Spiegeltent season begins this Thursday at Bard

The Bard Spiegeltent.

Usually, the tourists are the ambulatory things and the destinations are relatively staid. Leave it to Bard College to flip yet another cultural assumption on its head. The Spiegeltent – a touring venue from Belgium – has once again taken up residence on Bard’s campus, where Bard’s aggressively diverse programming wears it out all summer long.

The “tent” in Spiegeltent is liable to create some erroneous preconceptions. This is not a white event tent with the plastic tables and chairs shaky on the uneven grass. It is a magical, psychedelic, otherworldly mirror tent with a sprawling dancefloor, a ring of wooden booths, an excellent kitchen and a bar. It is truly a must-see. The environment within is naturally congenial to the kinds of entertainment that Bard books in it: louche, modernist cabaret; dance music; late-night deejay parties.

This Saturday, July 14 at 5:30 p.m., a SummerScape Gala Benefit in the Spiegeltent precedes the performance of The Imaginary Invalid in Theater Two. After the show, the celebration moves back to the Spiegeltent for a post-performance party with the cast and special guests. The Spiegeltent will be closed for regular dining on the evening of the Gala.

The Thursday Night Live series runs from July 12 to August 16 and emphasizes danceable music with a worldwide reach. Performers this year include Ameranouche (July 19) and Buckwheat Zydeco (August 9). Tickets cost $20. Shows typically begin either at 8:30 or 7:45 p.m.

Fridays and Saturdays are given to cabaret between July 6 and August 18. Performers include the Wau Wau Sisters (July 20 and 21), Weimar NYC (July 27 and 28) and the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus (August 10 and 11). Tickets cost $25. Audience members must be at least 21 years of age. The shows begin at 8:30 p.m.

Afternoon Family Fare runs on Saturdays and Sundays from July 14 to August 12. Tickets cost $5 for children and $15 for adults. Showtime is usually 3:30 p.m., but it varies; check the schedule.

The deejay-driven SpiegelClub takes over the tent late nights on Fridays and Saturdays from July 6 to August 18. Tickets cost $7 and admission is for patrons aged 21 and over only.

SummerScape’s closing night, a free dance party in the tent, happens on Sunday, August 19 at 8:30 p.m.

For help navigating this overstuffed schedule, and for tickets, visit or call the Fisher Center box office at (845) 758-7900. Bard College is located in Annandale-on-Hudson.

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