2023-2024 Prior Presents Season
We invite you to join us for the first full season of visiting artists at the Prior Performing Arts Center. Bring your curiosity, your sense of adventure, and your desire to connect with one another. Together we’ll experience the power and pleasure of encountering art in community.
Introducing: Prior Presents
Prior Presents is the keystone of the Prior Performing Arts Center’s public-facing programming, merging thrilling live events by visiting artists with robust educational and outreach activities. Defined by exceptional artistic quality, interdisciplinary impulses, and the potential to spark both wonder and reflection, this annual series celebrates artistic risk-taking and the exchange of ideas and perspectives from around the globe. Short- and long-term visiting artist residencies include performances, artist talks, installations, workshops, and experiential learning opportunities for Holy Cross students and the greater Worcester community. Creative residencies, which provide artists with time and space to develop new work, make an essential contribution to the broader arts ecosystem and provide on- and off-campus community members with a window into intimate aspects of the creative process.
Explore the FuLL Season
Theater and performance installation
Prior Presents kicks off with readings in the Boroughs Theatre of “The Far Country,” a play called “fluid and artful” by the New York Times: a “loving and sorrowful [act] of reclamation, salvaging the history of early generations of Chinese Americans” while also making “space for others…to trace vestiges of their own histories.” In the spring, the Boroughs will be physically transformed by “Cultural Exchange Rate,” a live performance installation in which audiences make a sensory exploration of one family’s life in border villages between Lebanon and Syria.
The Far Country
September 19-20, 2023 | 7:30 pm
A 2023 Pulitzer finalist for drama and recent off-Broadway hit, “The Far Country” follows an unlikely family’s journey from rural China to California in the wake of the Chinese Exclusion Act at the turn of the 20th century.
Cultural Exchange Rate
Tania El Khoury
March 11-16, 2024
In this interactive multimedia experience by Lebanese live artist Tania El Khoury, audiences are invited to engage with an astonishing collection of sensory artifacts that collectively trace more than a century of border crossings.
The season includes three Luth Concert Hall events with nationally and world-renowned musicians, each representing different artistic traditions. The first involves virtuoso violinist Johnny Gandelsman, a longtime friend of Holy Cross’, while the last represents the latest installation of our partnership with the Boston Lyric Opera. In March, we present the Prior debut of the incandescent Rhiannon Giddens, whose opera “Omar” was previewed for our audiences by Boston Lyric Opera in spring 2023.
September 30, 2023 | 7:30 pm
The Grammy-nominated string quartet Brooklyn Rider shares “Four Elements,” an exploration of the four classical elements (earth, air, water, and fire) as metaphors for the complex inner world of the string quartet and the current health of planet Earth.
March 14, 2024 | 7:30 pm
The iconic folk artist Rhiannon Giddens, who has stretched her inimitable brand of folk music into nearly every field imaginable, performs from her first album of entirely original songs, “You’re the One.”
Boston Lyric Opera
The Wanderer’s Tethering
April 6, 2024 | 3:00 pm
With a libretto and spoken word by Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola and music by composer Mason Bynes, “The Wanderer’s Tethering” reconsiders the 1803 Igbo revolt on the shores of Georgia through the eyes of one of their descendents.
The season’s dance offerings span the local and the global. In the fall, New England choreographer Deborah Goffe engages our community around the themes of a new work co-commissioned by the Prior Performing Arts Center. In the winter, we welcome Compagnie Hervé Koubi back to Holy Cross with its signature piece “What the Day Owes to the Night.” Holy Cross was among the first U.S. presenters of this work in 2016, and it is a special pleasure to reunite with it in our new venue.
Liturgy | Order | Bridge residency
October 18-19, 2023
Dance maker, performer and educator Deborah Goffe offers residency activities in conjunction with her new work “Liturgy|Order|Bridge,” which asks “How do we look to Black church forms as inspiration for secular practices of care?”
Compagnie Hervé Koubi
What the Day Owes to the Night
January 30-31, 2024 | 7:30pm
French dance company Hervé Koubi returns its stunning classic to Holy Cross, allowing audiences to experience its gravity-defying style in the thrilling proximity of our black box theater.
This season’s visual arts and creative writing offerings connect audiences with interdisciplinary artists whose activism is inseparable from their art. First up is visual artist LaToya Ruby Frazier, who uses collaborative storytelling with the people who appear in her artwork to offer vital perspectives on subjects like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the consequences of environmental racism in her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania.
LaToya Ruby Frazier
November 1, 2023 | 6:00 pm
One of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary photographers, LaToya Ruby Frazier not only captures our cultural blind spots but shows how art can be a powerful tool for social transformation.
In February we are joined by award-winning poet and memoirist Reginald Dwayne Betts. Says Sujatha Baliga, director of the Restorative Justice Project, “[Betts’s] compassion and breathtaking literary gifts make it impossible for us to look away or remain complicit in mass criminalization’s status quo.”
Reginald Dwayne Betts
February 26, 2024 | 6:00 pm
A critically acclaimed poet, scholar, and graduate of Yale Law School, Reginald Dwayne Betts draws on his personal experience with incarceration to work across diverse literary forms and advocacy projects for reform of the criminal justice system.
For more information on events at the Prior Performing Arts Center, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (508) 793-3690. We aim to answer inquiries within one business day of receipt.