MIT Launches New Series 'MIT Performing'
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announces the new performing arts series MIT Performing, signaling a new destination in the performing arts scene in Boston/Cambridge. Curated by Professor Jay Scheib, the series launches with performance artist Adrienne Truscott's celebrated solo work THIS, Andrew Schneider's new production NERVOUS/SYSTEM and Ayesha Jordan's one-woman sci-fi telenovela Shasta Geaux Pop, developed in collaboration with Charlotte Brathwaite, MIT Assistant Professor of Theater Arts. MIT Performing envisions an array of productions, lectures and new performance idioms throughout the year. Following on these three productions, internationally renowned solo performer Lisa Dwan will present her lecture/demonstration "A Body of Beckett," followed by a new theater work to be developed by director Jay Scheib with an international cast of collaborators.
Known for genre-defying works of daring physicality and the integration of new (and used) technologies in performance, curator Jay Scheib's recent staging of Na'ama Zisser's new opera Mamzer/Bastard for the Royal Opera House in London played to packed houses at the Hackney Empire Theater. His new hit musical Bat Out of Hell is currently running in London's West End at the Dominion Theater and in the fall will begin a North American tour with extended runs at the Ahmanson Theater in L.A., the Wang in Boston and New York's City Center Theater. A Professor of Theater Arts at MIT for more than a decade, Professor Scheib is delighted to announce this collaboration with the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) to present a series of innovative performances in MIT's recently completed theater arts facility.
Developed as the new home for the program in Theater Arts at MIT, W97 was opened in 2017, with a mandate to enhance its curricular offerings by providing students with the opportunity to engage in professional presentations, lectures and prototyping residencies with innovative artists from around the world.
The series is presented by MIT CAST with support from the MIT Council for the Arts. MIT Performing will present works by performers who have had a significant impact in the field, many of them having graced stages at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, the Royal Court Theater, Barbican, Festival d'Automne, The Public Theater, the Kitchen and more. All events welcome the public to this new destination for exciting, innovative performance in the Boston/Cambridge area.
"The inaugural season of MIT Performing, a presenting and prototyping series, approaches theater as a dynamic and vital platform for research-based performance practices," says Jay Scheib. "The program in Theater Arts in recent years at MIT has experienced a tremendous surge in enrollments and engagement from both the MIT community and the greater New England live arts scene. It is a thrilling moment and the perfect opportunity to welcome artists and audiences to this extraordinary new facility."
Andrew Schneider's play NERVOUS/SYSTEM will be presented at MIT November 9-11, 2018, before it premieres at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music (BAM). NERVOUS/SYSTEM is a live theater performance integrating projection, innovative lighting and staging, and 3D sound spatialization to tell everyday human narratives hidden in plain sight. Schneider will have a Visiting Artist residency through the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology in which he will visit MIT Theater Arts classes and engage with students and faculty working in lighting design, set design and other areas of theater production. Schneider is an OBIE Award-winning, Drama Desk-nominated performer, writer and interactive-electronics artist who has created original works for theater, video and installation since 2003. Rooted at the intersection of performance and technology, Schneider's work critically investigates our overdependence on being perpetually connected in an always-on world.
Adrienne Truscott will present her latest solo performance art piece entitled THIS February 7-9, 2019. A brash nonlinear confessional, the work bounces from 2017 feminism to the presidency to unconventional urban living. THIS is an ever-evolving work that writes, in real time, the libretto of the performance the artist is attempting to do, which changes with each iteration to reflect new contexts brought by the performance at hand. Truscott is a choreographer, circus acrobat, dancer, writer, storyteller and comedian. She has been making genre-straddling performances in New York City and abroad for more than 20 years.
Ayesha Jordan is a New York City-based multidisciplinary performer and creator. She and her collaborator, Charlotte Brathwaite, will be bringing Shasta Geaux Pop to MIT on February 15, 2019. Shasta Geaux Pop was recently presented at the Under the Radar Festival 2018 and the Right About Now Festival in Amsterdam, and in Orange County, CA, for the Off Center Festival at the Segerstrom Arts Center, and last year at the La Jolla Playhouse's 2017 Without Walls (WOW) Festival, the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, the Under the Radar Festival (January 2017) and at the Bushwick Starr (September 2016). Jordan was part of the Broadway production of Eclipsed at the John Golden Theatre and reprised her role of "The Girl" at the Curran in San Francisco (March 2017). She was also in the dance theater company Cakeface's production of Stairway to Stardom. In 2015, she created Come See My Double D's at JACK (NY). She has performed abroad in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland and Japan. Other projects created and developed by Jordan include Enter & Exit: Family Reunion, Enter & Exit: Playing House, Inter 1-to-1, video project Living Room Dance Breaks and a plethora of videos featuring her "friends and family."
Director Charlotte Brathwaite is known for her unique approach to staging classical and unconventional texts, video, film, dance, visual art, multimedia, site-specific installation, performance art, plays and music events. Her work has been seen in the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. It ranges in subject matter from the historical past to the distant future, illuminating issues of race, sex, power and the complexities of the human condition.
Named as one of the "up-and-coming women in theatre to watch" by Playbill, Brathwaite is the recipient of several awards and citations, including the Prelude Festival Franky Award, the Princess Grace Award, the Julian Milton Kaufman Prize (Yale), a Rockefeller Residency and the National Performing Network Creation Fund. She received her MFA at Yale School of Drama and her BA in Physical Theater at the Amsterdam School for the Arts (the Netherlands). She has been a Visiting Professor at Amherst College and a Visiting Artist at Williams College. Currently, Brathwaite is a freelance director and Assistant Professor of Music and Theater Arts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Lisa Dwan is an Irish performer, director and writer, who will present the lecture/demonstration "A Body of Beckett" on February 21, 2019. Having originally trained in the UK as a ballet dancer, including dancing with Rudolf Nureyev in Coppélia in Dublin, and with the London Lewis Ballet Company, she has also worked extensively in theater, film and television, both internationally and in her native Ireland. She is currently starring in the new Netflix series Top Boy. Dwan was last seen on the US stage starring in Harold Pinter's The Lover & The Collection at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC. In 2019, she will perform the world premiere of Pale Sister, an adaptation of the Antigone myth written for her by the Irish writer Colm Tóibín. Dwan writes, presents, lectures and teaches regularly on theater, culture, gender and Beckett, and is currently a fellow at the School of Art and Ballet at New York University and a 2017-2018 distinguished artist in residence at Columbia University. Next year, she will continue her position at Columbia, teaching at the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality and developing a new theater piece with Margaret Atwood based on Medea.
Jay Scheib's recent stagings include Na'ama Zisser's new opera Mamzer/Bastard for the Royal Opera House in London at the Hackney Empire Theater and the Evening Standard Musical of the Year winner, Bat Out of Hell, after the albums by Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf, which is currently playing at the Dominion Theater. Other music theater works include a new opera based on Ingmar Bergman's film Persona, which was produced by Beth Morrison Projects and premiered at National Sawdust in New York, followed by performances at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and LA Opera at RedCat. Surrogate Cities/Götterdammerung reframed Wagner's 19th-century masterpiece through the lush conflicts of Heiner Goebbels's renowned song cycle. With the full orchestra on stage and the action filmed live and projected onto a massive screen, Surrogate Cities/Götterdammerung played to rave reviews at the Opernhaus Wuppertal, Germany. Named Best New York Theater Director by Time Out New York in 2009, and one of the 25 theater artists shaping the next 25 years of American theater by American Theater Magazine, Scheib is a recipient of the MIT Edgerton Award, the Richard Sherwood Award, a National Endowment for the Arts/TCG fellowship, an OBIE Award for Best Direction and the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a Professor of Music and Theater Arts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he teaches in the Program for Theater Arts - his classes include Motion Theater, Live Cinema Performance, Performance Media and Performance Scenography.
The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) creates new opportunities for art, science and technology to thrive as interrelated, mutually informing modes of exploration, knowledge and discovery. CAST's multidisciplinary platform presents performing and visual arts programs, supports research projects for artists working with science and engineering labs, and sponsors symposia, classes, workshops, design studios, lectures and publications. The Center is funded in part by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. CAST's Faculty Director is Evan Ziporyn and Executive Director is Leila W. Kinney. For more information, visit arts.mit.edu/cast
70 percent of incoming freshmen have prior training in the arts, and nearly 50 percent of all MIT undergraduates enroll in arts courses each year. The arts strengthen MIT's commitment to the aesthetic, human, and social dimensions of research and innovation. Artistic knowledge and creation exemplify MIT's motto-mens et manus, mind and hand. The arts are essential to MIT's mission to build a better society and meet the challenges of the 21st century. For more information, visit arts.mit.edu.