On Thursday Sept. 14, 2017, the Redfern Arts Center hosted their annual season kick-off party in the Alumni Recital Hall. The party was complete with free food, drinks, an improvised dance performance and information about upcoming shows and events at the Redfern.
Sharon Fantl, who is in charge of the Redfern’s residency and outreach activities, said that her favorite part about being involved with the Redfern community is “organizing all of the engagement activities…and getting to see, up close, how artists work…learning about their creative process and being able to share that with different audiences [by] enriching their experiences through the arts.”
At the party, information was given out about the variety of different showcases and performances in the Redfern’s upcoming season.
One of these includes a funded program by the National Endowment of the Arts called “Mapping Identities.”
It will be performed by the Moonfish Theatre Company from Galway, Ireland, at the end of September. “Star of the Sea” is a bilingual (Irish and English) play the group will perform about the Great Potato Famine.
Director of the Redfern Arts Center Shannon Mayers said she went to Dublin in 2015 to see the group perform at the Dublin Theatre Festival.
The company also came to visit Keene last year during an American tour.
“I really loved their approach towards theatre making…and to be able to have started this process in 2015 and see it all the way through is really exciting,” said Mayers.
Also during the party, a group of dance majors performed a dance routine for the party-goers on the alcove.
The performance was of the modern/contemporary variety and comprised of stoic movements, meaning the dancers were moving each other and performing repetitive falling motions.
Dance major and KSC student Kimberly Best said, “It was improvisation; we had a little bit of a set score and some choreography, but other than that it was mostly just us [the dancers] feeling the space and ourselves.”
Best also said the event she is most looking forward to at the Redfern is “Evening of Dance.”
“There is student choreography and faculty/staff pieces. It’s what most people here are most excited about, I think,” said Best.
The kick-off party was a beneficial resource for both students and the Keene community to learn more about what the Redfern Arts Center has to offer.
“Through our free outreach programs, we offer not just a show, but an arts experience, and many opportunities to meet and engage directly with professional artists,” said Mayers.
The Redfern Arts Center will also be hosting East African musician SOMI in early October.
Fantl said, “A lot of her work is jazz and soul and really infused by East African culture. She has an anthropological approach to songwriting. We will be organizing a lot of talks with the public around her visit…and she will be hosting a workshop the day before her performance.”
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org