Tsunami on the Square
Tsunami on the Square is an annual performing arts and culture festival in Prescott, Arizona that showcases exotic and unique performance art forms not typically seen in smaller towns. It takes place on the third weekend in June on Prescott’s historic Courthouse Square. The festival features a mix of local, national and internationally known professional performers.
Tsunami on the Square is named after the natural event least likely to occur in the high desert and was founded by Jay Ruby of The Carpetbag Brigade in 1998. The festival is funded primarily through donations from area residents and sponsorships from local businesses. It also receives grants from the city and state.
In 2005, Tsunami on the Square held its first Circus Camp for children between the ages of 6 and 14. Circus Camp is held the week before Tsunami and the children get to lead the parade that opens the Tsunami on the Square Festival. They are also the opening act on the main stage. Starting in 2011, children over the age of 14 who wanted to continue learning and participating in Circus Camp were given the opportunity to become Circus Camp Counselors in Training. Several of the instructors at Circus Camp are also visiting artists who perform on the main stage at the Tsunami festival.
After Jay Ruby there have been four Executive Directors: John "J.T." Tannous, Susan Defreitas, Megan Buchanan Cherry and Andrew Johnson-Schmit.
Tsunami on the Square features a wide range of performance traditions and styles. Past festivals have featured acts such as Native American hoop dancing, modern dance, circus arts, acrobatic stilt walkers, fire performers, hula hoopers, blacklight theater and giant puppets. In addition to the main event, Tsunami on the Square also has traditionally included a site-specific performance on the Thursday before the festival called Flourish Before the Flood.
In 2011, a new event on the Friday before the main Tsunami on the Square festival was added. Neptune's Tea Party featured an acrobatic stilt performance by The Carpetbag Brigade, excerpts of Ember Larson's folk opera, music by Dutch Holly, and music/video/spoken word by Verbobala. This event was held at the historic Elks Opera House  in downtown Prescott.
Some past festival performers include headliners and crowd favorites: Beatmauler, Pyroklectic, The Carpetbag Brigade, Clan Tynker, Flam Chen, Koichi Tamano and Harupin-ha, Archedream for Humankind, Grupo Axé Capoeira, Kid Beyond, Bad Unkl Sista, Aero HoopStars, Troupe Salamat, Verbobala, and Jonathan Best.
The Fall of Tsunami
It was announced in January, 2014 that the board of directors had dissolved the nonprofit because no one heeded the call to take then Executive Director Andrew Johnson-Schmit's place. The two year search for a new director ended. The festival did not happen in 2014.
Prescott resident Tom Von Deck made a public statement on June 16th, 2014 that he had spearheaded a local effort to bring the festival back in 2015. The group is holding regular public meetings year round. They will incorporate as a brand new organization.
- The Carpetbag Brigade | http://www.carpetbagbrigade.com/
- C. D. Miranda. "Tsunami's Circus Camp for Kids". Pop Rocket.
- John “JT” Tannous. "Physical theater’s captivating tension and resolution". Flagstaff Live!.
- Elks Opera House | http://www.elksoperahouse.com/
- Japanese Butoh | butoh
- Scott Orr. "Tsunami on the Square organizer ends event 'on a high note' after 15-year run". Prescott Daily Courier.
- Scott Orr. "Group aims to revive the Tsunami". Prescott Daily Courier.
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