May through September 2021:  A Full Season of Inspiring Performances, Classes, Workshops, and Encounters, all Socially Distanced.

PS21:Performance Spaces for the 21st Century in Chatham, NY, announces that their 2021 Season of music, opera, contemporary circus and processional arts will again benefit from PS21’s unique open-air Pavilion Theater and breathtaking 100-acre campus, unmatched physical and environmental assets that ensure safe spaces for audiences.

Tickets on sale: April 10.

·       Modern Opera Fest: Three new and recent operas, The ExtinctionistPan, and Ipsa Dixit: intimate stagings with emotional power 

·       Theater and DanceThe Dark Master, from Japan, a journey into “the deepest abysses of the human psyche” (Le Monde); the Paul Taylor Dance Company, in residence and performing new and old works; Somatopia, a new Dance Theater piece; and “I am every woman,” monologues directed by Nicole Ansari 

·       Chamber Music: by the Escher String Quartet, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and four PS21 House Blend concerts, bridging the old and new, programmed by pianist Alan Feinberg, PS21’s music advisor.

·       PS21 Chatham/Pathways: Participatory workshops, community engagement and education, and performances again form the heart of PS21’s Pathways, our popular pas de deux between nature and the arts. Taking place on the expanded network of trails that link our fields to neighboring Crellin Park, Pathways 2021 highlights include circus arts, dramatic and dance practice and performance, educational and environmental walks, and a new site-specific art installation 

·       Movement Without Borders: May–September: Yoga with Sondra Loring, Pilates with Peggy Wallin-Hart, and Dance with Adam Weinert. Additional Master Classes with visiting artists, including the Paul Taylor Dance Company, throughout the summer

·       Programs for Young PeopleThe Wooster Group Summer Institute, participation as chorus members in Modern Opera Fest’s Pan, and other immersive workshops, classes, and encounters with the arts and nature

·       SoundScape: PS21 and Basilica Hudson celebrate regional partnerships and the end of summer with the Tenth Anniversary edition of SoundScape, for the first time outdoors on our campus

More than 45 events, conceived and staged for safe social distancing, in PS21’s theater and Dance Barn, in our fields, and along our trails, featuring a roster of dancers and choreographers, musicians and singers, actors, directors, and international contemporary circus artists who are breathing new life into traditional genres and fashioning new ones.  PS21 continually monitors CDC and NYS guidelines to ensure the safety of our performers, staff, audiences, and visitors.


Modern Opera Fest, May 29–September 4

Three works by companies that reconceive the operatic genre:

The Extinctionist, composed by Daniel Schlosberg with a libretto by Amanda Quaid, is Heartbeat Opera’s dark comedy about a couple grappling with the prospect of bearing a child in a world threatened with environmental collapse. Directed by Louisa Proske and music director Jacob Ashworth. Heartbeat Opera’s past work has been described as “bold and vivid” and “a visceral and immediate encounter” (Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times). The Extinctionist is being developed in residency at PS21 and will have two semi-staged presentations on May 29–30.

Directed by visual artist and opera director Doug Fitch, Pan, for flutist Claire Chase, a 2012 MacArthur Fellow, and chorus, explores the tensions of today’s experience and community through the myth of the god of rustic music and the only mortal member of the Greek pantheon.  “The cult of the godlike artist gives way to a collective ceremony – art as grassroots action.” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker). One performance on July 16.

Ipsa Dixit, composed by Kate Soper and directed by Ashley Tata, is a theatrical chamber opera for soprano, flute, violin, and percussion that blends monodrama, Greek theater, and screwball comedy to skewer the treachery of language and question the  authenticity of artistic expression. Called “a twenty-first century masterpiece” (The New Yorker), Ipsa Dixit will close Modern Opera Fest on September 3–4. 

Theater and DanceJune 18–August 15

Drama, dance, and an unclassifiable hybrid from three continents:

The Dark Master, from writer/director Kuro Tanino and his company Niwa Gekidan Penino, a disturbing contemporary vision of thought control and the manipulation of desire through visual storytelling augmented by VR. U.S. premiere. Co-presented with Japan Society NYC.  June 18–20.

The legendary Paul Taylor Dance Company will be in residence for three weeks, rehearsing and performing works from its repertory of modern classics and a new staging of a twentieth-century vision of the futility of war that has been compared to a dance of death. Performances July 2–3 and August 6–7.

Somatopia, choreographed by Brooklyn- and Athens, NY-based dance artist, singer, poet, and actor K.J. Holmes, performed by the Living Space Theater, Katowice. August 13–14.

I am every woman,” Nicole Ansari directing local actors in rehearsal and performance of monologues on the subject of memory and identity. Ansari is a celebrated actor, director, writer and founder of Actors Rising. August 15.

Chamber Music and PS21 House Blend Concerts, June 8–Sept. 12

Eminent ensembles and serendipitous groupings:

Escher String Quartet: Bela Bartók’s Quartet No. 6 for Strings, BB 119 and the Quartet in D minor for Strings, Op. 56, “Voces intimae” by Jean Sibelius. Recipients of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Escher is “one of the finest quartets of their generation.” (The Guardian). June 8.

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, with special guests from Caleb Teicher & Company: J.S. Bach/Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Aria and Selections from the Goldberg Variations; Heitor Villa-Lobos, Aria from Bachianas Brasilieras #5; Ney Rosauro, Concerto N.1 for Marimba and String Orchestra, with guest artist percussionist Britton-René Collins. July 24.

PS21 House Blend Concerts, brewed with the audience in mind, featuring celebrated soloists and groups. Conjured by pianist and innovative programmer Alan Feinberg:

House Blend Concert I, with Miranda Cuckson, Matt Haimovitz, and Geoffrey Burleson: Ralph Shapey, Evocation No. 1:  For Violin, with Percussion and Piano (3rd movement); Billy Jim Layton, Five Studies for Violin and Piano; Franco Donatoni, Mari; David Sandford, 22 Part 1 for cello and piano; Giya Kancheli, Nach dem Weinen (Having Wept). July 5.

House Blend Concert II: Arvo Pärt, Mozart-Adagio, for violin, violoncello and piano; Paul Schoenfield, Three Country Fiddle Pieces; Charmaine Lee, solo; Maurice Ravel, Sonata for Violin and Cello. Date TBA.

House Blend Concert III, with Sandbox Percussion and pianists Steve Beck and Marilyn Nonken: György Kurtág, Bach Transcriptions for Piano Four Hands; Luciano Berio, Linea; Mauricio Kagel, Dressur. Date TBA.

House Blend Concert IV, with Michael Atkinson, Miranda Cuckson, and Eric Huebner: Luigi Dallapicolla, Tartiniana seconda; Aaron Copland, from Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson; György Ligeti, Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano. Date TBA.

PS21/Chatham Pathways,May 29–October 31

The focus is on fun, workshops, and walks that offer community participation for young and old, and performances by visiting circus artists and actors:

Circus Arts

Les Hommes Penchés, performing Instable—an acrobat suspending a pole on an invisible line—and leading movement workshops. July 16–18.

Acting for Climate Montréal, leading workshops, engaging the community, and performing Branché, theater that builds a collaborative network of artists and activists for a sustainable future, August 7celebrating Crellin Community Park Day

Galmae, the street artist Juhyung Lee, who through the medium of C’est pas là, c’est par là (It’s not here, it’s over here) transforms a crowd of spectators into a problem-solving collective. September 4–6  

Drama and Dance

Somatopia, choreographed by Brooklyn-based dance artist, singer, poet, and actor K.J. Holmes with members of the Living Space Theater, Katowice. August 13–14.

I am every woman,” Nicole Ansari directing local actors in rehearsal and performance of monologues on the subject of memory and identity. Ansari is a celebrated actor, director, writer and founder of Actors Rising. August 15.

Environmental Encounters

Self-Guided Explorations:  StoryWalk, an Outdoor Reading Adventure for Families: A story unfolds along the trails, an innovative and inviting way for children and adults to combine their enjoyment of reading and the outdoors. Created in partnership with the Columbia County Library Association and the Columbia Land Conservancy, who are installing a new edition of this popular pastime. June 5–October

Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program Walks: Explore the PS21 landscape through the eyes of Claudia and Conrad Vispo, directors of the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program, who have mapped the native wildflowers and beneficial insects that abound along our trails in late summer. A self-guided tour with trail maps, plus Bat & Moth Night, led by Claudia and Conrad. July–August

James Casebere’s Solo Pavilion for Three, an architectural installation to be unveiled on Memorial Day Weekend as part of Upstate Diary’s Art Track.  A celebrated artist of the “Pictures Generation,” Casebere’s large-scale sculptural installations have been shown at the Walker Art Center, the MCA Chicago, Sonsbeek, Arnhem, and other museums. His photographic works, which explore the relationship between sculpture, photography, architecture, and film, are in major museum collections and have been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the Tate Gallery, LACMA, among many others. PS21 acknowledges with thanks the generosity and support of Sean Kelly Gallery and the artist for making the installation possible. May 29–October

Movement without Borders, May 13–September 18

Invigorating, adventurous 70-minute sessions, open to all ages and levels, focused on mind, body, and spirit. A perfect complement to Pathways, Movement without Borders classes are led by contemporary performance and theater luminaries: Pilates with Peggy Wallin-Hart, Thursdays, May 13–September 15, 5:30 pm; Morning Ballet with Adam H. Weinert, Saturdays, May 15–September 17, 11:00 am; Yoga with Sondra Loring, Saturdays, May 15–September 17, 12:00 noon.

Additional Workshops and Master Classes with visiting artists and performers throughout the summer, including Dan Safer (Artistic Director, Witness Relocation), K.J. Holmes, and members of the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Programs for Columbia County Students

The Wooster Group Summer Institute, August 9–15: Founder Kate Valk and director Ariana Smart Truman bring their free performance intensive for teenagers to PS21. The week of sessions with guest artists in aspects of movement, writing, voice training, and video techniques open to Columbia County public school students focuses on developing these skills and concludes with public performances, August 14 and 15 in the PS21 Dance Barn.

A Weekend of Music + Art, September 17–19

SoundScape: PS21 and Basilica Hudson join forces for the Tenth Anniversary edition of SoundScape, a celebration of the end of summer, outdoors on our campus for the first time.  Additional partners for this unique music festival include the Creative Independent, Wave Farm/WGXC, H0L0, and others. We are proud to join forces with our fellow arts and culture organizations in celebration of resilience, strength, and solidarity among artists and the communities we are part of.


PS21, Performance Spaces for the 21st Century, is committed to:

·         presenting innovative performances by leading and emerging artists in our state-of-the-art black-box and open-air pavilion theaters

·         fostering creativity through residencies and collaborations between performers working across disciplines and genres

·         serving the community via free and low-cost workshops, performances, and other programming

·         preserving our more than 100 acres of open spaces, meadows, woodlands, and orchards as an important resource for artists and the community

·         extending opportunities for arts engagement to all, regardless of age, economic status, and cultural background

Our commitments are incorporated in the design of our new theater and the surrounding grounds: open, inviting, and optimized for the public’s enjoyment and to encourage citizen expression and participation.

PS21’s new theater, completed in 2018, is a 350-seat open-air proscenium stage protected by a pavilion roof, which converts in cooler months to a geothermally-heated and air-conditioned black box seating 99. The new facility is built with technologically advanced systems that can accommodate all levels of artistic needs, from the analog use of our extensive system of sprung dance floors so critical for the safety of movement-based performance, to our state-of-the-art lighting and sound capacities. The theater features one of the only fully LED green theatrical lighting systems in the country.

Our new building sits above a nineteenth-century apple orchard at the apex of over 100 acres of beautiful Hudson Valley land, in the foothills of the Berkshires. Just five acres have been developed; the rest are meadows and woodlands. Nearby are the Dance Barn, a rehearsal and performance venue, and two artists’ residences accommodating sixteen visitors. The PS21 property is also host to the Chatham Farm Animal Rescue.

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