The Quiet Circus

1/6: The Quiet Circus performance at Washington Avenue Green. Photo by Maiko Matsushima.
2/6: Photo by David Brick.
3/6: Jungwoong Kim and Christina Zani in Philadelphia workshop of Island score. Photo by David Brick.
4/6: The Quiet Circus performance at Washington Avenue Green. Photo by Maiko Matsushima.
5/6: Photo by David Brick.
6/6: Jungwoong Kim in Philadelphia workshop of Island score. Photo by David Brick.

Headlong will present The Quiet Circus, a year-long series of participatory practices conceived as an ongoing public performance at Washington Avenue Green, a one-acre site surrounding reclaimed Pier 53 on the Delaware River waterfront in South Philadelphia. The site served as the major entry point to Philadelphia for immigrants in the early 20th century. In collaboration with curator Mary Jane Jacob, Headlong will offer activities to encourage audiences’ close observation and sensory awareness of the site, and a deeper engagement with the urban landscape. A series of 36 evolving performances will occur in weekly runs of three months, followed by periods of reflection guided by Jacob, in which participants will consider questions surrounding development and decay, land and water, as well as industry and gentrification. Performances will include Island, a dance-theater score created with Ishmael Houston Jones and Polly Motley; Landscape, a performance game that invites audiences to create their own scenery using nine large-scale sculptures; and The Luminous World, a durational piece in which subtle human actions reveal a buzzing, luminous performance of the environment.

Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.


A number of ongoing and recently completed Center-funded projects have filled theater houses and garnered extensive media coverage.

Tempesta di Mare presented a concert series of baroque interpretations in collaboration with the Philadelphia Singers.

In this collaboration, Meredith Rainey researched and developed a new work that explored perception through the vehicle of the famous Rorschach test.

Mike Bullock holds a workshop previewing his Center-funded project The Philadelphia Embassy of the Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland.

Grants & Grantees

Hilary Harp is a sculptor and installation artist, and a 1995 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Rennie Harris is a dancer and a 1996 Pew Fellow.

In August 2011, the Philadelphia Inquirer hailed Opera Philadelphia’s transformation as a “haven for new opera.”

Collaborators & Colleagues

Ken Vandermark’s primary creative emphasis is the exploration of contemporary music that deals directly with advanced methods of improvisation.

Bowerbird, in cooperation with the 2011 FringeArts Festival, presented the American premiere of More Mouvements für Lachenmann, and held workshops with choreographer Xavier Le Roy.

A world premiere, music-theater work by playwright Colman Domingo and directed by Patricia McGregor will offer a fresh perspective on the artistic legacy of vocalist and jazz pianist Nat “King” Cole by bringing to light both his on- and off-stage personas, as well as telling the story behind the 1957 demise of his groundbreaking national television variety show amidst America’s growing civil rights movement.

Grants & Grantees

First Person Arts commissioned San Francisco playwright/performer Dan Hoyle to develop a new journalistic theater work about the news—the organization’s first commissioned work for theater.

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts presents a diverse range of programming in a beautiful park setting.