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TURNERS FALLS — Eggtooth Productions announced that board member and frequent collaborator John Bechtold has been appointed to the role of creative director for the company. Working closely with founder and Artistic Director Linda McInerney, Bechtold’s role will be to help guide the creative vision for Eggtooth’s original works.

Following award-winning experiences at Eggtooth’s Double Take Fringe Festivals in 2011-2013, Bechtold’s first full-length production with Eggtooth came in 2016 with an immersive version of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, taking over the entirety of the then-vacant Arts Block (now Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center) in downtown Greenfield. With an emphasis on site-inspired design, he has been dubbed the “Valley’s genius of immersive theater” by the Valley Advocate, with a list of immersive works including Sam’s Place (Shea Theater), Stagehand (Shea Theater and Academy of Music), Before You Became Improbable (Emily Dickinson Museum), and Gem of the Valley (Chester Theatre).

“Linda and I both believe deeply in the influence of the Valley on our work,” he noted, “and we’re constantly scheming together for ways to welcome new audiences into these magic spaces around us.” He and McInerney both cited Eggtooth’s strong ties to the Shea Performing Arts Center in Turners Falls and its role as a creative home for local and regional artists.

The Eggtooth-Shea partnership will be on full display this fall, as Eggtooth prepares for two upcoming immersive productions in late September and October, both to be produced at the Shea.

First produced in 2017, Deus Ex Machina is an immersive production for an audience of only 18 members per show. With an intimate 1:1 cast-to-audience ratio and the entire Shea Theater as the set, participants will have a series of engagements with an array of characters inspired by the building’s storied history as 1920s vaudeville house to a 1970s hippie commune and, of course, a theater venue over a span of decades. Performances are sleted for Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

After a successful inaugural year in October 2021, A Happening will return to the Shea Theater as an evolving community festival tradition. The collision of evocative art forms, including but not limited to music, dance, theater, sculpture, painting, and film, with a ‘choose your own adventure’ structure creates a powerful immersive experience for performers and audience alike, where the lines between witness and participant are disrupted and dissolved. Performances will take place Oct. 21-22.

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