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K-State Today

April 6, 2023

'Search for Simurgh' opens April 8 at Purple Masque Theatre

Submitted by School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

photo by Neoshia Shockley. Dancer pictured is Rachelle Jackson

"Search for Simurgh," an immersive performance-installation by Kate Digby, associate professor of dance, invites audiences to engage with a multiplicity of perspectives on freedom and interdependence. The performance will take place at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in K-State's Purple Masque Theatre. 

The piece welcomes audiences into a forest of stories about freedom, home/land and forced migration as told by the 18 people Digby interviewed about their personal experiences.

Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the piece was born out of a collaboration between Digby and New York City multimedia artist and author Roya Movafegh. These performances are dedicated to Movafegh's memory.

"I am very excited to share this project with the K-State and Manhattan community and truly hope it will spur reflection and community conversation on the nature of freedom and interdependence," Digby said. "Despite the weighty themes, I think it is also a pretty fun experience for the audience who go on a journey through multiple scenes where they are invited to let go of their fears, paint their dreams, and reconnect with the beating of their hearts."

Tickets are free, but reservations are required at ksu.universitytickets.com

"Search for Simurgh" was first staged as a work-in-development in Toronto, then it traveled to New York City for a short run and now makes its way from the Big Apple to the Little Apple. Initiated as a collaboration with Movafegh, this iteration incorporates her photography and story inspiration as well as biosensing art by biomedical designer/developer Alan Macy, interactive computational art by Mark-David Hosale, photography by K-State alumna Neoshia Shockley and text by Erika Batdorf, who was lead writer, co-creator and co-director of the 2019 Toronto version.

"Search for Simurgh" features nine student performers from the K-State dance program: Abbey Griffin, Audrey Henton, Emily Hug de Belmont Brugada, Avery Johnson, Haylee Nicholas, Ann Stegman, Ella Tow, Sami Villasana and Annika Wiebers. In addition to the grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the piece is supported by Biopac Systems, nD::StudioLab at York University, Kansas State University and Cause.

For more information on "Search for Simurgh," visit katedigby.art/search-for-simurgh