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City Council Meeting Brings Democracy to Life in Keene

City Council Meeting
City Council Meeting

Civic engagement comes to life on stage in City Council Meeting, a participatory democracy performance, presented by Keene State College’s Redfern Arts Center on Wednesday, October 29, at 7 p.m. at Heberton Hall, Keene Public Library, 60 Winter St., Keene. An open dress rehearsal will take place on Tuesday, October 28, at 7 p.m. in the same location. Tickets to the City Council Meeting dress rehearsal and performance are free, but seating is limited, so tickets are required. For tickets, stop by the Redfern Box Office, which has extended its hours this season and is open Monday to Friday, from noon to 6 p.m. or call, 603-358-2168.

See a video clip of the performance and get more information about City Council Meeting and the many free public events surrounding the performance.

For one night you can become the Mayor of Keene, a city council member, a concerned citizen, or simply an observer by participating in the theatrical performance of City Council Meeting. Created in a year-long residency, this performance opens with discussions culled from actual government meetings across the country, and moves onto a local issue the re-location of the city’s skate park. This issue may sound familiar because it’s ripped right from the headlines of the local newspapers and Keene City Council meetings by New York artists Aaron Landsman and Mallory Catlett who visited Keene many times during the past year to create City Council Meeting, a piece about empathy, democracy, and power and how individuals engage in civic discourse. City Council Meeting uses formal meeting procedure to consider its innate theatricality and to question what it means to participate in public and civic life. It asks participants to consider the poetry in bureaucracy, the architecture of power, and the comedy of procedure.

There are numerous Creative Connections, free public activities, surrounding City Council Meeting, which focus on what it means to be involved in democracy as we head towards the general election in November.

EXHIBIT: Engage! Picturing America through Civic Engagement, through October 27, 3-4:40 p.m., Kay Fox Meeting Room, Keene Public Library, 60 Winter St., Keene. Contact: Gail Zachariah,, 603-352-0157.

EXHIBIT: Frame and Function: The Architecture of City Council Meeting, ongoing, at Mason Library, Keene State College.

DEBATE: Keene State College Debate Club: The Role of Students as Local Citizens, on Tuesday, October 21, 6-7:30 p.m., Putnam Science Center, Room 101, Keene State College. Contact: Brian C. Kanouse,

BOOK DISCUSSION: Live Free or Die by Ernest Hebert, led by Gail Zachariah, on Thursday, October 23, 7 p.m., Trustees Room, Keene Public Library, 60 Winter St., Keene. Contact: Gail Zachariah,, 603-352-0157.

BOOK DISCUSSION: Home Town by Tracy Kidder, led by Gail Zachariah, on Monday, October 27, 4 p.m., Green Room, Keene Public Library, 60 Winter St., Keene. Contact: Gail Zachariah,, 603-352-0157.

TALK: Artist/ Photographer Paul Shambrom with Aaron Landsman discuss their collaboration on and documentation of City Council Meeting, on Thursday, October 30, noon, Conference Room, Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery. Contact: Sharon Fantl,, 603-358-2167.

DISCUSSION: A Debriefing of City Council Meeting and the Democratic Experience, Dr. Brian Kanouse, facilitator, on Thursday, October 30, 6-7:30 p.m., Trustees Room, Keene Public Library, 60 Winter St., Keene. Contact: Sharon Fantl,, 603-358-2167.

This performance of City Council Meeting is a collaboration with the Keene Public Library and was made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The public programming for this project was made possible with support from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the New Hampshire Humanities Council, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College

The Arts Center is named in honor of Dr. Leo F. Redfern, Keene State College President from 1969 to 1979 for his vision, commitment, and eloquence on behalf of the arts that made funding and construction of the facility a reality. In 1981, KSC inaugurated this new performing arts center, with the goal of providing unforgettable artistic encounters for the campus and community. Now in its 33rd year, the Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College presents and fosters dynamic, multifaceted arts experiences through performances, residencies, and related programs that deepen the connection between the arts and audiences, both from the campus and the greater Monadnock region.

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Contact Keene State College

229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435