Winter Speaker Series

2021-2022 Zoom Speaker Series

To Bee or Not To Bee

Jon Mirin & Laura Josephs

Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 7:00 pm

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Jon Mirin & Laura Josephs: Photo: Isaac Harrell

Having gradually replaced his diverse crops with corn in order to fill a growing corporate demand for corn by-products, Farmer James has lost his bees, there’s only gruel to eat and now the townspeople (the audience) have arrived to protest, chanting “There’s no good food, we’re in a bad mood.” To Bee tells James’ comic, tragic and ultimately hopeful story – complete with puppetry, clowning, dance, live music and lots of audience participation. Piti created the show to raise awareness about the honeybee’s plight and gives children and adults tools for helping bees thrive in their communities. This is a great show for all ages but especially kids ages 5 to 10 years old! More at

The Music:
Northampton, MA singer/songwriter Carrie Ferguson wrote the music and collaborated with Piti’s Jonathan Mirin on lyrics for the production. She plays the Piano Lady in the show. Carrie’s work with Piti has been honored by an Iguana Grant from Club Passim in Cambridge, MA.

The Piti Theatre Company, based in Shelburne Falls, MA and Switzerland, created the show to raise awareness about the honeybee’s plight, and give children and adults tools for helping pollinators thrive in their communities. The performance connects to a real-world grassroots campaign called 10% For the Bees which encourages replanting of 10% of lawns with bee friendly habitat and transitioning to organic lawn care methods.

10% For the Bees Campaign:
One of the major challenges facing honeybees (and many other species around the globe) aside from pesticide use is loss of habitat. Honeybees in many parts of the U.S. simply “don’t have enough to eat.” Local beekeeper and Friends of Merrymeeting Bay Chair Ed Friedman notes two additional threats, radiofrequency radiation from wireless devices and climate change. “Experiments show bees fail to return to their hives when a transmitting wireless device is in the immediate vicinity and ambient levels of this environmental toxin are rising with the widespread installation of smart electric meters and growing use of 5G wireless technology” Friedman said, adding, “With the extended warmth of longer summers, hives remain active after nectar and pollen sources have gone by, forcing the bees to use valuable winter stores sooner and at a greater rate than normal. There is no longer enough bee forage, particularly late in the season and then increasingly common winter temperature fluctuations also are bee-killers.” Piti's coArtistic Director Jonathan Mirin emphasized, "Collaborating with a local environmental group like Friends of Merrymeeting Bay and a beekeeper like Friedman is an ideal situation for a performance like this one." Piti’s 10% For the Bees Campaign also encourages audiences to let nature plant 10% of their lawn – or plant a bee garden.

To Bee or Not To Bee has been funded in part by the New England States Touring program (NEST) of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies. 

Thanks to Piti Theatre, and especially for those who missed our zoom program, FOMB offers free viewing of “To Bee…” through May 31, 2022. Click this hyperlink.


Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler