District resident and developer Emerson College has just announced ArtsEmerson: The World Onstage, an initiative that will both bring in some of the world’s most celebrated theater artists and also provide space and resources for the development of new works from some theaters most exciting new innovators.

This exciting venture will be programmed by Robert Orchard, Emerson’s new Executive Director of the Arts, a founding member of the A.R.T. who spent 30 years as a managing director and then executive director for the avant garde company in residence at Harvard.

Said Orchard in a statement: "We’ve grouped these artists into two programming streams: legends and pioneers. Legends are established, highly-regarded companies and artists whose work is celebrated around the world, such as The Abbey Theatre, The New York Theatre Workshop, Peter Brook, Tectonic Theater Project and F. Murray Abraham, among others. Pioneers include a new generation of artists whose ideas are redefining theatre, such as Elevator Repair Service, 7 Fingers, Rude Mechs and Basil Twist. We will also host a wide variety of performances for people of all ages. Some of these works will be developed at the Paramount Center for Boston audiences and travel the world."

ArtsEmerson will be housed at the Majestic Theater, and at the newly revamped Paramount Center, a beautiful Art Deco-style former movie house at Downtown Crossing, which now sports a 590-seat theater with an orchestra pit, a 150-seat black box, and a cinema, the Bright Family Screening Room. It also features a new, scene shop, rehearsal studios, a soundstage and nearby apartments for resident artists.

In contrast to the often prohibitively expensive Broadway in Boston series housed in the other glamorous venues in the area, ArtsEmerson is selling season tickets to it’s first season for just $60, with tickets to one show thrown in for free. The season covers a broad range of ground from new comedy, to documentary drama, from the investigative cabaret of The Civilians, to the literary explorations of Elevator Repair Service (who brought us Gatz at the A.R.T.). There will be an Irish Festival, featuring the celebrated Abbey and Druid theater companies. The great Peter Brook will mount some Boston premiers of his work. F. Murray Abraham will take on Shylock courtesy of Theater for a New Audience.

As Orchard said, "It’s an exciting time to be a theater fan in Boston."

About The Author

Jason Rabin is a Blast contributing editor

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