What makes you feel alive? What makes you laugh uncontrollably? What brings a lump to your throat and tears to your eyes? The School of the Arts at Converse College plans to boldly explore the richness of humanity through powerful cultural events and their new season of works for 2017-2018 season. “Our students and faculty are exploding the boundaries of performance and exhibition,” says Boone Hopkins, dean of the School of the Arts, “and we want our community to be there for these transformative experiences.Our students and faculty are exploding the boundaries of performance and exhibition.”
Hopkins characterizes this upcoming season in three words: “Riveting, with striking new works and revitalized adaptations of classics in music, art, theatre, and dance. Uplifting, with a glimpse into the future of performing and visual arts as the best student artists in our region think-out-loud on our stages and in our gallery spaces. And Thrilling, with inspiring harmonies, profoundly haunting tragedies, and vibrant expressions of the human spirit.”Converse will host nearly 200 arts and cultural events this season and most have free admission.
“We look forward to an exhilarating season where audiences are challenged and inspired by our original work,” Hopkins says. “We hope to see the Spartanburg community here for every moment.”A sampling of the events this season at Converse College:
- Petrie School of Music Faculty Showcase (Sept. 7): Join the faculty of the Petrie School of Music for our 2017-2018 Season Opener. Always an audience favorite, the Pi Kappa Lambda Faculty Showcase highlights the extraordinary talents of Petrie faculty musicians. Included this year will be classical selections spanning the centuries, popular song and musical theater favorites, and new works by Converse faculty composers.
- Non-Memories of the Deuce and Bland Intruders (Aug. 31 – Sept. 28 with reception/gallery talk Sept. 28) Figurative artist Alessandra Sulpy of Charlotte, N.C. will present striking new work in the Milliken Gallery and she will give a gallery talk discussing her artistic process. The talk will be followed by a reception and a chance to meet the artist.
- The Carlos Moseley Chamber Music Series brings world-renowned musicians to Daniel Recital Hall, featuring the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble (Oct. 9), The Petrie School and Arlene Shrut (Nov. 13), Attacca Quartet (Feb. 12), Miles Hoffman, viola & Reiko Uchida, piano (Mar. 12) and The Sustainable Symphony: Requiem of Solace (Apr. 16). These five concerts are by subscription only and are followed by champagne receptions that offer guests the opportunity to meet the performers.
- Heathers: the Musical by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy (Oct. 11-13) Based on the classic 1989 film, Westerberg High is ruled by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing junta: Heather, Heather, and Heather, the hottest and cruelest girls in all of Ohio. But misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark and sexy stranger, J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place – six feet under.
- 39th Annual Tri-State Sculpture Conference: Keynote Speaker Lesley Dill (Oct. 21) The 39th Annual Tri-State Sculpture Conference is being hosted by Converse College and the Chapman Cultural Center. Featured keynote speaker Lesley Dill is an American contemporary artist. Her work has addressed the power of language as it relates to the psyche and her presentation is free and open to the public.
- Converse Opera Theatre presents Summer & Smoke (Jan. 27-29) Lee Hoiby’s opera is based on Tennessee Williams’s 1948 play. Set in 1910 Mississippi and spun in the iconic playwright’s distinctive brand of magical realism, this opera captures the tumultuous love affair between the preacher’s daughter, Alma Winemiller, and the town scallywag Dr. John Buchanan, Jr. Aspirations of the soul and desires of the flesh ignite in this soaring score as the couple struggles to find a common ground for love.
- The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe (Feb. 21-25) Theatre Converse is one of the first companies in the United States to produce this 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist. From the safety of their suburban indoor soccer team, these fierce women navigate big questions and wage tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. The Wolves is a portrait of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals.
- Young Women in Art (Mar. 5-17) Artists from across the state of South Carolina exhibit their work in the Milliken Gallery in this selective showcase. Featuring the talents of up-and-coming artists, the faculty of the Department of Art & Design will curate this exhibition to feature new works in photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, and ceramics. Join us to see the artists that will be redefining the visual arts in our state.
- Dusk Dances (April 21-22) An evening of site-specific contemporary dance that celebrates non-linear forms of narration, the chiaroscuro of the body in space, and adaptive relationships with nature on the exterior landscape of Converse College at dusk.
- As You Like It (May 2-6) One of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays, As You Like It explores the same thrilling questions that resonate with us today as they did when the play was written in 1599. Love, identity, and the power of choice are taken up by delightful characters in this smart and moving romantic comedy that reminds us, “All the world’s a stage!”
- PRISM: A Non-Stop Musical Experience (May 10) the Petrie School of Music will attempt its largest concert in history, entitled PRISM! This non-stop musical experience reveals the many facets of music in its purest form, without applause or gaps between performances. The Converse Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Festival Chorus will be continuously performing from all different areas of the concert hall to form one continuous masterpiece.
For more information on upcoming events in the School of the Arts @ Converse, visit culture.converse.edu or call the Box Office at 864.596.9724