Visiting Bard College’s Fisher Center (for the performing arts) in NY allows visitors to see some top-notch performances not only by guest stars but also by up and coming students who will be the wave of the future of performance. See a show, listen to some classical music, and take in performance art that is likely to be unlike anything guests have ever seen before.

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The Fisher Center is stunning, even before guests walk through the door. With architectural design by the famous Frank Gehry, the center is itself a performance. Opened in 2003, the center exists not only as a performance space but also a laboratory school that allows students to explore the arts so that they can find who they are as artists. The center hosts multiple theaters (seating from 200 to 900 people) allow for a wide variety of performance types.

Permanent Attractions

As the Center focuses on live arts performances, the majority of the attractions here are live theater based and rotate seasonally. Please check the website prior to a visit to verify what live production will be featured.

Summerscape - Bard Summerscape is a seven-week long arts fest that is held during July and August. First produced in 2002, the fest is held as a sister fest with the music festival at the college, so Summerscape is often a celebration of theater, film, music, opera, and dance.

Bard Music Fest - The festival, run as a sister fest to Summerscape, is an annual classical music focused festival hosted at the center in August. It has been hosted at the center since 1990 in an attempt to find a more contemporary way to engage modern audiences in classical music. Every year focuses on a single composer and present a series based on that composer.

Spiegeltent - Spiegeltent, a Dutch word which roughly translates to “mirror tent” in English, is a huge tent on the center property that hosts evenings full of unforgettable cabaret performances and entertainment performed late in the evening with performers that are considered world class. Many of the themes are adult in nature and guests must be 18 or over unless they are accompanied by either a parent or a guardian. For the after-hour performances, no one under 21 is admitted.

Conservatory Weekends - Sunday afternoons offer a variety of special concerts performed by students of the college of music, with special guests and faculty. Ticket sales benefit the scholarship fund at the conservatory.

Spring Events - Winter and Spring at the center bring a unique variety of performances - from jazz, to rare repertoire, to more contemporary performances. Check the frequently updated website for dates, times, and pieces being performed.

Fall Events - Fall is its own season at the center, every season new and different and focusing on performances both by guest artists, faculty, and students alike. Make sure to check the website for additional information, including date, time, and price.

Live Arts Bard - Also known as LAB, the residency program (as well as the commissioning program) at the center and college functions as a laboratory helping develop professional artists in dance, theater, and other types of performing arts. The LAB program allows artists to experiment, test different performance ideas, and develop projects that are often premiered there are the center.

Special Events

In addition to the many regular events and festivals that the center for the performing arts puts on throughout the year, the center is also available for rentals.

The most common type of special event that the center is rented out for are performances. The rental also includes the potential to rent the theater(s), studios(s) and even the lobby! Discounts are offered for not-for-profit organizations as well as employees and family members of the center for the performing arts.

There is a rental inquiry form available on the website for interested parties, complete with the specifics of each available rental options and price averages. There are also PDF files customers can download with even more information on each area so that potential renters can look at each option and decide which will be best for the special event they plan to host. The summer tends to book up especially quick, so make sure to contact the center with as much advanced notice as possible to make sure it will be available.

Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, 60 Manor Avenue, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, NY 12504-5000, Phone: 845-758-7914

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