TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: performance art in Second Life

TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: the muse Terpsichore, presiding over the entrance to the Theatre of the Nine Muses

TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: the muse Terpsichore, presiding over the entrance to the Theatre of the Nine Muses

Caitlyn and I recently received an invitation to visit the new home TerpsiCorp ARTWerks, a relatively new art and performance company in Second Life. The invitation was extended by the company’s founder and director, Cassie Parker (nanki Hendes), and we were more than delighted to accept.

TerpsiCorpsARTWerks has been established with an ambitious vision to become a major force for performance art in Second Life, offering the potential to forge connections between performance art in the physical and virtual worlds whilst also supporting the arts in Second Life.

TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: looking towards the Belly Dance Pit

TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: looking towards the Belly Dance Pit

“From the very beginning, we wanted to create art that actually meant something … art that was more than simple entertainment,” Cassie Parker says of the company in an article she penned for Rez Magazine’s February 2016 edition. “I sought out artists that could bring a unique perspective to their performances, artists that were not only highly sensitive (as most artists are), but that could also bring a sense of intimacy to their performances on stage.”

It a fascinating piece to read, tracing the creative process that led Cassie from a casual introduction to in-world performance art and the SL art scene as a whole, through the formation of TerpsiCorps ARTWerks to their first in-world performance in September 2015, and onwards to the founding of their new base of operations at TerpsiCorps Isle.

TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: Dionysus Workshop Pavilion

TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: Dionysus Workshop Pavilion

The forcal point for this new home is a magnificent sky platform which officially opened on Sunday, February 21st. Designed by TerpsiCorp’s Artistic Director, Chrissy Rhiano, assisted by Cordelia Cerise, it is largely built along the lines of classical Greek architecture and is a work of art in itself, offering a range of public facilities in celebration of the arts.

Visitors to the centre arrive on a stone-paved avenue lined with olive trees and alcoves featuring the nine muses. This is bookended by two stunning theatres, one of which, The Theatre of the Nine Muses, continues the classic Greek theme, its entrance presided over by Terpsichore, one of the nine muses of dance, and from whom the company takes its name. At the other end of the avenue is the Belly Dance Pit, a structure of distinctly Arabian influence, offering an intimate theatre in the round design and which hosts performances of conventional and other styles of belly dance.

Between the theatres, and set back within lush wooded groves, lie three gallery spaces. Two of these are respectively dedicated to the work of Molly Bloom and Bryn Oh, while the third is offered to emerging artists within Second Life. Most recently (at the time of writing) this housed an exhibition by Lantana Silverweb, who is also the company’s official photographer. Also accessible from the central avenue is the Dionysus Workshop Pavilion, offering both a workshop space and room to host music events.

Nor does it end there. Reached via two flagstone paths flanking the entrance plaza to the  Theatre of the Nine Muses, lies the Trail of the Muses: a walk designed by Cordelia Cercise which takes you around the theatre through eight shrines dedicated to each of the remaining muses. Within the lush wooded gardens there is more so discover: wildlife in the form of giraffe, elephant, caribou, and deer, as well as glades and water features.

TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: the garden wildlife

TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: the garden wildlife

The official opening of these facilities was marked by a performance of the company’s Gothic Opera at the Theatre of the Nine Muses. Such was the interest in the event that some 80 people were in attendance, with more wishing to see it. To this end, an encore performance is to be staged on Sunday, February 28th at the theatre, with curtain up at 19;00 SLT. However, if you do plan to attend, an earlier arrival might well be in order to secure a seat.

There is still some work to be done in support of the company’s activities; as I mentioned to Cassie (although she was already aware), the platform could benefit from some discrete information boards, or have gallery name boards and production advertising offer information note cards. These, I gather will be added. There are also plans for an associated website, but for now the best place to find out more on the company is via its Facebook page.

TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: Theatre of the Nine Muses

TerpsiCorps ARTWerks: Theatre of the Nine Muses

All told, this is a fabulous and fascinating venture, and I genuinely look forward to both witnessing more of TerpsiCorps ARTWerks activities as they continue to develop both their productions and the region, and to reporting more about their activities through the pages of this blog.

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