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Torn Space Theater’s 3rd Annual Response Festival to feature original works and new installations

© by Caleb Carr

Torn Space Theater just announced the much anticipated schedule for the 3rd Annual Response Festival. This year’s festival will feature performances that span from July through November of 2018 and include:

– a new virtual reality installation by FLATSITTER entitled Morning Dew (July 17-22)
– STATIONS, a new Torn Space site-specific performance at Silo City (August 10-12, 17-19)
– TRUCK, a mobile dance piece by NYC-based Bridgman│Packer Dance (August 18-19)

As well as a residency by 600 Highwaymen, the NYC based performance group, that culminates in a three-day parallel performance with Torn Space Theater (November 1-3).

Torn Space artistic director Dan Shanahan and associate director Melissa Meola introduced the RESPONSE Festival in 2016 as a source of internationally acclaimed contemporary performance in Western New York. Torn Space Theater offers both original work in collaboration with local actors, composers, sculptors, video artists and designers.

2017 RESPONSE: The Gathering, Photo by Mark Duggan

“With this years RESPONSE, Torn Space continues to present the highest level of contemporary performance in WNY while hosting world-renowned companies,” said artistic director Dan Shanahan, “The scope of this years project is vast and dynamic. Performances are occurring within the realm of virtual reality, the interiors of grain elevators and train washing stations, the back of a mobile truck, Canalside, and the courtyard at our home space at 612 Fillmore Ave. Through a partnership with the Creative Arts Initiative, we are able to host our first residency, bringing to town the internationally praised 600 Highwaymen to support the development of a new work. RESPONSE continues to commit to the artistic process, support both local and international artists, while reimagining the content and context of performance.”

Torn Space Theater is entering its 15th season of experimental contemporary performance in residence at the Adam Mickiewicz Library & Dramatic Circle at Fillmore and Paderewski in the heart of Buffalo’s east side. The Adam Mickiewicz Library & Dramatic Circle, is a nonprofit private club founded in 1895 and is the oldest Polish American organization in Western New York. The theater continues to invest in its east side home, and recently unveiled a dramatic new addition.

In 2017, the theater was featured in the January 2017 edition of Chance Magazine for its site-specific production, They Kill Things, and Atlantic Magazine’s “The Best Thing My City Did This Year.”

To learn more about the Response Festival or to purchase tickets, visit

2018 Response Festival

Morning Dew: A virtual reality experience by FLATSITTER in collaboration with David Mitchell.
Dates: July 17-22
Click here for tickets.

● Tues.-Thurs. 6pm-10pm,
● Fri 6pm-12am,
● Sat. 2pm-12am,
● Sun. 2-10pm Location: AMLDC, 612 Fillmore Ave. Buffalo, NY 14212 Tickets: $15 All festival tickets at:

STATIONS: A multimedia installation for Silo City designed by Torn Space Theater Written by Dan Shanahan and Melissa Meola
Dates: August 10-12, 17-19
Click here for tickets.

● Doors at 7:30pm, Performance at 8:00pm
● VIP Experience: 7:00pm Location: Silo City, 20 Childs St. Buffalo, NY 14201 Tickets: $25 Gen / $75 VIP All festival tickets at:

TRUCK: A mobile dance piece devised by Bridgman│Packer Dance.
Click here for tickets. (this is a free event, but reservations are encouraged)

● Sat. 8/18 – The Courtyard at the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle: 612 Fillmore Ave. Buffalo, NY 14212
● 8:30pm and 9:30pm
● Sun. 8/19 – Canalside
● 4:30pm, 5:30pm and 6:30pm

FLATSITTER and Morning Dew

Posted by FLATSITTER on Sunday, June 24, 2018


FLATSITTER is a digital media and performance collective based in Montreal, CA. Morning Dew is an immersive theater + virtual reality experience that features a video projection and mixed media installation by David Mitchell, paired with a virtual reality experience by Flatsitter with music from Shawn Elliott Lewis and Brianna Battista.

1961: A Canadian folk singer named Bonnie Dobson woke up in the middle of the night and wrote a post-apocalyptic folk song called “Morning Dew.” She later recalled: “After everyone went to bed, I sat up and suddenly I just started writing this song although I had never written a song in my life.” It’s a love story about the end of the world – told in reverse.

Morning Dew is an apocalyptic love story told in three acts – after, during, and before the apocalypse. It is experienced two-at-a-time, so patrons must make reservations in advance. The installation will take place at the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle, 612 Fillmore Ave.

And, brothers and sisters, “wow” is definitely the word. Lily Dale is a virtual reality experience that’s on the weirder side of sublime, that’s eerie and personal and arranged like a beautiful immersive installation.” – Austin Chronicle

“A highlight of the 2016 Satellite Art Show during Art Basel Miami Beach.” – Playboy

Torn Space Theater and STATIONS

Photo by Mark Duggan, 2017 RESPONSE

Torn Space Theater returns to the scenic setting of Buffalo’s Silo City, this year exploring a whole new section of the industrial complex. Collaborating with local and international artists, technicians, and performers, STATIONS will swathe audiences in sound, light, and projection design to create a visceral and otherworldly experience.

The piece will feature a collaboration with Berlin-based lighting designer Olivier Pasquet, an internationally active lighting, sound and projection-mapping artist whose work has appeared at the Centre Pompidou, Hong Kong HSBC Center, and the Theatre National de Reims. More information about Olivier Pasquet and his ongoing work can be found at his website. Torn Space continues to bring in top contemporary artists from around the world to collaborate and share their work with the Western New York audience. STATIONS will also feature work by NYC-based sound designer Avi Amon, and gong percussionist Liz Holland, among others.

The pre-show VIP experience for STATIONS will feature a serene boat ride on the canal surrounding the scenic grain silos, accompanied by an original soundtrack composed by Torn Space sound designers. This unique perspective of the historic industrial site will provide a fitting prelude to the night’s meditative performance with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception.

…an explosion of what “theater” means. More than perhaps any other production in the company’s storied history of pushing boundaries and defying definitions, it forces viewers to rethink and expand their own ideas of what theater or performance can be.” – The Buffalo News

“…conceived on a scale most theatre companies can only dream of.”  – PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art

Bridgman│Packer Dance and TRUCK

Performed inside of a 17-ft box truck, Bridgman|Packer Dance’s TRUCK brings performance to unusual locations. Through their signature integration of live dance performance and video technology, an ordinary box truck evolves from the utilitarian into a re-imagined space, a micro-world of magical visions and transformation. With constant shifts of context and scale, startling imagery emerges; a house of a thousand rooms, an aquarium, and a leafy hideaway come alive.

Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer, collaborators in choreography and performance and Co-Artistic Directors of Bridgman|Packer Dance, are known for their work integrating live performance and video technology. They were awarded a 2017 New York and Performance Award for Outstanding Production (The Bessies). In New York City they have been presented by Lincoln Center, City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Festival, Dance Theater Workshop (now New York Live Arts), Central Park Summerstage, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and The Sheen Center. The Village Voice named them “Best of 2016.”

Their fabulous new wordless dramas…bridge time, space, and passion, showing us past and present simultaneously…startling, time-based visual art.” The Village Voice

“The boundary between reality and imagination is brilliantly blurred…Welcome to the future of dance.” Star Tribune, Minneapolis
theater or performance can be.” – The Buffalo News

“Motion Picture is conceived on a scale most theatre companies can only dream of.” – PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art

600 HIGHWAYMEN and Manmade Earth

The Fever, Photo by Maria Baranova

Manmade Earth is at the intersection of performance and installation. A guided performance that is created by the attending audience, this piece continues 600 HWM’s singular trajectory of making work both for and by community. The audience that comes together for the performance are the authors of the work. In this piece, an ever-shifting landscape of objects and materials are manipulated by the audience. Manmade Earth examines the evolution of our society; how we come together to create what we could not on our own. Buildings get built, destroyed, built again. How do the structures that we make push us together or keep us apart?

Manmade Earth is at the earliest stages of its development and will be presented after a two week residency at Torn Space in tandem with an new original piece by Torn Space Theater. This residency is supported through CAI. For its parallel installation, Torn Space will partner with the UB School of Architecture and Planning, and Christopher Romano, Research Assistant Professor and designer of Light/Station, the newly-installed façade on the renovated studio next door to the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle. This creative collaboration allows Torn Space to reimagine their recently expanded interior and exterior space.

Both projects are about reconfiguring what performance space means while investigating how the audience engages with performance in different ways based upon their proximity to performance and their ability to actively construct performance.

600 Highwaymen is theater artists Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone. Since 2009, the duo’s 8 original works have been seen at The Public Theater, Abrons Arts Center, The Invisible Dog, American Repertory Theater, AT&T Performing Arts Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, On The Boards, Walker Arts Center, Wexner Center for the Arts; and Internationally, at Centre Pompidou and Parc de la Villette (France), Festival Theaterformen (Germany), Noorderzon Festival (The Netherlands), and more. In addition to an Obie Award in 2014 and Zurich’s ZKB Patronage Prize in 2015, Browde and Silverstone were named artist fellows by the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2016.

One of New York’s best non-traditional companies.” – The New Yorker
“The standard bearers of contemporary theater-making.” – Le Monde


The third annual Response Festival will feature Morning Dew July 17-22, STATIONS August 10-12, 17-19, TRUCK August 18-19 and Manmade Earth November 1-2.. Tickets are $15 for Morning Dew, and $25 for STATIONS, with a VIP ticket option to include food, drink and a special performance experience.

Accompanying the performance festival will be guest speaker events and workshops at the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle and University of Buffalo, to be announced.

Funding for the RESPONSE Festival comes from The Cullen Foundation, NYSCA, REDC, Erie County, the Creative Arts Initiative, NYS DanceForce, and Torn Space

Theater’s individual and corporate donors.

Tickets and information may be found online at

Lead image: Truck Photo 6a Bridgman Packer Dance credit Caleb Carr

Written by Buffalo Rising

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