Performing Arts Research Laboratory

PeARL, the Performing Arts Research Laboratory at Montclair State University, was created in 2015 to support the realization of new ideas in the contemporary performing arts and to develop the audiences for imaginative new works.

Artists need resources to fully achieve their visions – time, space, production support, money. Often good ideas fail to meet their because of a deficit of one or more of these resources. The PeARL initiative seeks to support artists of considerable imagination to create new work without compromise. Artists selected as recipients of a PeARL residency receive time and space onstage at the Alexander Kasser Theater and in its studios, the expertise of a first-rate production staff, and funding to bring their visions to life.

PeARL was created with the awareness that the time and space artists need to achieve their vision is the same time and space audiences need to develop an understanding of and appreciation for this work. It is predicated on the notion that contemporary performance can be a purposeful means of lifelong self-discovery. To this end, students and faculty from across the Montclair State University campus at are invited to observe and participate in the PeARL process.

PeARL’s debut residency ran September 2015 through March 2017. Composer-librettist Amy Beth Kirsten, director-designer Mark DeChiazza, and the performance ensemble HOWL created the chamber opera, QUIXOTE, inspired by the Cervantes novel. Dr. Linda Gould Levine, professor emerita of Spanish at Montclair State, introduced graduate students to the creative possibilities of QUIXOTE and said, “It was particularly rewarding to have the opportunity to attend several of the rehearsals of the work and witness its evolution over the 19-month residency … From its first moments in the bare room on the ground floor of the Kasser to its explosive force in the wide expanse of the theater, this work redefined Cervantes’s novel.”