Reston Community Center is pleased to welcome theatre artist and National Medal of Arts recipient Ping Chong to the CenterStage for events that will involve the community, particularly Reston-area high school students. This artist-led adventure will be an immersive experience for participants, with events running throughout the 2022 – 2023 season of Professional Touring Artist Series performances.
New York-based Ping Chong and Company have a residency format that has been developed over many years in dozens of locations nationwide. Ping and his artists create performances featuring the stories of local communities with particular emphasis on people and communities not typically represented in theatrical works.
In Reston, they will work with students to create a performance inspired by their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To connect with an artist of Ping Chong’s stature is thrilling for us,” said RCC board chair Bev Cosham. “He and his colleagues will offer us a chance to reach deep into our emotional wells and surface the compelling stories of how we navigated these last traumatic years. It promises to be both a revealing and a healing experience.”
Chong, who has been engaging audiences for 50 years and recently announced his impending retirement, is recognized as one of the country’s most significant multidisciplinary artists. He has created more than 100 major works for the stage. Ping Chong and Company transcend boundaries, exploring the interconnectedness of cultures and how multifaceted identities are addressed in society.
“Fifty years have passed since I began my life as a theatre practitioner. I am now in the process of retiring,” said Chong. “I will be 77 years old this year and it is time for reflecting on a fortunate, rich life. Time passes. I am delighted to share this moment of transition here in Reston with a documentary theatre work that is very dear to my heart, Undesirable Elements. It is a work that encourages connection in a world that is terribly disconnected. If theatre can do one thing, it is bring community together. Thank you for this opportunity to remind us all that we are all connected by our humanity, that we are all human beings regardless of where we come from. All islands connect under water.”
The work will be supported by RCC’s staff and documented on video by Storycatcher Productions, Inc. “It’s not often that we have such creative tools with which to examine shared experiences or to illuminate the perspectives of people unused to the spotlight coming to their lives,” said RCC executive director Leila Gordon. “Being part of this kind of experience can be life changing. We also want to remind people of our Fee Waiver program which can support participation in this and all our programs regardless of financial resources.”
Here is the schedule of events for the Ping Chong Residency:
September 19, October 25, November 14, December 19
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
RCC Hunters Woods
$45 Reston/$36 Reston 55+/$75 Non-Reston
Local artists Tuyet Pham and Kelly King, working side-by-side with Ping Chong, will host four evenings called “Awkward Conversations.” These movement-based evenings require only the desire to share and explore the world of possibilities with others. A demonstration by the artists at the start of each class session will offer a common reference point for all who attend. No prior dance or performance experience is necessary. Sign up for one or all sessions.
Story Circles with Ping Chong and Company
January 23, February 13, March 13
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
RC Hunters Woods
$45 Reston/$75 Non-Reston
Join artists from Ping Chong and Company and connect with other Reston community members to share, listen, and learn about our individual and collective relationships to where we live. Story Circles invite us to share our unique individual stories with others from our community in a guided, facilitated way. As we listen and share, we’ll discover connections, differences and intersections in our stories that inspire us to learn about our individual and collective relationship to Reston.
An Evening with Ping Chong
Wednesday, March 15
RCC Hunters Woods – the CenterStage
$15 Reston/$20 Non-Reston
Theatre artist and National Medal of Arts recipient Ping Chong will join Reston Community Center for a conversation about theatre and social transformation. Chong will share his visually compelling body of work – ranging from puppet theatre to large-scale, multidisciplinary projects to community-based programs – that have been presented at some of the most illustrious venues around the globe.
Chong will lead a discussion of the evolution of his theatre work in relationship to the changes in contemporary arts and culture over the last 50 years. It is recommended that children under 16 be accompanied by an adult.
Generation Rise: Reston
Friday, March 24
Saturday, March 25
RCC Hunters Woods – the CenterStage
$10 Reston/ $15 Non-Reston
Acclaimed New York theatre group Ping Chong and Company will partner with Reston Community Center and local theatre artist Tuyet Pham to create Generation Rise: Reston, to uplift and share real-life stories made by teens from Reston, VA, reflecting on the challenges and joys of growing up in Reston during a time of pandemic and global upheaval.
About Reston Community Center
Each year, RCC offers thousands of positive, self-development experiences that enhance the quality of life for all people living and working in Reston. RCC provides a wide range of programs in arts, aquatics, enrichment and lifelong learning. The agency also creates and sustains community traditions through special events, outreach activities and facility rentals. To find programs or events, visit www.restoncommunitycenter.com or call 703-476-4500.
About Ping Chong and Company
Ping Chong and Company (PCC) creates theatre and art that reveal beauty, invention, precision, and a commitment to social justice. Founded in New York City in 1975 by leading theatrical innovator and National Medal of Arts recipient Ping Chong, the company engages multigenerational interdisciplinary artists to build on and expand a prolific catalogue – at the root of which is Ping Chong and his singular and visionary body of work. The company’s work centers innovation, collaboration, community engagement, and amplifies underrepresented voices. www.pingchong.org/ @pingchongco.
Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request. For further information, contact Reston Community Center at 703-476-4500, TTY 711 or visit the website at www.restoncommunitycenter.com. Reston Community Center’s business address is 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston, VA 20191. The two RCC facilities are located in Hunters Woods Village Center and at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston.
Enriching Lives. Building Community.