Spotlight on the Haywagon Stage


Isaac Weston ‘22, working on the Haywagon Stage.

If you’ve walked between Monocacy Hall and Reeves Library, you may have noticed a hay wagon surrounded by piles of wood. Set up at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, this is the Haywagon Stage.

Christopher Shorr, Director of Theatre at Moravian, first came up with the idea for the Haywagon Stage in a conversation with the directors of the InFocus Program. Every year, the College comes up with programming, such as lectures or performances, that revolve around the InFocus theme, which is meant to spark dialogue about important issues in the world, like poverty or sustainability. This year’s theme is War, Peacebuilding, and the Just Society, but the directors of the program had some concerns about student involvement.

Because the program is meant to be interdisciplinary and “because we approach it from so many different angles,” said Shorr, students should be able to come into contact with the theme at least once. Many students, though, manage to make it through the year without encountering the theme. Shorr asked himself how he “could take the fight to them.”

After retrieving a hay wagon from storage, Shorr consulted with various campus communities to determine the best location for it. They determined its current location, and in the fall semester, presented a number of events that took place on the Haywagon Stage. The events included a blackboard being set up so that members of the freshman class could write their reactions to the summer reading, “Hiroshima”, by journalist John Hersey; the Ghost Project during which students dressed like dead soldiers from various wars and told their life stories; and a pop-up dance party, because “what brings people together better than dance?”

In the spring semester, the Haywagon Stage shifted gears and became a building project. With the help of students, Shorr is working on turning the wagon into a vardo, or a Romani caravan. Shorr would like this eventual vardo to be “part of some exploration of the refugee crisis.”

Right now, there is only a small group of people working on this project, but they are trying to get the community to come together and assist. If the community helps, asked Shorr, “aren’t we, in fact, doing something towards community-building and peace-building?”

The students are also working on a documentary about the building process. While working, they will ask people passing by to help. If they do help, that person will be asked to introduce themselves and why they helped, which will all be compiled into the short film.

At the end of the semester, when the building is complete, there will be a performance and the wagon will move. Though the nature of the performance is still in development, Shorr plans to ask the campus community to participate in some way, whether that is playing music or simply walking alongside the wagon as it makes its way off campus.

If you are interested in becoming part of the Haywagon Stage in any way, contact Christopher Shorr at [email protected].