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ArtsEmerson Announces Its 10th Anniversary Season


ArtsEmerson Announces Its 10th Anniversary Season

ArtsEmerson, Boston's leading presenter of contemporary world theatre, proudly announces its 10th Anniversary Season featuring five new commissioned works and five reprises from six different countries. The 2019/20 season continues ArtsEmerson's commitment to international work and to contemporary artistic forms including circus, mixed media, music theatre and first person narrative all from diverse perspectives. The landmark anniversary season will feature the world premiere of Detroit Red (produced by ArtsEmerson and written by Will Power) which uplifts Malcolm X's under-examined, life-shaping experiences as a young man who called Boston home. It will also feature the U.S. Premiere of Plata Quemada (TEATROCINEMA), the gritty true story of Argentina's most daring bank heist.

View ArtsEmerson's 2019/20 Season trailer here.

For our 10th season we wanted to show everyone both where we've come from and where we are taking them next, says ArtsEmerson Artistic Director David Dower. ArtsEmerson started quickly, mounting the first season just months after we were formed, but over nine short seasons we've emerged as an established institution that animates a critical corner of Boston's cultural landscape thriving in the intersection of global performance and civic transformation.

For this celebratory season, we wanted audiences to have a chance to see five signal works that contributed to our evolution and to feel the exciting possibilities of scale and ambition that our rapid rise has enabled, Dower continues. So, we're offering ten titles for our tenth season. Five are returning audience favorites from the first nine seasons that together reveal the path we've traveled from start-up to anchor institution. And five are ArtsEmerson commissions making their debuts on the international touring circuit that stretch us, both the company and the audience, and gain new ground in the story of ArtsEmerson, setting the table for another decade of bold, international programming that helps us explore the world and discover our own.

The 10th Anniversary Season also encompasses ArtsEmerson's signature civic engagement programming including Welcome to Boston cast parties, Play Reading Book Clubs, a city-wide read and partnerships with local multi-cultural organizations and film festivals. The 2019/20 season will also kick-off the 4th annual Mr. Joy: The Neighborhood Tour, a series of free theatre performances in various neighborhoods of Daniel Beaty's Mr. Joy, which originally premiered downtown in ArtsEmerson's 2015/16 season.

We are thrilled to announce that we are 10 years bold, shares ArtsEmerson Executive Director David C. Howse. At ArtsEmerson, we aim to make theater accessible and affordable to broader, more diverse audiences in Boston, and are dedicated to engaging people and communities that have traditionally felt unwelcome in the theatre. We bring performances and related activities to neighborhoods, offer multiple ways to connect with the work, and provide access to artists and our staff. The results cross economic, geographic, and cultural borders, fostering a more connected, inclusive and vibrant city.

Ticket packages, now on sale, start at $95 and may be purchased online at, by phone at 617-824-8400 or in person at the Emerson Paramount Center Box Office. Groups of 10 or more tickets to any performance, and single tickets to Passengers are also available now. Single tickets for the remaining productions will go on sale to the public at a later date.

September 25 October 13, 2019

The 7 Fingers / Canada
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre

The 7 Fingers' electrifying and heart-stirring mix of circus, music, and dance has made them fan favorites at ArtsEmerson. That's why we're so excited to bring Montreal's famed company back to Boston for their seventh engagement and this time, we're on a new, thrilling journey. Speeding through, up and over the shifting landscapes of our lives, Passengers reminds us that we always have somewhere we've got to go, but often don't know where we're headed or who we'll meet along the way. Climb aboard and take an unforgettable ride that will engage your imagination, pull at your heartstrings and remind you what it's like to find wonder and beauty in all situations.

October 30 November 3, 2019


ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsman in cooperation with The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation / USA, NYC

Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
In association with Celebrity Series of Boston and New England Conservatory.

Thirty years after Robert Mapplethorpe's death, the world still cannot turn away from the magnetism and emotional complexity of his influential photographs. With their startling union of erotic heat and cool classicism, his controversial works were images of a generation, shattering mainstream conceptions of conventional beauty. Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) is the daring collaboration of a group of visionary artists working together for the first time, inspired by and featuring images from Mapplethorpe's stunning body of work.

Composed by Bryce Dessner (guitarist for GRAMMY Award winning band The National), featuring libretto by Korde Arrington Tuttle and poetry by Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, and sung by the eight-person choral ensemble Roomful of Teeth, Triptych is a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration of artists and art forms. Mapplethorpe's uncanny ability to upend beliefs on race, gender and politics in both edifying and reckless ways is celebrated and examined here through haunting, unforgettable music and large-scale projections of his work. Triptych is a bold tribute to one of the most brilliant photographers of the 20th century.

November 6 10, 2019

Isango Ensemble / South Africa
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre

South Africa's celebrated Isango Ensemble triumphantly returns to Boston with a reprisal of Mozart's classic opera, The Magic Flute. This timeless story follows a young prince as he tries to win the love of the princess whose mother is the Queen of the Night. But you've never experienced the iconic tale quite like this, brought to life with marimbas, oil drums, inventive design, and bold energy. It's Mozart reimagined and transformed by internationally celebrated Cape Town artists and musicians.

November 20 24, 2019

Homer's Coat / USA, NYC

Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage

An Iliad unfurls the final weeks of a legendary, decade-long siege where Greek legends mercilessly battled over the fall of Troy. This Obie Award winning adaptation of Homer's epic poem places one man on a bare stage with a simple question to ask: Has anything really changed since the Trojan War? Directed by Lisa Peterson and starring Tony Award winning actor Denis O'Hare (American Horror Story, True Blood, Dallas Buyers Club and This Is Us), An Iliad in a sweeping account of humanity's unshakable attraction to violence.

January 23 26, 2020

Back to Back Theatre / Australia
Emerson Paramount Center, Jackie Liebergott Black Box

When a group of activists with intellectual disabilities holds a public meeting, they discover a history they would prefer not to know, and a future that is ambivalent. As the frank, funny and challenging conversation jumps from topic to topic factory farming, human rights, the social impact of automation the presence of an Artificial Intelligence in the room expands, begging the question: Who precisely is the fittest to survive in the age of AI? The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes takes audiences on a journey to remind us all that no one is completely self-sufficient.

This original, imaginative work comes to Boston courtesy of one of Australia's most recognized and respected contemporary theatre companies. Committed to inclusion for people with disabilities, Back to Back Theatre brings audiences into the world of accessibility and inaccessibility via performers whose real lives intersect with those precise issues on a daily basis.

February 1 16, 2020

DETROIT RED (World Premiere)

written by Will Power and produced by ArtsEmerson / USA, Boston

Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage

The world forever knows him as Malcolm X, but when he lived in Roxbury, they called him Detroit Red. Internationally renowned playwright Will Power combines the accuracy of a historian with the lyricism of a poet to shine a contemporary light on a pivotal coming-of-age moment in the celebrated, controversial civil rights leader's life.

Boxed in by race and class in 1940's Boston, he transformed from a rowdy teenager into a street hustler. Detroit Red vividly brings this world to life, depicting a brutally honest, human portrayal of the future activist as he navigates street life and the criminal underworld, taking the first steps in his quest to define the type of man he would eventually become.

Power has been called the best verse playwright in America (New York Magazine) and is widely known as one of the pioneers and cocreators of hip hop theater. This world premiere of Detroit Red uplifts Malcolm X's under-examined, life-shaping experiences as a young man who called Boston home.

March 11 15, 2020
Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage

TEATROCINEMA pulls out all the stops to deliver a heart-pounding noir tale of bandits, betrayals and blowouts in Plata Quemada. Their groundbreaking storytelling intertwines live-action performances with eye-popping illustration and animation, creating a hyper-stylized graphic novel that comes to life right in front of audiences' eyes.

The backstory: In Buenos Aires, 1965, a daring, complicated bank heist unraveled into a bloody saga that is infamous in South America to this day. Now, Ricardo Piglia's controversial novel about these real-life events Plata Quemada has been adapted for the stage. After 2016's intense and revelatory Historia de Amor, Chilean theatre makers TEATROCINEMA return to Boston with another U.S. premiere.

March 26 29, 2020


Toshi Reagon, Bernice Johnson Reagon / USA, NYC

Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre

Returning to ArtsEmerson as a fully realized staged production after its sold-out 2017 workshop production, Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower brings together over 30 original musical anthems and requiems drawn from 200 years of black music to adapt Octavia E. Butler's sci-fi, Afrofuturist masterpiece for the stage.

Parable of the Sower tells the story of a young woman who lives in a not-so-distant America where climate change has driven society to violence and the brink of extinction. When she loses both family and home, she ventures out into the unknown. What begins as a desperate fight for survival leads to something much more profound: a startling vision of human destiny that births the seeds of a new faith. With music and lyrics composed by Toshi Reagon in collaboration with her mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Parable of the Sower is a triumphant, mesmerizing theatrical work of rare power and beauty that illuminates deep insights on gender, race and the future of human civilization.

April 28 May 3, 2020

69 S (The Shackleton Project)
Phantom Limb / USA, NYC
Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage

Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 trans-Antarctic expedition is one of the greatest feats of endurance ever attempted. When their ship sinks in its quest to traverse Antarctica, the goal of the explorer and his crew changes from discovery to survival. In 69 S, this jaw-dropping tale of willpower at the edge of the world is brought to life through a magical combination of dance, life-sized puppetry and cinema all set to the music of Kronos Quartet.

Phantom Limb returns with their multimedia masterpiece, 69 S, an innovative meditation on the limits of human determination that will leave you absolutely speechless.

May 13 17, 2020

Vesturport / Iceland and UK
Emerson Paramount Center, Robert J. Orchard Stage

Legendary author Franz Kafka's most famous literary invention becomes a 3D reality in this awe-inspiring and surprisingly funny adaptation of Metamorphosis.

When Gregor Samsa awakes one morning from unsettling dreams, he realizes he's been transformed into an insect. This widely acclaimed production combines breathtaking physicality and daring aerial action as the recently transformed Gregor negotiates a gravity-defying, split-level set. Domestic tragedy or a metaphor for totalitarian brutality? Metamorphosis is a disturbing story that will delight and astound.

Directed by G sli rn Gar arsson and David Farr, Metamorphosis is set to an evocative original soundtrack scored by world-renowned musicians Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (The Road, Lawless, Hell or High Water, Wind River), creating an atmosphere that brilliantly translates Kafka's distinct dream-like vision to the stage. Metamorphosis was a word-of-mouth sensation in Boston in 2013; don't miss your chance to see it during its triumphant return to the Paramount Center.



Written by Daniel Beaty

ArtsEmerson presents the 4th annual Mr. Joy: The Neighborhood Tour, a series of free theatre performances of Daniel Beaty's Mr. Joy, a play that explores issues of race and class in America to help us find our common humanity.

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