Walker Art Center’s Out There 2020: Annual Festival of Performance Alternatives at The Walker Arts Center

Program Features Tina Satter / Half Straddle; Miguel Gutierrez; Ligia Lewis, and Back to Back Theatre

OUT THERE IS BACK WITH 20/20 VISION. Through a range of theatrical aesthetics, this year’s slate of international artists engage us with revelatory works by turns playful and dark, political and personal, gothic and supernatural. They interrogate labels and preconceptions, the artificial and the organic. This year, two artists new to the Walker and two returning favorites push back and look forward, reframe and reposition. Their concerns are ours: identity, race, sexuality, and the meaning of intelligence.

Tina Satter / Half Straddle: Is This A Room: Reality Winner Verbatim Transcription

Out There: Tina Satter/ Half Straddle, Is This A Room. Photo: © Paula Court courtesy of The Kitchen Half Straddle

January 9–January 11, 2020, 8pm

“Is This A Room is a beautiful work—impassioned yet made with a cool hand; straight-faced yet often funny. It is also devastating because damn, the real world is a hell of a writer.” —Artforum

After the FBI interrogated Reality Winner, a 25-year-old former Air Force linguist, the transcript of the encounter ignited director Tina Satter’s theatrical imagination. Satter’s company Half Straddle replicates, word by word, the verbal dance between the whip-smart Winner and reality-twisting agents, demonstrating how military interrogation tactics, toxic masculinity, and systemic marginalization resulted in her conviction for espionage. Funny and suspenseful, engaging and enraging, the production re-creates one afternoon spent in a bizarre and secret world—the turning point of a personal life wrenched irrevocably into the political. Program length: 70 minutes.

Tina Satter is an American writer and director for theater and film who was a recipient of a 2016 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award, a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Impact Award, and was named an Off-Off Broadway Innovator to Watch by Time Out New York. With Half Straddle, she has written and directed ten original full-length plays, and re-imagined them for a range of spaces as they have toured to numerous theaters and festivals in the U.S. and internationally.

Meet the Artists

  • Thursday, January 9: Post-show reception with the artists in Cityview Bar
  • Friday, January 10: Post-show Q&A with the artists onstage.

Miguel Gutierrez:
This Bridge Called My Ass

Out There: Miguel Gutierrez, This Bridge Called My Ass. Photo: Ian Douglas

January 16–17, 8pm, January 18 4pm & 8pm, Walker Commission

A dense, audacious and wickedly funny work that…contains multitudes and unflinchingly bears their weight.”New York Times

Movement artist Miguel Gutierrez‘s second Walker commission provocatively investigates identity politics, Latinx clichés, and Western concepts of form, drawing from (in part) the influences of the groundbreaking 1981 feminist anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Gutierrez and five diverse Latinx performers amplify stereotypes to move past respectability politics within an unstable environment of bodies, light, sound, and text (in Spanish, with surtitles). The chaotic, playfully erotic production concludes with an over-the-top version of an absurdist telenovela. Contains nudity and sexual content. Program length: 90 minutes.

Miguel Gutierrez is a choreographer, composer, performer, singer, writer, educator and advocate who has lived in New York for over twenty years. He is fascinated by the time-based nature of performance and how it creates an ideal frame for phenomenological questions around presence and meaning-making. His work proposes an immersive state, for performer and audience alike, where attention itself becomes an elastic material. He believes in an approach to art making that is fierce, fragile, empathetic, political, and irreverent.

Meet the Artists

  • Thursday, January 16: Post-show reception with the artists in Cityview Bar
  • Friday, January 17: Post-show Q&A with the artists onstage

Ligia Lewis:
Water Will (In Melody)
January 23–25, 2020, 8pm, Walker Commission

Ligia Lewis, Water Will (In Melody)
Photos by Maria Baranova

Like the best science fiction, Lewis’s work is most successful in its insistence that the spare can be made spectacular.Artforum

Four performers delve into a deconstructed landscape of water in this dark, theatrical meditation on showbiz, the surreal, sensuality, and the end of times. Created by Berlin-based/US choreographer Ligia Lewis, a rising star in Europe’s world of performance, the work quickly departs from gothic melodrama to poetically wrestle with the concept of “will.” Deploying an ingenious movement vocabulary with song, text, and a string of pearls, the performers unpack gender and race, hopelessness and potential, alienation and belonging. Contains mature content. Program length: 60 minutes.

Ligia Lewis is a choreographer and dancer. Described by The New Yorker as “an American experimentalist,” Lewis gives form to movements, speech, affects, thoughts, relations, utterances, and the bodies that hold them. Her experientially rich works slide between the familiar to the unfamiliar, while being held together by the logics of interdependence, disorder, and play. Her work is shaped by meticulously crafted forms of embodiment. When these meet sonic and visual metaphors, they create space for the emergent and the indeterminate, while simultaneously tending toward the mundane. In considering the social inscriptions of the body, the enigmatic, the poetic, and the dissonant are materialized in her work.

Meet the Artists

  • Thursday, January 23: Post-show reception with the artists in Cityview Bar
  • Friday, January 24: Post-show Q&A with the artists onstage

Back to Back Theatre: The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes

Back to Back Theatre, The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes. Photo: Jeff Busby

January 30–February 1, 2020 8pm

[Back to Back Theatre] have never let the fact that their performers have a range of physical and intellectual disabilities define, or indeed, confine them from pushing and transforming our expectations of what theatre can be. Long may they continue to do shows.” Time Out Melbourne

Interrogating the parameters of traditional theater and their own perceived disabilities, the five performers in Back to Back Theatre challenge contemporary presumptions about artificial intelligence and the human mind. With this unapologetic and piercingly fresh new work, Australia’s leading independent theater company returns to the Walker for the third time. Miscommunication, mistakes, and misunderstandings abound as a group of activists holds a public meeting for a frank discussion about a history we would prefer not to know and a future that is ambivalent. Storytelling, design, light, and sound thread through the mayhem, until clarity emerges amid community. Contains mature content. Program length: 70 minutes.


The performance on Saturday, February 1, will have ASL interpretation and audio description. All shows presented with English subtitles.

Over the last 30 years, Back to Back Theatre has made a body of work that questions the assumptions of what is possible in theatre, but also the assumptions we hold about ourselves and others. As an ongoing dialogue with the audience, each new project is an investigation seeking answers to questions raised in previous works. Their attention lies with design, light, and sound. The stories they pursue weave the personal, the political and the cosmic. Back to Back Theatre works to curiosity and interest in the live moment, to what sits within and between. Back to Back Theatre is based in Geelong, Australia.

Meet the Artists

  • Thursday, January 30: Post-show reception in Cityview Bar
  • Friday, January 31: Post-show Q&A with the artist onstage

Out There 2020, January 9, 2020–February 1, 2020
Purchase a season package of four or more shows and save 25%. If you’re a member, save 30% off the regular ticket price. Visit walkerart.org/tickets for more info.


All events take place in the Walker’s William and Nadine McGuire Theater.

Tickets to each event are $26 ($20.80 Walker members).