There was a time in my life (high school) when I would try to get into places I wasn’t old enough to be in yet (the Memphis dance club, The Castle). Did I ever get to experience the historic mansion turned into Prince Mongo’s gothic playground back then? That’s neither here nor there (yep), but the building that’s formally known as Ashlar Hall holds a special place in my memory. It evokes an if-these-walls-could-talk curiosity and a sense that adventure and a little mischief lurk around each corner.
Ashlar Hall has long been closed to the public but for the next two weekends, it will spring back to life with a unique, immersive performance experience called Rites of Spring at Ashlar Hall. Presented by the local production company Lost in Found, Rites of Spring at Ashlar Hall promises you’ll “disappear into a dream and plunge into a world of magic, romance, mystery, and adventure.”
We are installing an immersive experience combining elements of music, dance, art installations and other live performances inside the historic Ashlar Hall that’s been vacant for approximately the past 20 years. It’s an event that strays away from the conventional way you experience a performance. You can enjoy a beer in the grandeur of this former home and wander freely to enjoy whichever experience you choose. Or you can lounge and relax in one of our spring themed rooms, taking in the vibe of the evening as a spectator. —Natalie Jones, Co-founder of Lost in Found production company
From the press release:
Throughout the evening, three young muses will guide guests through Ashlar Hall and share their tale through dance, choreographed by Travis Bradley. Guests may even choose to dance themselves on opening night, with a performance by Star and Micey. In addition to dance, music and art installations, guests are also invited to mingle with mysterious Rites of Spring creatures through the venue while enjoying food from local vendors and drinks provided by Tap Box. Participation is voluntary, and guests can simply choose to kick back and relax among the moss and starlit trees.
Throughout its history, Ashlar Hall has been revived for different purposes. The “Midtown Memphis castle” built in 1896 by Robert Brinkley Snowden was a Grisanti restaurant in the 1970s, and as mentioned before, Prince Mongo’s dance club in the 1990s. It is currently being renovated thanks to Juan Montaya.
Lost in Found says they’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share this piece of Memphis history with the community once again.
One of the unique experiences of being in this historic home is that, as we’re doing our own work, we imagine what it was like when the Snowden family lived here a century ago, or the insanity of when Prince Mongo formed it into a club in the 1990s. We’re excited to be a part of a production that brings life back to a home that is 123 years old and so special to Memphis. — Julia Hinson, Co-founder of Lost in Found production company
- Title: Rites of Spring at Ashlar Hall
- Dates: April 5-7, 2019 and April 11-14, 2019
- Times: Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 5:30 pm
- Venue: Ashlar Hall, 1397 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104
- Tickets: $30 each