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Thompson's visit kicks off Fine Arts Month celebration

Barry McNamara
Melissa Thompson '95
Melissa Thompson, founder of the experimental physical theatre company The Sacred Heart Archive, will return to Monmouth College Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 to kick off its Fine Arts Month Celebration.

A 1995 Monmouth graduate, Thompson will speak to several art and theatre classes and will host a workshop on physical theatre. She will present a public colloquium on Sept. 30 at 4:15 in the Wells Theater.

Identifying herself as an artist and a scholar, Thompson says she doesn’t quite understand why the two shouldn’t live happily ever after. She has worked with a diverse group of internationally-renowned artists, and her own work is inspired by embarrassing matters of the heart, the remembrance of trivial events and depictions of physical vulnerability. Thompson has a particular interest in autobiography without interpretation — the “this is what happened” rather than the “this is what it means” — and the location of stories within the body.

Thompson received her Ph.D. in theatre and drama from the University of Wisconsin, where she focused on performance studies, gender studies and cultural criticism. She is currently on the faculty at Michigan State University as an assistant professor of theatre.

The Sacred Heart Archive is a multi-disciplinary arts project that uses physical performance, traditional songs, iconic images, found objects, folk tales and collaborative design to explore and re-envision personal and cultural memories. Before founding the company, Thompson performed with various contemporary performance art institutions, including the Centre for Performance Research in Aberystwynth, Wales.