November 28, 2016

Staging Evidence performance series by Pearson|Shanks

Bard Graduate Center
Michael Shanks, The Persians, 2010. Site-specific production on Sennybridge Military Training Ranges, Wales. Courtesy of Michael Shanks.

Bard Graduate Center is pleased to present the world premiere of Staging Evidence, a series of specially-commissioned performances by celebrated UK-based performance duo Pearson|Shanks from December 5 through 9, 2016.

In Staging Evidence, acclaimed theater director Mike Pearson and Stanford archaeologist Michael Shanks are mounting a performative challenge to the exhibition Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions opening on November 18, 2016 in the Gallery and on view through February 5, 2017. Using a blend of autobiography, history, and spectacle, Pearson|Shanks intend to take their audience on an intimate journey that explores the innate tensions of representation in order to transform the boundary between past and present.

Never before presented in New York, Pearson|Shanks are a unique collaborative team. Michael Pearson is a celebrated theater director whose critically acclaimed stagings of classical plays have been described by The Guardian as “spectacularly immersive.” The Telegraph described his version of Aeschylus’s The Persians as “one of the most imaginative, powerful and haunting theatrical events of the year.” Michael Shanks travels the world lecturing on classical antiquity and the history of design and in recent years his unique skill set has seen him consulting with companies and local authorities on cultural policy and design thinking. Staging Evidence is a singular opportunity to take trip into the creative imaginings of two luminaries.

Throughout the week-long residency, performances will be interspersed with panel discussions that further explore the ways in which exhibitions stage evidence and relate to identity, memory, and how we experience ​​the meaningfulness of objects.

All events start at 7:30pm and take place at either 18 West 86th Street (performances) or 38 West 86th Street (panels).

Performance, December 5: Staging Evidence: Classical Antiquity
Panel, December 6: Scene of a Crime: Mobilizing Evidence
Performance, December 7: Staging Evidence: Encountering Locale
Panel, December 8: Revisiting Loss: Re-enactments in the Gallery
Performance, December 9: Staging Evidence: Working with What Remains

Panelists include: Multidisciplinary artist and designer Ghiora Aharoni, poet CA Conrad, Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School Brett Dignam, curator Judy Hussie Taylor, performing artist Jaamil Kosoko, scholar and thinker Andre Lepecki, performance scholar Daniel Sackm and performance scholar Rebecca Schneider.

10 USD early bird special!  25 USD general admission. 10 USD for students. Five-event pass, 100 USD. Gallery admission is free with a purchased ticket. For tickets and information visit:

About Pearson|Shanks
For more than 20 years, Pearson|Shanks have been exploring how objects communicate with us in ways that depend upon context, contingency and purpose.  Mike Pearson, a performance artist and theater director (National Theatre Wales, Royal Shakespeare Company) is emeritus professor of performance studies in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth University, Wales.  He and collaborator artist/designer Mike Brooks, as Pearson/Brooks, have been described by the Guardian as “the most adventurous theatremakers in Britain, bringing to life ideas that are part performance, part theatre, part land art, part multimedia event and part uncategorisable.”  Michael Shanks is professor of archaeology at Stanford University. Under the banner of “Theatre/Archaeology,” defined as the rearticulation of fragments of the past as real-time event, their various projects have explored how staging the past is the core of both performance and archaeology, and is manifest in related fields such as the archive and exhibition, collection and curation. The authors of numerous books in their respective fields, Mike Pearson and Michael Shanks are currently working on the second edition of their book Theatre/Archaeology (Routledge, 2001).


Pearson|Shanks at Bard Graduate Center

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