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Experience Bold and Innovative Performances at the Cohen New Works Festival

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

Are you ready to have your mind blown? The Cohen New Works Festival is back, baby! And it’s bringing some seriously innovative and boundary-pushing projects to the stage.

For those of you who don’t know, the Cohen New Works Festival is a biennial event at the University of Texas at Austin that showcases new and experimental works of theater, dance, music, and visual art. And this year’s festival, running from April 3rd to April 7th, promises to be bigger and better than ever before.

What is the Cohen New Works Festival?

The Cohen New Works Festival is named in honor of David Mark Cohen, a UT Austin alumnus, and playwright. The festival was first held in 2001 and has since become one of the most highly anticipated events on campus. The festival takes place over the course of several days and features performances, installations, and exhibits created by students from a wide range of disciplines, including theatre, dance, film, music, and visual arts. Best of all, tickets are free, free, and free! Seating is not guaranteed so reserve seats online to must-see shows ahead of time.

Why is it important?

The Cohen New Works Festival is important because it provides a platform for artists to showcase their creative and innovative ideas. It also allows for the exploration of different topics, issues, and themes through a variety of art forms, such as dance, theatre, music, and film.

Moreover, the festival is an opportunity for students to gain experience and exposure in the arts industry. It provides a space for networking and collaboration among students, faculty, and professionals in the field. It also serves as a means of cultivating new talents and inspiring future artists to pursue their passions.

The festival’s focus on innovation and experimentation promotes the development of new techniques and approaches in the arts, making it an essential contribution to the cultural landscape of the University of Texas at Austin and beyond. It is an event that celebrates the power of art to spark dialogue, engage audiences, and create meaningful change in our society.

What to expect

The Cohen New Works Festival is a diverse and eclectic event, featuring a wide range of performances, installations, and exhibits. Each festival is unique and showcases cutting-edge works of art, music, theatre, and dance. Here’s a list of my top performances (in no particular order) that I’m definitely lining up to see!

A Green Moment to Share

“A Green Moment to Share” is a groundbreaking project that brings together art and sustainability in a unique and impactful way. At the University of Texas at Austin, environmental change is a pressing issue that affects many students on a personal level. However, mainstream environmental narratives often fail to take into account the perspectives of young people and rely on simplistic solutions like recycling or blaming individuals for their plastic use. This project aims to address this gap by using arts-based research to explore the intersection of environmental change, equity, and well-being. With its innovative choreography and mesmerizing visuals, “A Green Moment to Share” is a powerful reminder of the importance of sustainability and the role of the arts in creating a more just and equitable future.


“Contrapposto” is a groundbreaking experimental dance piece that explores the preservation of memories and the conscious rendering of materialized space through gesture and scenic play. Utilizing a cutting-edge 3D scanning program called Lidar, the artist has been able to capture and preserve 3D renderings of themselves in motion, creating an abstract representation of the human body. Through the weaknesses of the program, movement is conveyed as both artifact and notation, resulting in a truly hybrid exploration of digital and live performance. The result is a mesmerizing experience that blurs the boundaries between art and technology, offering a unique perspective on the intersection of movement and space. Don’t miss your chance to witness this groundbreaking performance in real-time!


Prepare to be transported to a world of ancient mythology and scientific discovery with “Petrificationology.” This site-specific, immersive music theatre performance takes place in the wildlife diorama hall of the Texas Memorial Museum, where the audience is invited to experience the historically underfunded sub-field of Petrificationology. This fascinating discipline studies those who have been turned to stone by the Gods, whether as punishment for their sins or as a means of salvation from a worse fate. Sometimes, petrification simply happens without explanation, leaving us to ponder the mysteries of life and death. “Petrificationology” offers a poignant reflection on stillness, breathtaking loss, and the hidden wonders of our planet. Don’t miss this unforgettable experience that blends science and mythology in a truly unique way.

Red, Blue Yellow: Magenta, Teal, Amber: Violet, Green Orange

Experience a unique and captivating dance performance that explores the interpersonal dynamics between people in groups of three. In “Red, Blue, Yellow: Magenta, Teal, Amber: Violet, Green, Orange,” nine dancers embody the colors on the color wheel, each with their own distinct personality. Through movement and expression, the dancers create a stunning visual representation of the relationships between primary and secondary colors, forming perfectly balanced triangles when aligned on the wheel. Immerse yourself in this ethereal dance work and discover the connections between color and human connection.

And these are just a few of the many incredible projects that will be featured at the Cohen New Works Festival! Whether you’re a theater aficionado, a dance enthusiast, or just someone who loves to experience new and exciting forms of art, there’s something for everyone at this year’s festival.

I’m interested. Where can I get more information?

So, where can you find more information about this epic festival? Let’s break it down. First off, you gotta check out the official website. It’s seriously packed with awesome info on each of the projects featured at the festival, plus the schedule of events and ticketing info. You can even read artist profiles and check out a blog with behind-the-scenes glimpses of the creative process. It’s basically a one-stop shop for all things Cohen New Works. You can also follow the festival on Instagram to stay in the loop on the latest news and announcements @utnewworks. Keep an eye out for tags to connect with other festival-goers, get juicy insider deets, and share your excitement for the event.

So mark your calendars, grab your tickets, and get ready to be blown away by the creativity and talent on display at the Cohen New Works Festival. We’ll see you there!

Vanna Chen

Texas '23

Senior Computer Science Major Sleepy, Funny, Addicted to Kombucha