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February 8, 2019 | General, Theatre, Notes From Leadership,


Now in our ninth season, ArtsEmerson has established a reputation for putting the world on stage here in Boston. We take pride in offering audiences access to artists and cultures from around the globe that would otherwise not be seen in the city.

ArtsEmerson’s seasons are an opportunity for the adventurous and the curious to explore the world. People frequently ask me how we even choose these shows, they seem so consistently different from each other, let alone different from the traditional understanding of what theatre is. When Angels Fall took a particular route to us. This is a story of being smitten.

Typically, a show landing in our season is one that we’ve seen somewhere in the world, and it has joined the ever-expanding list of projects we are inspired to share with you. And from that perpetually too-long list, we are guided by our mission to reveal the rich diversity of the world as we arrive at each season. It’s rare that we program a work that we’ve not seen somewhere first, rarer still that we would do that with an artist whose work is new to us.

Enter Raphaëlle Boitel.

From her bio you can tell she’s had a rich and varied career already, despite her youth. And the moment the lights come up on this performance you will see that she has an original, astonishing vision. But what first caught my attention was that she was leading her own company at such a young age, in a field and at a time when there are very few women auteurs emerging in the very male-dominated domain of international theatre. Where dance and music have achieved something closer to parity for female leaders, theatre is still mired in the same struggle for equity as film in many ways.

I was introduced to her work by our colleagues at Peak Performances, in Montclair, New Jersey. I met Raphaëlle in person here in Boston, in this very theatre, and we talked for hours about what she was dreaming up, where her dreams come from and where they lead her. And she showed me the ravishing visuals that are the hallmark of her pieces. The influences of Pina Bausch, Charlie Chaplin and David Lynch were evident, as was her authorial mastery of them. I invited her into our ninth season on the spot. When Angels Fall was still just a figment of her imagination. We are all about to see what it became.

Raphaëlle joins Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider (the women artistic directors of 7 Fingers, out of Montreal), Toshi Reagon, Anne Bogart and Michèle Anne De Mey among the corps of women leading their own ensembles in our seasons. You’ll meet more remarkable women from around the world in these very theatres every year here

  • David Dower, Artistic Director

Don’t miss the New England premiere of When Angels Fall at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, FEB 20 -24 and experience the genius of Raphaëlle Boitel first hand!

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