A Spell for Living

Jun 14Jun 15, 2024 7:30pm

An evening of music and ritual

“A Spell for Living” is a community invitation to connect and dwell in the beauty of ephemerality. Part interactive ritual, part performance, part invitation for fellowship, “A Spell for Living” combines live choral music and guided prompts that invite the audience to participate and reflect. The ritual will conclude with refreshments on the patio.

The “Spell” is a creation by singer/ composer Renee Benson and experimental theater creator Jennifer Sargent who reunite at the Foundry from the Gulf Coast and the West Coast, respectively. These long-time collaborators offer a meditative distillation of their expansive performance work, Requiem for a Stranger, which explored the heart space of grief inside the Covid 19 pandemic.

“A Spell for Living” embraces a new season of aliveness. It is the latest community “Offering” in a series of healing rituals and sacred spaces that Renee and Jennifer created from 2021-2022 for the New Orleans community. These events were called “The Gorgeous Offerings,” and grew from Renee and Jennifer’s theatrical creation, Requiem for a Stranger, which premiered at New Orleans’ Contemporary Arts Center in 2022. The Requiem stage performance, threaded together Renee’s soaring, experimental vocals, expressionist movement by a trio of dancers, and innovative, interactive design. “A Spell for Living” integrates the deep learning throughout this expansive 5-year exploration of loss – but the summer “Spell” at the Foundry finds new territory on the other side of grief: a sacred space of growth, joy, gratitude, and connection.

Renee Benson is an acclaimed singer, songwriter, rapper, activist and educational enthusiast. Her work has performed in over 15 countries, on TV, film, and the stages of festivals like Glastonbury, Eurovision, and beyond. With Austria’s Vogelberg Jazz Orchestra, Renee is the performing vocalist for “Leelah,” a commissioned original experimental opera she co-created with composer Vincent Pongracz. Renee has worked with the Banff Centre for the Arts, on Faculty for the Indigenous Arts: Wîchoîe Ahiya Indigenous Singer/Songwriter Intensive and with the Kennedy Center teaching Trauma Informed Mindfulness. Under the name Sister Raie, Renee is currently producing her solo debut album “Malshun.”

Jennifer Sargent, currently based in Sonoma County (CA), is a creator of experimental, award-winning physical theater and a facilitator of embodied learning. For over 10 years, she was the Director of New Orleans-based theater company, Vagabond Inventions, which explored worlds in disequilibrium through ensemble processes. Her seven original productions and many short works performed across the U.S.; in seven countries; and in notable venues including The Chocolate Factory, Bushwick Starr, Here Arts Center in NYC, and NACL Theatre (NY state). After an international career spanning two decades, she is currently immersed in rediscovering art-making as an instinctual process for growth, originating in biological human development. Jennifer is presently earning her MA in Mental Health Counseling, specializing in expressive arts therapies.


This project, as part of The Gorgeous Offerings and Requiem for a Stranger, is supported by by NPN’s Creation and Development Fund, New Music USA’s Creator Development Fund in 2021, The Platforms Fund, Alternate Roots, the Puffin Foundation, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, and the Network of Ensemble Theaters.


To cultivate community and equity, we are offering tiered ticketing for this event. We invite you to choose what you pay based on the honor system. The lowest price ticket is available to all whom it will serve, and we hope that those with the means to pay the higher ticket price will do so in an effort to support our goal of offering the arts to all.

$10.00 Tier 1: Low-Price General Admission

$25.00 Tier 2: Full-Price General Admission

$35.00 Tier 3: Pay-it-Forward General Admission (Support The Foundry’s Future Residencies)

Seating/Bar: 7:00PM Show: 7:30PM

This event is indoors.

Parking is limited at the venue so please utilize the three public parking lots in Town. One is across from the Post Office, one is behind Berkshire Bank and the other is just off Main Street. They are clearly marked. Do not park at Trúc Orient Express Restaurant or the Post Office or you might receive a ticket.

Visit Amici Berkshires for dinner before the show and with your ticket receive 10% off your meal.

All sales are final – The Foundry is unable to make any returns or exchanges.