The Wexner Center for the Arts announces Performing Arts Programming for 2021–22

Tue, Aug 31, 2021

In the months ahead, the Wexner Center for the Arts will gradually reintroduce in-person performing arts events to its multidisciplinary calendar of programming. A focus on the presentation of live music beginning fall 2021 will expand to incorporate theater and dance. And as some performers plan to appear on-site this season, others will continue to engage audiences virtually through the presentation of work developed with support from the Wexner Center Artist Residency Awards.

“Even as the world is reopening, no one is really sure how things will play out going forward,” notes Lane Czaplinski, director of performing arts. “We’ve tried to come up with a cadence of programming that will allow us to proceed during uncertain times. Adam Elliott and Ashley Stanton, my colleagues in the Performing Arts Department, have put together a music lineup that allows for a kind of communal convalescence as people get comfortable with going out again. And residencies scheduled over the course of the season will provide artists with opportunities to work in new ways for extended periods of time.”

Events are subject to change and some details are tentative at this time. All on-site events will follow Ohio State’s current COVID-19 safety protocols and seating capacities will be limited to provide room for social distancing. Updates and ticket information will be provided as they become available at Events take place in-person unless otherwise noted.


promotional image for the band Moviola

Moviola image courtesy of the artist

Moviola, Broken Rainbows: Deadpan Charms and Dubious Yarns
Friday, September 24 | 8 PM
Mershon Auditorium

One of Columbus’s hidden gems, Moviola is a music and art-making collective that has existed on the DIY fringe for over 25 years, evoking a broad range of the American songbook—from the noise of the Velvet Underground to the sweetness and light of Willie Nelson. For this special evening, the group will expand upon the music of its upcoming record Broken Rainbows with additional players and multimedia, evoking the pandemic-era conditions in which it developed.

Arooj Aftab
Saturday, October 16 | 8 PM
Mershon Auditorium

The sound of Brooklyn-based Pakistani composer Arooj Aftab floats between classical minimalism and new age, Sufi devotional poetry and electronic trance, jazz structures and states of pure being. Pitchfork wrote of her April release Vulture Prince, “The lyrics are humid with imagery of stolen glances on starry nights and catastrophic heartache during the monsoon season, and Aftab sings each word with a hushed urgency.”

Marc Ribot
Sunday, November 14 | 5 PM
Mershon Auditorium

Over a 40-year career, legendary guitarist Marc Ribot has released more than 25 albums and made singular contributions to the work of dozens of artists, including Laurie Anderson, Elvis Costello, Caetano Veloso, and Tom Waits. Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, featuring Shahzad Ismaily on bass and Chess Smith on drums, released the album HOPE in June. Ribot will appear at the Wex for a solo performance and signed copies of his new book, Unstrung: Rants and Stories of a Noise Guitarist, will be available through the Wex Store.


Katia and Marielle Lebeque; photo: Stefania Paparelli

Katia and Marielle Labèque, photo: Stefania Paparelli

Katia and Marielle Labèque
Tuesday, November 16
Mershon Auditorium

French sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque have expanded the possibilities for the double piano form with an intuitive connection honed by five decades of playing together. Renowned for their work in the classical canon, the Labèques have also explored other genres and collaborated with artists such as Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Bryce Dessner of The National. The program will include Dessner’s El Chan, along with works by Philip Glass and Maurice Ravel. 

James Dennen
November 2; also January and May dates TBD
Online at

A director, improvisational performer, and assistant professor of theatre at Denison University, James Dennen will take part in three virtual residencies over the 2021–22 season, to create dynamic new theater works for virtual reality. Each residency period will include an online, public presentation of Dennen’s work in progress.

Mary Lattimore with special guest Ana Roxanne
Sunday, December 5
Mershon Auditorium

Be transported by a transcendent evening of ambient soundscapes, featuring solo sets from two of experimental music’s most compelling voices. With her Lyon and Healy Concert Grand pedal harp, Mary Lattimore concocts half-structured improvisations that can include both ambient glitter and unsettling noise. Ana Roxanne presents her own brand of meditative aural expression, by turns uplifting and haunting. 

Yasmin Williams
Wednesday, December 8 | 8 PM
Performance Space

Yasmin Williams has won over audiences and critics with her bold, innovative approach to acoustic finger-style guitar, using techniques such as alternate tuning and lap tapping. In January, she followed up her chart-topping first album Unwind with the critically acclaimed Urban Driftwood; it was recently included in NPR Music’s staff picks for their favorite albums to date of 2021.

Jennifer Harge, Steal Still.
January 2022; premiere date TBD
Online at

Steal. Still. is an experimental film on Black futuring, currently being produced with support from Wexner Center Artist Residency Award. A collaboration between filmmaker Devin Drake, the film engages Harge’s choreographic archive to underscore ways Black flesh steals away from constraint and declares itself sovereign through spatial and corporeal agency. Steal. Still. depicts a gathering of real and imagined Black ancestries, positioning itself as another kind of physicality to history, spirit, and Black life. 


Annie Dorsen's Yesterday Tomorrow

Annie Dorsen, Yesterday Tomorrow, image courtesy of the artist

Annie Dorsen, Yesterday Tomorrow
February 2022 week one; date TBD
Mershon Auditorium

Rescheduled from its original spring 2020 date, Annie Dorsen’s Yesterday Tomorrow takes audiences on an unpredictable musical theater journey, as three vocalists sight-read an algorithmically generated score that always takes a different path to connect “Yesterday” by the Beatles to “Tomorrow” from the Broadway musical Annie. As part of her activities at the Wex, Dorsen will also participate in a free public conversation with artist, programmer, and researcher Sukanya Aneja.

Norah Zuniga Shaw, Livable Futures
February 12, 2022; additional dates TBD
Online at

The choreographer, vocalist, writer, and OSU Dance professor will debut the first part of this three-episode podcast, a series of experiments in digital performance that respond directly to planetary conditions of crisis and uncertainty.  The podcast continues the work of her ongoing project Climate Gathering and will be shaped by a schedule of performance lectures and discussions with peers over the fall. 

Big Dance Theater, The Mood Room
Thu–Sat, February 17–19, 2022
Performance Space

Vaguely set in 1970s-80s Los Angeles, Big Dance Theater’s The Mood Room offers a brutally honest critique of its own demographic through five women who have divested from an active body politic. The early seeds of the wellness movement are reflected in the changing relationship to the self that the wealth of the late 20th century brought to society. The Mood Room works specifically from the text of Guy de Cointet’s Five Sisters (1982), which in turn very lightly references Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters (1901).

Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Venue TBD

Brooklyn-based avant-garde trumpeter and composer Jaimie Branch will bring her quartet Fly or Die to the Wex almost exactly two years to the day after an originally scheduled performance was postponed by the pandemic. As DownBeat noted, “With each release, Branch taps into unrestrained experimentation, preferring to conjure compositions, rather than write them down and count them off.”

Radouan Mriziga, AKAL
Thu–Sat, April 14–16, 2022
Venue TBD

For Akal, Moroccan Brussels-based choreographer Radouan Mriziga draws inspiration from the indigenous people of North Africa and their oral culture, centering Neith, the ancient Egyptian goddess of birth and death who guides the souls of the dead to the underworld. Rituals, traditional dances, architecture, storytelling, song, poetry, rap: with Akal these elements come together in an intimate choreographic space to conjure a dream of a more inclusive future.

Makaya McCraven
Monday, May 16, 2022
Mershon Auditorium

A cutting-edge drummer, producer, sonic collagist, and self-described “beat scientist,” Chicago’s Makaya McCraven defies characterization. Brilliantly moving between genres and pushing the boundaries of jazz and rhythm to create new forms of his own, McCraven’s recorded work includes two variations on his sessions for the album Universal Beings and his most recent disc, the masterful Gil Scott Heron “cover” We’re New Again: A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven.

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Chameleon/Syllabus for Black Love
Early summer 2022; date TBD

Recipient of a two-year Wexner Center Artist Residency Award, Nigerian-American performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko has developed deep working relationships with various staff and departments at the Wex as he builds on the expansive interdisciplinary project Chameleon. This event will feature a performance and multi-channel installation created with support from the Wex Film/Video Studio.

Wexner Center programs are made possible by The Wexner Family; Greater Columbus Arts Council; Mary and C. Robert Kidder; L Brands Foundation; American Electric Power Foundation; The Columbus Foundation; Ohio Arts Council; Bill and Sheila Lambert; Adam Flatto; Huntington; Institute of Museum and Library Services; Nationwide Foundation; Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease; and Arlene and Michael Weiss.

Additional support is provided by Carol and David Aronowitz; Michael and Paige Crane; Axium Packaging; Fenwick & West LLP; Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams; KDC/ONE; M/I Homes; Ohio State Energy Partners; Regina Miracle International Ltd.; Washington Prime Group; Alene Candles; Lisa Barton; Fuel Transport; Russell and Joyce Gertmenian; Liza Kessler and Greg Henchel; Nancy Kramer; Matrix Psychological Services; Paramount Group, Inc.; Bruce and Joy Soll; Clark and Sandra Swanson; Business Furniture Installations; CASTO; E.C. Provini Co, Inc.; Garlock Printing & Converting; M-Engineering; New England Development; Our Country Home; Performance Team; Premier Candle Corporation; ProAmpac; Steiner + Associates; Textile Printing; Andrew and Amanda Wise.