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Past Seasons


February 2022

Rising Tide: The Crossroads Project, a multi-disciplinary live performance fusing original music with art, imagery, and science to address global sustainability and provide a path toward meaningful response. The score by composer Laura Kaminsky is performed by the Fry Street Quartet, with spoken elements by physicist and educator Robert Davies, and imagery by visual artist Rebecca Allan and photographer Garth Lenz, Rising Tide unfolds in a series of vignettes juxtaposing the natural world from which we have emerged and the human world that has emerged from us. Grounded in science, elevated by art, and igniting response, The Crossroads Project confronts a planet under siege and a future in peril, inspiring audiences to change the course.

The Crossroads Project was part of a two-day residency supported by the Rankin Scholars in Residence Program and promoted a partnership between Drexel’s Department of Performing Arts and the Academy of Natural Sciences. The residency included a public performance in Mandell Theater with talk-back, a public panel discussion at the Academy of Natural Sciences, and in-class learning sessions for Drexel students in the areas of music, art, and environmental science.

Watch the trailer!

April 2022

Melting Ice/Changing Winds (Dance and Music of Climate Change), a collaboration inspired by the artists unique experience in the Arctic and addressing global warming. Described by critics as “dazzling” (The Times) and “mesmerizing” (Edinburgh Spotlight), Melting Ice/Changing Winds is a collaboration between acclaimed choreographer Jody Sperling (Time Lapse Dance) and composer Matthew Burtner.

Watch a promo of the project!

Season partners included The Academy of Natural Sciences and the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.


Dahlak Brathwaite 

Dahlak Braithwaite: Spiritrials

February, 2023

Written and performed by Dahlak Brathwaite
Musical accompaniment by Dion Decibels
Directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Sean San José
Stage Manager/Production Manager: Brittany White
Lighting Designer: Darl Andrew Packard
Video Designer: Joan Osato
Sound Design: Dion Decibels and Dahlak Brathwaite
Produced by: The Living Word Project
For Booking and Touring:
The Living Word Project, Joan Osato, Producing Director

Addiction, religion and the law intersect in a timely and personal exploration of the criminal justice system. This multi-dimensional play takes its inspiration, as well as its name, from one of Dahlak’s most recent hip-hop albums, layering characters, poetic verse, and dialogue over the content of the songs to create a theatrical piece that blurs the lines between hip-hop and dramatic performance. A timely exploration of the criminal justice system, Spiritrials chronicles the journey of Dahlak’s own criminalization along with his struggle to be vindicated and decriminalized in the eyes of the law and society. The piece works through the personal shame of criminal stigmatization to examine the factors – both internal and external – that have misplaced him in what appears to be a cultural rite of passage. 

Brent White: Broken Toy 

Brent White Jazz Ensemble: Broken Toy

March, 2023

Broken Toy jazz suite expresses both the annihilation and the healing of traumatizing wounds. The music reveals Brent White’s constructive method in the madness that flows from the prison industry, from violence and from poverty into our families and our communities.

Broken Toy takes up the work of restoring what is precious in the life of a child who has witnessed the toll prisons impose on their families and their personal development. In that endeavor, Brent has assimilated many of his skills to the empathic call of children of incarcerated parents.

Out of a vision for curing what is broken, Brent White has composed a work that deserves recognition for its Restorative Justice qualities. Its music seeks to repair, to heal, and to convey hope.

Dr. Baz Dresinger 

Dr. Baz Dreisinger: Journeying to Justice in Global Prisons

March, 2023

Dr. Baz Dreisinger works at the intersection of race, crime, culture and justice. She earned her Ph.D. in English from Columbia University, specializing in American and African-American studies. At John Jay she is the Founding Academic Director of John Jay's Prison-to-College Pipeline program, which offers college courses and reentry planning to incarcerated men at Otisville Correctional Facility, and broadly works to increase access to higher education for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals. Dr. Dreisinger's book "Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World" (2016) was heralded by the New York Times, NPR and many more, and was named a notable book of 2016 by the Washington Post. Professor Dreisinger moonlights as a journalist and critic, writing about Caribbean culture, race-related issues, travel, music and pop culture for such outlets as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal, and producing on-air segments about music and global culture for National Public Radio (NPR). Her first book "Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture" (2008) was featured in the New York Times and on NPR and CNN. Together with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Peter Spirer, Professor Dreisinger produced and wrote the two nationally aired documentaries about hip-hop, criminal justice and the prison industrial complex. She regularly speaks about justice reform and prison issues on popular news media and in international settings.

Dr. Dreisinger was named a 2017-2018 Global Fulbright Scholar and is working to internationally replicate the Prison-to-College Pipeline, with a focus on the Caribbean and South Africa. She is currently working on a road map for how prison-to-college pipelines and restorative justice can replace mass incarceration as a system of justice.

Read the full program!