-Courtesy of Perpetual Motion PR
Art by Earl James
Curio Theatre Company springs back after the pandemic closures with a massive installation celebrating the life and career of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the famed violinist, composer and fencer whose story has been buried by history. This multi-disciplinary installation will feature five environments created by sculpture, music, projections, video and set design. Curio artists have been working for months independently on this ambitious experiment to highlight the life of an artist who rose from slavery. The piece involves no live actors. A Symphony for Saint-Georges runs Friday, March 19 through Sunday, April 18. In order to ensure patrons and staff remain completely safe during the show’s run, ticket times and dates vary and are available for individual households or pods with a maximum number of four people, at 50-minute intervals. Only one group will amble through the installation at a time, so patrons must make a reservation. There can be no late entry and groups will be let in and out by a masked front-of-house greeter. Audience members are required to wear masks at all times, as the health and safety of Curio’s staff and patrons is the first priority for the show. This is a Pay-What-You-Can performance with a suggested donation — for those able — of $20 for adults and $10 for students and children. Tickets are available online at www.curiotheatre.org or by phone at 215-921-8243. All shows are performed at Curio’s home theatre at the Calvary Center for Culture and Community, 4740 Baltimore Avenue.
“Curio has created an engaging tour that moves you with music and entertains you with adventure,” Director Rich Bradford said of A Symphony. “That is the life of Saint George! Music, adventure and the fight against oppression can be seen, heard, and felt in this production. With the voice of Saint Georges’ mother being the guide of this tour, you and your touring pod will be edutained — educated and entertained! — by the worlds of Saint Georges’ life.”
At the center of A Symphony for Saint-Georges is the life story of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Born in Guadeloupe to an enslaved mother and a wealthy plantation-owner father, Joseph Bologne was once described as “the most accomplished man in France.” As a champion fencer, esteemed violinist, father, and composer, Bologne is said to have inspired musicians like Mozart. However, even he was not immune to the realities of racism. His story has been buried by history.
Curio is excited to bring Joseph Bologne de Chevalier Saint-Georges back to life so we can tell his historic, inspiring, and under-told story.
Artists participating in this exciting project include Curio Co-Artistic Directors Rich Bradford and Paul Kuhn. Bradford adapted Saint-Georges’ life into this fully-immersive experience after being approached by Kuhn and choreographer Adja Samandoulgou with the idea. Paul Kuhn is also designing the set and creating the worlds. Visual Artist Jermaine Ollivierre is creating sculptures. Fight Choreographer Ian Rose is creating the fight choreography, which includes the fencing of Saint-Georges himself. Adja Samandoulgouis the dancer and choreographer, as well as a translator working with fellow translator Arrie Stuart. Dwayne Alistair Thomasis theVideographer and Editor. Keyonna Butler and Aetna Gallagher are the Costume Designers. Karen Smith is the Percussionist and Composer. Damien Figueras is the Sound Designer. Dalton Whiting is the Lighting Designer. Bless Rudsill and Colin Sass are the projectionists. Lexa Grace is the stage manager.
Star violinist Randall Goosby, who has played symphonies all over the world, recorded famed Saint-Georges and Mozart pieces for the installation. Ebony Pullum voices Saint-Georges’ mother and acts as the installation’s guide. Ian Rose plays the fencing instructor. Wilma Theater Hot House member Lindsay Smiling plays Saint-Georges.
About Curio Theatre Company
Curio Theatre Company’s mission is to serve audiences in West Philadelphia and beyond with high quality, affordable theatre performances; to develop artistic talent through ensemble, company -based training and rehearsal processes; and to further academic, social, and personal development through arts education. The artistic and the educational arms of the theatre company are intertwined as we make our home in the diverse community of West Philadelphia. The company’s Educational program was awarded the 2017 Victory Theatre Education Award at the Barrymore Awards Ceremony. It marked the company’s first Barrymore Award. Curio Theatre Company is a 501(c)3 non-profit company based in West Philadelphia. The Company was founded by professional artists and administrators who met at the Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, PA, and incorporated as a non-profit in 2004.”. After touring locally and internationally for several years, the Company began a search for a permanent home. In January 2005, Curio Theatre Company joined in partnership with the Calvary Center for Culture and Community at 4740 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia. This partnership provides Curio with a performance venue and classrooms within the Calvary Center as well as office space and company housing in the adjacent parish house. In return Curio is assisting the Calvary Center in creating a professional Performing Arts Venue in the heart of West Philadelphia.