You are here

Carnival of the Animals

Apr 06

Performance Dates

  • Sat Apr 06 2024 8:00 PM


Meany Hall – Katharyn Alvord Gerlich Theater

World Premiere. An evening length concert experience with dance, poetry and music, Carnival of the Animals is an intentional response to the January 6 insurrection written and conceived by Marc Bamuthi Joseph. It navigates the reality of the political jungle by embodying shifting societal values and our relationship to democracy. Choreographed and directed by Francesca Harper and anchored in the words of Joseph and the transcendent movement of Wendy Whelan (New York City Ballet), Carnival of the Animals re-frames Camille Saint-Saëns’ classic work 100 years after its original publication. Composer Sugar Vendil's reworking of Saint-Saëns’ zoological fantasy creates a composition that is both familiar and undeniably fresh, twisting and quoting. The contemporary score depicts a visceral landscape of animalistic inspirations via the classical instrumentation consisting of two pianos, violin, cello and tape to represent a holistic experience of stark political unsteadiness. 

Contains mature themes and language. 

The ENCORE program for this performance is available to READ ONLINE

Developed and produced by SOZO, an arts agency and incubator with a two-decade history that intersects social impact, innovation and the arts, this contemporary expression features a primarily BIPOC and women core creative team:

Written and performed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, spoken word
Performed by Wendy Whelan, dance
Choreographed and directed by Francesca Harper

Michael Jinsoo Lim, violin
Christine Lee, cello
Christina Siemens, piano
Laure Struber, piano

Chisa Yamaguchi, Associate Director
Sugar Vendil, Composer
John E. D. Bass, Lighting Designer
Elias Gurrola, Costume Designer
Michael John Garcés, Dramaturgical Consultant
Tim Stickney, Choreographic Assistant
Inon Barnatan, Music Consultant
Chisa Yamaguchi, Ichun Yeh, Producers
Rika Iino, Executive Producer


Commissioned by Meany Center for the Performing Arts, and co-commissioned by the La Jolla Music Society, Lincoln Center, Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Stanford University, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Wharton Center for Performing Arts, with funding from the Harkness Foundation for Dance and The MAP Fund supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and Mellon Foundation. The poetry by Marc Bamuthi Joseph for Carnival of the Animals, in part, was originally commissioned by the National Gallery of Art.

Special support for this performance provided by The UW College of Arts and Sciences Imaginative Project Award.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph joins Meany Center as an Artistic Partner for the 2023–24 Season. LEARN MORE

Support Comes From