Arts and Humanities

Carolina Performing Arts announces 2018-2019 season

Nearly 40 performances and immersive installations in multiple venues explore community, co-creation and citizenship.

Memorial Hall
Exterior view of Memorial Hall on May 24, 2018, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Cutting-edge performances and interactive art from across the world find a home at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during Carolina Performing Arts’ 14th season.

The season’s theme, “You Are Everything,” combines new works, returning artists, plastic bags formed into grocery items, an Arabic language town hall and more for a dynamic season of connection and collaboration. In addition to performances slated for Memorial Hall and Moeser Auditorium, CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio will also host its first full season of installations and immersive art experiences.

The upcoming season at CPA explores how a community of strangers formed during performance can move beyond the theater walls—and how questions asked and answered during a performance can propel social change. The 2018-2019 season at CPA offers opportunities to engage with visiting artists, promote engaged citizenship and collaborate with local creative partners.

“Now in our 14th year, we are a very different program from when we began,” said Emil Kang, CPA’s executive and artistic director. “With the opening of CURRENT, we’ve witnessed powerful connections inspired by immersive and collaborative arts experiences taking place there. Our new season features themes of community and co-creation because we want to change, fundamentally, the nature of our relationship with everyone who comes through our doors—no matter the venue.”

CPA’s first event of the season is “Stories on Citizenship,” a public meal and gathering at CURRENT on Sept 8. The flexible art space opened in February to break down barriers and foster a community connection through art. Members of the Carolina and Chapel Hill communities are invited to share a meal as local non-profit organizations use storytelling, song and more to convey how a sense of belonging and connection weave into their work. For more details on the event and RSVP information, visit currentunc.org/whats-on/.

“In this moment, many people are moved in new and urgent ways to explore their own civic responsibility,” said Amy Russell, director of programming. “At CPA, we believe that artists can be expert citizens engaging our own creativity and compassion and leading us to imagine new and better futures for everyone.”

On Sept. 14, CPA’s performance season kicks off with a public block party and two performances at different venues. Robin Frohardt’s “Plastic Bag Store” installation, created with plastic products collected from the community, will open to the public free of charge from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at CURRENT. No tickets are required for visitors to enjoy live music, interactive activities, a voter registration drive and local food trucks in the early evening on Memorial Hall’s front portico. At 8 p.m. Neko Case (with opener Thao of the Get Down Stay Down) will perform at Memorial Hall for ticketholders.

Other upcoming highlights of the 2018-2019 CPA season include:

  • Egyptian political satirist Bassem Youssef hosting an Arabic language town hall after his performance of “The Joke is Mightier than the Sword.”
  • Toshi Reagon, singer/songwriter and CPA Mellon Foundation DisTIL Fellow, brings together faculty, students, artists and Triangle collaborators in addition to a performance with her band BIGLovely.
  • The new music collective wild Up will perform “Future Folk” in Moeser Auditorium and then embark on a short residency during which they will create a piece of new music with students and community members. The piece will premiere at “We the People,” presented at CURRENT at the end of the week.
  • Interactive performances by DJ Kid Koala: one, an experience where participants become part of a turntable orchestra conducted by Kid Koala, and the other, a lively celebration where children create robot costumes and hit the dance floor as Kid Koala spins tracks for them.
  • DisTIL Fellow for 2018-20 Abigail Washburn will perform with husband and fellow banjo player Béla Fleck in an exploration of storytelling, song and performance.
  • Performers returning to CPA through the season include Branford Marsalis, Carrie Mae Weems, Buddy Guy, Dorrance Dance, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Steep Canyon Rangers, Brooklyn Rider, Mitsuko Uchida (performing with Mahler Chamber Orchestra), Batsheva Dance Company, Youssou N’Dour, and others.

Single tickets and new subscription packages for the general public are available on June 13, 2018. Ticket sales for 17/18 subscribers, UNC staff/faculty and students begin June 6. UNC students are eligible for $10 tickets to all CPA performances (including CURRENT) and staff/faculty receive 15 percent discount on tickets and an additional 5 percent discount on subscriptions.