As one of America’s leading university-based performing arts centers, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides an environment for high-impact encounters between art, ideas, and society. True to its stated mission of excellence and innovation in the performing arts through education, research, and public engagement, Krannert Center invites outstanding professional artists to perform, teach, and enter the fabric of University and community life; engages in research through the creation of new work; and provides an educational and performance home to the University of Illinois’ Department of Dance, Department of Theatre, School of Music (opera, choral, and instrumental programs and faculty recitals), as well as community-based ensembles.
“Positioned as it is within a major research public university, Krannert Center’s support for the creation of boundary-pushing new work of potential breakthrough significance at the national and international levels is equivalent to seminal exploratory research in the sciences,” comments director Mike Ross. “Especially at a moment in our country’s history in which neither private-sector nor public funding for such endeavors is easily secured, and in which the environment for support of exploration across numerous creative domains—arts, sciences, technology, humanities, even commerce—is shrinking and threatening our international standing as a leader in innovation, we believe that providing major financial, technological, facility, and human resources support to projects illustrative of breakthrough-potential creativity, such as Mikel Rouse’s The End Of Cinematics, is of enormous importance.”
Krannert Center’s history of commissioning works—35 musical, dance, and theatrical works as either the sole commissioner or as part of a commissioning consortium—dates back to 1982. A dozen world premiere performances of these works have been presented at the Center. More recently, Krannert Center has emerged as a research leader in the creation and presentation of significant new work, gaining attention for the range of support that it can offer as a university-based presenting and producing facility. With its four theatres and shops for scenic, lighting, props, costumes, and audio design; with a professional production, marketing, and development staff that embraces the arts as a touchstone for society and humanity at large; and with an enlightened University leadership that encourages cross campus, interdisciplinary explorations of art, technology, critical thinking, and scholarship, Krannert Center’s national role has changed from one of passive commissioner to active producer of and investor in new artistic works.
Krannert Center’s move into the role of producing partner began with the presentation of Mikel Rouse’s Dennis Cleveland in April 2001. The Center worked with Mikel Rouse and his New York-based production team to adapt the presentation of this “talk show opera” from a black box theatre to a proscenium stage. The Center’s professional staff designed and built the theatrical environment to support and tour the production, created marketing support materials, and premiered the newly-designed work before it traveled to Australia and Europe. The project involved the creative energies of Krannert Center staff and University of Illinois students, one of whom went on to tour with the production (and subsequent Mikel Rouse works) as a production stage manager.
As co-producer of Ralph Lemon’s Come home Charley Patton, the third part of this artist’s Geography Trilogy, Krannert Center deepened its experience in supporting artistic creativity, involving wide-ranging collaborative forces, and providing educational and experiential opportunities for students and staff. Ralph Lemon’s work received its premiere at Krannert Center in September 2004, and immediately departed on an international tour including its New York premiere at BAM’s New Wave Festival where it received overwhelmingly positive critical response. This highly collaborative production process has significantly informed the past year’s work with Mikel Rouse.
The completion of The End Of Cinematics project has been made possible by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications who have supported the project through theatrical expertise and experimental film and staging technologies. The completion of the project has involved:
This final phase of The End Of Cinematics began in early 2004. The work received its world premiere at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on September 17, 2005, with commissioning and production support provided by the University of Illinois Swanlund Initiative for the Performing Arts in the College of Fine and Applied Arts with support from the Office of the Provost; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008; Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts/University of California, Davis; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of Florida, Gainesville; Miami Performing Arts Center; UCLA Live; the Brooklyn Academy of Music with funds provided by the Mary Flagler Charitable Trust; and the Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production (MAP) Fund. Additional support provided by St. Ann's Warehouse.
September 17, 2005