By Barbara Rowley

BIG SKY – With the construction of Big Sky’s performing art center complete, Warren Miller Performing Art Center Artistic Director John Zirkle has been planning the debut season for the state-of-the-art facility.

The mission: present world class performances from December through April that will match the world class ski options that Big Sky residents and guests have come to expect.

Although Zirkle is holding off until early November to announce details, he says the Big Sky community should anticipate rousing winter entertainment.

“What we are presenting is a truly original, responsive season of events that I believe will help foster the growth of our community of confident performers and inspired audiences.”

The season will include 10 acts, including several cooperative ventures with The Arts Council of Big Sky. This will be “adventurous programming,” Zirkle says, with a lineup mixing movement, music, theater and spoken word.

“I think it’s the responsibility of any performing arts venue to push the boundaries of what performing arts means,” he said. “[This] doesn’t mean these acts are inaccessible – I anticipate much of our programming to find a significant family audience.”

Bringing in internationally recognized acts from Minneapolis, Chicago, New York and abroad is expensive. That’s why a large part of Zirkle’s job is not only to devise an inspiring season, but also to find a way to fund it outside of ticket sales. “It almost goes without saying that the cost of bringing in internationally recognized artists is not insignificant,” he said.

Zirkle hopes the enthusiasm shown for building WMPAC will continue to build its programming, noting that sponsorships will directly impact ticket prices and help make events accessible to everyone in the community.