Performances and Programs

Music, Theatre, Dance, Film, and More

Bloomington is home to some of Indiana's finest performing groups, venues, and cultural organizations. Throughout the spring 2020 semester, the Arts & Humanities Council is partnering with our friends around campus and across town for a diverse array of programming that highlights the creative and scholarly excellence of our community. 


January 22-25, IU Studio Theatre

As the opioid crisis tightens its grip on the United States, IUB faculty members Jonathan Michaelsen and Peter Gil-Sheridan have collaborated with a cast of seven to create a new play about the addiction epidemic in this country. Written by Playwriting professor Peter Gil-Sheridan for the new “From the Ground Up” series and directed by Jonathan Michaelson for Indiana Remixed, Ascendant brings into focus a small Indiana community struggling with addiction. It is the story of the very real human struggle to cope with the difficulties of life, difficulties created and exacerbated by a culture that is marginalizing and isolating. The play challenges the stigma of addiction and offers a new perspective on what it means to be human. 

Tickets and Info

Indiana Retold

January 28 & 30, Wells-Metz Theatre

There is no single story of the Hoosier state; rather, our collective story is shaped by the myriad individual narratives of those who have contributed to life, culture, and community in Indiana. Indiana Retold brings together leading contemporary figures from across the state with IU students to share their personal stories of struggle and success, alienation and acceptance, ignorance and understanding. Each individual story offers unique insight into what it means to live, work, and create in Indiana.

Presented in partnership with the Asian Culture Center, First Nations Educational & Cultural Center, La Casa Latino Culture Center, LGBTQ+ Culture Center, and the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

Invited storytellers include Jean Merrill, director of inclusion in the NCAA Office of Inclusion; Ruben Marté, captain in the Indiana State Police; Elise Smith, creator of the Fatness Fiction podcast; Melissa Williams, director of the Indiana Native American Indiana Affairs Commission; and more.

More info

INseparable Film Tour: Bloomington

February 5, Moving Image Archives

In 2019, five award-winning Indiana filmmakers were chosen by Indiana Humanities to create short documentaries examining the ways Hoosiers experience urban and rural identities today. The films—about a dance instructor in Gary dealing with the city’s disinvestment in arts education, about a rural community newspaper in Wayne County filling the gap caused by media consolidation, about a southern Indiana composting business that hires the formerly incarcerated to transform the land and their lives—complicate our ideas about who lives in Indiana and what they’re up to. Featured filmmakers include Dan Rybicky and Ryan Gleeson of Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, Emmy winner Pat Wisniewski, Bloomington-based duo Mitch Teplitsky and Gabriel Lantz, and Chad Perdue.

On Black Joy: An Unconference

February 15 & 19, Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center

On Black Joy is an event that highlights black history in the state of Indiana through an artistic lens by emphasizing topics such as social justice, resistance, joy, and healing. This program seeks to reflect the intersection of black history, art, politics, and activism, for the sake of better understanding the artists’ responsibility to their community- both past and present. Audience members will learn the importance of activism, but also the importance wellness and joy, and how these two ideals play an integral part in the black experience.  Presented by the Black Joy Collective, with support from the Arts & Humanities Council and the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

Panelists include 'Baba' Stafford Barry (IUB African American Dance Company), Mariah Ivey (Peace Learning Center), LaShawnda Crowe Storm (Indiana artist and activist), Ross Gay (IUB Creative Writing Program), Maria Hamilton Abegunde (IUB African American and African Diaspora Studies), Joel Wong (IUB Counseling and Educational Psychology). 

Ryan Niemiller

February 21, Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Ryan Niemiller gained national acclaim after his stand-up comedy routine took America’s Got Talent by storm. Born with ectrodactyly and a self-proclaimed “Cripple Threat of Comedy,” Niemiller shares his views of the world from the perspective of the handicapped. He covers topics such as dating, trying to find employment, and attempting to find acceptance in a world not designed for him with his quick wit, great timing, and a gimmick that only he can exploit. Niemiller lives in Indianapolis.

Edible Indiana

February-March, Wells Library Bookmark[et] Eatery

Edible Indiana explores Hoosier food and its connections to the state’s history and geography. Attend three cooking demonstrations and learn about Native American foodways with chef Freddie Bitsoie, Executive Chef at the Mitsitam Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian; rediscover comforting mainstays of the Midwest combined with exotic and eclectic international flavors with Abbi Merriss, Executive Chef at Bluebeard in Indianapolis; and reinterpret classic Hoosier fare with David Tallent, Executive Chef of IU Dining. All demonstrations are free and open to the public.

February 19: Indigenous Indiana Foodways

Freddie Bitsoie is the owner of FJBits Concepts, a firm that specializes in Native American foodways. He has traveled the country, making presentations for organizations and companies such as Kraft Foods, The College of Holy Cross, Yale University, the Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ; and has taught “Healthy Cooking” classes and events for White Earth, MN, and the Salt River Indian Community, AZ. A member of Diné (Navajo) tribe, he is one of the most sought after and renowned Native American chefs and Native foods educators in the country.

March 11: Northern Indiana Foodways

Abbi Merriss’s steering of Bluebeard, an Indianapolis restaurant, as its chef and co-owner has gained her renown as one of the best chefs of the Midwest. At Bluebeard, she blends the familiar with the unexpected, the classical with the unorthodox, the comforting mainstays of the Midwest with exotic and eclectic international flavors. A James Beard Foundation-nominated chef for four consecutive years (2016-19), Merriss’s genius lies in her ability to find that elusive sweet spot where sophistication and simplicity overlap.

April 8: Southern Indiana Foodways

David Tallent leads Traditions Catering, the catering division of IU’s Residential Programs and Services, but before that, he operated Restaurant Tallent on Kirkwood Avenue alongside his wife Kristen for 12 years. After studying at the Culinary Institute of America, he worked at the finest restaurants of New York and Atlanta before returning to his hometown of Bloomington to put his own spin on traditional Indiana cuisine, prioritizing local, seasonal, and organic ingredients.

One Book, One Campus, One Community

February, Wells Library and Monroe County Public Library

IU Libraries and Monroe County Public Library present a series of book discussions led by IU faculty and open to all community members. The discussions will focus on We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler’s PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novel about a highly unusual family from Bloomington, Indiana.

April First Thursday Festival

April 2, IU Arts Plaza

The April 2nd First Thursday Festival will celebrate the many forms of creative expression that abound throughout the Hoosier state and thrive on the Bloomington campus. Scores of IU departments, student groups, and local organizations will gather on the Arts Plaza to share their work and take part in vibrant acts of community building that only the arts and humanities can foster.

The festivities will be highlighted by a main stage performance from Grammy-winning fiddler Michael Cleveland and his band Flamekeeper, plus a special motorcycle rally highlighting the outstanding work done by Operation Combat Bikesaver in support of veterans of America’s armed forces.

More about the First Thursdays Festivals

Dancing Indiana!

April 8, Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Take a moving tour of the breadth and depth of dance in Indiana through this dynamic performance.  Presented by IU Contemporary Dance and professional artists across the state, both past and present converge to showcase the very best the state has to offer.  Featured are a new work by Selene Carter, informed by the Thomas Hart Benton murals as seen in the IU Auditorium’s “Hall of Murals,” as well as Elizabeth Shea and Allen Hahn’s award-winning screendance, Breath/Light/Stone, filmed right here in Bloomington at the Woolery Mill, and seen across the globe.

New Music Ensemble

April 16, Auer Hall

The Indiana University New Music Ensemble and director David Dzubay present “Indiana Remixed” with support from the IU Arts & Humanities Council. In a celebration of IU at its bicentennial, the concert features world premieres by three composers with connections to the Jacobs School: Claude Baker, who will retire the following month from the IU Composition Department faculty after thirty-two years of service; Eric Nathan, who graduated in 2008 with a Master of Music in Composition and now teaches at Brown University – his work is a commission from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard; and Patrick Holcomb, a current graduate student whose piece is a setting of a poem by Soleil Davíd, another graduate student at IU – Patrick’s work was written after winning the 2019 Georgina Joshi Composition Commission Award from IU. 

More info