Soft Goods (2016)

An examination of lives lived backstage, Soft Goods illuminates the choreographic elegance of manual labor, the lonesomeness of theaters, the spectral beauty of a lighting focus, and the human hand behind stage art. Created in collaboration with an ensemble of stage technicians and dancers, and structured as a live load-in and technical rehearsal for a performance that never happens, Soft Goods is a meditation on work, life, loss, and occupational self-obliteration.

Created with and performed by Jessica Cressey, Andy Kedl, Emily McGillicuddy, Krista Langberg, Ross Orenstein, Max Wirsing, Zachary Humes, Joanna Furnans, Roderick Murray, and Karen Sherman.

Premiered December 8-10, 2016, Walker Art Center (Mpls) and tours to Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (Los Angeles) and TBA Festival (Portland, OR) in 2017-2018. Co-commissioned by Walker Art Center, P.S. 122, CAP UCLA.

Click here to read an interview by Kate Sutton-Johnson or here for a video interview by Walker curator Philip Bither. Click here, here, here, here, and here for reviews and responses.

Go here to learn about the Behind the Scenes Counseling Fund, a mental health and addiction counseling fund for stagehands that was created in conjunction with this project.

Photos by Sean Smuda and Gene Pittman/Walker Art Center

Commissioned by the Walker Art Center with support provided by the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund; The McKnight Foundation; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and the National Endowment for the Arts. The work is supported by the National Performance Network’s (NPN) Forth Fund and is an NPN Creation Fund project created in partnership with the Walker Art Center, P.S. 122, The Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, and NPN. Presentation, production, and production residency support provided by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Karen Sherman is a fiscal year 2016 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Karen Sherman is a recipient of a 2013 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreographers, administered by The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts and funded by The McKnight Foundation. Soft Goods received production development support from LUMBERYARD's (formerly American Dance Institute) Incubator program, Alverno Presents, Concordia University, and Walker Art Center. Soft Goods was supported by a grant from the Jerome Foundation, as well as by The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital, primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

© 2018 Karen Sherman