Will MacAdams

Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre
Will Macadams
Contact Will

Mail Code HA
Will MacAdams
Emily Dickinson Hall Room 28 (through the glass door in the lobby)

Will MacAdams is a playwright, director, and performer who is daily inspired by his students. He has worked in theater in Indonesia, Brazil,  South Africa, Mexico and across the United States. Past projects include: a series of four community-based plays about soil, immigration, and history, created in collaboration with farmers, farm workers, and others; Peter Handke's "Kaspar," which he directed in Johannesburg at  the cusp of the post-Apartheid era; "Eye to Eye," a play about racism  and youth/police relations, created with young people and future police  officers from New Haven, CT; and two pieces about economic class and its many intersections, created by students at Hampshire College.

He is currently collaborating with a team of theater makers from Atlanta, New Orleans, and the Pioneer Valley and writing "White  Mourning," a play about whiteness, parenting, and history. Mr. MacAdams has a B.A. in theater and anthropology from Yale University and an M.F.A. in theater directing from Yale University. He teaches a  range of classes in acting, playwriting, directing, and theater for  social change.

Personal Website

Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • What is presence on stage? And how does an actor manifest it? In this course, you'll explore acting through a hands-on, ensemble-based approach that is grounded in listening. The course begins with an exploration of the many stories that you carry, hear, and express through movement. We will then move to theatrical language, developing skills of text analysis and character development. Throughout this process, you'll explore how listening deeply helps foster ensemble - guided by the core belief that dynamic life on stage is found not within oneself but in relationship: to the text, to other performers, to the audience, and to the world. To supplement your learning process, we will read plays from a range of playwrights who challenge oppressive systems, center voices historically absent from the stage, and create a language to meet a world of crisis and possibility. Keywords: Acting, ensemble, theatre, theater, performance

  • This course is a hands-on writing laboratory in which you create original theatrical work. The form can vary widely. You might write: choreopoems, naturalistic plays, plays inspired by oral history, or plays in forms that you invent. The course will help you develop an ear for the voices within you, help you shape them into characters and theatrical worlds, and foster a community of writers defined by generous listening. Your writing process will be supplemented by reading the work of visionary playwrights who challenge oppressive systems, center voices historically absent from the stage, and create a language to meet a world of crisis and possibility. They may include: Constance Congdon, Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota), Spalding Gray, Jeremy O. Harris, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Eduardo Machado, and Dominique Morisseau. Keywords: Playwriting, theater, theatre, writing, play

  • In this course, students will explore the many ways that theatre and dance artists collaborate with the land to connect, inspire, remember, heal, nourish, and build movement. Through this inspiration, students will create original works of writing and performance inspired by the land on which Hampshire sits, in collaboration with the Hampshire farm. Key questions will include: how do my body and voice reflect the rhythms and shape of the natural landscape and the more-than-human beings in it? How can I craft words to express this complexity and gestures when my words are not enough? How is my story situated within the larger story of the place I live, and shaped by immigration, colonization, and voices raised up by liberatory movements? Throughout the course, students will learn about Indigenous artists who are both calling back to long-held relationships to the land while moving forward to embody visionary futures. (keywords: theatre, dance, land, writing, theater)

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  • In this course, students from many artistic disciplines will come together to create original artistic work inspired by their stories in order to foster community, dialogue, celebration, and provocation. We invite theater makers, dancers, poets, writers, visual artists, musicians, designers, film/photo/video makers, and animators interested in the collaborative process to join us. The course will be divided into four units, inspired by the core questions at the heart of the college's learning communities: in/justice; environments & change; media & technology; and time & narrative. In each unit, guest artists/scholars from across the campus will visit the class to share their scholarship, art, and stories and students will create collaborative work inspired by this learning and rooted in their own lives, bodies, identities, ancestries, and ideas. Through this exchange, we hope to build a laboratory of multi-disciplinary artistic expression that will illuminate the visionary imagination that helps our college to thrive. (keywords: dance, theatre, music, poetry, visual art)

  • Generation after generation, theatre makers craft new ways of telling stories and imagining worlds in the face of tumultuous odds. This moment is no different. As lights dim on stages across the country and around the world, directors have begun to reimagine theatrical conventions for a virtual medium. In this fully remote class, students will create a series of original, scripted, and movement-based theatre pieces in collaboration with students in Professor Djola Branner's Theatre Acting for Zoom and Professor Peter Kallok's Theatre Design During the Pandemic courses. This work will be paired with on-line visits from contemporary theatre makers who are using digital landscapes as a springboard for possibility and invention. We invite students to meet this moment with us and create theatre that continues to challenge and inspire as we envision a new language for our resilient medium. (keywords: theatre, theater, directing, acting, collaboration)

  • "Desire lines" sometimes refer to the unofficial and uncontrolled paths made by bodies that are finding their way. In this collaborative course, "desire lines" are an opening to create theatre and dance exploring our relationship to the environment during a time of uprising and pandemic. Students begin by creating writing and movement inspired by their living spaces. They then move outside, reading artistic/critical work, and creating movement and text pieces grounded in questions: how do our identities meet the worlds we move through? How do choreographies of protest movements redefine public space? How do we move and speak in relationship to water, soil, and sky? Throughout, we will explore land and memory, and how colonization has sought unsuccessfully to silence Indigenous histories of all our spaces. This course runs parallel with Desire Lines: Mapping Home in the Dancing Body. Culminating work(s) will emerge through collaboration and will be presented together. (keywords: Dance, theatre, theater, writing, environment)

  • Across the country - and around the world - theatre artists are partnering with organizers, activists, elders, young people, and visionaries of all kinds to envision and embody a more just world. Rejecting the belief that theatre can only happen on traditional stages, this work is made in farming towns, in parks, in Indigenous communities, and in places in between - and celebrates the ritualistic roots of theatre while helping to build the future by speaking it into being. Always vital, this work is particularly essential in revolutionary moments, as it can both inspire joy and be a place to practice the world that is possible. Through reading and creative practice, students in this course will study this vibrant art form and create original works of theatre and performance across the campus and in online spaces. Theatre experience is not required. (keywords: theater, social change, activism, community engagement)

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