American Repertory Theater and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University Announce Collaboration for Free Summer Arts Experience

A.R.T. Arboretum Experience Creative Team
The creative team for The Arboretum Experience includes (clockwise from top left) playwright Kirsten Greenidge, musician Tim Hall, director Summer L. Williams, and choreographer Jill Johnson. A collaboration between the A.R.T. and the Arboretum, the project features audio plays, music, dance, and interactive performances pieces beginning August 21 in the Arboretum landscape. American Repertory Theater

American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University announce their collaboration to create The Arboretum Experience in the Arboretum’s Jamaica Plain and Roslindale landscape, which will be free to all beginning Saturday, August 21 and continuing into the fall.

Visitors are invited to experience the natural beauty of the Arnold Arboretum on an outdoor, self-guided journey that centers resilience, healing, wellness, and joy. Created by a team of artists that includes playwright Kirsten Greenidge, musician Tim Hall, choreographer Jill Johnson, and director Summer L. Williams, this collaboration between the A.R.T. and the Arboretum features audio plays written and performed by artists from Greater Boston and beyond, as well as music, dance, and interactive performances pieces, all set against the 281-acre backdrop of one of the jewels of Boston’s Emerald Necklace.

The A.R.T. returns to the open-access living museum designed by Frederick Law Olmsted following the 2019 Tree Planting Ceremony of a gingko tree, the culmination of A.R.T. Artist-In-Community Diana Oh’s year-long Clairvoyance series of installations and concerts. See a video about the planting here.

“The Arnold Arboretum was created to be a place where America’s democratic ideals could become manifest, where all members of society could intermingle and enjoy the profound lessons and graces of the natural world,” says William Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum. “Amidst the many grim realities of 2020 and beyond, the past 15 months have been a reminder that the radical ideals of a nineteenth century arboretum and public space, free to all every day, are just as essential as ever for the pursuit of happiness and well-being in the city. All of us at the Arnold are thrilled to continue our collaborations with the A.R.T. to help create performances that explore the deeply meaningful intersections of human diversity and biodiversity.”

“This project will offer visitors from Greater Boston and beyond an opportunity to experience one of the region’s most beautiful natural settings,” says A.R.T. Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus. “I’m thrilled for the A.R.T. to be collaborating with the Arnold Arboretum and with artists whose work will activate this outdoor space in completely new ways. As we emerge from the pandemic, theatrical experiences have a restorative and ritualistic role to play in collective healing, resilience, and joy.”

Commissioned artists and additional information will be announced at a later date and available at AmericanRepertoryTheater.org/ArboretumExperience.

Production support is provided by the Richard K. Lubin Family Foundation. Development of The Arboretum Experience has been supported by the Harvard University Committee on the Arts.

On Thursday, June 24 at 7:30PM, members of The Arboretum Experience creative team will discuss the project as part of the Behind the Scenes series, which features conversations with artists who are making new work at the A.R.T. More information will be available at AmericanRepertoryTheater.org/Behind-the-Scenes.