Wilbury Theatre Group announces new chapter with a new home and performance space at the WaterFire Arts Center
The Wilbury Theatre Group announces their move to WaterFire Arts Center, creating a new theatrical home and an exciting performance venue for Providence and beyond. The re-imagined Wilbury Theatre at WaterFire Arts Center will open in late Fall 2021, but outdoor and virtual programming are already in place.
Productions planned for the 2021/22 season highlight fresh new work, including Haus of Glitter’s activist dance party Historical Fantasy of Esek Hopkins, the East Coast premiere of Charlie Thurston’s modern meditation on the Icarus tale Lifted, the world premiere of Shey Rivera Ríos’ AntigonX – a queer/Latinx interpretation of Sophocles’ Antigone, season two of Don Mays’ audio play series God Talks to An Agnostic produced in collaboration with AFRI Productions and The Public’s Radio, the Tony Award-winning musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, and FringePVD, the 8th annual Providence Fringe Festival (July 18-31, 2021).
With this new performance venue at WaterFire Arts Center, Wilbury will strengthen their mission to stage innovative theater and underscore its commitment to the surrounding community. Wilbury has a long history of bringing performance to WaterFire Arts Center to starting in 2017, when the center first opened. The 37,000 square foot multi-use arts center became WaterFire’s permanent home in May of that year, and is now an artistic hub and symbol of the city’s creative identity.
“This past year has allowed The Wilbury Theatre Group to adapt and engage in reinforced artistic collaborations,” says Josh Short, Founder/Artistic Director of The Wilbury Theater Group. “We’ve pushed ourselves to continue to work and grow through even the most trying of circumstances. This incredible opportunity to plan and build out a new, flexible performance space in the WaterFire Arts Center opens the door to a host of new opportunities, allowing us to share resources with WaterFire while maintaining our independence as a home for groundbreaking artists from our community and beyond.”
“The move to WaterFire Arts Center opens pathways to creativity we have not yet imagined,” says Board President Milly Massey. “Wilbury working in conjunction with the iconic artistic achievements of WaterFire will strengthen the creative fiber of this city.”
Peter A. Mello, managing director and co-CEO of WaterFire Providence adds, “We couldn't be more excited to have The Wilbury Theatre Group now join us in the WaterFire Arts Center. We have been successfully collaborating and co-presenting some extraordinary arts experiences with The Wilbury team over the past five years and particularly over the past year during the pandemic and we’re looking forward to working together on creating more exciting experiences in the Valley neighborhood in the future.”
The move continues the long-running partnership between The Wilbury Group and the Manton Avenue Project, as Manton Avenue Project Executive/Artistic Director Meg Sullivan says; “MAP is thrilled to continue our partnership with The Wilbury Group at their new home at WaterFire. We are so happy for our Wilbury friends, as this move represents a big step forward and offers so much creative possibility. We are excited to build upon our strong foundation of collaboration and resource-sharing with Wilbury in this new space for years to come.”
Over the past year, Wilbury has been producing a diverse array of innovative live theater at Waterfire Arts Center. Decameron, Providence, inspired by Boccaccio’s 14th-century work about young people trying to escape the Black Death, had the audience moving through ten outdoor story gardens. With the bilingual production Fire Flowers and a Time Machine, the audience went on a multimedia journey through time and space. Constellations was produced drive-in style in the parking lot, transforming six storage containers into a huge screen, projecting live performance to the audience in their cars. Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape was produced in the midst of a cavernous art installation of work by Robert Rohm, and the world premiere of Darcie Dennigan’s Dolores Goes to Poetry City signaled a return to live outdoor performance this summer. In addition to this pioneering in-person work, Wilbury produced important virtual and audio work: Race, an interactive play on Zoom, God Talks to an Agnostic, a radio play, and Whose Name Was Writ in Water, a 360° virtual experience incorporating virtual reality technology.
The Wilbury Theatre Group has begun production planning for the new space, starting with the return of FringePVD at multiple venues around Waterfire Arts Center, as well as The Steelyard, Farm Fresh Rhode Island, the Nicholson File Art Studios, businesses along the Greenway, and online. Hugely popular with audiences and artists alike, FringePVD has expanded to two weeks, July 18-31.
Early Bird Memberships for The Wilbury Group 2021/22 season are on sale now at www.thewilburygroup.org/membership
For information and tickets for FringePVD, visit www.FringePVD.org
About The Wilbury Theatre Group
Winner of the 2018 National Theater Company Award from the American Theatre Wing, The Wilbury Theatre Group is a professional, nonprofit theatre company that engages our community in thought-provoking conversation through new works, reimagined classics and adventurous playmaking. We are idealistic, ambitious, and stubborn in our resolve to create theatre that entertains, enlightens, and inspires. For more information visit thewilburygroup.org
About WaterFire Providence
WaterFire Providence® is an independent, 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy. Each year nearly 1 million people come to downtown Providence to experience WaterFire spending over $114,000,000 to the local economy, generating over $9,000,000 of direct tax revenue for the State of Rhode Island and supporting 1,294 jobs for community residents and strengthening Providence’s Creative Capital and Rhode Island’s State for the Arts brands. https://waterfire.org/
About the WaterFire Arts Center
WaterFire Providence purchased the Art Center in 2012 and began rehabilitation for the vacant, historic, industrial building in the underserved Olneyville/Valley neighborhood of Providence. The 37,000 sq. ft. multi-use arts center, which opened in May 2017, has become WaterFire’s first permanent home in the community and serves as its headquarters, production complex, and a multi-purpose arts venue as well as a social enterprise platform strengthening the organization’s long-term financial sustainability. Exhibitions presented at WaterFire Arts Center will further the organization’s agenda of providing arts and culture opportunities and experiences for all, regardless of social, cultural, or economic background. For more information about the WaterFire Arts Center including rental inquiries, please visit: https://waterfire.org/wfac
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