The Story Continues:

Ezzell Floraniña then offered theater classes in the fall of 1999, which soon became the seed for the first performance: “April Follies” (April, 2000).  

Transforming the stories and seeing other potential outcomes, the group became spokespeople for their community, the “labeled-as-disabled”. They have offered workshops on Anti-Bullying theater to students of elementary through high school age, as well as to self-advocacy groups in the region. The scenes are generated within the group and solutions are imagined and tried in the scenes. This style of theater, drawn from the writing of Augusto Boal, empowers the individual, whether the “bully” or the “target”, to imagine a new way to act when a real situation occurs. We have offered trainings and orientations to staff in after schools, camps, human service agencies and for school personnel.



Our Milestones:

Spring 2004/2005: The Players Go International

The Dundalk International Maytime Festival in Dundalk, Ireland.

Made possible, in large part, by a generous donation of $5,000 by the actor, Paul Newman. We first performed at one of Newman’s camps for terminally ill children – a “Hole in the Wall Gang Camp”. The Rainbow Players were able to participate in theater exchanges with troupes of people labeled as “developmentally disabled”; a Senior citizen theater group, and fit in a trip to the Aran Islands outside of Galway.


Summer 2012:

The Rainbow Players invited to be an international partner with Imagineer Production’s Godiva Awakes”, part of the 2012 London Olympics; with 11 youth groups from the U.K., participating in the Opening Ceremonies that began in Coventry and continued in a parade in London. 


2016:

Travel Grant from NETTEN to Hijinx Unity Festival to witness inclusive performing arts companies from all over Europe.  Flamenco Dance from Spain.  Modern Dance from Morroco. Shakespeare integrating deaf actors. Clowning, acrobatics with huge truck tires. Fully integrated companies…and I began dreaming!


2017:

A Climate Change Musical on the Amherst Common with the Interconnected Festival with EggTooth Productions. Our climate work began here…


2018:

Travel Grant from NETTEN to New Zealand to tour the inclusive performing arts programs across North and South Islands.  We are really dreaming now!


2020:

Our 20th Anniversary Gala Canceled Due to Covid!


2021:

“The Hero’s Journey- A Case for Innocence” an immersive staged reading, site-specific on the grounds of the Belchertown State School in a time when the buildings are being taken down to make way for public housing and commerce. The statement is that “we must remember” all the lives, lived and lost, over almost 100 years.

Summer 2022-

Fall—A Festival of Brilliants, gathering individuals and groups presenting performing arts and taking workshops to celebrate the 22nd Anniversary of The Rainbow Players! 


Each year, The Rainbow Players improvised and wrote a new show with the participation of local community members in a fully inclusive theatrical production. The material originates from the members as they engage in a process of improvisation and social justice theater forms. After tackling the bullying and name-calling types of discrimination, the troupe eventually developed a sense of pride – of themselves and of the message they sent out – and began doing shows involving story theater, fairy tale characters, or representations of current concerns like Climate Change.