Especially Now: Create the World Together

  • October 24, 2011 5:52 pm

In thinking about a name for our upcoming event the questions associated with so many aspects of our work kept coming into play.  Why are we delving deeply into the development of new creative work at a time like this?   How can we put a focus on issues abroad to Americans at a time like this? How can we possibly hold a fundraiser at a time like this?

The answer, of course, is obvious.  It is Especially Now that we should be doing the work we are doing.  It is Especially Now that we need to build the most responsive, innovative, visionary and positive cultural organization we can possibly imagine.

Thus, the name of the event came easily.

But this event brought on deeper contemplations for me than assigning it a title.  It made me think about our work in general.  I do see, of course, that The Global Theatre Project is an extension of my own experience of life.  It is my response to the world I see around me and so it is subject to those responses.  In many ways it is a living thing.  So what is it that I see? A world in dark transition struggling to find its light.  It is a real struggle.  Played out now in almost every country around the globe.

And the only way I believe we will achieve moving through struggle to real peace is through experiencing and understanding our commonality.  Then we can move forward.

As I mentioned in my last post, I recognize my ‘naive’ perspective on solving conflicting global issues through theatre.  My perspective on life in general has been called very ‘American’ from time to time by some of my international colleagues.  Of course I am aware that there are complex challenges and systems, structures and cultural divides (as well as economic, social, political, etc. etc.) that we hold as reasons for the tensions and conflicts which are becoming more and more articulated.

But, at the same time.  I recognize that there are more and more people around the world who are reaching across those divides in spite of the complex challenges.  They are motivated by one thing.  Human connection.  Because once you make that connection. . .once you see yourself in that other person or people. . . you create possibility for change. 

In our work it is important that we always celebrate our connection.  Even when we are addressing difficult issues, such as we will do on December 11th.  It is the process of exposing what is, breathing life into it through communal and public experience and moving forward armed with an awareness that can no longer be ignored that interests me.  How can theatre and all the aspects around creating it do this?  And how can it do it better and better?  How can we take this evening and apply as many prisms to the experience for our participants and our audience as we possibly can?

These are my questions.

Because, to me, it is Especially Now that we must focus on how we can Create the World Together.

In Memory and in Questioning

  • September 10, 2011 5:43 pm

On September 11, 2001 a horror happened on US soil which, in  my observation, did two particular things.  It woke us up and it closed us in. 

I watched back then as the extremity of positions were identified and then held with no middle ground.  The left, the right – everyone took sides.  Up to that moment I generally followed the lead of my party.  I voted without thinking, I believed ‘we’ were in the right and ‘they’ were in the wrong on any given issue.  But my observation after 9/11 was that this became even more extreme.  And that, as each day went by, ‘my side’ looked and sounded very much like ‘their side.’  The words were possibly different, but the energy and fear behind it all seemed very much the same.  And that is when I stopped.

For about a year I didn’t sign petitions, call my representatives, write letters without reading as much as I could about the facts.  I stopped believing just because I heard it on the news, whatever ‘it’ was and whoever was reporting ‘it’, that truth was being reported.  I questioned everything and everyone.  And, for a long time, I took very little action.

I believe that, clearly, The Global Theatre Project is a result of the events of September 11th.  A slow decade-long development of a response to a day that I, like all others in our country and many around the world, will never forget.  Too many things were put into motion that day.  We could no longer collectively deny that there were some who truly hated us as a nation and a culture.  In our terror we looked to our borders and began, slowly, to close them.  But in those ten years something else has happened.  We stopped talking to each other and started screaming at each other.  We stopped discussing.  We took positions, found the borders which gave us comfort in confirming our sense of self.  And we held our ground.  Immobile.  Right.  All others… wrong.

Also during that time we have lost a good deal of respect in many foreign countries, and are now a military nation weakened both in our economic power and our legitimacy as the shining, pristine example of democratic values.  And during that time we have watched a generation of young Americans entering college who are defined over and over again by their parents and educators as having too strong a sense of unearned entitlement.

These, of course, are my personal observations.  How do they connect to The Global Theatre Project?  Because my burning question based on these thoughts has been: given where we are, what do we do now?

I believe there is only one answer to this question.  Which is to learn a deeper truth than ‘us’ and ‘them.’  To step away from positioning and holding ground which continues to remind us that the world is a hostile place, while we participate daily in its growing hostility.

We are all connected.  The question is do we choose to continue creating a world where our most significant connections are based on violence, territorialism, intolerance and injustice or are we ready to make a sincere effort toward a global change that is, in my mind, the only one which will secure a healthy future for us and, yes, as importantly, our neighbours.  That sincere effort requires new systems and approaches which lead us to an understanding that our connection is found through exploring what common ground we stand on.  Who we are…. As individuals, cultures and nations and how that serves an expansion of our understanding of what we are as a common humanity.  From there we can shape our future proactively, not reactively.  In my mind, this is our only hope for survival.

The Global Theatre Project launched its work by bringing attention to the situation in Belarus and the struggle and enormous courage and talent of the Belarus Free Theatre.  Our most recent project included staging a work by Florentine playwright, Stefano Massini, which was inspired by the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in ‘Una Donna Non-Rieducabile’ (A Stubborn Woman).  With each piece the artists, students and the public associated with it expanded their knowledge of suffering in the world.  But to me, that is not the true point of their work.  Or of ours.  The true point is not to bring attention to suffering so we can point to it from a distance.  The true point is to FEEL their situation and know it is our own suffering we feel.  Human suffering.  Needless and pointless.  But it exists.  It exists for as long as we choose.  And, in order to even begin to imagine that it could change, we must take a look at the core of this issue.

The anniversary of 9/11 has inspired us to take a theme that has strongly emerged for me this year at The Global Theatre Project and expand it into a multi-year inquiry.  That theme is ‘Who Is The Enemy?’ which I am announcing now as an open inquiry which we will explore in various ways over the course of the next five to ten years.  It will include everyone from children to adults, it will partner with varying institutions, cultures and individuals, it will reach beyond the discipline of theatre and of the arts,  it will evolve into its own life.

In the scene from ‘A Stubborn Woman’ entitled ‘The Intelligent People,’ Massini demonstrates so elegantly and devastatingly that taking sides is an intellectual decision and that, in the end, the viciousness of the Chechnians and the viciousness of the Russians is simply. . . viciousness.  At the graves of children and innocent people, taking sides becomes utterly irrelevant.

Ten years ago I began to see that the view from one immobile position might make us feel secure, but it requires demonizing ‘the other.’  There is no future in that.  In order to move a way from this view, we have to be courageous enough to look ‘the other’ in the face and ask ourselves in as many possible ways as we can imagine ‘Who Is The Enemy?’

Possibly with this question, we can find a reason for the loss of life on September 11, 2001.  And the loss of life that, needlessly, continues.

In memory and honor of Laura Rockefeller.  Who I made theatre with when I was young.

——————

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Permesso

  • September 2, 2011 6:23 pm

In my last post I spoke about the challenges of Italian doors and the lessons they provide for that initial moment when we are facing the unknown of a new culture.  The step just after we must ‘observe the door’ in order to discover how to open it is, of course, to walk through the portal. 

However, in Italy you don’t simply enter another person’s space without saying a very important word: ‘Permesso.’  In other words you are asking permission.  Clearly stated, and expected. . . whether you are entering an office or a home.  You can not enter and be considered a respectable person without this word.  Whether the person is standing right in front of you, or you are slowly peeking around an open door and announcing your presence, that word must be said.

I have to admit it took me quite a long time to feel comfortable with this expectation.  And often times early on in my Italian experience I didn’t do it.  But in not doing it I was putting my discomfort and embarrassment (as well as my cultural habits) in front of what my hosts needed in order to believe I held respect for them.

It takes a great deal of courage to let go of our self-identity when entering other worlds.  It is, of course, the one thing we want to cling onto most (either consciously or unconsciously).  But that is why, as artists, The Global Theatre Project is positioned to bring a level of awareness and risk-taking to the collaborations and entries we make with our international colleagues, partners and audiences.  However, at times, we don’t always see that initial situation of  ‘permesso’ clearly enough in advance.

On the very first evening of our Global Voices project with University of Texas, we had a special dinner at a very ‘local’ type of restaurant.  Mixed among the 15 Texas students and 2 professors were 9 residents and artists of Florence.  The evening was going beautifully, everyone getting to know one another with the intention clearly focused on integrating the students and professors as quickly as possible into the world of the city. 

Close to the end of the meal one of the professors stood up and suggested the students sing the UT song for their new Florentine friends.  And, that before they sing, they should ‘hook ‘em.’  What she was referring to was making the hand sign of the Longhorns (UT sports team) and the sign looks like this:

The reaction of the residents and owner of the locale was immediate and very strong.  They were shocked at seeing 17 hands holding a sign that they interpreted as offensive.  Clearly they felt the need to educate the newcomers that what they were doing had a very different meaning to Italians and that they should never ‘hook ‘em’ in front of an Italian if they don’t want to be offensive, insensitive or disrespectful. 

The sign that the Italians thought they saw looks like this:

Too close for their comfort and close enough to see what they registered as a vulgarity.  But the energy of the room at that moment was quite ‘collegiate’ and over-rode the definitive clues that were being given by the locals.

It was a perfect, and of course in hindsight, humorous moment of culture clash.  But it was also an opportunity missed to realize that …. even as we enthusiastically want to share our pride of identity with our hosts, when they open the door we must ask ‘permesso’ and if we forget, or do something incorrect, when they try to guide us in a direction right for their comfort….we should pause, take a breath and realize we are in their home.  They actually are the perfect guides for us to take those first steps over their portal with confidence and openness. And with a sense of belonging.  We need to allow our hold on our sense of identity to loosen a bit.

The project ended wonderfully with many friends made because, as the sensitivity of the students grew and developed during their stay, many doors opened to them.  In their own ways each of them learned their level of asking permission. 

‘Permesso’ goes far.  In Italian or any language. 

 

Observe the Door

  • August 18, 2011 8:39 am

We just completed our 8 week collaboration with the University of Texas on our Global Voices project in Florence, Italy. 

For the work of The GTP, Italy could not be a more perfect entryway for honing and perfecting the processes and structures of our projects and initiatives.  Or a more perfect lesson for visiting students, professors and artists who either have never left the United States or have never created work abroad having to deal with a local ‘reality’ such as Florence offers.

Approaching a new culture, whether it is globally or within our own country, requires that we check our ego, our ideas of how things ‘should’ be, and our ideas of how we ‘want’ things to be at the door.  We need to let go, open our eyes, our ears… all our senses…. including our heart…. and allow the truth of where we are to enter in. 

In Italy, when you are standing in front of a door…. ANY door… it is unlikely there will be an obvious way that it will open.  Unlike in the US where, for the most part, we have a door knob which is situated at hip height to your right and one turn will give you access…. that is NOT how Italian doors work.  So what does that mean?

It means you have a choice.  You can either stare at that door and become terrified, angry, frustrated, confused, insist it be ‘the door you know’, or you can…. simply…. observe the door.  You know it is a door.  You know it opens.  You just don’t know (yet) HOW. 

And that is the key issue for entering a new culture.  And, most certainly, for creating something of any relevant value there.  Accept that you don’t know.  But trust that you will.  Italian doors are magnificent things.  Many of them are physically beautiful.  Some of them are huge old horse carriage doors.  Others are so small they are half the size of our own.  Some have opening mechanisms in the center, some to the left, to the right, some turn, some push, some lift.  Some open by looking away from the door to the wall on your right or left for a gold or black or copper or red button.  But the one thing that holds true…. it will open.

In order to truly enter a new culture.  You must ‘observe the door.’  There were so many moments with our group from Texas where this challenge was beautifully presented, both actually and metaphorically.  Healthy international engagement on a creative level… on any level …. requires a level of relaxation.  You must let go of the ideas you have of how things are done and, even, who you are in the doing of them.  The opportunity presented, in many ways, is for you to be brave enough to admit you don’t know.  Until you learn about where you are.  And who you are with.  Take a breath, let in that information, see the shiny copper button just at eye level waiting to be pushed, and then. . . walk through.

At that point, you can begin to collaborate.

 

From Artists In Tokyo

  • March 25, 2011 2:04 pm
Originally Posted at www.tcgcircle.org

by Aya Ogawa

I’ve been asked by many people what the situation in Japan is like now and how it is affecting artists there. As a New York-based theatre artist with many ties to Japan and former TCG staff member I wanted to share what I’ve heard with the greater TCG theatre community in the U.S.

We have all been shocked and troubled by the news about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as the continuing developments as Japan struggles to control the nuclear power plants in Fukushima. I feel fortunate that all of my immediate family in Tokyo and all of my friends and their families are safe as well, for the time being. There are of course growing concerns about the radioactivity spreading, as well as how long it is taking resources to reach not only refugees but unaffected areas as well. Hours after the quake, most supermarkets in Tokyo had run out of bottled water and dry goods.

Shibuya, March 13, Photo Dr. Arnar Jensson for umamimart.com 

The quake hit on Friday March 11, and in Tokyo most things came to a halt until Tuesday. Since the power plants, which supplied 30% of energy to the country, were down, there were (and still are) scheduled rolling blackouts in Tokyo and train services were severely cut. By Tuesday, most people were getting “back to normal” life, that is, going to work and school. However the conflicting reports from Japanese and international media about the extent of the threat of radiation leaks have caused a wide range of reactions, from panicked hysteria to calm stoicism. There is a growing mistrust in both the media and government. I have heard stories about how with such limited resources, refugee camps are run by volunteers and displaced people are working cooperatively and patiently. On the other hand there are other accounts of people in areas not struck by disaster who are buying out bottled water at stores and hoarding supplies. I’ve been corresponding with several artist friends of mine who are struggling in Tokyo to return to normal, whatever that means.

In an email dated March 17 to international artists, collaborators and theatres, Akane Nakamura, executive director of precog (producer and manager of numerous contemporary performing artists and companies in Japan) wrote:

…I stopped watching Japanese TV a couple of days again. Yesterday, I stopped reading twitter, because the excessive information was so distracting and causing me to lose my grip on myself. Reading reports by various foreign media actually made things worse for me. While the domestic media had been playing down the possibility of a nuclear meltdown, I was reading about dismal assessment of the situation on the Internet and receiving many many e-mails and phone calls from friends urging me to evacuate. The more information I had, the more I lost my peace of mind. As of yesterday, it was getting impossibly difficult to stay calm, because the information I was receiving was so insanely contradictory and the situation was changing so fast and so unpredictably every hour, even every minute. The last straw was an international call from a Swiss journalist. I didn’t know her, but she somehow got my contact and called my cellphone. She called me right after a relatively big aftershock and barraged me with questions. That was just too much.

So, after giving it a much careful thought, I came to the conclusion that my primary obligation and desire are to keep my artists and staff safe and help Japan to rebuild in the way I can–which is to do it through art. There is no one “right” way to deal with this extraordinary situation, and I’m sure everyone will do their part to help others in such times of dire needs. And last night, I made a really difficult decision to move to Osaka so that I could start working again. At this moment, I have yet to make a public announcement that my company will temporarily move its operation to Osaka/Kyoto. Because of the mounting frustration and anxiety, some folks in Tokyo are very critical of people leaving Tokyo (some have been called as “cowards” or “foolishly or illogically in panic”). That means we could potentially alienate our audience. For artists and creators, the most important thing (apart from taking care of their family and friends) is to continue their artistic work. This is the time when we need to make the best of our intelligence, imagination and wit! That’s our way of making a contribution!

* * *

Yoji Sakate, playwright/director and artistic director of Rinkogun Theater Company, has shared his blog with me where he has been tracking his thoughts — I’ve translated the three most recent posts below:

March 16: I set our run-through to avoid the scheduled blackout. Though there was no blackout… Radiation levels have reached an all time high in Tokyo and surrounding 7 prefectures. In Shinjuku they say radiation measured 21 times what is normal. Is the situation getting under control? Are the experts actually on-site? Some say the situation is “worse than Chernobyl.” In any case, staying calm.

March 17: The official announcement was that there would be a “scheduled blackout from 12:20pm” so I scheduled rehearsal to begin at 9am and we quickly did a run-through. There was no blackout. I ducked out of rehearsal early to work on some scripts, since much of my time had been devoted to communication regarding the earthquake — but I wasn’t able to get any work done. I finally got in touch with a friend in Sendai and heard his story. The situation seems dire for those evacuees who have sought refuge in remote areas. I also learned that the entire whaling village of Ayukawa in Oshika Peninsula (which I had visited a number of times while I was writing my play Epitaph for the Whales) has been almost entirely washed away, save for a few concrete buildings. Many of the villagers had evacuated to higher ground, but there are also a large number of deaths. I received an email from an actor who was in War and Citizens about 2 years ago, who said that the current state as reported by the media reminded him of the air raid scenes in that play. Much of that play was inspired by Ayukawa.

March 18: Load-in and tech. We talked a lot about how to respond to the current situation. The facts should be communicated with accuracy. These are things that are happening in our own day-to-day lives. We can tell ourselves that it’s important to not get tripped up by information and carried away by emotion, maintain your own personal integrity and that’s enough — but reality keeps moving forward. There’s a lot of confusion over the massive blackouts. As a side note: I feel sorry that putting up The Attic International Remix Version can’t contribute to energy conservation, but because it does have the smallest set in the world, the electricity needed to operate the lights is 1/4 or 1/5 of what is usually used in a small theatre. This has been one reason we’re able to proceed with the production. The Fukushima nuclear power plant and the failure of the mobile police to cool the plants with water… How will the Self Defense Forces fare? The Association for Theatre Artists Against War has begun a fund for the victims of the northeastern Japan earthquake here: http://hisen-engeki.com/jishinn.htm For donations coming from overseas, please stay tuned…

* * *

As Akane wrote, there is no one correct way for people to respond to such uncertain and extraordinary situations. But I am inspired by my friends who continue to create art — not out of a need to cling to routine, but as a direct way of responding to the circumstances. It’s an incredible reminder that the imagination and human expression are necessities, especially in times of crises.

Akane also wrote in an earlier email: “I really beg you to donate money to disaster relief in Japan. Please set donation boxes at your performances on an ongoing basis, and please tell your audience, artists and community the significance of donations from all over the world.”

To that end I’d like to share some possible ways to send support:

The Nippon Foundation / CANPAN Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund

Second Harvest Japan

The Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund

From so far away, here in New York, I’ve been overwhelmed by feelings of despair, anger, and helplessness — but also heartened by the immediate responses of some organizations and people in finding ways to support each other and the survivors of this natural disaster. I hope you will participate in whatever way you can and join me in sending thoughts of safety, happiness, and good health to Japan.

Theatre’s Outlying Elements

  • January 4, 2011 8:10 pm

The more I think about theatre, the more I find myself asking what theatre truly is.  I am more and more sure we will only know this when we understand the scope of what theatre, truly, can do.

Essentially, theatre must tell a story and that story, using as many senses of the human imagination as possible, must carry an audience into its depths and heights while, at the same time, reminding them that those depths and heights are within themselves as well.

So, with this in mind I ask: what is theatre?  Today, in 2011, what is the purpose of creating this type of work?  When I look at what most excites me about the projects we did in Florence and the work we strive to create under The GTP umbrella I realize that ‘theatre’ is both the final product AND the outlying elements which surround its development.  Equal in significance is the individual experiences that are formed in its creation as well as the stories and catharses, that are fashioned as a result of beginning the journey of artistic inquiry.  Theatre is so potent that, as mentioned in my previous post, it can be considered highly dangerous to political and social powers.  But it can also be a curative for what aches within us: expression of our own story-telling natures.  Whether that is the narrative of our life or the narrative of our emotional pain or joy we, all of us, must tell our stories.  Nowhere is this more apparent then in the use of theatre in prison rehabilitation.

In his story on NPR Bringing The Bard Behind Bars In South Africa, Anders Kelto reports on a program which uses theatre at The Bonnytoun House in Capetown as an effective outreach program.  Dennis Baker, the manager of that facility for 25 years says about the staff who work with these boys “You can almost see the light go on when they see that same boy, in a totally different light, with a tunic on, pretending to be some kind of warrior, you know? And they say, maybe this boy can change.”  What I believe is that not only can that boy change, but those around him as well.  The ‘outlying elements’ I mentioned above includes the correctional system which allows for the possibility that by including theatre there can be a shift in predictable outcomes. Those boys experience themselves as individual expressions.  And, as a result, are now seen as what they really are: individuals.  They are seen as individuals by individuals throughout the process and presentation of this story telling.  This, I believe, is a central aspect of what is theatre.

My colleague, Dominique Cieri, lead Teaching Artist and Playwright Fellow of New Jersey has developed many vital programs in this field.  Particularly what comes to mind is her work with the boys at Greene Correctional Facility in New Jersey.   She has worked with very violent, and ‘dangerous’ kids.  And it has not been a cakewalk for her each year as she entered the room with a new group of defensive, angry boys.  But weeks later she enters a room of ‘actors’ and ‘writers’ who not only are working together but are playing together.  Does she change the world?  If she guides one kid out of 30 to understand their full value then, yes, she does.

How does all this relate to The Global Theatre Project?

As I listened to the story on NPR I realized that it would be wrong of me to not take into account that there are thousands of American youth in jails and correctional facilities here in the states that are working with professional theatre artists such as Dominique.  Why not put them in collaboration with artists like The Independent Theatre Movement South Africa or Armando Punzo’s Teatrale nel Carcere di Volterra in Italy, and others abroad who are doing the same work with thousands of incarcerated individuals?

If we delve deeper into this aspect, with all the power of our professional lives, artistry, experiences and knowledge and create an international collaborative inquiry…. I wonder what type of theatre would result from exploring these ‘outlying elements’.  I wonder what kind of international relations would be developed.  And I hope, someday, to create a project that allows us to find out.

An Empty Space

  • December 20, 2010 7:58 pm

The theatre is the last forum where idealism is still an open question: many audiences all over the world will answer positively from their own experience that they have seen the face of the invisible through an experience on the stage that transcended their experience in life.
— Peter Brook, An Empty Space

When I was working in Florence one of my students from Egypt who was getting his PhD in International law asked ‘why do dictators and repressive governments imprison and/or kill the artists?’

This question came from an incredibly intelligent, sensitive individual who sincerely wanted to know the answer to something he couldn’t understand.  I thought of this encounter today because of an email I received from a colleague in Europe who wanted me to know that his friend and collaborator, Natalia Kolyada, Director of Belarus Free Theater, had been arrested and imprisoned along with others during a peaceful demonstration against a falsified re-election of the President.  They have no idea where she has been taken.

An empty space is full of potential.  It is within that space that we, as theatre artists, bring expansive opportunities for inquiry,  reflection, and inspiration.  Hopefully we bring our audience to moments of experiencing the ‘invisible’ as deeply felt as Peter Brook implies.  If we are capable of occasionally reaching these heights and depths then it is a logical and awesome conclusion that yes indeed we, as theatre artists, are truly powerful.  But it is a power that must be honored, celebrated and embraced by our cultures and societies.  Imprisoning Natalia only demonstrates the weakness of the government which fears her voice and the power of that voice reflected in her body of work.  Imprisoning her must be unacceptable to all of us who KNOW the intrinsic value of artistic contributions to society, whether they are easily digested or not.

I ask you to, please, read the following sent to me by Brendan McCall of Ensemble Free Theatre Norway and take a stand to spread this information to all theatre artists, practitioners, leaders, students and audiences around the world.

Because if we don’t make a stand it is possible that the work of Natalia Kolyada and the Belarus Free Theater will no longer have the choice to fill empty spaces.   You can learn more about them by clicking here.

__________________________________

Dear friends and colleagues,

On Sunday, 19 December 2010, several hundred men and women were arrested in Minsk during the violent dispersal of their peaceful protest against the latest presidential elections of Belarus, whose legitimacy is questionable at best.

Among those arrested was Natalya Koliada, Director of Belarus Free Theater, a theater community who has dedicated itself to upholding democracy and freedom of expression for the past 6 years.

Members of BFT, including Ms. Koliada, have been frequently arrested and threatened with death, and their performances have frequently been shut down by the KGB.  Audience members as well as the company´s actors, directors, producers, writers, and technicians have also been arrested.

I just learned that, earlier this morning, Ms. Koliada´s husband and fellow Director of Belarus Free Theater, Nikolai Khalezin, was arrested at his apartment this morning, 20 December 2010.

I have worked with this group a couple of times in the past year, both in Minsk (February) as well as here in Oslo (September).  During their latest visit in Norway, while performing Discover Love as part of an event with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee at Det Norske Teatret, Mr. Khalezin was threatened with death through emails and phonecalls.  The bitter irony is that their play dealt with true events based on fellow supporters of human rights and freedom of expression, who had disappeared.

Members of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee are working to help release Ms. Koliada and others who have been wrongfully imprisoned, both through petitions to the Norwegian government, as well as through NHC´s presence in Minsk currently.

I am writing to my colleagues within the theater community to sign a petition to state our support of Belarus Free Theater,  and to demand on the Belarussian government for their release.  I plan on sending this to various cultural leaders here within Norway, to help garner political pressure to help facilitate their swift release and immediate safety.  Based on previous conversations I have had with BFT in the past, the more visible these actions by the Belarussian government can become within the greater international community, the better.

TO SIGN:
Please send me your name and any associate title and/or country by WEDS 22 DECEMBER 2010 to:

brendan.mccall.norway@gmail.com

I am going to be sending the signed petition out on Thursday morning to a number of people here in Norway.

***Please feel free to pass this message long to anyone that you think would be interested in signing it, and have them email me their name, title, country***

Thank you for your support
Brendan McCall
Director, Ensemble Free Theater Norway

Introduction

  • October 6, 2010 3:36 pm

In this blog we will look at the issue of theatre arts and its affect on the international community, both here in the states and abroad.  As issues are brought to light, and as The Global Theatre Project grows, more information will be included which I hope will add to a roboust, productive and proactive discussion.  The inquiry is: how can the theatre artists and students of our country actively, creatively, positively and joyously develop their work and their selves along side their international peers in a way which enhances and benefits the local community in which they are doing their work.

I, of course, invite those of you who have content, ideas, images or video you would like to add to this discussion to please do so by contacting me or putting your comments below.

With regards and thanks,

Bari Hochwald
President and Artistic Director