Performing the World (PTW) is as much a performance festival as it is a performance conference. PTW is full of performance in many forms—plays, one-person shows, storytelling, dance and music. Here’s a small sample of some performances we haven’t highlighted in previous newsletters.
- Performers Without Borders, a group of student actors from the University of Colorado, share their devised interactive shadow play, Energy Justice: The Musical, which uses solar powered lights and music by three-time Emmy Award winner Tom Wasinger. The play has toured schools in the Navaho Nation as part of an effort to bring clean energy to the 18,000 Navaho families living without electricity.
- The Proverbial Loons, the Castillo Theatre’s improvisational musical theatre troupe, perform during Performing the World, creating musicals based on interviews of audience members before your very eyes.
One Person Shows
- Renowned playwright and actor Carlyle Brown performs his one-man play about the madness of war—and the madness that surrounds it. Set in 1968, Therapy and Resistance tells the story of the Viet Nam War draft resistance movement and the attempts of one draftee to get a deferment as a manic-depressive schizophrenic with paranoid tendencies.
- South African-based Antonio Lyons’ one-man play We Are Here explores a diversity of male voices as they navigate their identities and societal roles relative to women, violence, HIV/AIDS, self esteem, parenting, etc.
- Joseph Galata, who has spent three decades working with former street gang members, teens with substance abuse histories, adolescents afflicted by violence, poverty, domestic and community abuse, presents a 30-minute performance piece based on a true story of a 15 year old boy incarcerated in an adult prison and executed in the Nevada gas chamber at the age of 17. The performance will be followed by an inter-active workshop, which focuses on the use of theatre, music, dance, media and literacy arts with children, teens, parents, and professionals to end the cycles of violence and crime that result in youth imprisonment.
- Stephanie Pulford, a doctorial candidate in mechanical engineering at the University of California Davis, and storyteller Paige Greco revisit the concept of narrative, and apply it to the format of a scientific talk. They will demonstrate how good storytelling makes scientific information more accessible and interesting to scientists and nonscientists alike.
- Avraham Kluger, a professor in the Organizational Behavior Unit of the School of Business Administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will lead a story telling workshop, followed by a conversation about how storytelling can bringing strangers together, prevent violence and create bonds in schools, companies and organizations.
- New York City-based choreographer Gina Gibney shares her company’s model of utilizing movement to empower and heal women living in the domestic violence shelters. The workshop will include a performance of “Here to Tell” a dance that Gibney choreographed for Sandra Manick, a survivor and domestic violence mentor.
- A collaboration between jazz pianist Chris Reyman and dancer Sandra Hendrix-Lopez, “Perceptions” is a collection of three improvisational pieces that reflect on the relationship between performer and audience, as well as the transient nature of identity, society and reality.
- June Boyce-Tillman, Professor of Applied Music at the University of Winchester, will lead a participatory workshop in which the participants will collectively make music—approaching music through the experiencer/creator of the music rather than the music itself.
- Susan Parenti from the School for Designing a Society, based in Urbana, Illinois, will lead a workshop that starts with musical performance after which she invites the audience to respond—their suggestions incorporated there and then, as they becoming co-creators with the musicians of the musical piece.
There is no other gathering like Performing the World. It brings together people not only from all over the world, but from many different walks of life who are using performance to engage the world’s social problems. PTW is just five weeks away, so register now to make sure you can be there for this remarkable three-day worldwide rendezvous.
Housing the World
PTW 2012 Housing Committee is busy securing free housing for the hundreds of performance activists and scholars who will be attending. If you live in the New York metropolitan area and would like to host a performance activist or scholar from around the world details here.
Among a number of exciting international collaborations, here are three projects that will bring together North American and Rwandan theatre artists.
Children of Killers
Award winning playwright Katory Hall’s Children of Killers will be featured as an evening performance on Friday and Saturday October 5 and 6. Directed by Emily Mendelson, who has directed and created devised plays in both Rwanda and Uganda, the play will be produced by the Castillo Theatre in conjunction with its youth theatre, Youth Onstage!.
Children of Killers is about a group of teenage friends in a Rwandan village 15 years after the genocide. Many of their fathers are being released from prison where they have been serving time for their roles in the mass killings of 800,000 of their Tutsi neighbors. How are the young people—who have never met their fathers—going to deal with their return and how are they going to live with, move beyond or transform their blood soaked legacy?
Originally commissioned by the National Theatre in London and inspired by a trip to Rwanda in 2009 where Hall attended a genocide studies conference and spoke with victims and perpetrators of the genocide, Children of Killers was workshopped by Hall and National Theatre director Anthony Banks with Youth Onstage! students in 2010. It has gone on to eight productions in Britain and 40 productions in Portugal. This will be its American premiere.
Katori Hall comes to Castillo and Performing the World fresh from the Broadway triumph of The Mountaintop, her play about the last night of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, which starred Samuel Jackson and Angela Bassett, and from the premiere of Hurt Village at the Signature Theatre, a play set in the projects of her hometown of Memphis. The Mountaintop won the Olivier Award (London’s equivalent of a Tony) for best play in 2010. Hurt Village won the 2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Hall is a PONY (Playwrights of New York) Fellow at the Lark Theatre, a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and of the Ron Brown Scholar Program. She’s a graduate of Columbia, Harvard and the Julliard School.
When Walls Come Down-TRUTH!
Another American-Rwandan collaboration comes to PTW 2012 in the form of The Anne Frank Project. The Project began with students from the Theatre Department of Buffalo State University in the United States and actors from the Mashirika Theater Company from Remera, Rwanda working to create a performance piece on genocide that could speak to both African and Western audiences. Together they devised When Walls Come Down-TRUTH! in which two “Annes”—one Jewish hiding from the Nazis and the other Tutsi hiding from Hutu extremists—both speak the words of Anne Frank. Some of the actors involved will share the process through which the play was created and the impact it has had on both Rwandans and Americans.
Rwanda: Drama and Theatre Education for Reconciliation and Development
Recently returned from a summer of performance activism in Rwanda, students in the Applied Theatre M.A. Program at the City University of New York (CUNY), will report on their multi-year project, “Rwanda: Drama and Theatre Education for Reconciliation and Development.” The program brings teachers and students from the CUNY Applied Theatre Program to Rwanda to assist students and teachers there in acquiring applied theatre skills. Led by Helen White (co-developer of the Program with Chris Vine), the group will share their work, focusing on the challenges of cross-cultural collaboration. White is also the award-winning director of the CAT Youth Theatre at the Creative Arts Team. CAT has performed at the United Nations, International Festivals, and International and National conferences, working with other youth theatres from Taiwan, Germany, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Zambia, India, Palestine, Nepal, Turkey, Brazil, and Poland.
The performance movement is emerging and impacting in virtually every corner of the world. The international scope of the performance turn in social change movements is reflected in the work of hundreds who will be traveling to New York City to share their work at Performing the World (PTW), October 4-7, 2012.
Here are some performance activists from the African continent:
Webogang Disele will share her work with the Mophato Dance Theatre exploring how performance can “interrogate and shift” representations of black women to allow them to claim their individual stories, thus challenging the dominate stereotypes found in much African culture.
Babafemi Babatope, a senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts and Music at Lagos State University in Nigeria and his former student, Oluwatoyin Olufunke Omoniyi, will demonstrate Babatope’s successful transformation of his teaching through using a performatory methodology and share how that has opened up the creativity and development of his students.
Trudy Meehan, a senior lecturer at Rhodes University’s Department of Psychology in Grahamstown, documents an art project at a psychiatric institution that supported the “in-patients” to perform an alternative identity—that of “artist.” Exhibiting of the art created by the patient/artists became a performing, witnessing and re-telling ritual.
Also from Rhodes University, Alexandra Sutherland, a senior lecturer in Drama Studies, will discuss her recent performance project in a South African prison. She will “interrogate” her position as a white, middle class feminist running a theatre project within an all male prison and working with black, working class men, most of whom were convicted of rape.
Betsi Pendry is the director of the Living Together Institute, based in Johannesburg and active throughout Southern Africa. She will share scenes from a play called The Ritual, about the way forward for a national healing process in Zimbabwe. The workshop is designed as a springboard for dialogue, reflection and performance about the ways in which performance and play can promote healing.
From the Gulu District of northern Uganda, which has suffered twenty years of war, comes Pamela Angwech, executive director of the Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization, a women’s rights organization committed to alleviating the human rights abuses that threaten women, children, and the fabric of entire communities. She will share her organization’s work using performance and the arts to help those traumatized by the war to develop into productive members of society.
From the Kampala District in southern Uganda, children from Hope for Youth-Uganda, led by Peter Nsubuga, will share how they use traditional music and dance to tell their stories, engage pressing community issues like resistance to the education of girls, malaria control, hygiene, preventing and living with HIV/AIDS, and family planning—as well as their work to bring a Ugandan version of the All Stars Talent Show into being.
Daniel Maposa is the director of the Savanna Trust, which brings theatre into the streets and villages of politically polarized Zimbabwe to create a space for dialogue and development. Maposa will share his work in the town of Wadzanayi, where performance helped restore relationships after the violence accompanying the 2008 election and allowed neighbors to begin working together again for the development of their community, despite their continuing political differences.
Among the hundreds of performing artists, community organizers, theatre workers, educators, scholars, youth workers, students, social workers, psychotherapists, psychologists, medical doctors, health workers, and business executives coming to New York City for Performing the World (PTW) are some the world’s most influential thought leaders and culture changers. Here’s a look at four PTW 2012 presenters who are shaping the performance world from the academy to the streets.
He’s a world famous Brazilian pianist who has recorded music from all over the world and performed in the most prestigious concert halls. But what’s unique about this virtuoso is his outreach to Brazil’s favelas and rural villages to organize and train young people as musicians. In 2007 Bratke created Camerata Brasil, a classical orchestra of young people from impoverished areas who have no academic musical training, with the objective of giving them a chance of making a living through music. To date, Camerata Brasil has toured over 30 Brazilian cities and around the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall. Marcelo Bratke will be sharing his work—and his music—at PTW this year.
Diamond is mentor to thousands of performance activists striving to create theatre that engages performers and audiences in the active transformation of themselves and their communities. His “Theatre for Living” has its roots in Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, yet works to avoid the dichotomies of “Oppressor” and “Oppressed,” in favor of working with the totality of a community to develop an “emotional intelligence” that allows them to create something new together. He is the recipient of numerous theatre and human rights awards including an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Fraser Valley and the Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theatre. He’s the author of Theatre for Living: The Art and Science of Community-Based Dialogue, winner of the American Alliance of Theatre and Education 2008 Distinguished Book Award. At PTW David Diamond will be leading a workshop unpacking the basics of “Theatre for Living.”
A renowned French social psychologist, author and international consultant, Rojzman is the founder of Transformational Social Therapy, which works with large groups (in the hundreds) of people to talk through the ethnic, religious or ideological hatred that has historically kept them in violent conflict. This work has taken him to most European countries, the United States, North Africa, Rwanda and Central and South America, and fostered institutional and social change in education, social work, criminal justice, conflict resolution and reconciliation. Rojzman is a prolific author (How to Live Together is an English translation of one of his books). His work has been featured in the documentaries, “Charles Rojzman, thérapeute social” and “Listening to the Police” an inside look at a workshop with French National Police trainers. At PTW Charles Rojzman will demonstrate his approach and share the breadth of the work of the Institut Charles Rojzman.
Schechner has been a leader in American avant-garde and political theatre for four decades and is a founder and perhaps the most influential voice in Performance Studies. He toured the South during the Civil Rights Movement with the integrated Free Southern Theatre. He founded and was the artistic director of the Performance Group and in that capacity helped to create the practice of environmental theatre. In the 1970s, working closely with anthropologist Victor Turner, he brought into being the academic discipline of Performance Studies, which researches performance in everyday life and theorizes about its significance. Schechner is one of the founders of the Performance Studies department at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and is long time editor of The Drama Review, the world’s premier journal of Performance Studies. At PTW 2012, Richard Schechner will discuss with the Castillo Theatre’s Artistic Director Dan Friedman and others the relationship(s) between Performance Studies and performance activism.
Early Bird Registration Ends July 1!!!
Here’s a few of the 100+ presentations, workshops and performance coming to PTW 2012.
Daniel Maposa is the director of the Savanna Trust, which brings theatre into the streets and villages of politically polarized Zimbabwe to create a space for dialogue and development. Maposa will share his work in the town of Wadzanayi, where performance helped restore relationships after the violence accompanying the 2008 election and allowed neighbors to begin working together again, despite their continuing political differences, for the development of their community.
Ursula Carrascal Vizarreta will lead a performance/workshop of “Dance to Survive,” a performance created by children who live on a garbage dump next to the Rimac River in Lima. The children are part of the indigenous Cantagallo people and their dance builds on their people’s traditional culture while at the same time putting forward their demands for environmental clean up and their concerns about global climate change.
Chang Janaprakal Chandruang will bring students from the Moradokami Home School, which he leads, where every subject is taught through theatre and performance. They will perform a play they have devised and discuss how they have created a self-sufficient theatre community, which is now beginning to impact on Thailand’s educational system by bringing drama clubs into more than 40 Thai schools.
More of what’s in store as the summer progresses…
It’s been a privilege reading all the proposals! What a lot of creative work going on all over the world!
We’ll be highlighting presenters from now until October. If you’re a presenter, send us some news, including photos if you want, and we’ll get them up so people can see who you are and what you do.