By Natasha Anderson
The Western Carolina University (WCU) Bardo Arts Center’s WCU PRESENTS highlights diversity of artists and disciplines with a 2017–2018 season featuring professional performers as well as opening acts from WCU students and local talents. The performance series, previously known as Galaxy of Stars, opens on Thursday, September 7, and includes six productions.
“This year we’re partnering with a variety of community arts groups who will serve as openers for our international line-up,” says Denise Drury Homewood, executive director of Bardo Arts Center. “I truly enjoy finding opportunities for WCU students and local emerging artists to make meaningful connections with these internationally acclaimed performers.”
The season kicks off on Thursday, September 7 with The HillBenders’ bluegrass tribute to The Who’s original rock opera Tommy. As an opener, the Jackson County Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program students will perform on stage alongside their faculty mentors. On November 10, A Tribe Called Red, a First Nation, indigenous Canadian electronic music group, will blend a broad range of musical influences based on modern hip-hop, traditional pow wow drums and vocals, and edgy electronic production styles. Students from New Kituwah Academy, a Cherokee language immersion school located on the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will perform songs in the Cherokee language as the opening act. The tap group and funk band Rhythmic Circus will close out the fall line-up on December 5 with a holiday performance including Red and Green, a beatbox rendition of The Grinch, and a full-cast performance of Linus and Lucy from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
The spring season begins on February 6 with modern dance and storytelling from NYC dance company Urban Bush Women. Their presentation, Hair & Other Stories, is a multidisciplinary show that addresses matters of race, gender identity and economic inequality. TAO: Drum Heart, the latest production from the internationally-acclaimed percussion artists TAO, will take place February 24 and will showcase the ancient art of Japanese drumming through a modern, high-energy performance. The season ends April 5 with an on-stage interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, author and screenwriter Tony Kushner by Broadway star and WCU School of Stage and Screen professor Terrence Mann.
“I look for artists that bring something unique to WNC in a way that both sparks and nurtures the artistic curiosity of our community,” says Homewood. “This season has performances that are not to be missed.”
Bardo Arts Center is located on the WCU campus at 199 Centennial Drive, Cullowhee, NC. Single tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for WCU/SCC faculty/staff/seniors 65+, and $5 for WCU Students. Season Subscriptions are $125 for the general public, $100 for WCU/SCC faculty/staff/seniors 65+ and $25 for WCU/SCC students. Multi-pass ticket packs are also available to WCU/SCC faculty/staff and seniors 65+. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit bardoartscenter.wcu.edu or call 828.227.ARTS.