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Starlight Square safely stages performances, public art

Celina Colby
Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Starlight Square safely stages performances, public art
Starlight Square as audience members file in for a performance. PHOTO: CELINA COLBY

Live, socially distanced performances are now taking place under the stars in Central Square. Starlight Square, a parking lot repurposed as a community space, provides a hub for safe public art, performances, markets and dining. Community partner ReevX Labs has made it possible for the space to host performances through October by Central Square Theater, The Dance Complex, ImprovBoston and others.

The art experience begins in the socially-distanced entrance line. The performance space, created with temporary scaffolding, is lined with four marquee walls created by local artists and curated by Street Theory, an artist collective led by Liza and Victor “Marka27” Quiñonez. “Black Consciousness” by Marka27 features bold portraits of Civil Rights Activists and lines the wall where theatergoers wait for entrance to the show.

“#BreonnaUnderTheStars,” another mural project on view, was made by youth artists in the Public Art for Social Change track at Community Art Center in Cambridge. “We created this mural to show the side of the Black Lives Matter movement that has not been covered enough by mainstream media: the Black women and femmes who have become icons of the movement but have yet to receive justice,” reads the artist statement. “Anti-racist work doesn’t end at a hashtag or a donation.”

Artists of color will also be celebrated inside the outdoor performance space. Sept. 2-6, Front Porch Arts Collective, Boston’s Black theater company, will perform a cabaret each night highlighting a different artist from the company, including Sheree Dunwell, Carolyn Saxon, Dwayne Mitchell, Davron Monroe and Cheryl Singleton. Sept. 18-20, Central Square Theater and New Repertory Theatre will put on “Thurgood,” a moving portrait of the first African American Justice on the Supreme Court.

In addition to performances, visitors can experience a variety of dance classes on the premises as well as the Central Square Farmers Market. A plan is in place to incorporate outdoor dining by Brick & Mortar as well, for a one-stop experience.

COVID-19 safety precautions are meticulously followed to make the experience as safe and comfortable as possible. Seating is limited and distanced at least six feet apart, in most cases significantly further apart. Tickets are timed-entry to avoid crowding, and hand sanitizer stations are available at several points. Visitors are required to agree to a social contract to maintain these precautions or they may be asked to leave.

If you go

  • Tickets to all Starlight Square performances, classes and events are free but require advance registration.
  • Seating is extremely limited due to social distancing precautions.
  • Five walk-up tickets will be held for each performance on a first-come, first-served basis.

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