When Strangers Meet

A.R.T. Guide

Fall 2021 Edition
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Artistic Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the new, digital edition of the American Repertory Theater Guide. For many years, this magazine has taken readers behind the scenes of A.R.T. productions via interviews, profiles, and stories about the work on our stages. Now, driven by our commitment to reopening safely, and by a desire to reevaluate our environmental impact, we are moving our publications online. While eliminating the use of hundreds of pounds of paper per year, this virtual platform will also allow us to blend articles with multimedia content, giving audiences even more opportunities to connect with A.R.T. shows and artists.

The links below offer an introduction to our fall 2021/22 programming—our first in-person productions in almost eighteen months. We begin with The Arboretum Experience, a collection of audio plays and movement meditations now available for free to visitors at the Arnold Arboretum in the heart of Boston. Read on for reflections from Arnold Arboretum Director Ned Friedman and from the creative team of The Arboretum Experience about their work on these deeply collaborative pieces. I urge you to take the time this fall to visit the Arboretum and enjoy this experience of nature and art.

We will welcome audiences back to the Loeb Drama Center in late September with renowned tap dancer Ayodele Casel’s new work, Chasing Magic. In this issue of the Guide, Casel and director Torya Beard share the inspiration and process for this work, originally created as a dance film captured at the Joyce Theater last winter. In October, we celebrate the opening of Macbeth In Stride: a rock-concert reimagining of Lady Macbeth’s rise and fall. The first piece in a commissioned series of musical dialogues with women in Shakespeare’s plays written and performed by Whitney White, Macbeth In Stride is co-directed by Tyler Dobrowsky and Taibi Magar (We Live in Cairo). Then, in November, we welcome the Silkroad Ensemble and their new artistic director, Grammy Award-winner Rhiannon Giddens, with Phoenix Rising, a musical rebirth and celebration featuring Giddens and more than 25 Silkroad artists. Read on for artist interviews and stories about these pieces.

The past year and a half has been full of challenges, continual learning, and lifelong lessons in how to stay flexible and prioritize care of each other. We are deeply grateful for our on-going partnership with Harvard University, and our collaboration with Professor Joseph Allen, Director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who has been central to crafting and articulating a safe plan for reopening our doors to artists and audiences. I also offer heartfelt thanks to all the audience members and supporters who have helped us reach this moment. As an artistic director, I have been guided by a vision of the audience as a partner in everything we do. The pandemic has only strengthened my belief in that partnership. We would not be at this point without the help of our community, and I can’t wait to see you again soon in the theater.

Diane Paulus, A.R.T. Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director