This season, patrons will have the opportunity to experience dance, music and acting from performers representing seven countries: Cuba, Ireland, Denmark, Mexico, Italy, Spain and South Africa — all before the holidays even begin. The Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, which serves as the illustrious backdrop for the incredibly masterful musicians, Grammy winners, Broadway stars and celebrated composers, provides quite the international respite for Blacksburg community residents year-round.
International and nationally acclaimed artists have long taken center stage here, though.
“From the very beginning, it was important to me that we offer broad programming and exhibitions that represent a nice range of offerings,” said Ruth Waalkes, Virginia Tech's associate provost for the arts and executive director of the Moss Arts Center. “Because we are an arts center in the middle of a university campus, it creates an incredible opportunity for us to create deep cultural experiences for not only our students and staff, but for our patrons throughout the community. Being able to offer such contrasting programming is very meaningful to all of our patrons.
“In addition, since the majority of our students are here for four to five years, we want the arts center to be part of their life and learning experience, to expand their horizons and, in the process, perhaps see something here they wouldn’t be exposed to in their own hometown.”
Waalkes said that in conjunction with the Moss Arts Center, as well as the School of Performing Arts, School of Visual Arts, public galleries and art on campus, Virginia Tech is bringing the kind of diverse cultural experience and global awareness through performances, exhibitions and artist engagements one might expect in a metropolitan area — and not just to students, but to the residents throughout the region. This correlates directly with the university’s land grant mission of outreach, engagement and service, as well as Virginia Tech’s motto, “That I may serve.”
According to Waalkes, a typical season will offer around 30 ticketed performances and a variety of free gallery exhibitions in addition to nearly 80 other locally and university-supported events. The likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater are juxtaposed with poetry readings, talkbacks (discussions held after a theater performance) and immersive experiences performed and produced by a diverse and innovative range of renowned artists, students and faculty. In addition to the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, events are also scheduled in the Cube, the center’s state-of-the-art black box theater, which features advanced spatial, lighting and technical accoutrements providing a unique performance space and an immersive research space for faculty and students working with the Virginia Tech Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology.
Waalkes is excited about the 2022-23 season in that it marks the first since the pandemic that a full in-theater experience awaits patrons.
“Our subscriber base has been, and is, so incredibly loyal. Thanks to our patrons’ unwavering support throughout the challenging pandemic months and our subsequent virtual season, we were able to successfully navigate our way through it,” Waalkes said.
Waalkes invites all to experience the world at Virginia Tech.
Step right up.
For more information, visit artscenter.vt.edu.