The Arts Center is excited to part of the development and commissioning of Phantom Limb Company’s latest piece, Memory Rings: The Life and Times of the World’s Oldest Living Tree.

Phantom Limb Artistic Directors Jessica Grindstaff and Erik Sanko will be in residence at the Arts Center this spring as part of their research process along with members of the company.

Memory Rings: The Life and Times of the World’s Oldest Living Tree is the second part of a planned trilogy of works united by ecological and environmental threads of narrative and research that also includes the company’s acclaimed 69˚S, which was inspired by Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Trans Arctic Expedition. The title refers to both the resonance and impact of 4784 years of a living being and the poetry of age shown through Dendrochronology, or aging using the rings at a trees core. The memory of who we have been, the growth of the tree, and the changing environment are all represented with cycles and circles. The tree is a living record of everything that has transpired during its history, standing in mute testimony of civilization’s encroachment.


New York City-based, is known for its work with marionette-puppetry and focus on collaborative, multi-media theatrical production and design. Co-founded in 2007 by installation artist, painter and set designer Jessica Grindstaff and composer and puppet maker Erik Sanko, Phantom Limb has been lauded for its unconventional approach to this venerable format. Phantom Limb includes a large rotating cast of friends, collaborators, artists, dancers and puppeteers. In their short career, Phantom Limb has produced The Fortune Teller, Dear Mme., The Devil You Know with Ping Chong, Lemony Snicket’s The Composer Is Dead with Berkeley Repertory Theatre and 69˚ S. with Kronos Quartet. Future productions include Tesla in New York, an opera directed by Jim Jarmusch with Composer Phil Kline, an installation based Peer Gynt in the forests of Norway, a kite opera, and Memory Rings: The Life and Times of the World’s Oldest Living Tree.

‘One stunner of a show…electrifying soundtrack… a hypnotic, overwhelming performance.’


‘Radiant visuals…The puppets gradually come to life; they gain expressiveness, they can show despair, and as a spectator you can feel the cold in their puppet bones.’

NRC Handelsblad