The Fisher Center at Bard has announced its 20th anniversary season Breaking Ground, including new commissions, world premieres, and productions for SummerScape 2023.
As part of SummerScape 2023, new music-theatre work Illinois will make its world premiere June 23-July 2. Based on Sufjan Stevens’ 2005 concept album of the same name, Tony winner Justin Peck will direct and choreograph the work which features a story by Peck and Pulitzer winner Jackie Sibblies Drury (Fairview). The full-length work explores the album's portrayals of the American heartland. Featuring new arrangements for a live band and three voices, the music genres will range in sound from folk and indie rock to marching band and ambient electronic.
The Fisher Center will also present the world Premiere of Elevator Repair Service’s Ulysses which will be co-directed by John Collins and the work's dramaturg Scott Shepherd. Based on James Joyce's work, the show will run September 21-October 1 at the LUMA Theater. The Fisher Center commission will feature seven performers sitting down for a sober reading. But as it progresses, they find themselves fast-forwarding through pints, brawls, philosophical debates, and more.
Other highlights from the season include a new dance piece titled Nail Biter by choreographer Beth Gill; a new lecture series on writing from Neil Gaiman; international festival The Fisher Center LAB Biennial Common Ground which focuses on the politics of land and food; the first major American production of Camille Saint-Saëns’ opera Henri VIII; and the 33rd Bard Music Festival: Vaughan Williams and His World.
At the end of the season, construction will begin on a new performing arts studio building, designed by Maya Lin.
Gideon Lester, the Fisher Center’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said in a statement, “In 2002, the Fisher Center was a blank canvas, a story waiting to be discovered. Over the past 20 years, that story has been powerfully written by artists, facility, students, and audiences alike. Hundreds of remarkable works have premiered in the LUMA and Sosnoff Theaters, and performances have also taken place on Frank Gehry’s steel roof, in storage rooms and backstage corridors, and even in the bathrooms. The building has been animated and repurposed in countless ways, and it is still teaching us how to use it."