Updated: May 21
The Guilford Performing Arts Festival has changed its name to GreenStage Guilford Live Arts. The new name, intended to enliven the festival’s brand while better representing its identity and ambitions, is effective immediately. The nonprofit organization behind the festival will retain its name of Guilford Performing Arts Festival; all programming will take place under the GreenStage brand, beginning with the 2023 festival, scheduled for September 17-24.
The work to rename the festival was led by Susan Rollins, who brought more than 25 years of experience in advertising and marketing to the festival when she joined in 2022 as a board member and director of marketing. She led a team of nine festival representatives and community members in a six-month effort to brainstorm, test and select the new name.
The group’s recommendation, approved by the board in October 2022, remains true to the festival’s origins while emphasizing the mission of commissioning and premiering new (green) work, symbolizing ongoing efforts to put on an environmentally sustainable festival and highlighting the center of gravity on the historic Guilford Green. The term “live arts” reinforces the commitment to live, in-person entertainment and education. The name also provides flexibility as the festival endeavors to reach more of the Shoreline with its programming, to offer performances between biennial festivals and to stage events for specific audiences.
Rollins explains, “We are an organization that presents professional live arts performances and education, anchored on a historic New England green. Our mission is to support the creation of new, groundbreaking work and introduce audiences to new genres and diverse voices. Our new name reflects our origins, who we are and what we may become.” Peter Hawes, the festival’s executive director and board chair, adds, “The brilliance of the new name, thanks to Sue Rollins’ creative work and the volunteers who helped her, is that it lends itself to future possibilities like GreenStage Branford, GreenStage Madison, GreenStage Kids, etc. After six years and three successful festivals, and having survived the challenges of Covid, as we’re planning the 2023 festival, we’re also strategically thinking past the next festival and toward what’s in our future.”
The 2023 GreenStage Guilford festival will offer seven days of programming beginning Sunday, September 17, and concluding Sunday, September 24, offering more than 20 live performances, interactive events, classes and workshops in music, dance, drama and visual art. Artists will include the festival’s recent Artists’ Award recipients: storytellers Jen Munro and Denise Page, playwright Peter Sonenstein and violinist Ilana Zaks. The balance of the roster will be announced this spring and will feature various forms of dance and movement; jazz, bluegrass, Latin, Asian, classical and choral music; storytelling and spoken word; standup comedy; and hands-on artmaking.