Patti Pace Festival to address racial equality


Courtesy Photo

All are encouraged to attend the virtual Patti Pace Performance Festival this weekend.


The 21st annual Patti Pace Performance Festival will have a different look from previous years, taking place virtually on Friday, Feb. 19 and Saturday, Feb. 20. The festival will aim to create and expand the connections of community members and students through the art of performance.

The festival is typically hosted by a group of different schools with a performance arts studies program. Each year it rotates with what school is the host. In the past, Louisiana State University, Xavier University, Kennesaw State University, Georgia Southern University and more have all hosted the festival. UNI has tried to be a part in the past and give students here involved with the arts a chance to create an experience with the Patti Pace event.

Due to COVID-19, it was looking like the festival might not be held, but the Interpreters Theatre’s Artistic Director Danielle McGeough and colleagues decided that this festival is needed and UNI will host it for the first time this year.

The theme “Meeting the Movement” is dedicated to keeping the festival experience just as active and inclusive with these rapidly changing times.

“Giving the context and what is happening in the world, we think it would be useful to hold this virtually under the saying ‘Meeting the Movement’ to explore the role of performance intending to address all that has happened the past year or so and especially the racial injustices in our country,” McGeough said.

Opening remarks will kick off the event Friday morning at 10 a.m. The festival will consist of keynote speakers, workshops and performances of many artists around the country.

World famous poet Dr. Jaavon Johnson will be speaking on race and gender theory of his first collection of poems “Ain’t Never Not Been Black” and performance ethnographer Dr. D. Soyini Madison will be performing on cosmic energy and radical beauty.

Although the festival has been face-to-face which leads to more hands-on activities and personal connections through performances, McGeough said it being virtual still allows these important elements to be shown and  for more students to be involved.

“Performance can offer a lot of insight. It can be a creative way to process and make sense of the things that are happening in our world right now,” she said.

McGeough believes that this festival is going to engage many of the racial tensions that we have been experiencing as a country.

“(The festival) will offer theoretical research and really creative ways to meet those moments critically and thoughtfully and give a different perspective than we’re used to in our own community,” she said.

The 2021 Patti Pace Festival will be free and open to the public.  All information is on the Patti Pace Facebook page and all questions can be directed to [email protected].