Sackerson Theater: Burn
Sackerson is by far one of the most experimental theatre production companies we have in Utah. The group organizes short performances of material you don't normally get from the independent groups and hosts them in unconventional settings. In September, the company started running Burn, which has been extended for another set of shows this weekend.
Burn came from the company's resident playwright, Morag Shepherd, who was inspired to write a tale of mental laceration through a random article passed onto her. "One of our producers Dave Mortensen came across an article about PMLE (a type of allergic reaction to sunlight) and mentioned it to Morag," producer Alex Ungerman says. "She was inspired to use that as a starting point for examining light and illness as a metaphor for faith crises."
The piece explores the current life of Allison, who's older daughter won't stop questioning life while her younger daughter won't stop running around. While Allison's husband worries over her current condition in life, she repeatedly tells him not to, while fending off an ex-boyfriend.
The play continues at Avenues Yoga, which aside from regular classes has utilized the space for special gatherings and even weddings, turning it into a small cultural hub. As to why Sackerson chose this location, Ungerman says they instantly fell in love with it. "It's got an entire wall of windows, gorgeous wood floors and exposed brick," he says. "Then, once we'd worked out an agreement with the venue, we designed all the elements of the show to fit that space." (Gavin Sheehan)
Sackerson Theater: Burn @ Avenues Yoga, 64 K St., Salt Lake City, Oct. 21-22, 8 p.m., $16-$20. Sackerson.org
Work In Progress
Women in a variety of endeavors have worked to make the world a better place. Utah Museum of Contemporary Art's Artistic Director Jann Haworth has organized Work In Progress, a collaborative exhibit depicting women who have made a difference for the better. The 20-foot-wide by 8-foot-tall stencil collage—with its cavalcade of faces, some familiar and some not as well-known—is reminiscent of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, the work for which Haworth is best-known. Visages run the gamut from French filmmaker Agnes Varda to Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell—the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States—to Frida, member of masked artistic group Guerilla Girls.
For the past three months, Haworth and collage artist Liberty Blake (who also happens to be her daughter) have been collecting collages from more than 60 people, in workshops at the Leonardo and UMOCA's Residency Studio, as well as BYU and Modern West Fine Art. The work was completed at the Leonardo, then transferred to UMOCA for its Oct. 7 opening. The exhibit is accompanied by Lynn Blodgett's photographs of the contributors.
Haworth notes that the time is especially ripe for such an exhibit, with many women ascending to leadership roles in politics, from Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel to Michelle Obama, and especially the election of Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. "The home race for mayor was so vivid and radical that, simply put, it was inspiring," Haworth says. "At the base of it all was an energy that said, 'Yes, let's try for it.'" (Brian Staker)
Work In Progress @ Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, 20 S. West Temple, 801-328-4201, through Jan. 14, 2017; opening reception, Oct. 21, 7-9 p.m., free, $5 suggested donation. UtahMOCA.org
Downtown Artist Collective
Downtown Artist Collective is a new arts organization that isn't just for artists; it's by artists. Deserae Lee and Amy Leininger came up with the idea after a chance encounter. The two enlisted friends to help them put their vision together, and the grand opening is on Oct. 21.
The collective aims to serve as a large umbrella, providing galleries, studio and learning space, support and mentoring for artists, as well as connecting with the public through outreach and educational opportunities. The opening will showcase 17 artists, including notables like Chris Bodily, Chris Madsen, Heather Romney, Jason Jones and Jenny Hambleton—a swath of challenging, refreshing styles that represents a great cross-section of local artwork. In addition to the gallery, visitors have the opportunity to meet the board and learn more about their vision, ask the artists about their work, sign up for classes and find out how to get involved. Refreshments will be available, and musicians The Bookends and Gillian Chase are set to perform.
The fledgling organization hopes to apply for nonprofit status, and looks forward to adding their contribution to the local arts mix. With arts programs in schools underserved, and disadvantaged voices going unheard, they see a need. "While there are many wonderful organizations in Salt Lake that are helping to serve these communities," Lee says, "we wanted to add our efforts to a field in which there will always be too many people to serve, and not enough resources to serve them all." (BS)
Downtown Artist Collective grand opening @ Downtown Arts Collective, 258 E. 100 South, Oct. 21, 6-9 pm., free. DowntownArtistCollective.org
Eccles Theater Grand Opening Weekend
After more than two years of construction in downtown Salt Lake City, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater is finally ready to open its doors to the public. But before Utah's new home for touring Broadway musicals, plays and concerts begins its inaugural season, members of the public have the opportunity to explore its 2,500-seat performance hall, smaller box theater and a multitude of other areas dedicated to food and entertainment.
Friday's opening night features Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell (pictured), who recently appeared in the critically acclaimed musical, Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, and Megan Hilty, whose Broadway career includes appearances in works such as Wicked. Accompanying this ticketed black-tie event are local performing groups including Ballet West and the University of Utah Department of Theatre. After the 90-minute performance, ticket-holders are invited to join a post-show party on Regent Street.
The rest of the weekend offers a free, open-house community arts celebration where anyone interested can tour the theater. Quick 15-minute, drop-in performances by local artists will populate the many performing spaces in the building on Saturday. These mini-shows will feature a cross-section of performing art disciplines, chosen by a review committee made up of representatives from the Salt Lake City Arts Council, the Eccles Theater and the artistic producers of the theater's grand opening.
The building will remain open to explore on Sunday, with a live broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word. (Kylee Ehmann)
Grand Opening @ Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, 801-355-2200, Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m., $50-$200; Oct 22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Oct. 23, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., free. EcclesTheaterOpening.com