Melissa Birch CV 

All works written or composed by Birch (unless denoted by *)

 

Birch is a fascinating performer, a walking contradiction constantly and precariously balanced on an edge. She’s a very funny and perceptive comic who’s nevertheless just a step away from tragedy. She’s a sassy provocateur one second, an eerily vulnerable woman the next...In Birch’s hands irony and melancholy are part of the same beast.

- Mike Steele, Star Tribune

 

Performance Evenings 1998—2019 | Ensemble, Collaborative, Solo

 

All Hail the Queen, with Deborah Jinza Thayer (2018)

Cowles Center | Minneapolis, MN | Text/Performer | Dance Theater

 

You Were Once Wild Here, Barebones Puppets (2016)*

Hidden Falls Regional Park | St. Paul, MN | Artistic Director | Outdoor Puppetry
 

Who Moved My Child (2016),

Illusion Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Performer | Physical Theater | Video

Flying Nuns (2013-2014)

Bryant Lake Bowl | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Director | Physical Theater | Video


WarQueerPeaceSolo (2011-2014) 

Various theaters in MN, CO, Germany | Creator/Performer | Solo Performance | Video


Places (2010)   

Soap Factory | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Director | Physical Theater | Video


Undying Regrets (2009)   

Open Eye Figure Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Performer | Physical Theater | Video

Melissa Birch...was among 1990’s performance art royalty for her magnetically evocative femme fatale character named Yesterday. In her past work, queerness permeates the content and so it is with her latest [work]

-Dylan Townsend, Arts & Entertainment

 

here it is here it is (2007)

Bryant Lake Bowl | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Performer | Physical Theater

"Perhaps we need the power of women, whatever that might be, to get us out of our current plight...This theme’s clearly crucial to Birch. She’s got something in particular to say, and it has to do with falling, with balancing ourselves in the free fall of our existence.

-Lightsey Darst, MNArtists.org

Leopard Lounge, with Tim Frantzich and Dan Chouinard (2004)

Bryant Lake Bowl | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Performer | Music Show


Red Curtain Cabaret (2001-2004)

Bryant Lake Bowl | Minneapolis, MN | Producer/Emcee | Cabaret | Video

...though inspired by tradition, Birch is not trapped by boundaries of the past. Like many postmodern performers, she is most interested in intersections

-Sun Yung Shin, Women's Press

The Bitch Is Back: the Elton John Show, with Steve Pomije (2003)   

Bryant Lake Bowl | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Vocalist | Music Show | Drag | Video


Rage, Joy, Relief (2000)

Dixon Place | New York City, NY | Writer/Performer | Solo Performance


The Love Life (1998-2002)

Various theaters in MN, NY | Creator/Vocalist | Cabaret | Drag | Video

"[The Love Life is] different from the usual one-person show. By blending her anecdotes with live jazz, Birch has created a sort of experimental cabaret show that keeps the audience off guard. [Birch]...recognizes the need for public autobiography, and that audiences are looking for authenticity

-Rose Marelli, New York Blade

You Will Be My Music (1997)        

Bryant Lake Bowl | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Drag

 

Dizzy Faint and Short of Breath, with Drew Jansen (1995-1997)

Bryant Lake Bowl | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Drag

"Melissa Birch’s performance is so nuanced, so apt, and so attendant to detail that she is indistinguishable from the real thing. Whatever the real thing is – which of course, is the driving question.

-Citypages

Press for "Yesterday" Performances (1995-1996)

Arts Bank | Philadelphia, PA | Solo Performance | Drag

Jungle Theater, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, Patrick's Cabaret, | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Drag

Ultra-versatile performer-singer Melissa Birch has perfected the unique blend of physical theater, campy comedy and seductive crooning. As Yesterday, (an archetypal goddess of the 40’s and 50’s with a slightly shady past) Birch struts, jokes, and serenades her way to a whole new level of comedy.

-Tad Simons,Twin Cities Reader

Siraman (1990)*

University of Madison, Wisconsin | Wedding Ritual | Solo Performance | Physical Improvisation


Supporting Roles in Collaborative Productions 2008—2011*

Amy's Gold, Julyen Hamilton

Southern Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Physical Improvisation

Songs of Innocence and Experience, Kathleen Hermesdorf          

Ponderosa International Art Center | Stolzenhagen, Germany | Physical Improvisation

Proximity, Olive Bieringa                

Bell Museum, University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN | Physical Improvisation


½ Life, Body Cartography               

PS 122, Southern Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Physical Improvisation | Video


Jump, Body Cartography               

Walker Art Center | Minneapolis, MN | Physical Improvisation


Chicken Baby, Molly Van Avery      

Open Eye Figure Theater | Vocalist/Performer | Physical Theater


Fleeced, Barebones Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza           

Hidden Falls Regional Park | St. Paul, MN | Vocalist | Outdoor Puppetry


Big Trees Small, Insitu Dance         

Muir Woods | Mill Valley, CA | Vocalist | Dance Improvisation

Selected Short Works 1988—2014

 

Duet with Noise (2014)

9X22 Dance Lab, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Video

Flying Nuns (2013)

9X22 Dance Lab, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Creator | Physical Theater


Post Post (2013)   

Mixed Blood Theater, Bedlam 10-Minute Play Festival | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Performer | Physical Theater

July 15, 1983 (2013)*

Bryant Lake Bowl | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Birthday Party Cabaret


Limbo Solo (2013)

Ritz Theater/Monday Live Arts | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance


Stonewall, with Maya Weinberg (2012)

Ponderosa International Art Center | Stolzenhagen, Germany | Collaboration | Dance Theater


Happy Imposter, with Molly Van Avery (2008)

Bedlam Theater, 10-Minute Play Festival | St. Paul, MN | Collaboration | Physical Theater | Video


Audrey The Spy I, II, III (2008)

Patrick’s Cabaret | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Drag

Knock Knock Knockn, with Tamara Ober (2007)
9X22 Dance Lab, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Collaboration | Dance Theater

Nocturne Flesh

Concordia University Art Gallery | St. Paul, MN | Poetry

Formulaically Opposite (2006)

Jungle Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Drag | Video

Rock Star Cabaret (2003)

First Avenue | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Drag


John’s Gash, with John Francis Bueche (2003)

Bedlam Theater | St. Paul, MN | Writer/Performer | Physical Theater


3 Piece Suite (2003)

Bric Studio | New York City, NY | Solo Performance

Subsistence, with Emily Johnson/ Catalyst Dance (2002)

Barbara Barker Center for Dance | Minneapolis, MN | Vocalist | Dance

Performing Arts Benefit (2001)

Private Home | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Cabaret


We Hold These Truths, with Sarah East Johnson/ LAVA (2001)

Southern Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Collaboration | Physical Theater


Blizzard In August (2000-2001)

Theater de la Jeune Lune | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Festival

Southern Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Curator/Emcee/Performer | Festival

                                                                                                             

My Mother’s Knives (1999)  

Dixon Place | New York City, NY | Solo Performance


Little Suicides (1999)

Dixon Place | New York City, NY | Solo Performance

"Melissa... created a subversive performer persona that could not be ignored...'Yesterday' was partly what the audience wanted -- a female singer, feminine and seductive. But Birch added her own twist on gender stereotypes, a 'full-blown hypersexuality' with drag and other mindbenders thrown into the mix."

-Michael Dahl, Q Monthly

1996 Profile of Melissa Birch

"Birch says she finds freedom in playing a character so unlike herself. ‘It’s a disguise I put on.’ And though some may think Birch is hiding behind a sexist stereotype, she insists that Yesterday is not a parody. ‘It’s about doing justice to a class of women and a tradition of women. I find the humor in it, and Yesterday is not afraid to laugh at herself.

-Heidi Raschke, Twin Cities Reader

Richie Itch (1995)

Old Arizona Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Drag


Dizzy, Faint, and Short of Breath (1995)

Arts Bank | Philadelphia, PA | Solo Cabaret | Drag

Queer Comedy Night (1994-1995)

Padded Cellar | Minneapolis, MN | Stand-up Comedy


When She Smiles (1994)   

Southern Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Drag


Ridicule (1994)   

Patrick’s Cabaret | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Drag


This Mouth (1994)

Southern Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Solo Performance | Drag


The Wedding March (1994)

The Walker Art Center, Dyke Night | Solo Performance | Drag

Queen of Bees (1995)

UND Burtness Theater, Limited Exposure | Grand Forks, ND | Solo Performance | Drag


Yesterday’s Cabaret (1993)   

The Walker Art Center, Dyke Night | Solo Cabaret | Drag 

Stay: The Next Best Thing (1990)

Wilmar Center | Madison, WI | Solo Performance | Physical Theater

Cycle of Violence (1988)

Ark Theater | Madison, WI | Writer/Performer/Musician | Solo Performance | Cabaret

Commissions & Residencies

The Right Here Showcase (2016), "Who Moved My Child"                      

The Illusion Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Performer | Physical Theater

Artist-In-Residence (2012), "WarQueerPeaceSolo"                          

Ponderosa International Art Center | Stolzenhagen, Germany | Creator/Performer | Theater

Workhorse Works-In-Progress (2010), "Places 2010"     

Soap Factory | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Director | Physical Theater          

        

Open Studio, with Molly Van Avery (2009), "Undying Regrets"

Open Eye Figure Theater | Minneapolis, MN | Creator/Performer | Physical Theater


Performance/Clown Residency (2001-2002)

Three Legged Race | Minneapolis, MN | Physical Comedy

HOT! Festival (1998), "The Love Life"

Dixon Place | New York City, NY | Creator/Vocalist | Cabaret | Drag

Jerome Foundation Travel-Study with Eleanor Savage (1995)

South-Eastern United States Tour: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and Kentucky | Writer

Training & Development

 

Delicious Movement | Eiko Otake | 2019

Vocal Workshop | Ellen Hemphill | 2014


Shape of Attention | Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser | 2012


Witch Camp/Improvisation | Meg Stuart and Lexa Rosean | 2012 | Berlin


Improvisation | Jess Curtis, Peter Pleyer, Keith Hennessy | 2011-2012 | Berlin


Reperformatory/Contact Improvisation | Kathleen Hermesdorf | 2011-2012 | Berlin


Physical Improvisation | Rajendra Serber | 2011


Making Dance | Julyen Hamilton | 2011                 

    

Residency Workshop | Miguel Gutierrez | 2011     

                      

Be Here Now | Keith Hennessy | 2010

The Tuning Score | Karen Nelson, Margit Galanter, and HIJACK | 2003-2006

Contact Improvisation | HIJACK | 2001-2006

Skinner Release | DD Dorvillier | 2003

Skinner Release | Morgan Thorson | 2002-03, 1996    

                     

Clown Intensive | Christopher Bayes | 2001

Acrobatics/Balance Technique | Sarah East Johnson and LAVA | 2000-2001 | New York City

Mandatory Repertory | Ellie Covan and Dixon Place | 1999-2001 | New York City     

                        

Margolis-Brown Method | Kari Margolis | 1993-1996  


Voice Training + Technique Teachers in MN, WI, CA, NY | 1989-2001