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.

Prior Presents

Headshot of playwright Lloyd Suh smiling

The Far Country

Lloyd Suh

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.

Brooklyn Rider

Four Elements 

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.

Deborah Goffe

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?”

Headshot of photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier in navy top with blurred bookshelves in the background

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.

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.

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.

Audience members opening different doors of a large, L-shaped file vault to look inside

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.

Rhiannon Giddens

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.”

Poet Laureate x Poet Laureate

An Interview of Porsha Olaytwola by Oliver de la Paz

April 3, 2024 | 6 pm

Worcester Poet Laureate and Holy Cross English professor Oliver de la Paz interviews Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola about her work, her artistic process, and her collaboration with composer Mason Bynes for the Boston Lyric Opera on the song cycle “The Wanderer’s Tethering.”

Boston Lyric Opera

The Wanderer’s Tethering
April 6, 2024 | 3:00 pm

With poetry by Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola and music by composer Mason Bynes, “The Wanderer’s Tethering” follows the story of Tobi, a descendant of the Igbo community whose members were stolen from modern-day Nigeria and led a revolt on the shores of Georgia in 1803. The program will also include stirring selections of chamber music by Castle of Our Skins.