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Press Releases Midwest Debut of Avant Folk/Theater Artist Cynthia Hopkins’ This Clement World

Walker Art Center-Commissioned Look at Climate Change, set in the Artic, features Twin Cities Musicians

“Cynthia Hopkins is the definition of postmodern artistry. Her work transcends single genres and mediums and defies definition.” —New York Press

Minneapolis, February 12, 2013—The Walker Art Center presents the Midwest debut of This Clement World by musician/theater artist Cynthia Hopkins on Thursday–Saturday, March 7–9, at 8 pm in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater. A purveyor of outlandishly theatrical fictions and original avant-folk orchestral songs, Cynthia Hopkins is an audaciously charismatic talent that fans will follow anywhere: from memoir, murder, and memory loss in the South to ’70s pop stardom, the CIA, and Moroccan Sufism to evolution in outer space—all have figured in her trilogy of previous works at the Walker.

In this new piece commissioned by the Walker, Hopkins grapples with the environmental crisis with her most expansive avant-folk rock orchestration to date. Presented as a live documentary film set in and out of the Arctic, this skillfully crafted, richly narrative performance questions how—or whether—one can act now to maintain a livable climate for generations of people we will never meet.

Tag along with Hopkins; her longtime collaborators, director DJ Mendel and designer Jeff Sugg; and a stellar ensemble of Twin Cities–based musicians—Parker Anderson-Genne, Lauren Asheim, Leslie Ball, Erica Burton, Jesse Edgington, Jake Endres, Zack Lozier, Crystal Myslajek, Jonathan Sunde, Jason Sunde, Karen Townsend, and Larry Zimmerman—on a voyage of discovery that’s global in scope, playfully idiosyncratic, and utterly necessary.

Cynthia Hopkins

Cynthia Hopkins is a writer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and theater artist. She creates and performs unique multi-media performance pieces that intertwine truth and fiction and have won her a host of awards, including the 2007 Alpert Award in Theater and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship. Through the process of making performances, she attempts to alchemize disturbance into works of intrigue and hope that simultaneously stimulate the senses, provoke emotion, and enliven the mind. She is dedicated to creating groundbreaking original works that investigate innovative forms of communication, melding music, text, technical and theatrical design, and video with unbelievable fact and outrageous fiction. Her mission is to obscure the distinction between edification and entertainment through the creation of works that are as philosophical as they are entertaining, as intellectually challenging as they are viscerally emotional, as deeply comical as they are tragic, and as historically aware as they are immediately engaging.

In addition to creating multi-media performance works, Hopkins also produces concerts and albums of music. She formed a band called Gloria Deluxe in 1999 that featured a revolving cast of musicians, performing hundreds of concerts and releasing five full length albums. During its ten year existence (from 1999 until 2009) Gloria Deluxe developed an enthusiastic following for its unique blend of folk, cabaret, rock, blues, and country music, opening for legendary artists including David Byrne and Patti Smith.

In addition to Gloria Deluxe albums, Hopkins has also released three full length albums of music under her own name. In addition to her work as a creator, Hopkins has also worked as a composer, musician, and performer for many projects, including Big Dance Theater’s Another Telepathic Thing (for which she received a 2001 Bessie award for composition and a 2000 OBIE award for performance).

Hopkins is currently at work on A Living Documentary, an experimental piece exploring the challenges of earning one’s living as a theater artist in the 21st century.


Postshow Reception, Thursday, March 7

Meet the artists after the show at a reception in the McGuire Theater’s Balcony Bar.

Postshow Q & A, Friday, March 8

Stay after the show for a Q&A with the artists, moderated by Patrick Hamilton, director of Global Change Initiatives at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

SpeakEasy, Saturday, March 9

After the performance, head to the Balcony Bar to join a discussion or just listen in as others hash it out. Hosted by local choreographer Jennifer Arave and Walker tour guide Barbara Davey.

Look Up and Drink Up!

Balcony Bar

Meet the artists, talk about the show, and enjoy a drink at happy hour prices, including specialty cocktails with Prairie Organic vodka. Located in the McGuire Theater, the Balcony Bar is open one hour before and after all evening performances.


Target Free Thursday Nights: Cynthia Hopkins, A Conversation on Climate Change

Moderated by Paul Douglas

Thursday, February 28, 7 pm, Free


Acclaimed for her outlandishly theatrical fictions and avant-folk songs, Cynthia Hopkins turns to a real-world issue with her newest work, This Clement World, which will be presented at the Walker on March 7–9. A week before, she takes the stage for an evening of conversation, science, and song about climate change.

Joining the artist for the discussion are Patrick Hamilton, director of Global Change Initiatives at the Science Museum of Minnesota, and climate scientist Peter Snyder, with meteorologist/entrepreneur Paul Douglas as moderator.


“A breathtaking visionary” (Time Out New York), Hopkins is known for her groundbreaking multimedia performances that blur the lines between edification and entertainment. She is a recipient of an Alpert Award in Theater and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The director of environmental and Earth-systems science programs at the Science Museum, Hamilton leads the Future Earth Initiative, an NSF-supported set of exhibits and programs. He is also a principal investigator with the National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics and a resident fellow of the Institute of the Environment.

Snyder is an atmospheric scientist and professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Soil, Water and Climate. He studies an array of problems related to atmospheric physics, land-atmosphere interactions, and climate change, with research spanning the Arctic, the tropics, and North America.

A nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience, Douglas is author of “On Weather” for the Star Tribune. He is a serial entrepreneur, founding Weather Nation, Media Logic Group, Smart Energy, and other companies. Douglas, a Republican, has been outspoken in explaining that acknowledging evidence of a growing human influence on climate “doesn’t make you a liberal.”


Commissioned by the Walker Art Center with support provided by the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Producers’ Council members Leni and David Moore, Jr./The Moore Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Co-commissioned by St. Ann’s Warehouse and Les Subsistances.

Performing Arts Supporters

The Walker Art Center’s performing arts programs are made possible by generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the Doris Duke Performing Arts Fund, the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Producers’ Council

Performing Arts programs and commissions at the Walker are generously supported by members of the Producers’ Council: Russell Cowles; Sage Cowles; Nor Hall and Roger Hale; King’s Fountain/Barbara Watson Pillsbury and Henry Pillsbury; Emily Maltz; Dr. William W. and Nadine M. McGuire; Leni and David Moore, Jr.; Josine Peters; Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney; and Frances and Frank Wilkinson

Cynthia Hopkins

Photo: Ian Douglas