Families on the Line: Interactive Performances

How do you use the High Line as a family? Is it a place to relax and reconnect? An opportunity to look closely at plants and animals in the heart of the city? A source of creativity?

Children create art projects during a family program. Photo credit: Liz Ligon.

The High Line inspires teachers, storytellers, and artists every day, and each month we are inviting them to share different ways families can learn together on the High Line.

Our first guest writers are Jaimie Warren and Matt Roche from artist group Whoop Dee Doo. Whoop Dee Doo will be in residency at the High Line for our new family program series, Make It!, which will encourage families to play while learning about art, nature, history, and design.

Whoop Dee Doo Founders Jaimie Warren and Matt Roche host mini variety shows for families. Jaimie seen here as a milkshake and Matt as a werewolf. SPACE Gallery, Portland, ME, 2016.

By Jaimie Warren and Matt Roche, Whoop Dee Doo

Whoop Dee Doo (est. 2006) is an interdisciplinary community art project and non-profit organization that produces live "episodes" of a fake, public-access, family-friendly variety show. These shows are characterized by ambitious, space-transforming installations and unique, interactive performances. All of Whoop Dee Doo's programming focuses on creative collaboration between unlikely pairings of community members, and each workshop series fosters interaction between the students and performers from their local community.

In our workshops, Whoop Dee Doo (WDD) works to create a platform for the participating performers to engage and educate youth on the history of their work. Through the creation of this historical context, students can then make informed artistic decisions about the collaborative aspects of the project at hand. Workshop students work directly with WDD staff and the performance artists to alter and enhance the pre-existing art and/or performance. These modifications can vary from costume alteration and inventive choreography to interactive set design and performance. The resulting collaboration demonstrates the respect participants have learned for one another's cultural ideals and artistic traditions.

You can check out a great video on the process of our shows below:

Whoop Dee Doo variety shows involve opportunities for the audience to get involved. Smart Museum, Chicago, IL, 2009. Photo credit: Megan Mantia.

Community performers collaborate with Whoop Dee Doo to share different cultural ideals and artistic traditions. La Esquina, Kansas City, MO, 2007. Photo credit: Alicia Eler.

Elaborate sets are created by Whoop Dee Doo artists and children. Smart Museum, Chicago, IL, 2009. Photo credit: Megan Mantia.

Throughout the creative process, exceptional and meaningful interactions blossom between all participants in the workshop. Our unlikely partnerships create some of the most meaningful moments for both the performers and the audience, and are intended to open up new, unique, and important conversations and interactions that bring the community closer together. Our hope is for youth and adults to experience a completely integrated way of working, and in turn gain a more enlightened and tolerant perspective on their community.

As part of the Make It! series, Whoop Dee Doo will create five completely original live shows—each the result of the combined efforts of Whoop Dee Doo artists, Friends of the High Line, local performers, high school interns from City As School, and teams of fourth-grade workshop participants recruited from nearby PS 33 Chelsea Prep

Whoop Dee Doo is ecstatic to have the High Line to serve as an inspiration point, not only as a visually stunning environment that will invigorate our creative senses, but also as an accessible home base where we can bring together a swath of fascinating local talent. We have spent many months scouring this historic and culturally rich neighborhood and will work tirelessly to create the most unique, diverse, and memorable performances possible—with the help of our incredible team of young artists, of course.

Check out our first Make It! on Saturday, May 28 from 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM to see Whoop Dee Doo in action. Our shows will be at 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM.

Major support for High Line Families comes from Deutsche Bank. This program is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council.

MetLife Foundation is a Supporting Sponsor of High Line Families.

Recent Posts
Plant of the Week: Hay-Scented Fern
view post
Behind the Bushes: The Gay History of the High Line
view post