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Scapegoat Garden – Liturgy|Order|Bridge @ Mechanics’ Hall

Friday, June 21 2024
Doors at 6:30
$30 adv
$35 day of show
$2 off for SPACE and Mechanics' Hall members

Founded and directed by Deborah Goffe, the movement company Scapegoat Garden presents Liturgy|Order|Bridge, a participatory dance ritual that calls upon Black church traditions and secular performance modalities within a visual and aural landscape that pushes and pulls ideas of faith, nature, fashion, and experimentation. 

Presented by SPACE in collaboration with Mechanics’ Hall, with support from Indigo Arts Alliance and the New England Foundation for the Arts. Our June performances of Creative Capital Awardee Deborah Goffe’s Liturgy|Order|Bridge will feature the “Threshold Chorus” and a group of “Wisdom Keepers” made up of Portland area community members, artists, and culture bearers.

The dance and movement company Scapegoat Garden, founded and directed by Deborah Goffe, presents the latest iteration of Liturgy|Order|Bridge, a participatory dance ritual that fuses sacred traditions and secular performance modalities to make porous the border between “audience” and “performance.” Calling on Black church traditions, a group of performers along with a chorus of local artists and change-makers, brings guests into a collective score of movement, clapping, and vocalization.

Local performers for this iteration with the Scapegoat Garden company members will be announced here soon. If you are a regional performer interested in involvement or a community member of color interested in being an audience participant for a free open dress rehearsal on Juneteenth (6/19), please email This Portland presentation follows a workshop performance at Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford and a winter iteration at Wesleyan University, and anticipates a November 2024 presentation at Bowdoin College.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no late seating for this performance. Runtime is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.

Other performances
Thursday, June 20 at 7 pm
Saturday, June 22 at 2 pm

“In our gardens flowers grow to human scale, liturgical vestments adorn more than one body at the same time — we just might bloom ourselves as we sing together, clap together, find virtuosity in a chorus of step touches and bear witness.”

Deborah Goffe

“Liturgy|Order|Bridge is…inspired by communal embodiment in the Black church.”

Berkshire Magazine

Liturgy provides an avenue by which all participants of the encounter can identify and establish shared responsibilities among and to one another, which can then ripple out beyond the performance itself.

Liturgy|Order|Bridge asks: 

  • What might it mean to engage dance practice as faith practice, performance as communal ceremony, performance space as consecrated site, and audience engagement as a fellowship of shared witness, place, and inheritance? 
  • How might we establish shared (though distinct) responsibilities for the dynamism and consequence of the encounter between performer, performance and audience?
  • What is the potential of an organized body of practitioners devoted to facilitating the threshold between performance and the rest of life?

Choreographed and directed by Deborah Goffe in collaboration with the performers and early contributor Leslie Frye Maietta
Performed by Deborah Goffe, Lauren Horn, Arien Wilkerson, and Abena Koomson-Davis
Sound, fashions and set elements by Deborah Goffe
Liturgical robe designed and constructed by Lee Forde
Lighting design by Kathy Couch
Creative production by Olana Flynn
Music by Julius Eastman, Kelsey Lu, Althea & Donna, Joyce Kilmer and Oscar Rasbach, Arca, Kevin “GRAK” Hernández Rosa, and Nino Rota.

Deborah Goffe is a dance maker, performer, educator, and performance curator who cultivates environments and experiences through choreographic, design and social processes. She is driven by an enduring commitment to world making, support of vibrant local dance ecologies, and the role of curatorial practice in those processes. Since its founding in 2002, Scapegoat Garden has functioned as her primary vehicle for artistic and curatorial practice—a means to forge relationships between artists and communities, helping people see, create and contribute to a greater vision of ourselves, each other, and the places we call home. 

Deborah’s performance works have been performed in homes, gardens, galleries, as well as regional, national, and international festivals and venues, including: ICA Boston, Boston Center for the Arts, Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University, Wadsworth AtheneumReal Art Ways, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New HavenBates Dance Festival, Provincetown Dance Festival, New York Live Arts, Dance New Amsterdam, DUMBO Dance Festival, Artists of Tomorrow Theatre Festival, and the 92nd Street Y. Deborah’s choreographic work has also been performed internationally in Finland, Italy and Cape Verde. She is a 2022 Creative Capital Awardee for her current project, Liturgy|Order|Bridge, and has received artist fellowships and grants from New England Foundation for the ArtsMassachusetts Cultural CouncilConnecticut Office of the Arts, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Surdna Foundation, and was honored for Distinguished Achievement in Dance by the Connecticut Dance Alliance. Deborah is a recent member of the New England Foundation for the Arts Regional Dance Development Initiative (RDDI) New England Now cohort, and a recent Pillow Lab Residency artist at Jacob’s Pillow. She has participated as a New England Emerging Choreographer at the Bates Dance Festival  and as a yearlong Artist-in-Residence at Billings Forge Community Works.

SPACE’s presentation of Liturgy|Order|Bridge is made possible with support from a New England Foundation for the Arts NEST touring grant.

The broader project of Liturgy|Order|Bridge has been developed with support from Creative Capital, and from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ New Work New England program (whose support is made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Rescue Plan, Seedlings Foundation, the Fund for the Arts at NEFA, and individual donors). Liturgy|Order|Bridge was also incubated during a Pillow Lab Residency at Jacob’s Pillow, and is co-commissioned by the Prior Performing Arts Center at the College of the Holy Cross.