How to Build a Forest - Residency and Outreach Coordinator, Performance Volunteer

How to Build a Forest is a theatrical installation, created by the Obie Award-winning duo PearlDamour and visual artist Shawn Hall, that meditates on creation, destruction, biodiversity and ecological sustainability.  PearlDamour and Hall were in residence at Duke University October 10-21, 2012 with performances running the 19-21 in Page Auditorium.

Part visual art and part theater, How to Build a Forest begins with an empty stage.  Over six hours, choreographed crew members transform the space into a simulated forest made from fabric, rope, wire, small-gauge steel, plastic and found objects  collected in and around New Orleans in the wake of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The forest remains intact for just 30 minutes before crew members begin to tear it down. The next day, the cycle begins anew.

Residency Webpage


Audience members could stay for the entire eight-hour performance, or stop back in throughout the day to see how the work is progressing.  At points during the show, they were able to tour the stage and interact with crew members. The show was free and open to the public.  Performances ran from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19; from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29; and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21.

This residency and performance/installation was funded in part by a Visiting Artist Grant from the Council for the Arts, Office of the Provost, Duke University, and a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the NC Arts Council as well as support from Duke’s Department of Theater Studies and the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Associated K-12 programming is supported by the Duke Environmental Leadership program in partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation.

How to Build a Forest was developed with generous support from: the Creative Capital Foundation, the MAP fund (a program of Creative Capital, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation), The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Appalachian State University, The Moore Family Fund for the Arts of the Minneapolis Foundation, and many individual donors.  The piece was originally commissioned by The Kitchen Center for Video, Music, Performance, Dance, Film and Literature and premiered there in June, 2011.