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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Pivot Arts Festival Returns To Uptown And Edgewater With Bold New Performances

The festival, which was created to support innovative and eclectic performances, kicks off May 31 and runs through June 9.

Performers for Search Party, a live dance performance created by Erin Kilmurray
Pivot Arts/Matthew Gregory Hollis
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UPTOWN — Pivot Arts Festival is kicking off Friday in Uptown and Edgewater, bringing music, theater and dance to the North Side for the seventh year in a row.

The 10-day festival’s director, Julieanne Ehre, said this year’s festival will feature only world premieres — meaning audiences will be experiencing the performances for the first time.

“We don’t produce works that are normally seen on stage,” she said. “We really focus on works that are innovative but also widely entertaining.”

Two of this year’s performances particularly excite Ehre. The first is a contemporary adaptation of the “Epic of Gilgamesh.”

The play is called “Gilgamesh and Enkidu” and is directed by Chicago playwright Seth Bockley. Performing in the play will be Iraqi actor Ahmed Moneka.

Credit: Pivot Arts/Michael Zender
International performer Ahmed Moneka.

Moneka is currently based in Toronto after seeking political asylum there. Moneka appeared in a film that highlighted the struggles facing LGBTQ people in Iraq. The backlash and threats were severe enough that he was unable to remain in his home country, Ehre said.

It will be Moneka’s first performance in the United States.

Ehre also suggests attendees check out “The Rosina Project.” The performance is a blend of opera and hip-hop and is being described as a “hip-hopera.”

“The Rosina Project” is a re-imagining of ”The Barber of Seville” and is a collaboration between Chicago opera singers and hip-hop artists.

Ehre said she started the festival seven years ago in order to “fill a void” in the Chicago arts scene with acts that were groundbreaking, eclectic and unafraid to take artistic risks.

While the festival is the organization’s largest annual event, Pivot Arts works with artists throughout the year, helping them produce new work and present performances.

The festival begins on May 31 and runs until June 9. For performance locations and schedules, click here.

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