Engaging the Past to Create the Avant Garde: A Dialogue with Peter Sellars

Peter Sellars ASU

The Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies is pleased to invite you to the 2019 Distinguished Lecture with special guest Peter Sellars.

In this conversation, Peter Sellars and Ayanna Thompson, director of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, will consider the ways classical texts address contemporary issues. How does the work of Shakespeare and other authors speak to the challenges we face in our society today?

About Peter Sellars

Peter Sellars has gained international renown for his groundbreaking and transformative interpretations of artistic masterpieces and for collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists.

His landmark staging of Sophocles’ "Ajax," set at the Pentagon, was invited to tour Europe and ignited the start of an international career. Other noteworthy theater projects include a 1994 staging of Shakespeare’s "The Merchant of Venice" set in Southern California with a cast of black, white, Latino and Asian-American actors; a production of Euripides’ "The Children of Herakles," focusing on contemporary immigration and refugee issues and experience; and, in 2009, "Othello," inspired by and set in the America of newly elected President Barack Obama. "Desdemona," Sellars’ collaboration with the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and Malian composer and singer Rokia Traore, has been performed in Vienna, Brussels, Paris, Berkeley, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Amsterdam and Naples, and was presented in London as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

He has staged operas at the Dutch National Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Opera National de Paris, Salzburg Festival and San Francisco Opera, among others.

He is a distinguished professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at University of California, Los Angeles. Sellars is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Erasmus Prize for contributions to European culture, the Gish Prize, and he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014, he was awarded the prestigious Polar Music Prize and named artist of the year by Musical America.

Race Before Race Symposium

Our 2019 Distinguished Lecture will take place during the Race Before Race Symposium. Though they are separate events, we encourage you to attend both and hear from all of our brilliant speakers.


This event is free and open to the public. Please register to attend.

Location and Parking

This event will take place in the Carson Ballroom in Old Main on ASU's Tempe campus. The closest parking garage is the Fulton Center Structure. Please see ASU's parking and transit website for information about rates.

This event is co-sponsored by the Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Leah Newsom
Jan 18 2019 - 6:00pm
Old Main, Carson Ballroom
Tempe campus