Performance Studies Laboratory at Xavier University of Louisiana

Here Is Where you Turn Back / Performance Studies Laboratory, Xavier University of Louisiana / Photography by Irving Johnson III

The Performance Studies Laboratory at Xavier University of Louisiana creates student and faculty work that treats performance as an experiment. Our work draws from literature, cultural ritual, rites of passage, political action, civic engagement, and visual culture. The Laboratory was launched in 2013 by an interdisciplinary group of scholar-artists to produce performances, host festivals, and collaborate with local, national, and international artists.

All of our projects view performance from two perspectives: as an object to be analyzed (as if in a scientific laboratory) and as a way to share our creative research with audiences. Our recent work has included:
• “Here Is Where You Turn Back” – a stage adaptation of two New Orleans-based short stories (Arna Bontemps “Talk to the Music” and Alice Dunbar Nelson’s “The Goodness of St. Rocque”) and an excerpt from Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo.
• “River Psalms” – a one-woman environmental justice performance told from the perspective of the Mississippi River, in collaboration with Cripple Creek Theatre and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.
• “Art Lesson: U Perform” – a workshop collaboration with performance artist Kalup Linzy and Prospect New Orleans to create video scenes that explored gender and sexuality.

Our annual season runs from September through April and includes a series of performances staged at Xavier, other sites in New Orleans, and national performance festivals.