Unique Production Based on the Shakers Debuts at Dartmouth


Angel Reapers, a new work inspired by the life of “Mother Ann” Lee, founder of the Shaker movement, receives its world premiere on Friday and Saturday, October 7 and 8, at 8 p.m., in The Moore Theater of the Hopkins Center for the Arts. The Hop is a co-commissioner of the work.

Angel Reapers is a multidisciplinary collaboration between Pulitzer-, Tony-, and Oscar-winning writer Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and Martha Clarke, a MacArthur “Genius”-winning director, choreographer, and co-founder of Pilobolus.


Choreographer Martha Clarke and writer Alfred Uhry have collaborated on “Angel Reapers,” a new work based on the life of Ann Lee, founder of the 18th-century religious movement called the Shakers. (photo by Sara Davis)

Ann Lee (1736-1784) was a visionary, mystic, and powerful spiritual leader. Her followers were strict believers in celibacy and known for their embodied worship style with dancing, shouting and singing. Angel Reapers weaves compelling texts, a cappella song and hypnotic, percussive dance inspired by the Shakers spirituality and repressed sexuality. The performance includes some nudity.

Along with presenting the premiere, Hopkins Center is teaming up with the Enfield Shaker Museum to offer events that highlight Shaker history and culture. On Sunday, October 2 at 2 p.m., the Enfield Shaker Museum will present a concert by the Enfield Shaker Singers and a tour of the Great Stone Dwelling, the feast grounds and exhibits on the Enfield Shaker “families.” On Friday, October 7 at 4 p.m., in the Hop’s Faculty Lounge, Haagen and Mount Holyoke College Professor of Religion Jane F. Crosthwaite will discuss Shaker music, worship and culture. From September 5 through October 23, Baker Library offers an exhibition on the relationship between cultural isolation and aesthetic integration as exemplified by the Shaker community.

Read more about the production on the Hopkins Center website.

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