September 8, 2022

Lewis Center for the Arts presents The Atelier@Large: Conversations on Art-making in a Vexed Era with Tom Stoppard

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts continues the Atelier@Large conversation series that brings guest artists to campus to discuss the challenges they face in making art in the modern world. For the second event in the 2022-23 series, acclaimed, four-time Tony Award-winning playwright Tom Stoppard (Leopoldstadt, Rock ’n’ Roll, Arcadia, The Real Thing, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead) discusses his life and work with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, Princeton’s Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Princeton Atelier. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, in 50 McCosh Hall on Princeton’s campus. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required through University Ticketing. Guests in need of access accommodations are asked to contact the Lewis Center at at least one week prior to the event date.

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The Princeton Atelier, currently directed by Muldoon, was founded in 1994 by Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate and Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, at Princeton University. The Atelier brings professional artists from different disciplines together with Princeton faculty and students to create new work in the context of a semester-long course that culminates in the public presentation of the new work. Recent artists have included Stew, Laurie Anderson, the improv group Baby Wants Candy and the Wakka Wakka Puppet Theatre. The Atelier@Large series, established in 2021, is an extension of the Princeton Atelier that brings guest artists to campus to speak on art’s role in the modern world.

“There’s a notion still doing the rounds,” says Muldoon, “that art is primarily a source of comfort and joy. That it’s all about salve, maybe even salvation. For many artists the true solace comes through their acceptance that art is in fact most interesting when it is most disruptive. The change a work of art represents often seems minor, but it may have major repercussions.”

British playwright and screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard is recognized as one of the great dramatists of recent decades. Born Tomás Straüssler in 1937 in Zlín, Czechoslovakia, he grew up in Singapore and India during the Second World War and moved to England in 1946. Educated at schools in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, he became a journalist working for the Western Daily Press and the Bristol Evening World, and he became theater critic for Scene magazine in London. He began writing plays for radio and television, including The Dissolution of Dominic Boot (1964); A Walk on the Water, televised in 1963; The Stand-Ins, later revised as The Real Inspector Hound (1968); and Albert’s Bridge (1968), first broadcast by BBC Radio in 1967. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967), which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, was produced that year at both Britain’s National Theatre and on Broadway. The play entered the National Theatre’s repertory and rapidly became internationally renowned, winning a Tony Award for Best Play in 1968. He garnered additional Tony Awards for Travesties (1976), The Real Thing (1984), and The Coast of Utopia (2007). His other plays include If You’re Glad I’ll Be Frank (1969), Jumpers (1972), Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1976), Professional Foul (1978), On the Razzle (1981), Heroes (2005), Rock ‘n’ Roll (2006) and The Hard Problem (2015). He has also written the screenplays for adaptations of Anna Karenina and Tulip Fever and co-wrote the screenplay for Shakespeare in Love. This fall, Stoppard returns to Broadway with the Olivier Award-winning new play Leopoldstadt, which follows a Jewish family in Vienna in the first half of the 20th Century. It will be the 19th production of a Stoppard play on Broadway since 1967. His other awards include an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and three Laurence Olivier Awards. Stoppard, who lives in London, was knighted in 1997.

Paul Muldoon is the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton, as well as the founding chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. As an internationally renowned Irish poet, Muldoon has been described by The Times Literary Supplement as “the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War.” Muldoon won the Pulitzer Prize for his ninth collection of poems, Moy Sand and Gravel (2002). His 14th volume of poems, Howdie-Skelp, was released in November 2021 by Farrar Straus & Giroux. Muldoon is the editor of the recently released Paul McCartney boxed, two-volume set, The Lyrics:1956 to the Present, illuminating the stories behind 154 of McCartney’s song lyrics. His latest book, The Castle of Perseverance with watercolors by Philip Pearlstein, will be published in November.

All guests must either be fully vaccinated, or have recently tested negative (via PCR within 72 hours or via rapid antigen test within 8 hours of the scheduled visit) and be prepared to show proof if asked, or wear a face covering when indoors and around others.

The Atelier@Large conversation series continues with several guests this fall including:

  • Gabriel Kahane and Anais Mitchell on October 11
  •  Jonathan Majors on October 30
  • Darryl McDaniels, Jennifer Homans and Iarla O’Lionaird on November 15

Learn more about the Princeton Atelier and the more than 100 public performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts, lectures, and special events presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts each year, most of them free.

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Steve Runk
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