From world premieres to career retrospectives, fall offerings from Center grantees include an immersive performance exploring pregnancy, a colorful reexamination of art history, and new plays made in collaboration with communities.
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Algorithmic Theater: Annie Dorsen Retrospective Performances
Bryn Mawr College
In advance of the presentation of a new work by theater artist Annie Dorsen next year, four of Dorsen’s pieces—A Piece of Work, Hello Hi There, Spokaoke, and Yesterday Tomorrow—offer a retrospective of her work. Each piece uses custom algorithms to generate unique scripts, with varying degrees of machine and/or live performance, to interrogate the relationship between human behavior and rapidly advancing technologies.
Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy
Inspired by Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Theatre Horizon’s TOWN uses a well-known community space to stage a world premiere play that challenges the myth of American small-town homogeneity and features community members and professional actors. Theatre Horizon developed the play with direct input from more than 100 Norristown residents, weaving their stories into the work.
The Path of Pins or The Path of Needles
September 16–October 2
Devised by Pig Iron Theatre Company and filmmaker Josephine Decker, this immersive world premiere is a dark fairy tale exploring the uncertain joys and terrors of pregnancy. Unfolding along a fairy-tale-inspired path of pregnancy on the grounds of Rigby Mansion, the piece explores the complex decisions that mothers must make as they navigate the joys, terrors, and uncertainties of being pregnant.
September 14–October 16
The world premiere of a new play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Eisa Davis tells a story of the intersecting lives of immigrant families rooted in Kennett Square, PA, “the mushroom capital of the world.” Collaborator David Mendizábal, a producing artistic leader of The Movement Theatre Company in New York, directs a predominantly bilingual cast performing in both English and Spanish, with subtitles in both languages visible throughout the theater.
The Tattooed Lady
Philadelphia Theatre Company
October 28–November 20
Inspired by historical sideshow performers, a world premiere musical tells the story of an aging grandmother forced to confront her own past as a sideshow performer while bridging a generational divide with her granddaughter. Featuring book, music, and lyrics by Max Vernon, book by Erin Courtney, and direction and development by Ellie Hayman, the performance celebrates the resilience of women and the power of personal autonomy through a meditation on shattering taboos and overcoming adversity.
Jayson Musson: His History of Art
The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Open through November 13
Fabric Workshop and Museum artist-in-residence Jayson Musson examines how humor can address inequality in the arts in a new three-channel video series. Employing costumes, props, puppetry, and scenery created in collaboration with the FWM studio team, Musson satirizes art history and how popular art historical images shape cultural consciousness.
Diálogo 365: New Rhizomes
Fleisher Art Memorial
Through September 9
Featuring works by emerging and established artists of Latin American and Caribbean heritage, this exhibition brings together a variety of perspectives on placemaking in light of the mass exodus from Venezuela over the last decade. Diálogo 365 was inspired by community conversations that were organized by Fleisher Art Memorial as part of 360 Culture Lab, a multicultural arts incubator.
The Academy of Natural Sciences
Through October 30
Designed to foster greater connection with local waterways, a series of outdoor installations and programs offers fresh perspectives on aquatic systems. How to Get to the River, developed by Pew Fellow Whit MacLaughlin in collaboration with Laia and Pete Angevine, leads participants on a walking tour through a representative fragment of the Schuylkill River watershed to see how water moves through the city. Attunement, a 35-foot sound sculpture, tells the story of how water moves across land formations into larger gatherings of water, and Inside the Watershed amplifies sounds from a microphone placed beneath the river’s surface to reveal an underwater world usually hidden from human ears.
The Free Library of Philadelphia Parkway Central Library
September 22–December 31
A team of eight local activists, cultural organizers, and artists, including Pew Fellow Yolanda Wisher, plumbed the archives of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries’ (PACSCL) for this new exhibition. Through artifacts, rare books, archival ephemera, oral histories, and original artwork, the exhibition challenges the systemic erasure of Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ people from the historical record, elevating their stories and illuminating new ways of enacting resistance.