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Bard College Launches “Live Arts Bard,” A Dynamic Residency and Commissioning Program for the Performing Arts

Eleanor Davis
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—This September, Bard College will launch a residency and commissioning program for the performing arts, Live Arts Bard (LAB). LAB is a partnership between the Theater and Performance Program and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, and will be run under the leadership of Gideon Lester, the college’s new Director of Theater Programs.

As its acronym suggests, Live Arts Bard is a laboratory for new performance—spanning and transcending the traditional fields of theater, performance, dance, music, film, and live art. Its aim is to develop a fertile and nurturing community of visiting artists and students, who work side by side to generate projects and new creative methodologies.

Each year LAB will provide residencies for individual artists, or groups of collaborators, in theater, performance, dance, live arts, and allied art forms. The 2012–13 pilot program of LAB will support five residences. By 2015, LAB will operate between seven and ten residencies per year. Residencies will last between two weeks and three months. While in residence, artists will participate in a combination of activities, determined between the program director and visiting artist. LAB projects may include: commissioning residencies for projects to be inaugurated at the Fisher Center, either in the annual Bard SummerScape Festival or at other times of year; developmental residencies for projects commissioned by other institutions; directing productions or creating projects with Bard students; teaching semester-long courses in the Theater and Performance Program; teaching master classes and workshops for Bard students, for the public, or in local schools; and mentoring Bard students in the development of their own projects.

This year’s visiting artists in the 2012–13 LAB pilot program include: Amanda Palmer, Annie Dorsen / Scott Shepherd, Jack Ferver, and Jànos Szàsz. Further visiting artists will be announced later in the fall.


Amanda Palmer – Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra

Amanda Palmer is an internationally acclaimed musician, performer, and songwriter. During her LAB residency in September 2012, Palmer and her new band, the Grand Theft Orchestra, will develop their new stage show, which will then tour internationally. They will film a music video on campus and give three concerts at the Fisher Center, offered free to Bard students, to launch Palmer’s new album. Bard student bands will open each concert, and many students will be involved in the residency as interns, technicians, and actors. 

Palmer and her husband, the novelist Neil Gaiman, will return to Bard in April 2013 to give another concert, “The Neil and Amanda Show.” In September 2013, Palmer will spend three more weeks at Bard developing a new musical with Bard students.

Annie Dorsen / Scott Shepherd – False Peach

Director Annie Dorsen and performer Scott Shepherd (of the Wooster Group) are collaborating with a group of French computer scientists to create False Peach, a computer play based on Hamlet, which has been jointly commissioned by On the Board (Seattle) and BAM’s Next Wave Festival. Dorsen, Scott, and their collaborators will be residents at LAB for three weeks in September 2012. Dorsen will then remain at Bard for the fall semester and teach two courses in the Theater and Performance Program.

Jack Ferver – All of a Sudden

New York–based choreographer and performer Jack Ferver will be in residence in January 2013 to develop All of a Sudden, his new dance-theater collaboration with dramaturg Joshua Lubin-Levy, based on Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer. All of a Sudden will premiere at Abrons Arts Center, New York, NY, in May 2013. After the residency Ferver will remain at Bard for the spring semester, where he will teach two courses in the Theater and Performance Program.

Jànos Szàsz – The Master and Margarita

Hungarian theater director Jànos Szàsz will develop a stage adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s masterpiece The Master and Margarita with students in Bard’s Theater and Performance program. The adaptation will be produced in April 2013 as part of the Fisher Center’s tenth anniversary celebrations.



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This event was last updated on 04-25-2013