SmokeyScout Productions becomes Automatic Arts with new Collaboration at Morris Arboretum

Almanac returns to Nice and Fresh. Photo: Kate Raines.

The Nice and Fresh series has been produced since 2008 by the Mount Airy based SmokeyScout Productions. As they venture in to new programming and collaborations, they have changed their name to Automatic Arts. On June 12, Automatic Arts will be creating a special edition of Nice and Fresh for The Morris Arboretum’s STEAMpunk Expo, with outdoor performances of theater, dance, and circus arts.

According to  Josh McIlvain, artistic director, “Over the past few years, we have began a presentation series (Nice and Fresh), put up plays, and veered into multimedia/interdisciplinary and dance performance as well. Now we will be programming and producing larger performing arts events for other institutions as well as our own, and we felt it was time for a change. Automatic Arts is what we deliver.”

The STEAMpunk Expo at Morris Arboretum is the first of such collaborations, featuring a full day of original theatrical productions, aerial artists, and more. Visitors can see examples of cutting edge technology from the past and present, and participate in science discovery stations throughout the Arboretum. Visitors are even encouraged to stroll the Victorian garden in their steampunk finery and submit your photo to an Instagram fashion contest.

With performances at 11:30am and 2:00pm, beginning on the east side of the swam pond, Nice and Fresh will present four artists on the Arboretum grounds. The Victorian gardens will provide the backdrop for each of the fifteen minute length performances. Featured dance will include Annie Wilson and Almanac Dance Circus Theatre.  Also being presented are the comedy troupe, Awful DJ and a theater production byJosh McIlvain.

In addition there will be on display from 10am – 5pm, two art installations created by Automatic Arts specifically for the STEAMpunk Expo, “A Poem in the Field”, original poem by Yolanda Wisher and Twelve Rocks Museum, text by John Rosenberg of Hella Fresh Theater.

Annie Wilson (Dance)
Annie Wilsom makes dances that are magical, animistic, pop-spectacle church services. She has been making work in Philadelphia for a decade, mostly at the radical, magical venue Mascher Space Cooperative. Her work has been presented by Bryn Mawr College Performance Arts Series JACK, thirdbird, the Center for Performance Research, Mascher, SmokeyScout Productions, and <fidget>. Artists she has had the honor of working with include: Mary Tuomanen, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, Applied Mechanics, Lucinda Childs, and Zornitsa Stoyanova.

Almanac Dance Circus Theatre
Since 2013 Almanac has forged ensemble-driven performances that fuse acrobatics, storytelling, and daring physicality. Called “The little Dance Theatre Troupe that could” by Philadelphia City Paper, Almanac was selected as 2013-2014 Fresh Tracks artists at New York Live Arts, were the first resident company at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, and are artists-in-residence at Mascher Space Co-Op. Their work has been presented by FringeArts, Trinity Rep, Colgate University, the Tyler Arboretum and the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Evening of Duets, Bearnstow, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Circus Now!, the University City District, and New York Live Arts, including as special guests of Bill T. Jones with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company at the NYLA Gala.

Nice and Fresh Expo Edition: New Theater and Dance
Automatic Arts, as part of the all day event STEAMpunk Expo at the Morris Arboretum, open 10–5
Morris Arboretum, 100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19118.
Free for Morris Arboretum members / $17 for visitors (regular admission to Arboretum). Pay at entrance.
More information at