commitment of the Crusades and sought to go to visit the Mohammedans and convert them to Christianity. He was not successful but won the respect of leaders of Islam," Riccards said. Saint Francis died young and was quickly canonized. He is frequently seen as the patron saint of the environment, of animals and of the poor and needy.

For further information, contact Genevieve Fraser at or Telephone (978) 544-1872.

PHOTO: Dr. Michael Riccards, as seen in a televised interview by the Hall Institute of Public Policy on great presidents, is the author of the play, "The Poor Man of Assisi," to be read in the Davis Memorial building, in back of the Petersham Unitarian Church on Sunday, May 21 at 2:00 pm. A discussion will follow the reading. Dr. Riccards also wrote the play. "Lincoln: the Musical" whivch was performed at the Orange Town Hall in 2010.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Improvisational Acting for Teens and Young Adults at Workshop 13 with Genevieve Fraser

Improvisational Acting for Teens and Young Adults
Instructor: Genevieve Fraser

Through short improv games and relationship-based scene work, the group will explore the ability to think on their feet and outside of the box. The class will introduce the concept of subtext and "living in the moment" onstage and will culminate in a final short-form improvised performance for friends and family.

5-weeks on Thursdays, beginning October 2 from 4:00 - 5:30 pm.

Workshop 13, a Cultural Arts and Learning Center

For more information:

413-277-6072 or
Workshop13 is located at 13 Church Street Ware, MA 01082.