Perhaps having Sir James Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, in her family ancestry explains Barbara Neri's love of story telling. She is internationally recognized as an artist, writer and scholar. Her life as an artist began as a child with the serious study of dance with Marie Buczkowski a pupil of the famed Russian teacher Olga Preobrajenska. Neri holds a Bachelors degree in Art Education from Herron Art School and Butler University and an MFA in Dance from the University of Michigan. She has studied professionally in Chicago, New York and England and with NY drama coach Mimi Turque and LA performance artist Rachel Rosenthal. The Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs and the NEA have funded her work and she has been the recipient of two prestigious MCACA Creative Artist grants.

 

Neri began the 1980's performing her solo concert, 5 Dances. In 1982 she created Khoros, Inc. a non-profit arts organization and under its auspices through the 1980s and early 1990s she formed and directed two companies of artists and dancers, creating and performing collaborative multimedia works of choreography, video, sculpture and sound. Neri returned to solo work in 1993 and began producing and exhibiting works of performance, installation and visual art. To see photos, video excerpts and read more about Neri's earlier award winning work go to Other Work.

 

Upon awakening from a mysterious dream in 1995, Ms. Neri began reading the poetry and researching the life and times of Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and embarked upon what became a long-term study called 'The EBB Project'. Neri's research emerged from her artistic practice. She has performed research in many of the major archives of Barrett Browning materials: Wellesley College, The NYPL Berg Collection, and The British Library, and was awarded a visiting fellowship by the Armstrong Browning Library in 1996 and in 2012. With a focus on EBB's Sonnets from the Portuguese, Neri became a published Barrett Browning scholar and established the critical ground upon which she bases her creative work. In addition Ms. Neri is associate editor of "The Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning" working with a team of international editors. Led by Dr. Sandra Donaldson and funded by the NEH, they produced an historic five volume edition of EBB's poetry published in March 2010 by London's renowned Pickering and Chatto. Neri contributed in general to the edition and specifically her groundbreaking research on EBB's Sonnets from the Portuguese. Go to Writing for links. Neri is currently finishing her book, Poets in Love, that will bring together her critical and creative work on EBBs 44 Love Sonnets for all readers. Visit the Screenplay / Book page.

 

The Consolation of Poetry was the first major work of performance to emerge from The EBB Project. The multimedia work premiered at the University of Michigan, March 2002 in a performance sponsored by the UM Center for the Education of Women. The script, with endnotes and images from this performance, was published in the Fall 2003 issue of The Drama Review. Neri's "10 Dream Drawings," projected as part of The Consolation of Poetry, were published in the March 2004 'Correspondence' issue of Performance Research. The Consolation of Poetry was produced again at Eastern Michigan University in October 2003, where Neri also taught a performance workshop and presented a lecture for the Art Department. The Consolation of Poetry was subsequently juried into the 2005 New York International Fringe Festival and Neri performed a definitive production of the work at The Mazer Theater in lower Manhattan. A DVD of this performance has been produced. Go to Performance to read more about The Consolation of Poetry and see images of past performances. The reproductions of EBB's mid-Victorian clothing, jewelry and small props from The Consolation of Poetry were on exhibit at The Armstrong Browning Library for the month of February 2012. Neri is currently developing her feature length screenplay, Sonnets from the Portuguese, based on her unprecedented original research, that vividly re-envisions Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning's famous Victorian era love story for contemporary audiences. Neri calls it 'The most powerfully romantic love story of all time.' Visit the Screenplay / Book page.

 

Neri created 'The Williams Wing' of The EBB Project in 2005 after exploring an allusion Tennessee Williams made to EBB's "Sonnet XLIII" in Scene 3 of A Streetcar Named Desire. Her research was presented at the 2005 Victorian Institute conference. The exploration led to her new play 'Unlocking Desire'. Neri conducted research at large in the city of New Orleans and in The Historic New Orleans Collection summer 2008. 'Unlocking Desire' was produced at The Marlene Boll Theater in Detroit, MI Sept 23 - Oct 8, 2011. Neri is also writing a screen adaptation of her stage play. Go to Williams Wing to read more about the research and development of this project and find an artist statement and production photos. Read John Quinn's review of the Detroit production of "Unlocking Desire": Unlocking the Past; Unlocking the Future. Read a review of a reading of "Unlocking Desire" at the Renegade Theater Festival: Helma, Tom, Lansing City Pulse, August 25, 2010. Renegade-Recap. Neri has completed a screenplay adaptation of her play.

 

The visual art and objects, costumes and performance relics of The EBB Project have been exhibited in three installations most recently as an interactive installation at The Gallery Project in Ann Arbor, MI as part of their winter 2008 fundraiser. Installations were also created at the Brighton District Library in 2001 and at the Ann Arbor District Library in 2002. The Visual art of The EBB Project has been exhibited regionally and nationally and was awarded third prize in the Kreft gallery national show in 2000 and was juried into the Michigan Arts and Humanities Touring Program under Visual Arts Experimental for 2006 - 2009. Go to Visual Art to see more.

 

Ms. Neri has taught and developed curriculum at the High School and University levels, as well as teaching privately and creating workshops. She has presented papers and lectures for many conferences, organizations and libraries including The Boston Browning Society, The Costume Society of America, The Armstrong Browning Library and The Victorian Institute. Go to Lectures to read more about her work as a teacher and lecturer. Neri's articles, creative works and interviews have been published in P-Form, Agenda, and Studies in Browning and His Circle, The Drama Review, Performance Research, STIMULUS_Respond.com, and Victorian Poetry. Go to Writing to download articles and find publication details.