The Gretel Project

Feb 23, 2015 | Kristi Lynch

Four award-winning artists will collaborate with the University of Dubuque Fine and Performing Arts Department to present The Gretel Project, Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m., in the Babka Black Box Theatre in the University of Dubuque’s Heritage Center.  The event is a multimedia immersive experience that invites the audience to reimagine the world through the eyes of Gretel--the heroine of the famous fairy tale Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm.  The Gretel Project is free and open to the public, but tickets are required through the Farber Box Office. 

Once upon a time and long ago, a girl and her brother were abandoned by their parents in the woods and left to fend for themselves. The first time, they found their way home. The second, they wandered, lost and imperiled, until they came upon a sweet-smelling, sweet-tasting house made of gingerbread that belonged to a witch who welcomed them in. Gretel’s journey will take you deep into the heart of the forest, past the artifacts of her childhood, and into the maze of her own psyche. With rooms to explore, performances to watch, artwork on display, and interactive experiences for the audience, the event will be followed by refreshments and a Q&A with the artists and performers.

University of Dubuque Professor and Poet Lauren K. Alleyne joins Co-writer Catherine Chung, Visual Artist Tomiko Jones,and Composer Sidney Boquirento present a probing exploration of loss and “what if,” examining the way history, family, the decisions we make and the decisions that are made for us lead us into a myriad of different directions, parallel possibilities, and multiple futures. With funding from Adelphi University in Long Island, New York, and Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado and in collaboration with the University of Dubuque Fine and Performing Arts Department and Heritage Center, this collaboration brings to Dubuque artists and professors from three different states and three different universities. Under the direction of UD Theatre Professor, Amy Ressler, University of Dubuque students will bring the performance to life.

Dynamic and thought-provoking, The Gretel Project explodes the boundaries of traditional narrative to create a multi-dimensional sensory experience that blurs the lines between reality and story, as well as audience and character. Participants are encouraged to reconsider the original fairytale, and what it reveals to a contemporary society in which the issues it sought to explore have been recontextualized.


Tomiko Jones was born in Los Angeles, California, grew up on the Pacific Rim, and currently lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Jones received her Master of Fine Arts in Photography with a Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Arizona in Tucson.  She is the recipient of awards including the 2013 En Foco New Works Fellowship. Recent projects You Get What You Pay For, a multimedia collaboration with Chris Dacre and Canal, a site-responsive three-channel outdoor video installation for Scottsdale Public Art. Currently, she is an assistant professor of art and coordinator of the Photography Program at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado.

Lauren K. Alleyne is the author of Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press, 2014). She holds an MFA degree, and a graduate certificate in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University, and an MA in English and Creative Writing from Iowa State University. Alleyne’s fiction, non-fiction, interviews and poetry have been widely published in journals and anthologies such as Women’s Studies Quarterly, GuernicaThe Caribbean Writer, Black Arts Quarterly, The Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gathering Ground, and Growing Up Girl, among others. Alleyne is a Cave Canem graduate, and is originally from Trinidad and Tobago. She is currently the Poet-in-Residence, and an assistant professor of English at the University of Dubuque. 

Sidney Marquez Boquiren is a composer-performer who grew up in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia but has spent most of his life in the United States. He collaborates with artists on various projects that include opera (Independence Eve with Daniel Neer) and Biblical illumination (folia ligni for Spark and Echo Arts). As a pianist, he performs regularly with Rhymes With Opera and pulsoptional. A MacDowell Fellow, Sidney is the chair of the Department of Music at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, where he teaches music theory and composition. He is also a cantor and sings in the choir of The Church of St. Francis Xavier in Manhattan, New York.

Catherine Chung is the author of Forgotten Country which was an Honorable Mention for the 2013 PEN/Hemingway Award, and included on the Best Books of 2012 lists of The San Francisco Chronicle, Bookpage, and Booklist. Her work has been published by The New York Times, Granta, and The Rumpus, among others. She is the recipient of a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and is a fiction editor at Guernica Magazine. She teaches creative writing at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, and is currently a visitor in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey as a director's visitor.

Tickets for The Gretel Project may be obtained through the Farber Box Office, open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Heritage Center, University of Dubuque, 2255 Bennett Street; by phone at 563.585.SHOW; or online at