A poetic meditation on the environment, On Behalf of Nature evokes the Buddhist notion of different realm categories, uniting heaven and earth by way of human beings. Drawing further inspiration from writers who have sounded the alarm on the state of our global ecology, Monk and her acclaimed vocal Ensemble create a space where human, natural and spiritual elements are woven into a delicate whole, illuminating the interconnection and interdependency of us all.

“As I began working on On Behalf of Nature, I asked myself the question ‘how would one create an ecological art work that does not make more waste in the world?’ Live performances leave no traces except , hopefully, in the mind of audience members. This ephemeral aspect is both poignant and exhilarating. Sometimes, though, the desire for novelty and surface excitement leads to buying a lot of new things, spending a great deal of money for an experience that only lasts a few hours. I wondered how one could make an alternative to that.”

— Meredith Monk


On Behalf of Nature received development support from the following residencies: UCLA CAP (Center for the Art of Performance); Centre Culturel André Malraux (Vandoeuvre-lés-Nancy, France); Le Théatre De Lorient, Centre Dramatique National (Lorient, France; Park Avenue Armory in New York; Duke University; and Roulette Intermedium. Commission funds for the development of On Behalf of Nature were provided by: The Brooklyn Academy of Music for the 20014 Next Wave Festival; ASCAP/ American Society of Composers, Authors, and  Publishers; the National Endowment for the Arts; New Music USA; and New York State Council on the Arts. 

Music/ direction by Meredith Monk. Lighting design by Elaine Buckholtz. Sound design by Jody Elff. Costumes/ Scenography: Yoshio Yabara. Score Preparation/ music director: Allison Sniffin. Production manager: Phillip Sandstrom. Sound engineer: Jesse Stiles. Technical director: Johnny Chanthavong. Video editing: Meredith Monk and Micheal Grenadier. Video Wrangling: Nelson Brann. Production coordinator: Peter Sciscioli.

Performers: Sidney Chen, Ellen Fisher, Katie Geissinger, Meredith Mink, Bruce Rameker, Allison Sniffin. Musicians: Bohdan Hilash, John Hollenbeck, Allison Sniffin.

Performance History: UCLA CAP, Los Angeles, CA; Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Urbana-Champaign, IL; BAM Harvey Theater, Brooklyn, NY; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Galvin Playhouse, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ; Power Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI