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Arts & Entertainment

Performance Art Emerging on Campus

by Grace Hatton, Reverb Editor

Senior Michael Willey is spearheading the People’s Performance Troupe on campus this semester. Photo by Josh Reiss

Wilson is a campus full of art, from the Elizabeth Holden Art Gallery to the stage at Kittredge. For a small college, Warren Wilson boasts an impressive display of art in a range of mediums. Yet one medium of art that has yet to take shape at Wilson is performance art. Performance art is an art form that combines visual art with dramatic performance. While performance art has been done through classes at Wilson, an official Wilson performance art troupe has not been put together.

However, that is soon to change with the creation of the People’s Performance Troupe. Spearheaded by senior Michael Willey, the People’s Performance Troupe was put together as part of Willey’s senior project but also as a venue for those interested in performing outside of the main stage to get together.

“I think Warren Wilson has a dreadful lack of performance art,” Willey said. “We’ve got so many talented people here that it seemed to me obvious we should be creating something together. I decided the best way to make that possible was to entice all these folks who want to perform but don’t have the time or commitment to be in a mainstage theatre production to gather and create something together based on our own terms.”

The troupe will be a venue where, as Willey says, “people can openly share their ideas and talents in a performative way.” Performance art troupes can take different forms, and the Troupe at Wilson hopes to be as much a learning experience as a form of entertainment for the community.

“As I envision it in the People’s Performance Troupe, we will learn basic aspects of performance,” Willey said. “We will practice the major acting exercises required to do this while also creating new techniques that work for us. We will practice movement, improv, scene composition, musical and dance arrangement, mask work, games, etc. We also encourage non-performative folks to help with such things as costumes, props, design, but of course the goal of the troupe is to create performances for the Wilson community.”

While those involved with the troupe will dedicate their time to honing the craft, there will be performances around campus as well, including a larger main stage production in Kittredge at the end of spring semester. The People’s Performance Troupe welcomes those interested in joining. The troupe meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m., and interested students can find out more by contacting Willey.

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