Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping

Necessary Interruption (2021)
Sermon and performance

Stop the shopocolypse! That is the message spread by Reverend Billy and the Church of Shop Shopping in their newly commissioned sermon and performance.

Be it drastic climate change or the rapid spread of global pandemics, the reasons for these crises lie in the unbridled demand for ever more consumer products. Resources thus squandered cannot be replaced, as becomes increasingly obvious. Yet despite a widespread sense of gloom and doom, the shopping continues like a party on the edge of a volcano. Capitalism forces us into two categories that transcend nationalism, regionalism, and identity: we are tourists, or we are refugees. Does anyone even notice? Or are we under the spell?

In this apocalyptic atmosphere, The Church of Stop Shopping and their spiritual “leader” Reverend Billy propose what they call a “necessary interruption.” A spectacle unto themselves, flamboyant, loud, American. You will see them as they move through the city of Graz, on the way from one sermon to another, awakening the hypnotized, creating rituals, and enacting muscular exorcisms. They come from the future with a message: we must reclaim ourselves, our choices, our relationship to the Earth, guided by our mentors—superstorms, wildfires, heatwaves, and droughts.

Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping is a radical performance community based in New York. Reverend Billy, a comic preacher portrayed by performer William (Billy) Talen, is accompanied by the Stop Shopping Choir, led by artistic director Savitri D. The group has worked together since the late 1990s, eventually becoming a familiar feature of the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011 for their guerilla-style street interventions. They also regularly perform in more traditional settings.

17.9., 18.9., 14:00

Palais Attems
Sackstraße 17
8010 Graz
♿ Venue accessible for wheelchairs

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17.9., 18.9., 18:00

Joanneumsviertel (entrance Kalchberggasse)
8010 Graz
♿ Venue accessible for wheelchairs

In English

Free admission (limited capacity)
Please secure your free ticket online or in the Visitor and Press Center. Please check the latest COVID-19 access conditions here.


The Church of Stop Shopping: Sunder Ganglani, Kai Pelton, David Yap, Francisca Benitez, Tewodros Tamirat, Killian Sundermann, Savitri D, William Talen

Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ʼ21    

With the generous support of the Embassy of the United States of America in Vienna