A performing Arts Laboratory in Saxapahaw, NC

Make / Believe

May 11th, 12th and 13th at 5pm in downtown Graham, NC

Make / Believe takes audiences on a short walking journey though downtown Graham before arriving at a secret location in which performers create an immersive theatrical event, probing the value of artistic experiences within a society driven by commercial market forces. Drawing loosely on historical NC commerce traditions such as Tobacco Auctions, Make / Believe playfully imagines the value of a song, a dance, a poem or a story as a commodity to be bid upon, bought, sold and traded. In a series of communal and individual vignettes, Make / Believe ultimately asks audiences to consider the value of artistic experiences in their daily lives, communities and larger society.

Make / Believe is a production of Culture Mill, the award-winning Performing Arts Laboratory based in Saxapahaw North Carolina. The performance is part 1 of a 2-part series on value, art and community taking place in downtown Graham. It continues Culture Mill’s tradition of creating artistic experiences in secret, site-specific locations in order to instil an intriguing sense of adventure in audiences. Make / Believe is Culture Mill’s first production to be held in Graham, and realized with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as a grant from the Alamance Innovation Fund in cooperation with The COOP.



 Photo: Tim Walter

Photo: Tim Walter

"...daringly authentic and honest...sublime..." - Indyweek

  • July 8 & 9, 2018 - American Dance Festival, Durham, NC, USA

  • March, 2018 - Soirées à Suivre, Compagnie Marie Lenfant, Le Mans, France.

  • December 3-5, 2017 - Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA), Season 4 at Monkey Bottom Collaborative: Durham, NC


"Brown" is a collision with the lingering allure of gender and racial stereotypes, Brown uses personal history to explore heritage, violence against women, loss, vulnerability, and resilience. Brown premieres during the U.N.’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Parallel to the creation of her solo, Elizéon will partner with professionals in restorative Justice to create community engagement events and movement workshops around the thematics of the piece. 

Brown is a production of Culture Mill.

PRESS: From Intergenerational Traumas of Race and Gender, Murielle Elizéon Extracts Universal Catharsis in Brown - INDYWEEK

Je Suis Belle

November 4, 5 & 11
The North Carolina Museum of Art

Experience Auguste Rodin’s ability to render the texture and the tension of the human body through the lens of movement and sound. Murielle Elizéon draws on various Rodin sculptures, as well as the relationship between Rodin and his model, collaborator and lover: Camille Claudel to create a textured duet together with Tommy Noonan.

The work is also in collaboration with NC-based sound-artist Ben Trueblood, who creates a real-time sculptural rendering of time, bodies and sound. The 20-minute performance highlights the kinetic power of Rodin's sculptures, imagining them as fluid living works which provide insight into the dynamic human relationship in which many of them were formed.



Sketches for Auguste

February 4th, 2017


Sketches for Auguste is a formal showing of a new work-in-progress by a group of world-class performing artists. The work grew from a original idea by acclaimed violinist Jennifer Curtis and realized through a collaboration with musician Pauchi Sasaki, choreographer/performers Murielle Elizéon and Tommy Noonan, and performer Dohee Lee to create a multi-disciplinary chamber opera of sound and movement based on Henry Miller’s “The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder.”

This novella--which Miller believed to be his “most singular story”--depicts a clown’s near religious devotion to an audience through a trance-induced artistic offering that features an angel. Miller considered the process by which he paired a clown with an angel even more “surrealistic” than the final document itself. The notion of this work as autobiographical is as potent for Miller as it is to the performing artists, who will recreate the feverish state by melding music, movement, design, and text on the stage.


Articulating Value in the Arts

August, 2016 - September, 2017

Articulating Value in the Arts is a project which hopes to seed new opportunities for a diverse arts community, through a sustained consideration of the relationship between art and value. We started in 2016 with small conversations among a core group of four facilitators. We then held a large gathering of around 30 people at the Carrack Modern Art in January, 2017 in Durham, NC and later facilitated four gatherings across central North Carolina. There was one in Durham at The Shed, one at Anchorlight in Raleigh, one at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill, and a fourth at The Culture Mill Lab in Saxapahaw. 

We’ve done things this way in order to gradually grow this project out of the kinds of casual, personal conversations after concerts, gallery openings, performances or during rehearsal breaks, and that usually end with “we should do X or we should start Y” and then get back into production mode.

Those initial small conversations among our core four folks produced a set of 10 big questions about value and the arts. Those 10 questions produced discussion in our first large gathering that headed into two broad categories:

  • The needs, aspirations, and purposes of artists;
  • Both the existing and the missing organizational resources for artists in our communities and cities.

That discussion has prompted a variety of activity in the areas of arts advocacy and resource sharing and development. People are making new relationships with local governments and businesses to create opportunities for artistic projects or new access to spaces. People are launching advocacy initiatives in the context of probable massive changes to traditional arts funding structures. People are sketching out new, more agile arts organizations that could better address needs that aren’t being addressed, or are under-addressed.

Articulating Value in the Arts has been an evolving platform, driven by artists, which culminates with a public Symposium in September of 2017. This project is neither comprehensive, nor authoritative. They are meant to represent a crystalization of insights, initiatives and possibilities articulated in the first place by artists, towards future actions and initiatives. It is also meant as a spark, hopefully setting alight a greater engagement and interest on the part of artists, towards a clearer, more inclusive and empowered articulation for the Arts in central North Carolina.

                                    - Murielle Elizéon, Chris Vitiello, Ginger Wagg & Tommy Noonan: September, 2017



This PDF version of the Articulating Value in the Arts book contains an overview of the project, as well as reflective texts, essays and related observations and statistics. Click below to download.





Trust the Bus


Trust the Bus has quickly become one of Culture Mill's signature programs. In two seasons we have produced 8 collaborative projects for a total of 19 performances, involving nearly 50 local, national and international dancers, musicians, actors, DJs and visual artists, and have served over 600 audience members. All in rural Alamance County, North Carolina. Audiences board Culture Mill's 44-seat Bluebird Biodiesel school bus without any idea where they are going or what they will experience. They are then taken on a journey to a location in rural North Carolina, where an original collaborative performance takes place. Trust the bus is a format intended to support cutting-edge performances while disarming and engaging all types of audience members outside of traditional art spaces.

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