Culture vultures have long associated Tempe Center for the Arts with family-friendly theater productions from Childsplay theater and art shows in the Gallery at TCA. But Ralph Remington, who joined the City of Tempe as Arts and Culture Deputy Director in June 2016, says the Center will soon be offering edgier fare.
Remington heads Tempe Center for the Arts, the visual and performing arts venue opened in 2007 that’s also well known as the site for Breaking Ground dance festivals and Stray Cat Theatre shows. He’s eager to move the venue past being simply a site for other people’s productions, so he’s taking the first steps toward creating a TCA-produced lineup of shows.
“I’m trying to curate something that comments on our times,” Remington says. And he’s blunt about naming what he sees in contemporary society: patriarchy, sexism, misogyny, and male control of women’s domains.
“Theater can help us examine and have conversations about what’s happening in society,” says Remington, a longtime theater professional and arts administrator who has worked for Actors’ Equity Association and the National Endowment for the Arts.
On January 18, Remington announced Tempe Center for the Arts’ first self-produced lineup of events, which features a mash-up of live performances dubbed DisruptFEST on Saturday, March 18.
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DisruptFEST includes performances by the band Totsy and the hip-hop orchestra Ensemble Mik Nawooj. The festival also includes Neil LaBute’s Some Velvet Morning, a play exploring the nuances of gender relationships, which Remington will direct. The play's full run is March 9 to 19.
In April, Tempe Center for the Arts presents Bataré, which blends music, choreography, and Taiko drumming – as well as the Arizona première of La Santa Cecilia, a Grammy-Award winning Latin Rock band Remington hails as a voice of "a new bicultural generation.”
Expect more innovative, edgy work for the 2017-18 season, says Remington, who plans to announce those shows in late summer or early fall.
“I want to do art that pushes the envelope, and blurs all the boundaries."