Meet Our New Programming Manager
August 13, 2018
This summer, the College of Visual and Performing Arts welcomed a new Programming Manager. Adrienne Bryant, a seasoned programmer, artist manager, and executive director, joined the CVPA senior staff in July and is responsible for planning future seasons of Great Performances at Mason, as well as other presentations and artist/student collaborations. Adrienne brings a wealth of experience and vision to Mason.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What is your background in the arts?
A.B.: My mother was a music educator in public schools, so I am pretty sure I was listening to Mozart in the womb! As a child I gravitated towards dance pretty early on, and was very involved with my local studio, studying ballet, tap, and jazz. When I went to college in New York City, I was introduced to modern dance, and was fascinated by the genre’s focus on cerebral concepts that worked in tandem with superior technicality. After college, I got my professional footing working as an intern with Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the beautiful Berkshires of Massachusetts. This is where I met the Mark Morris Dance Group, who I ended up working with for five years as their Company Manager, including touring to George Mason several times! Traveling around the world with Mark was an incredible experience, which afforded me the opportunity to work not only with his stellar company of dancers, but also with some of the greatest music ensembles and icons of our times. After MMDG, I completed an Arts Management Fellowship at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and then worked in programming at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts in Connecticut. After a few years at Fairfield I had the opportunity to support an incredible choreographer, John Heginbotham, who I had met while he was dancing with the Mark Morris Dance Group. In 2011, we formed a company together– Dance Heginbotham–which I ran for seven years through an amazing time of growth and artistic creation. I’ve now become a board member, and it is so satisfying to see the company continue to prosper and create exciting work.
What are you looking forward to as you plan future seasons of Great Performances at Mason?
A.B.: Programming for universities provides such a wealth of opportunities for collaboration, which is something I am very passionate about. My interest really lies in supporting artists who represent the epitome of artistic excellence, but are also interested in interacting with communities, both on and off campus. So, in addition to choosing artists who I think will give spectacular performances, I am also looking forward to collaborating with them, and with my faculty and staff colleagues, on creating meaningful visits to Fairfax that foster communication, creativity, and mutual understanding.
What do you like most about programming?
A.B.: I have been fortunate to work on behalf of both artists and presenters throughout my career, and I believe this has given me a unique vantage point to help support the creative ecosystem in today’s touring market. When I am brainstorming artists for future seasons, I love thinking about the engagement from all angles. Wearing my presenter hat, I think about how an artists’ work will impact the season and how audiences will react. Thinking of it from an artists’ perspective, I’m questioning what they will think of our theater, community, and audience? I love going to performances and trying to harness all of the ideas that I have. To be honest, sometimes it is overwhelming to have so many possibilities in front of you. But the staff and patrons have shown such great enthusiasm for the Great Performances at Mason series, and I can’t wait to try out a few new ideas and see what speaks to the communities here.
Any performances you're particularly excited to see this coming season?
A. B. What a difficult question–there are so many great artists on this year’s season! I am the epitome of a “culture vulture”…my interests are truly broad, and on any given night I could be attending an opera, a rock concert, a play, or dance performance. With that said, there are a few performances which are piquing my interest. There are so many incredible artists and ensembles that have found a home at the Center for the Arts– Jeffrey Seigel, AFPO, Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra. I know audiences have come to love these annual engagements, and I can’t wait to experience them for myself. L.A Theatre Works has just announced their casting for Steel Magnolias, and they’ll be featuring a diverse cast. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this casting decision affects the story. I’m really intrigued by Cirque Mechanics, who seem to be pushing the boundaries of traditional cirque performances in a new and exciting way. And I can’t wait for the inevitable dance party which will come with the Havana Cuba All-Stars! It goes without saying that I’m eagerly awaiting the chance to reunite with my friends in the Mark Morris Dance Group. They are actually performing three works that I’ve never seen before, which will be such a treat!