Enjoying ‘Arts and Ideas’ in New Haven

June 11, 2018

Summer is a unique time on a university campus. Here at Yale, the pace of life slows but does not stop, and it can be easier to enjoy everything our city and region offer after the academic year ends. 

For me—and I am sure for many New Haven residents—one annual event always signals the start of summer. When I see crews constructing the main stage for the International Festival of Arts and Ideas on the New Haven Green, I know the summer season is in full swing. 

The festival began on Saturday, and for two weeks it will showcase performers and thinkers from around the world, right here in our backyard. You can experience more than 170 events, including music, theater, dance performances, engaging speakers, walking tours, and tastings. Most of the events are completely free!

A great New Haven tradition, the festival also showcases the close ties between Yale and our home city. Many festival events will take place on our campus. A new production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice will make its New England premiere in the Yale Law School Courtyard, and A Billion Nights on Earth, an imaginative new production for children and adults, is coming to the University Theater. On the “ideas” side, several conversations—all free—will be held at the Yale Center for British Art and the Yale University Art Gallery. These discussions bring together leading thinkers, artists, and change-makers to address issues of local and global relevance. 

One highlight of the festival will certainly be the Yale International Choral Festival—a superb collaboration between the festival and the Yale School of Music, the Yale Glee Club, and the Yale Alumni Chorus. Over four days, choral groups from Germany, Sri Lanka, and Mexico, as well as the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, the Yale Choral Artists, and the Yale Alumni Chorus, will perform. 

Many other events are taking place, and it is impossible to mention them all. I encourage you to visit the festival website to see the complete schedule, buy tickets, and make reservations. 

I feel lucky that I have called New Haven home for nearly thirty-seven years. The International Festival of Arts and Ideas is one of the highlights of the year for our city, and it helps bring us together as neighbors and as a community. I hope you will enjoy the festival and look for other ways to get involved locally in the weeks and months ahead. Happy summer!