Global performance can diminish borders, build live human connections, and brew empathy and open minds. The diverse platforms and works featured in the Walker’s 2017–2018 Performing Arts Season bring people together in real time to interact with inspiring creators from 12 countries across four continents. With national leaders stoking fear and distrust of the rest of the world, we feel that offering performances by artists from around the world, including Muslim-majority nations, is nothing short of essential.
We open the season with a work of intense artistry by Morocco’s Bouchra Ouizguen, featuring more than 20 Moroccan and Minnesotan women in free performances at non-theatrical locations across the Twin Cities. This launches Spot On, a new site-specific series that also includes the UK’s Forced Entertainment with its six-hour Quizoola! at the Soap Factory and Zimbabwe’s Nora Chipaumire with a combat dance on masculinity at a Northeast Minneapolis boxing ring/gym. Other highlights include a new partnership with the Guthrie Theater featuring international theater visionaries making their Midwest debuts—Beirut’s Ali Chahrour, in a contemporary exploration of Lebanese mourning rituals, and one of the world’s great directors, Quebec’s Robert Lepage, offering his magical memory theater work, 887.
Following the success of the exhibition Merce Cunningham: Common Time, we explore an even greater comingling of the visual, media, and performing arts worlds with commissioned collaborations between jazz musician Jason Moran and video art provocateurs Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch as well as French visual artist Laure Prouvost working with a host of dance, media, and music collaborators. Both Moran and Prouvost are the subjects of two Walker exhibitions, and this fall we amplify our survey Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950 with new Cuban musical artistry (vocal powerhouse Dayme Arocena) and theater (Teatro El Público).
While masters such as Bill Frisell, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, the Bad Plus, Vijay Iyer, and Tanya Tagaq return this season with special projects, even more present are an array of Midwest debuts by artists under age 40 (in addition to Charhour, Prouvost, and Arocena): Brooklyn’s Rafiq Bhatia; Belgium’s Jan Martens; Scotland’s Anna Meredith; Niger’s Mdou Moctar; and New York City’s 600 Highwaymen. Along with live performances, many season events also involve interactive, teaching, and social components.
The Walker’s 2017–2018 season celebrates plurality, freedom of expression, open cultural borders, and new forms with a renewed faith in the future. I look forward to sharing the inspirations and transformations that the works of these creators hold for us all.