Gala at La MaMa Celebrates Spiderwoman Theater's 40 Years
Spiderwoman Theater, beloved stalwart of New York's downtown theatre scene, will celebrate 40 years of remarkable performances with a gala celebration at the landmark East Village venue La MaMa on Tuesday, September 19.
The evening's festivities will culminate in a spirited dance-party by acclaimed First Nations electronic group A Tribe Called Red. The program will also include performances and tributes by Taylor Mac, noted actor/singer/composer Soni Moreno, La MaMa Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective director Murielle Borst-Tarrant, and Kevin Tarrant and the SilverCloud Singers, among others.
Hailed by The Public Theater's Artistic Director Oskar Eustis as "one of the most influential Native Theatre companies in the history of the country," Spiderwoman is renowned for wit, humanism, and urgent originality. The celebration will also feature sets by Obie Award-winning experimental groups Talking Band and Split Britches' Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw.
Of the occasion, Spiderwoman's artistic director Muriel Miguel says, "40 years and we're still here! This is a celebration for all of our communities. It's the giving that's important to us." The event will showcase a range of Native American artists and commemorate the 20 original works Spiderwoman has created.
Spiderwoman first came onto the New York theatre scene in 1976 with a groundbreaking piece, Women in Violence, which brought to the stage personal experiences, juxtaposing serious substance with absurd humor. The piece toured internationally. Under the direction of Miguel, a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, Spiderwoman's most recent production, Material Witness, was described by the New York Times as "poetic . . . rowdy and playful, displaying an enormous sense of energy, strength and good will." Spiderwoman continues to develop their signature creation process "storyweaving," which layers personal experiences with elements of comedy, dance, and popular culture to create works that explore gender roles, stereotypes, and family relationships.
"There is a warmth in each of Spiderwoman's works that triggers a transformational experience for audiences," says Carey Lovelace, executive creative director of Loose Change Productions, who is co-producing the benefit performance. "We are proud to support and pay homage to their dazzling talents."
The La MaMa celebration and fundraising event, held in the 299-seat Ellen Stewart Theatre, will include samples of the group's work and video tributes from admirers around the globe.
The theatrical event begins at 7:30 p.m.; the after-party featuring A Tribe Called Red at 10:00 p.m. Events are separately ticketed. Tickets for the main event start at $35, A Tribe Called Red's after-party, at $20. Both events together are $50. Tickets are available at: www.spiderwomantheater.org.
The Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa is located at 66 East 4th Street (between 2nd Avenue and The Bowery), New York, N.Y. 10003. Accessible by the N/R train to 8th Street, the 6 train to Astor Place, or the F train to 2nd Avenue.
Performers and tributes include: A Tribe Called Red, Alessandra Belloni, Murielle Borst-Tarrant, Taylor Mac, Monique Mojica, Soni Moreno, Split Britches, Kevin Tarrant and the SilverCloud Singers, Talking Band, Josephine Tarrant, and others.
About Spiderwoman Theater: The world's longest-running Native American theatre company, Spiderwoman Theater is also the longest continuously active feminist performance collective in North America. In 1976, Muriel Miguel was joined by a diverse group of women, including her sisters Gloria Miguel and Lisa Mayo, to stage unique productions and initiatives addressing critical social, cultural, and political issues as well as Native issues. Their signature creation process, "storyweaving," layers personal experience, humor, dance, music, and popular culture to bridge traditional expression and contemporary performance practice. Under Miguel's artistic direction, Spiderwoman Theater, with its diverse repertoire, has been a stalwart in the New York City downtown avant-garde scene.
Spiderwoman received a 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's Caucus for Art. They were awarded honorary Doctorates of Fine Arts in 1997 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for their life's work. Muriel Miguel was named a Guggenheim Fellow in Drama and Performance Art in 2016. Currently, their play Material Witness is touring venues in the U.S. and Canada.