Arts & Culture

Mark Turek / Trinity Rep

As we know, Christmas comes but once a year. And this time around Trinity Rep is presenting its evergreen production of “A Christmas Carol” earlier than usual. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Bill Gale says that’s a good thing, for several reasons.

“A Christmas Carol” continues at Trinity Rep through December 31st. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio

African cuisine will be on display in Pawtucket Saturday. The African Alliance of Rhode Island plans to present a public cooking demonstration.

The group maintains a network of community gardens, dedicated to native produce from Africa. These are fruits and vegetables you won’t find at the local grocery store, like special varieties of hot peppers and a small, round vegetable called the African Garden Egg.

Alliance President Julius Kolawole said it makes a flavorful sauce.

Courtesy Gamm Theatre

Confrontations between white police officers and people of color may be the main public conflict in the United States these days. At the Gamm Theatre, a play called “The Rant” looks into the issue, and goes on to possibly even deeper questions. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Bill Gale has the review.

“The Rant” continues through December 13th at the Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Gamm Theatre

A new production at The Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket explores the theme of police violence in minority communities. The play is called “The Rant,” and it was written by Brown graduate Andrew Case. He wrote the play in 2008, but it deals with an issue that has generated continued public debate and discussion, particularly over the past year. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Chuck Hinman talked to Andrew Case about the play, its genesis and continuing relevance.

One of Rhode Island’s only Spanish-language theater companies is getting its own home. The ECAS Theatre in Providence has been operating for nearly two decades. (ECAS stands for Educational Center for the Arts and Sciences.)

ECAS began in 1997, producing plays in both English and Spanish. Up to now, the group has rented space, but organizers have found a permanent home in Providence’s South Side.

The group mainly stages plays from Hispanic countries. Artistic Director Francis Parra said they provide a glimpse into the national cultures of many Rhode Island residents.

Trinity Repertory Company

A performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol might be part of your family’s holiday tradition. But for some families with autistic children, the bright lights and loud noises of a typical performance make that tradition nearly impossible. 

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, the Providence rock club, turns 40 this year. First opened in 1975, the club started out in the Conrad Building on Westminster St. Two moves later, it's now on Washington St. in the Strand building. To celebrate 40 years of live music, Lupo's sister club, the Met in Pawtucket, hosted several nights of music featuring favorites from years past, including Roomful of Blues, The Schemers, Rizzz and The Young Adults. For this month's Artscape, RIPR's Chuck Hinman talked to founder Rich Lupo about how it all started and what's next.

Chuck Hinman / RIPR

The Providence-based arts organization AS220 is celebrating its 30th anniversary Saturday night with a big party at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence. After a humble start in a small room in the Providence Performing Arts Center back in 1985, AS220 has grown to become an arts and performance powerhouse

Gabriella Nissen

Festival Ballet Providence kicks off its 38th season later this week with a re-boot of programs from The Ballets Russes. The dances shocked the art world when they premiered in Paris more than 100 years ago. The company invited collaborators from painters to fashion designers to take part in their performances. Festival Ballet Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric says the result was something new and exciting.

swampyank/creative commons license

The chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jane Chu, toured the Ocean State Friday. The visit was part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the NEA.

Chu says she was surprised by what she called a “thriving” arts community in Rhode Island. She said the state recognizes the impact of the arts on the economy.

"When we put the arts in a corner, or we think that it’s a frill, we’re really doing a disservice to the transformational power of the way arts touches our lives every day; everything from jobs to career training, to the beauty of arts themselves," said Chu.

Katherine Doherty

The din of trumpets, trombones, sousaphones, and bass drums rang out across the mouth of the Providence river on Monday as hundreds gathered for this year’s Pronk! festival. 

Lisa Williams / flickr

Downtown Providence might get a little noisy Monday as the Providence Honk Festival makes its annual parade through the city. The PRONK festival features a variety of marching bands and community groups. The groups will make their way from Kennedy Plaza to the mouth of Narragansett Bay.

The What Cheer? Brigade of Providence will be one of the bands taking part. Drummer Jori Ketten calls Pronk! an alternative street festival.

“A large part of the festival is about claiming the streets and spending time in the streets and reveling in the streets,” said Ketten.

Maggie Hall / Ocean State Theatre

Warwick’s Ocean State Theatre opens the season with a mixture of music and dark humor. Rhode Island Public Radio theatre critic Bill Gale was mostly won over by The Addams Family: The Musical.

The Addams Family: The Musical runs through October 25th at Ocean State Theatre in Warwick. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Trinity Repertory Company

Rhode Island's theater community said a final farewell this week to longtime Trinity Repertory Company member Barbara Meek. The Detroit native passed away on Saturday. She was 81-years-old.

Meek acted in more than 100 plays at Trinity Rep., including the current production  of "Julius Caesar," which had her on stage up until the week before she died. Over her decades-long career, she also had roles on Broadway and television.

Rhode Island Public Radio arts critic Bill Gale shared his memories of Meek, both on and off the stage, in this audio postcard.

2nd Story Theatre

Ed Shea, artistic director of Warren's 2nd Story Theatre, had to ring up theater folk in London for permission to do “Dangerous Corner,” a mostly forgotten 1930s play by J.B. Priestley. Bill Gale says the result is, somewhat mixed.