A.R.T. Announces Fall 2020 Programming Featuring Civically Speaking Discussion Series, Behind the Scenes Series and More

Programming includes That Kindness: Nurses in Their Own Words
With V (Formerly Eve Ensler), The Lunch Room virtual talk show and more.

A.R.T. Announces Fall 2020 Programming Featuring Civically Speaking Discussion Series, Behind the Scenes Series and More

American Repertory Theater has announced virtual Fall 2020 Programming including the Civically Speaking discussion series; the Behind the Scenes series; and Kidding Around family programming.

“A.R.T.’s virtual fall programming engages local artists and amplifies their work in a new series called Virtually OBERON, and also includes special programming for children and their grownups with our new all-ages musical, Jack and the Beanstalk: A Musical Adventure,” said Paulus. “Later this fall, we will be co-producing the world premiere of a new play in partnership with four theaters across the country-stay tuned for details about this exciting project in the coming weeks. We are also offering three conversation series: Behind the Scenes, featuring A.R.T. artists making work; Civically Speaking, examining politics, history, and the meaning of democracy; and The Lunch Room, A.R.T.’s popular weekly talk show.”

“We believe in the transformative potential of shared space and shared experience, and we look forward to inviting audiences back into our spaces for 1776 and other future productions when health and safety guidelines allow. In the meantime, we are excited about partnering with our audiences in new ways this fall,” said Paulus.

Virtually OBERON events and Jack and the Beanstalk will have a suggested ticket price along with a pay-what-you-can option; The Lunch Room and virtual events in the in the Civically Speaking and Behind the Scenes series are free and supported by donations. Tickets can be purchased and registrations secured now for select events at americanrepertorytheater.org; additional shows and events will be available later this fall.

In addition to the virtual programming and events listed below, A.R.T. is centering several ongoing collaborations and partnerships:

With Lisa Yancey and the Yancey Consulting team, to build an anti-racist practice and anti-oppressive organization. A.R.T will share new actions on its social media channels and website, aggregating these actions into summary reports on a quarterly basis. The first report will specifically address the BIPOC Demands for White American Theatre, to be released by November 16.

With the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, to create new editions of our Roadmap for Recovery and Resilience for Theater, a living document for cultural venues around the country to access public health strategies for safety and resilience.

With the Harvard Center for Wellness and Health Promotion (CWHP), integrating wellness practices and workshops into our audience experience to foster connection and well-being, particularly during this time of isolation and uncertainty. 

Virtually OBERON Series

Weekly releases beginning October 14

Featuring streamed productions from the OBERON archives and new performances created in partnership with The Loop Lab, a BIPOC-led nonprofit whose mission is to empower Womxn and People of Color in careers in the media arts.

ANTHEM-from the archives

Created and Performed by Justice Ameer and Chrysanthemum Tran
Online beginning Wednesday, October 14 at 7:30PM-on sale now

From praise songs to war cries to bops you can’t help but dance to, anthems have long been the heartbeat of political liberation. Featuring Rhode Island-based poets and performers Justice Ameer and Chrysanthemum Tran, ANTHEM explores how race and gender politics shape reality for transgender woman of color.

Queer Heartache-from the archives

Created and performed by Kit Yan
Online beginning Friday, October 16 at 7:30PM-on sale now

Kit Yan is an award-winning, queer, trans, Asian-American poet from Hawaii. Queer Heartache is their solo slam poetry show that explores their identities, asks what queer hearts and families are made of, and interrogates the forces that constantly work to break them apart. The show is a testament to the resilience of queer love in all its forms.

Resistance Mic!-NEW!

Hosted by Timothy Patrick McCarthy
Online Wednesday, October 21 at 8PM-on sale now

The artist-activists of Resistance Mic! share stories and politically engaged works that read, move, sing, and speak truth to power. The streamed October 21 event features Justin Danzy, Krysten Hill, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Oompa, V (formerly Eve Ensler), and a short film by John Lucas and Claudia Rankine. Participate in a live Q&A with the artists and host Timothy Patrick McCarthy following the performances. Part of A.R.T. of Human Rights, an ongoing collaboration with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.


Online beginning Wednesday, October 28 at 7:30PM-on sale October 14

Nationally acclaimed Boston-born poet, rapper and educator Oompa is forever representing the queer, black, orphaned, hood kids, and them. Oompa is a five-time 2019 Boston Music Award nominee, winner of the 2018 Unsigned Artist of the Year award from Boston Music Awards after an unprecedented six nominations, and winner of the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam, and was a finalist at the 2016 National Poetry Slam.

Halloween Special: Cirque of the Dead-from the archives with new bonus content
Created by Boston Circus Guild
Online Saturday, October 31 at 8PM-on sale October 14

Join the Boston Circus Guild’s “paranormal investigation team” online as they explore the dark recesses of a haunted theater to look for evidence of evil spirits and nefarious creatures that manifest in the shadows. This adults-only Halloween spectacular is not for the faint of heart but is filled with as much humor as it is with horror.

The Triad-NEW!

Online beginning Wednesday, November 18 at 7:30PM-on sale October 14

Feminist rapper Brandie Blaze, singer-songwriter Anjimile, and Latin, jazz, Hip-Hop, and R&B fusion artist Kaovanny return to OBERON to headline after previous appearances with Oompa in a triple-header directed by Summer L. Williams.

As part of The Wellspring, a partnership with the Harvard Center for Wellness and Health Promotion (CWHP), free wellness workshops to foster connection and well-being in this period of social isolation will be offered in conjunction with Virtually OBERON programming-further details will be announced at a later date.

Production support of Virtually OBERON is provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Additional production support is provided by Bank of America.

That Kindness: Nurses in Their Own Words

With V (Formerly Eve Ensler)
With help from James Lecesne
Music by Morley
Art Animation by Alixa Garcia
Online beginning Thursday, October 15 at 7PM

Created through conversations between the nurses of America and V (formerly Eve Ensler, O.P.C., In the Body of the World), That Kindness reveals the selfless acts of service and heroism of nurses on the front lines. Produced in partnership with National Nurses United and California Nurses Association, this latest work from the creator of The Vagina Monologues features Ed Blunt, Connie Britton, Rosario Dawson, Stephanie Hsu, LaChanze, Liz Mikel (1776 upcoming, O.P.C.), Rosie O’Donnell, Billy Porter, Dale Soules, Marisa Tomei (We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!), and Monique Wilson. Presented by BAM in cooperation with twenty theaters from across the country.

Jack and the Beanstalk: A Musical Adventure

World Premiere

Book, Music and Lyrics by Julia Riew

Music Direction and Orchestrations by Ian Chan

Directed by Rebecca Aparicio

Online beginning November 27-on sale October 21

The annual family holiday show goes virtual this Thanksgiving with a new, 45-minute Zoom musical that takes us on an epic journey through Storyland. The vivid imaginations of Harvard undergraduates Julia Riew and Ian Chan (the creators of last season’s Thumbelina) transform this classic fairy tale into a contemporary celebration of the power of kindness, courage, determination and creativity to overcome life’s obstacles. Rebecca Aparicio makes her A.R.T. directorial debut with this production after serving as Assistant Director on Endlings and Gloria: A Life. Fall in love with the songs before experiencing the production when the album releases next month, and join us for virtual family engagement activities in November and throughout the run, too!

Production support of Jack and the Beanstalk: A Musical Adventure provided by The Linda Hammett Ory & Andrew Ory Charitable Trust. Additional production support is provided by Bank of America.

The Lunch Room

Online every Tuesday at noon-register now

The Lunch Room, formerly known as Lunch with Lunsford, is A.R.T.’s virtual talk show with the artists, activists, and civic leaders who are shaping our culture and communities. Join members of the A.R.T. staff for curated conversations and interactive Q&As. Oct. 13: With Shawn LaCount and Summer L. Williams from Company One Theatre (rebroadcast); Oct. 20: With Brandon Michael Nase (The Black Clown, ExtraOrdinary), founder of Broadway for Racial Justice; Oct. 27: With poets and performers Justice Ameer and Chrysanthemum Tran (ANTHEM).

• Plus: Later this fall, we will be co-producing the world premiere of a new play in partnership with four theaters across the country-stay tuned for details about this exciting project in the coming weeks!

A dynamic series of virtual conversations, lectures, and performance events on history, politics, justice, and the meaning of democracy that builds on last season’s 1776 Salon series.

Resistance Mic!

Hosted by Timothy Patrick McCarthy

Online Wednesday, October 21 at 8PM

Also part of Virtually OBERON-on sale now

See above for details.

Just Us: A Conversation with Claudia Rankine and Orlando Patterson

Thursday, October 22 at 8PM-register now

Join poet, essayist, and playwright Claudia Rankine (The White Card) and Harvard University John Cowles Professor of Sociology Orlando Patterson for a discussion about Rankine’s new book Just Us: An American Conversation. An assembly of essays, poems, documents and images, Just Us invites us to discover what it takes to stay in the room together and breach the silence, guilt, and violence that arise from addressing whiteness for what it is.

“I learned early that being right pales next to staying in the room.” – Claudia Rankine

Protecting and Deepening Our Democracy: What We Should Worry About and What We Should Do

Online Thursday, November 19 at 5:30PM-registration available October 14

Join Harvard Kennedy School Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government Archon Fung for an exploration of some possible futures of American democracy and what can be done to create a more equal and inclusive democracy.

Online monthly beginning in November-registration available October 21

Meet the writers, directors, composers and choreographers who are making work at the A.R.T. Hear new songs and scenes, and learn about the process, research, and development that goes into the creation of new plays and musicals.

In November: Writer and performer Sara Porkalob (Dragon Lady, Dragon Mama, 1776 upcoming), composer Brian Quijada, and director Andrew Russell (Dragon Lady, Dragon Mama) discuss Dragon Baby, the third play in Porkalob’s Dragon Cycle.

In December: Director Whitney White (Macbeth In Stride upcoming, What to Send Up When It Goes Down) talks with Todd Almond (Kansas City Choir Boy) and Lear deBessonet about Two Cities, their adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

In January: Writer and performer Kate Hamill (Bedlam’s Sense and Sensibility) talks about her work adapting the classics and about The Odyssey, her new play inspired by the Homeric epic.

Ten lottery winners, Behind the Scenes series sponsors, and A.R.T. donors of $500 or more are invited to visit the Virtual Green Room immediately following events to further explore the works presented.

Production support of the Behind the Scenes series is provided by Alison and Bob Murchison. The Incubator Fund for new work in development is sponsored by Allison Johnson.

A.R.T. Kids Company Goes Virtual

The tenth year of A.R.T. Kids Company kicks off with a virtual semester, teaching creativity, teamwork, and theater skills through a mix of creative playmaking, storytelling, and devising for three age groups: 5 – 7, 8 – 10, and 11 – 13. This semester, students will explore themes of power and responsibility through the story of Jack and the Beanstalk in classes taught live and with their own box of materials for creative crafting and design projects. The fall sessions are at capacity-contact [email protected] to receive information about spring sessions.

In partnership with the Harvard Ed Portal, eleven scholarships have been provided to Allston-Brighton youth to participate tuition-free in A.R.T. Kids Company.

Jack and the Beanstalk: A Musical Adventure

World Premiere

Book, Music and Lyrics by Julia Riew

Music Direction and Orchestrations by Ian Chan

Directed by Rebecca Aparicio

Online beginning November 27-on sale October 21

See above for details.

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