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Diane Paulus and Elizabeth Streb in a Public Forum at The Boston Foundation


Two internationally known artists—both seen as standard-bearers for defining the emerging aesthetic in their respective art forms—discuss engaging audiences as an artistic challenge, not just an assignment for the marketing department.

The Boston Foundation will host Diane Paulus, Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) and Elizabeth Streb, Artistic Director of the Streb Laboratory for Action Mechanics (S.L.A.M.) at a special discussion forum called “Performance and Participation: the Art of Audience Engagement,” on Thursday, May 27, 8:30 to 10:30 AM.

The discussion will explore audience engagement as not just a marketing effort, but an artistic challenge. For this, Diane Paulus, whose flourishes at the A.R.T. have included a disco adaptation of Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth reimagined as an immersive audience adventure, is a perfect fit. Elizabeth Streb brings a similar verve to engagement – the doors of her Brooklyn-based dance company are literally open to anyone who wants to experience it. Catherine Peterson from ArtsBoston will moderate.

The program is part of a Wallace Foundation initiative.

Diane Paulus is a critically acclaimed director of theater and opera; her productions have garnered multiple Obie awards, and she is one of the most highly regarded theater artists in the country. Equally at home with plays, musical theater, and opera, her repertoire of work has drawn acclaim from remarkably diverse audiences and critics around the world. She is currently in the final rehearsals for the A.R.T. world premier of Johnny Baseball, a Boston Red Sox musical.

Elizabeth Streb, the 1997 recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award, was once called the Evel Knievel of dance. Her choreography intertwines the disciplines of dance, athletics, boxing, rodeo, the circus, and Hollywood stunt-work. In 2003 Streb established S.L.A.M (STREB Lab for Action Mechanics) in Brooklyn, NY. S.L.A.M.’s door is literally open for the community to come in and watch rehearsals, take classes and learn to fly.

Catherine Peterson, ArtsBoston’s Executive Director since 1997, is a leader in Boston’s cultural, business, and civic affairs. Her background includes both marketing and artistic administration experience at the Cleveland National Opera and Worcester Art Museum. She has also managed the careers of 25 internationally known opera singers through Columbia Artists Management.

Compiled from the press release courtesy of The Boston Foundation (website).

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