I create Theatre of Revolutionary Kindness in the public realm.
Daily, we are bombarded by larger-than-life images that reinforce powerlessness, cynicism, consumerism, violence, and a mistrust of those perceived as “other.” We seldom encounter large-scale images that reinvigorate and connect us.
Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders, my Seattle-based site-specific theatre company, transforms urban spaces into ephemeral participatory dreamscapes. These multisensory “spectaculars” typically comprise hundreds of performers, giant set pieces, and operatic morsels. We seek to soften the hard edges of the built environment, to recast civic space as imaginative space—egalitarian and inclusive space—noncommercial, even generous space.
My large-scale feminine vision of public life involves building ephemeral landscapes of gentleness—even citywide mothering. I use large-scale theatre to create temporal incubators that nurture an imaginative, peaceful society.
My mission is as much social and political as it is artistic: to confront and transform urban dilemmas with the power of mammoth, free theatre, nurturing community by inspiring Imaginative Culture in the public realm. Momentarily reclaiming civic space with a kind of North American magical realism, I orchestrate and direct large-scale partnerships within communities, using immersive public theatre as a tool to inspire neighbor-to-neighbor connection, foster civic pride, and deepen stewardship for our public places.
I weave fine art (live orchestra, dance-theatre, sculpture-installation) with disciplines unusual in contemporary art (dog training, baking, watercraft) to create performances that liberate public imagination and nurture the soul of place. My productions unfurl across the landscape, its waters, and even the calendar year. Clothed in fairy tale aesthetics, these site-responsive, community-centric works reach beyond social barriers by mining elemental themes of the human experience: Family, the Journey, Paradise, and the Heavens. Our productions have engaged tens of thousands in grand lyrical rites that unfold in the secular sphere.
Since 2006, my company has presented more than 50 such works, drawing together audiences from throughout the Puget Sound region. To create on such an epic scale, I collaborate with cities, institutions, local businesses, schools, clubs, and community organizations. These productions bring together diverse populations of all ages, ethnicities, and economic castes through a radical spirit of community engagement.
Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders has been commissioned and supported by organizations such as the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, On the Boards, Seattle Arts Commission, Washington State Arts Commission, Olympic Sculpture Park, 4Culture, Artist Trust, ACT Theatre, Seattle City Light, Seattle Parks and Recreation, GGLO Architects, and the nearby cities of Redmond, Burien, Vashon, and Duvall.
Our work proffers new models with which to reclaim our public spaces—and our public selves—from stultifying institutions and rapacious corporations that consider us mere workers and consumers. At a time when some in positions of power foster bigotry and fear, our performances reawaken a more inclusive, celebratory, and generous model for public life.