Arts on the Quad

A Summer Series at Mystic Seaport Museum

Arts on the Quad returns! Pack your blanket or lawn chairs and find your perfect spot for viewing. This summer the series hosts a variety of speakers and activities paired with live performances that celebrate the Museum’s diverse exhibitions. You’re invited to bring your own picnic and non-alcoholic beverages. A cash bar and concession snacks will be available.

Visitors will have access to the featured gallery for the evening. Please park in North Lot and enter via the Thompson Exhibition Building.

In the event of rain, performances will take place in a covered location on the Museum grounds. Rain location seating is limited and on a first-come first-served basis.

Saturday, July 13: RUNA and the Benjamin F. Packard  Cabin

5:30 p.m.: The original 244-foot square-rigged sailing ship Benjamin F. Packard, more than twice the length of the Charles W. Morgan and last survivor of her type, was built in 1883 at the shipyard of Goss, Sawyer & Packard in Bath, Maine, and named for one of the builders. She was typical of the superbly designed, finely crafted “Down Easters” or “Cape Horners” of the late 19th century built to carry cargoes around Cape Horn between America’s Atlantic and Pacific ports. She was retired in 1927, and all that remains of her is the cabin. Packard expert Maria Petrillo will give a pre-performance talk.

6:30 p.m.: Quickly gaining recognition as one of Irish music’s new “super-groups,” RUNA has been en- chanting audiences by pushing the boundaries of Irish folk music into the Americana and roots music formats since their formation in 2008. Interweaving the haunting melodies and exuber- ant tunes of Ireland and Scotland with the lush harmonies and intoxicating rhythms of jazz, bluegrass, flamenco and blues, they offer a thrilling and redefining take on traditional music.

The Benjamin F. Packard Cabin, in the Stillman Building will be free and open to the public between 5 and 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 27: “Streamlined” & The New London Big Band 

5:30 p.m.: Guest Curator Matthew Bird will give a pre-performance talk on the Museum’s newest exhibition, which focuses on the uniquely American design known as ‘streamlining.’ The exhibit features boats, outboard motors, and images from the Museum’s Rosenfeld Collection, along with household objects and advertisements.

6:30 p.m.: Led by trombonist and composer Sean Nelson, the New London Big Band is a 17-piece jazz orchestra made up of the finest musicians in New England. The band plays a mix of classic jazz standards, upbeat dance tunes, and original music by band members, and regularly features instrumental and vocal soloists. The band wants to show the world that big band jazz is a vibrant and joyful sound that is not just for “jazz aficionados.”

“Streamlined: From Hull to Home” exhibition in the Collins Gallery will be free and open to the public between 5 and 8 p.m.

Saturday, August 10: Figureheads and Flock Theatre’s Comedy of Errors

5:30 p.m.: Senior curator Fred Calabretta will give a pre-show talk about the Museum’s dramatic collection of figureheads and ships’ carvings. The most romantic and mysterious of all artifacts from the Age of Sail, these figureheads, billetheads, and catheads also demonstrate the extraordinary skill of their craftsmen. In ancient times, figureheads frequently depicted supernatural beasts and deities adopted from popular mythology. This tradition persisted into the 19th century, when patriotic figures and national heroes were also introduced. Modern vessels, for the most part, carry little if any decorative carving, as hull design and traditions have changed. 

6:30 p.m.: Flock Theatre returns to Arts on the Quad with William Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. One of Shakespeare’s early plays, it is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humor coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play. Based in New London, and the resident theater company at Mitchell College, Flock Theatre is one of the most adventurous classical theater companies in New England. Working with the timeless words of Shakespeare, Moliere, Sophocles, and more modern classics, Flock Theatre is dedicated to creating original, collaborative, and educational theater.

“Figureheads” in the Wendell Building will be free and open to the public between 5 and 8 p.m.

Saturday, August 25: Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children’s Theatre

5:30 p.m.: Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children’s Theatre will do a pre-show theatrical workshop for kids. The troupe, winner of the 2003 Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award, was founded in 1980 and celebrates 39 years of bringing quality performances and educational workshops to audiences throughout the world.

6:30 p.m.: The Grumbling Gryphons perform the Myth of Persephone, a spellbinding dramatization of the ancient Greek myth that tells the story of how the seasons came to be, and exposes children to the classical Greek myth in a highly entertaining and engaging way. The children in the audience become the Greek chorus, chanting, singing and helping the gods and goddesses rescue Persephone. Robert Flannagan, who designed the masks, also designs for the Muppets. This show opened in New York City’s Central Park and has toured internationally delighting audiences ever since.

Homeport in the C.D. Mallory Building will be free and open to the public between 5 and 8 p.m.