A Farewell to the Hop’s Margaret Lawrence
Have you attended anything at the Hopkins Center in the past 23 years? If so, you can thank Margaret Lawrence. She has just left her position as the Hopkins Center’s Director of Programming, where she was responsible for finding and bringing the talent to the Hop stages. She aims to take a break and enjoy the Upper Valley summer while she considers her next move.
As I began to write about the Hopkins Center events for this blog and occasionally for Boston’s The Arts Fuse, one of the things I learned from Margaret was that the Hopkins Center is not only a venue for the performing arts; it has had a continuing role in commissioning new artistic works. When I asked her what was most memorable about her time at the Hop, Margaret supplied me with a lengthy list. What impressed me most was the number of commissioned works, including those with performers Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Mark Morris Dance Group, Kyle Abraham, Bill T. Jones, Pat Metheny, Pilobolus, Heiner Goebbels, Art Spiegelman, and Maria Schneider.
Lawrence helped to bring international artists to the United States, some of them, like South Africa’s Dado Masilo, for the first time. Last season also saw a multimedia performance by Qyrq Qyz, à group of Central Asian female bards. Lawrence also co-produced Yunnan Revealed, the first U.S. visit by ethnic minority artists from China, with The Smithsonian Institution, Connecticut College, the Kennedy Center; and eight U.S. cities. The list goes on.
One way to appreciate Margaret’s work is to go to the Hopkins Center Facebook page and start to scroll. It will remind you of what Lawrence and the Hop have brought to the Upper Valley this past year and in preceding seasons.
Every time I have walked out of the Hopkins Center after a performance, or sometimes even when I am just driving by reading the marquee showing a current or future event, I announce to myself and anyone who will listen how lucky we are to have what the Hopkins Center brings us. None of it happens by accident; it requires creativity and hard work to place so many artists on those Hop stages. If you happen to see Margaret Lawrence this summer, you’ll want to give her your gratitude for her considerable contributions--over the past 23 years--to the performing arts in the Upper Valley.
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