Decade Bash to Kick Off FirstWorks' 2014-15 Season

Decade Bash to Kick Off FirstWorks' 2014-15 Season

FirstWorks, a non-profit presenting arts organization, today announced their 2014 - 2015 season will kick off in September with a 10th anniversary bash and includes a year full of extraordinary performances, arts learning programs and the next FirstWorks Festival on the Plaza in June 2015.

A weekend long FirstWorks Decade Bash will open the season and include the FirstWorks 10th Anniversary Gala and a free Urban Carnevale co-presented with the City of Providence. Next, violin virtuoso Regina Carter; the famed Swiss-theatre mask troupe, Mummenschanz; legendary composer Philip Glass with violinist Tim Fain; and Noche Flamenca, a red-hot Flamenco dance company out of Madrid led by the otherworldly soloist Soledad Barrio take the FirstWorks' stage.

Rhode Island composer Steven Jobe's operatic concert "The Legend of the Fairy Melusine" will have its premiere as part of the FirstWorks' season and Providence-based dancer/choreographer Jamie Jewett's Lostwax will premiere a new multimedia dance performance, "Zoologic".

FirstWorks Festival On The Plaza will be a grand capstone to the entire season, transforming the heart of downtown Providence into an astonishing outdoor performance venue and multi-stage spectacle with world-class local, national and international performing artists on June 13, 2015. The free, public celebration is co-produced by FirstWorks with long-time partner, the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism as a signature biennial event in Kennedy Plaza and along the Washington Street corridor featuring music, dance, spectacle and public art. Over 20 local arts and civic organizations are collaborating on a year of community engagement, design, and creativity to launch this signature cultural extravaganza.

"On the cusp of our second decade, FirstWorks is thrilled to offer audiences unprecedented opportunities to discover, experience, participate, and engage with astonishing firsts in the arts," said Kathleen Pletcher, FirstWorks executive artistic director and founder. "The dazzling line-up of artists from across the globe and world-class creativity of Providence's finest, most innovative artists makes for an unforgettable season."


FirstWorks Decade Bash: September 18 - 20, 2014

FirstWorks 10th Anniversary Gala

Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6:00-9:00 PM

Providence Biltmore Hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI

An unforgettable evening of gourmet fare, cocktails, music and spectacle. The evening's events will honor founding FirstWorks board chair Fred Butler and benefit the arts education programs he helped to launch. Tickets are $110 and can be reserved at or call 401-421-4278.

FirstWorks 10th Anniversary Urban Carnevale

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 5:00 PM

Downtown Providence City Center, Kennedy Plaza

A free, jam-packed evening of music, spectacle, and food in the heart of Providence, co-presented with the City of Providence. The international artist line-up includes:

Australia's Strange Fruit - aerial performances of Spheres

Australia's Strange Fruit perform remarkable works that fuse theater, dance, and circus, using a unique elevated medium. Perched atop 15-foot flexible poles of original design, the troupe bends and sways in the air, captivating and engaging the audience in absolute fascination.

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino - trance-inducing folk traditions of Southern Italy

Exploding with energy, rhythm and mystery, this seven-piece band of new generation masters brings 21st century life to the beautiful folk music of Italy's past -- passionately performing both tender love songs and the frenzied dance of age-old pagan rites -- the pizzica tarantata.

Morocco's Ribab Fusion*

Joyful and magnetic, the Ribab Fusion ensemble celebrates Morocco's Amazigh (Berber) culture -- flying from '70s-style funk to Afropop dance vibes, from slow jams to high-energy call-and-responses choruses. The ribab, a one-stringed bowed instrument, weaves this madcap sonic diversity together with sounds that are sometimes gritty, and sometimes soothing as a well-played saxophone.

Oumou Sangaré, presented in collaboration with the AFRIKA NYAGA 6th annual festival, a project developed by Sidy Maiga and Afrimanding.

Oumou Sangaré is a Grammy Award-winning musician and the charismatic diva of West African music, Mali's great diva, champion of women's rights, and one of the world's most astounding female voices. Sangaré kono-Sangaré the Songbird. This is how Oumou Sangaré describes herself when she sings her powerful songs that strike deep in the heart. In Mali, to call oneself a "songbird" is a special privilege of musicians who come from the southern region known as Wasulu*. A songbird (kono) uses music to challenge and comment on life as it really is. And no one does this quite like Sangaré the Songbird.

Plus Local Luminaries:

RI-Sounding Voices - Creating a Statewide Chorus and New Work RPM Voices will lead and direct RI-Sounding Voices, a statewide chorus that joins together choruses from across the Ocean State -- and Rhode Islanders who just like to sing - in a unique musical melting pot of voices. RPM Voices will preview ONE VOICE, a new work to be premiered at the June festival, together as one choral unit that embodies the state's vast diversity. ONE VOICE by RI-Sounding Voices is written and directed by Dr. Clarice LaVerne Thompson (Composer & Artistic Director), Shaunne N. Thomas (Producer & Moderator) and Cheryl S. Lopes (Managing Administrative Director), all of RPM Voices of Rhode Island.

Audiences will also feast their eyes on visual arts from Providence's The Avenue Concept, a top emerging arts organization marrying public art and civic concerns, watch Tape Art transform a building facade, express their deepest hopes and dreams in a pre-Carnevale creative and spiritual ritual with The Providence Peace Flags Project, and marvel at FirstWorks Rising Stars, young virtuosos performing their cultural traditions.

Rhode Island Composer Steven Jobe

"The Legend of the Fairy Melusine"

Saturday, September 13, 8:00 PM, Sunday, September 14, 3:00 PM, Saturday, September 20, 8:00 PM, Sunday, September 21, 3:00 PM

Round Top Center (Beneficent Church), 300 Weybosset Street, Providence, RI

A concert premiere from the workshop of Rhode Island composer Steven Jobe featuring a cast of outstanding local musicians. Based on a 14th-century French folktale, the story of Melusine is filled with romance, mystery and shape shifting. Jobe's score delights with a bold blend of orchestral septet with signature instruments - including pitched, chromatic glass bells, and a hurdy gurdy collection capped by the 10-foot long "Bosch Hurdy Gurdy". Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at door, and available starting July 28 at or 401-421-4278.

Regina Carter

Saturday, October 18, 2014, 8:00 PM

RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal Walk, Providence, RI

The foremost jazz violinist of her generation, Regina Carter and her superb band captivate audiences with wonderfully listenable jazz and highlights from her latest project, "Southern Comfort" - exploring her grandfather's roots in Alabama. Celebrating the joyous sounds that infused her childhood, "Southern Comfort" blends folk songs, Cajun fiddle, early gospel and coal miner's work songs for an unforgettable evening of music. For Regina Carter, the violin isn't merely an improvisational vehicle -- it's a Rosetta stone that unlocks the door to myriad cultures and worlds. Tickets are $20-44 and are available starting July 28 at or call 401-421-4278.

Mummenschanz -- Switzerland's magical theatre of illusion

Thursday, January 22, 2015, 7:00 PM

Special one-hour performance for school groups at 10:00 AM

The Vets, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence, RI

This beloved Swiss mask theatre troupe has brought myth, mystery and laughter to generations of audiences across four continents for over four decades with its groundbreaking non-verbal theatre. Using silence, illusion, light and shadow, Mummenschanz' invisible masters of movement have revolutionized theatre, morphing ordinary materials into magically expressive masks and props. Folding, twisting and teetering the human body into amorphous, adorable creatures, Mummenschanz promises to delight anyone from 2 to 92. Tickets are $28-68, including $3 per ticket restoration fee and are available starting July 28 at or 401-421-ARTS. Save 20% with ticket 4-pack: use code MIME4 (restrictions apply). For AM performance school group rates call 401-421-4278.

Philip Glass: An Evening of Chamber Music

featuring Philip Glass and Tim Fain

Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 7:30 PM

The Vets, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence, RI

Experience an intimate evening with one of the world's most important living composers, Philip Glass. A rare chamber music concert pairing two incredible artists -- featuring Glass performing both on solo piano and alongside the exceptional violinist, Tim Fain -- one of the few soloists for whom Glass has ever composed. The hauntingly beautiful music of Philip Glass transports listeners to a state of musical bliss. Tickets are $38-78, including $3 per ticket restoration fee and are available starting July 28 at or call 401-421-ARTS. Premium ticket includes pre-show meet and greet with champagne toast, select Golden Circle seats, and reserved seating at February 26 Keynote talk with Philip Glass (location and time TBA).

Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca

Friday, March 27, 2015, 8:00 PM

The Vets, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence, RI

Hailed by critics everywhere for its transcendent and deeply emotional performances, Noche Flamenca is one of the most authentic flamenco companies in the world today. Spellbinding live music with song and dance reveal the essence of flamenco by this direct from Spain ensemble of dancers, singers, musicians, and its star, Soledad Barrio. An authentic look at a fiery and expressive art form - a passionate journey through the very heart and soul of flamenco. Tickets are $23-55, including $3 per ticket restoration fee and are available starting July 28 at or call 401-421-ARTS.

Lostwax Multimedia Dance: "Zoologic"

Saturday, April 11, 2015, Time TBA, Sunday, April 12, 2015, Time TBA

RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal Walk, Providence, RI

From 'panda cams', to electronic tagging, to selfies, snapchat, and drones, Lostwax Multimedia Dance applies their techno arts wizardry to author Thalia Field's contemporary love story. Tessella, a woman trapped in her own self-made cage, meets Heine Hediger, the Swiss specialist in animal behavior in zoos. The stories, both human and animal, provide a piercing look at fight, flight, and living life under surveillance. Artistic Director Jamie Jewett and long term collaborator composer/media artist R. Luke DuBois, welcome surveillance art specialist Elise Morrison in asking, "Can you see me now?" Ticket on sale date TBA.

FirstWorks Festival On the Plaza

Co-presented with the City of Providence

Saturday, June 13, 2015, Time TBA

Downtown Providence City Center and Washington Street, Kennedy Plaza

Transforming the heart of downtown Providence into an astonishing outdoor performance venue, the FirstWorks Festival On the Plaza is a multi-stage spectacle with world-class local, national and international performing artists on June 13, 2015. Festival-goers will take to the streets as FirstWorks and the City of Providence, launch the FirstWorks Festival On the Plaza as a free, public celebration intended to be a signature biennial event in Kennedy Plaza and the Washington Street corridor with music, dance, spectacle and public art.

About FirstWorks - FirstWorks is a non-profit arts organization that builds the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of our community through world-class performing arts and education programs. Since 2004, FirstWorks has offered Rhode Islanders access to some of the most exciting artists of our time including Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Wynton Marsalis, Joffrey Ballet, and the master artists of Pakistan through the Caravanserai project (2011-12). Beginning with an unprecedented collaboration with Providence's Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, FirstWorks has produced 22 groundbreaking arts festivals, attracted more than 160,000 participants, presented over 361 international artists and innovators, engaged more than 100 nonprofit community organizations and schools, and grown into a multidimensional arts organization recognized with 17 National Endowment for the Arts grants. In fall 2012, FirstWorks partnered with the City of Providence to present the inaugural FirstWorks Festival: On the Plaza, leading a consortium of 18 organizations to create an event that drew 40,000 people into downtown Providence. In July 2013, the City of Providence and FirstWorks were named recipients of a second NEA Our Town grant to support a community design effort to create a cultural corridor in downtown Providence along Washington Street, and to establish the FirstWorks Festival: On the Plaza as a biennial signature event in Providence. Visit to learn more.

About The Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism - The Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism ensures the continued development of a vibrant and creative city by integrating arts and culture into community life while showcasing Providence as an international cultural destination. Since its establishment in 2003, the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism has worked to enhance Providence's civic life and promote creative placemaking by forging strong working relationships with other city departments, partner agencies, and the local creative community. AC+T aims to provide arts and cultural experiences for all through a broad range of public programming serving all city residents. The Department also coordinates creative development strategies in Providence and spearheads research studies that support investments, policies, and initiatives employing the arts as a social and economic development tool.