PRELUDE 2017 Festival Announcement

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Presents

PRELUDE 2017 — OCTOBER 4, 5 and 6

[New York, NY. September 7, 2017] The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center presents its annual PRELUDE FESTIVAL on October 4, 5, and 6 at The Graduate Center, CUNY, The City University of New York, curated by Andrew Kircher in collaboration with Frank Hentschker.

Since 2003, the PRELUDE FESTIVAL has given audiences a first look at new work and ideas by groundbreaking theatre and performance artists based in New York City. PRELUDE has presented more than 300 emerging artists, including Sarah Benson, Big Art Group, Cynthia Hopkins, Young Jean Lee, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, and 600 HIGHWAYMEN alongside legendary figures like Richard Foreman, Marina Abramovic, Mabou Mines, Charles Mee, and many more.

Inspired by the DIY maker movement, curator Andrew Kircher has assembled a program of significant new works-in-process, conversations, scholarship, and skills-building workshops. By merging the critical with the creative, PRELUDE will provide a space for artists to share, engage, and discover emerging practices in form, craft, and technology.

“We are thrilled to share this exciting lineup of new theatre and performance. As the name Prelude suggests, this program is a hint of what is to come— not just for future seasons, but for the form as a whole. Prelude is that unique moment in the theatre season when artists come together to share new work, creative methodologies, critical vocabularies, and practical skills,” says Kircher.

This year, PRELUDE includes a new series—Studio Visits. These evening-length hybrid performance events offer audiences a multi-angled view of the featured artist and their craft. Each Studio Visit will include an introduction by the artist, a presentation of new work-in-process, a critical response essay, and a Q&A with the responder.

Studio Visit artists include: Janani Balasubramanian [critical response by Cam Awkward-Rich], The Builders Association [critical response by Helen Shaw], Renegade Performance Group/André M. Zachary [critical response by Helga Davis], Jim Findlay [critical response by Andrew Friedman], and Rachel Kauder Nalebuff [critical response by Julia Felsenthal].

PRELUDE will also showcase samples of new work by:

Darian Dauchan, Jerry Lieblich/Paul Lazar, Cerebral Pussy [Jessy Yates, Holly Kristina Goldstein], Lorelei Ramirez, Maria Baranova, Milo Cramer with New Saloon, Seonjae Kim, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Sean Donovan, Sister Sylvester [Amal Omran, Hatem Hadawe, Kathryn Hamilton], Split Britches [Peggy Shaw & Lois Weaver], Temporary Distortion, and more.

Hosted by the Graduate Center, the focal point for advanced research in the CUNY system, the PRELUDE Festival is uniquely positioned to celebrate the artistry of criticism and scholarship alongside new works of theatre and performance. This year’s program will include presentations by Peter Eckersall [Executive Officer of Theatre and Performance Program, The Graduate Center, CUNY], Julia Jarcho [Assistant Professor, NYU], Jill Stevenson [Professor of Theatre Arts, Marymount Manhattan College], and Patricia Ybarra [Chair of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, Brown University].

PRELUDE will also include critical dialogues, including an intergenerational conversation on the history and legacy of avant-garde theatre artists of color, convened by Daniel Alexander Jones. A series entitled How Did You Make That?, moderated by Ryan J. Haddad, will feature conversations with theatremakers from across the field, including Noel Allain, Jaclyn Backhaus, Melanie Joseph, Jennifer Kiddwell, Tommy Kriegsmann, Jacob Padrón, Scott Sheppard, and Arianna Smart Truman.

This year, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council partners with PRELUDE on a data experiment. We will survey PRELUDE artists, past and present, to come to a better understanding of where work is made. During this session, we will review the findings together and discuss what creative spaces are—or were—critical to this field.

Free workshops will be offered on October 5th and 6th at 12:30pm on intellectual property law [with Tami Morachnick, Legal Consultant], virtual reality production [with Philip Sanchez, Producer, Blurred Media], stage prop design [with Jay Duckworth, Properties Master, Public Theater], and Kickstarter [with Jessica Massart, Performance Lead, Kickstarter].

PRELUDE remains the only theatre and performance festival dedicated exclusively to New York City theatre artists. PRELUDE represents the only theatre and performance festival that is completely FREE and open to the public. For the full festival schedule, please visit www.PreludeNYC.org.

All PRELUDE events will be at the
CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, New York, NY 10016.
All are free of charge and open to the public. First come, first served.
All programs are subject to change.

Andrew Kircher is the Director of the Devised Theater Initiative and Associate Dramaturg at the Public Theater. As a creative producer, he has worked with companies including Ars Nova and Les Freres Corbusier, and was previously the associate director of the Under the Radar Festival. He is a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, and is currently writing a dissertation entitled Dramaturgies of Intellectual Property Law in Read-Write Theatre.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center [MESTC] is a non-profit center for theatre, dance, and film affiliated with CUNY’s Ph.D. Program in Theatre. The Center’s mission is to bridge the gap between academia and the professional performing arts communities both within the United States and internationally.

www.theSegalCenter.org

PRELUDE 2017 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council empowers artists by providing them with networks, resources, and support, to create vibrant sustainable communities in Lower Manhattan and beyond.

 

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World Voices International Play Festival, May 1, 2, and May 7

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Announces

 The 2017 PEN World Voices: International Play Festival

Featuring plays by internationally acclaimed playwrights: HAKIM BAH (Guinea), PATRICIA CORNELIUS (Australia), RAMA HAYDAR (Syria), EUNSUNG KIM (South Korea), Mîrza Metîn (Turkey), BASHAR MURKUS (Palestine), SASHA MARIANNA SALZMANN (Germany), NATAL’YA VOROZHBIT (Ukraine), and MARCIA ZANELATTO (Brazil)

MONDAY, MAY 1   l   TUESDAY, MAY 2   l   SUNDAY, MAY 7

May 1 & May 2: The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,

The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street May 7: Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 E 3rd Street All Day –

FREE – First Come, First Served

(March 21, 2017, New York, NY) The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center announces the complete line-up of its annual PEN World Voices International Play Festival, running May 1, 2 at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (365 Fifth Avenue, New York), and Sunday, May 7 at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (236 E 3rd St, New, New York).  All readings are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED basis.

As part of the 2017 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, The Segal Center will showcase play readings by nine voices from around the world. With the writers hailing from five different continents, the International Play Festival generates a conversation on art, politics, dreams, war, and philosophy, meant to give American audiences a rich awareness of the greater global dialogue. All readings will be followed by discussion with the playwright.

“International exchange at the artistic level becomes all the more salient in our current political climate. At its core, art is about empathy and understanding. In times of uncertainty, it is important that we reach out. The PEN World voices International Play Festival is the Segal Center’s way of reaching out,” says Frank Hentschker, Segal Center Executive Director and festival founder.

Founded in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, by Salman Rushdie, Esther Allen, and Michael Roberts with the aim of broadening channels of dialogue between the U.S. and the world, PEN World Voices is the only international literary festival in America, and the only one in the world with a human rights focus.

The thirteenth annual PEN World Voices Festival will take on some of the vital issues of the Trump-era, with a special focus on today’s restive relationship between gender and power. Taking place in New York City, May 1-7, 2017, the weeklong festival will use the lens of literature and the arts to confront new challenges to free expression and human rights—issues that have been core to PEN America’s mission since its founding. At this historic moment of both unprecedented attacks on core freedoms and the emergence of new forms of resistance, the Festival will offer a platform for a global community of writers, artists and thinkers to connect with concerned citizens and the broader public to fight back against bigotry, hatred and isolationism.

The 2017 PEN World Voices International Play Festival has been made possible by the support of Susan and Jack Rudin(†) and Marvin Carlson, Sidney E. Cohn Chair, The Graduate Center CUNY.

The PEN World Voices International Play Festival was conceived and created by Frank Hentschker in 2005. 2017 Festival Co-Curator, Antje Oegel. Assistant Curator: Soriya K. Chum. 2017 Festival Producer, Brooke Christensen.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, City University of New York,
365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street. Subway: Herald Square, lines B, D, F, M, N, Q, R.
www.theSegalCenter.org. Info: 212-817-1860.

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE:
All plays in English.

MONDAY, MAY 1 — SEGAL THEATRE
4:00pm SHIT  I Patricia Cornelius (Australia)
Directed by Katie Pearl

Out of control girls, angry, nasty girls are a sight to behold. They’re terrifying, electrifying, they’re everything girls shouldn’t be, and we hate them. This is a work about these girls. Their names are Billy, Bobby and Sam.

6:00pm TAKE OUT THE RUBBISH, SASHA  I  Natal’ya Vorozhbit (Ukraine) Translated by Sasha Dugdale
Directed by Sarah Hughes

In Kiev, Katya and Oksana prepare a funeral meal for their beloved husband, stepfather and Army colonel Sasha. But he isn’t going without a fight. The women in his life and the country need him.

8:00pm HUNGRY DOGS  I  Mîrza Metîn (Turkey)
Translated by Lucy Wood
Directed by Dan Safer

Twin brothers Beşer and Beşir, who lost their parents in war, migrated as teenagers to Istanbul. After many years of separation they meet again, when Beşer enters Beşir’s house with a stolen safety box.

TUESDAY, MAY 2  —  SEGAL THEATRE
4:00pm TRANSCENES: Four Short Plays from Brazil
Works by Marcia Zanelatto (Curator), Jô Bilac, Daniela Pereira de Carvalho, and Joaquim Vicente.

Curated by Marcia Zanelatto (Brazil) & translated by Emily Walsh
Directed by Katherine Brook

Short plays about gender identity in Brazil: a judicial fight, a dinner with a murderer, the death of the mother and a flower leads a rally.

 6:00pm TICHA-TICHA I  Hakim Bah (Guinea)
Translated by Heather Denyer
Directed by Ethan McSweeney

Ticha-Ticha awaits the return of Michael, the love of her life, who is, however, drawn to her daughter, Penda. This intense and poetic play deals with love, lust, female genital mutilation, and murder.

8:00pm METEORITES  I  Sasha Marianna Salzmann (Germany)
Translated by Jenny Piening
Directed by Mallory Catlett

Germany is in the World Cup final; Berlin is dreaming again of a summer fairy tale to forget the world torn by wars. Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Salzmann sends her protagonists on a seemingly endless search for a new self, which denies traditional concepts of identity.

SUNDAY, MAY  7  — NUYORICAN POETS CAFE, 236 E 3rd Street
4:00pm Desert of Light  I  Rama Haydar (Syria)
Translated by Rama Haydar & Rebekah Maggor
Directed by Rebekah Maggor

As the 2012 brutal siege rages outside, two Palestinian refugees debate the best plan of escape. Set outside Damascus in the Yarmouk refugee camp, this black tragicomedy reveals the catastrophic absurdity of the Syrian civil war.

6:00pm Parallel Time  I  Bashar Murkus (Palestine)
Translated by Rebekah Maggor
Directed by Rebekah Maggor

Parallel Time, a disturbingly humorous prison play, evokes the daily struggle of life behind bars for a group of Palestinian inmates. It follows their collective fight to overcome the despair of long-term incarceration.

 8:00pm Sister Mok-Rahn  I  Eunsung Kim (South Korea)
Translated by Dayoung Jeong
Directed by Seonjae Kim

Desperate to reunite with her parents, a North Korean defector decides to return to her nation’s capital, Pyongyang. All she needs is 50 million won. Thus she is forced to navigate South Korean capitalism.

ABOUT THE MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER: Originally founded in 1979 as the Center for Advanced Studies in Theatre Arts (CASTA), The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center was renamed in March of 1999 to recognize Martin E. Segal, one of New York City’s outstanding leaders of the arts. The Segal Center curates over thirty events throughout the Spring and Fall academic seasons, all free and open to the public. Dedicated to bridging the gap between the professional and academic theatre communities, the Segal Center presents readings, performance, lectures, and artists and academics in conversation. In addition, the Segal Center presents three annual festivals (PRELUDE, PEN World Voices: International Pay Festival, and The Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance) and publishes and maintains three open access online journals (Arab Stages, European Stages, and The Journal of American Drama and Theatre). The Segal Center also publishes many volumes of plays in translation and is the leading publisher of plays from the Arab world. The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC) is a vital component of the Theatre Program’s academic culture and creating in close collaboration a research nexus, focusing on dramaturgy, new media, and global theatre. The Segal Center provides an intimate platform where both artists and theatre professionals can actively participate with audiences to advance awareness and appreciation. www.thesegalcenter.org.

THE GRADUATE CENTER, CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, of which the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center is an integral part, is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-eight interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns. Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, The Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events. www.gc.cuny.edu.

     

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The Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance, March 2, 3, and 6, 2017

Press Contact:
Joy Sarah Arab
segalff@gc.cuny.edu,
212-817-1860

http://thesegalcenter.org/event/ftp2017/

SAVE THE DATE

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center presents

The Third Annual
FILM FESTIVAL ON THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE

Featuring works by or about:  MARÍA IRENE FORNÉSKOJI FUKADAGLOBAL ARTS GROUPNADIA RANOCCHI & DAVIDE ZAMAGNIRIMINI PROTOKOLL –  CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN,  and many more

Thursday, March 2
Friday, March 3
and Monday, March 6, 2017

All Day – FREE – First Come, First Served.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center,
The Graduate Center, City University of New York,
365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street

(January 27, 2017, New York, NY) The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center announces the third annual Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance (FTP). The film festival will take place on Thursday, March 2; Friday, March 3; and Monday, March 6 at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, located at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, NYC, 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street.

The Segal Center’s Film Festival on Theatre and Performance presents experimental, emerging, and established theatre artists and filmmakers from around the world to audiences and industry professionals. The program includes a roster of more than 30 features, shorts, documentaries, advance screenings, meet-the-filmmaker Q&A sessions, and panels with leading international theatre artists from Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, The Netherlands, Slovenia, South Africa, Ukraine, The United Kingdom, and the United States.

Highlights of the 2017 Festival include:

  • Rimini Protokoll Home Visit Europe & Remote X (Germany)
  • Michelle Memran The Rest I Make Up: María Irene Fornés (excerpt, USA)
  • Chloé Déchery & Chris Eley What Do You See When You Turn Out the Light? (Australia/France)
  • Brigitte Poupart Over My Dead Body on Dave St-Pierre (Canada)
  • Guy Davidi Mixed Feelings on Amir Orian (Israel)
  • Koji Fukada Sayonara (Japan)
  • Global Arts Group A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake (South Africa)
  • Penny Arcade & Steve Zehentner The Lower East Side Biography Project (USA)
  • Marielle Nitoslawska Breaking the Frame on Carolee Schneemann (Canada/USA)

Confirmed Festival screenings include work by or about: Rodrigo Abreu & Mariana Bley; Penny Arcade & Steve Zehentner; Sahar Assaf; Blind Boys of Alabama; Lee Breuer & Adam Larsen; The Chocolate Factory Theater; Guy Davidi; Chloé Déchery & Chris Eley; Popo Fan; María Irene Fornés; Koji Fukada; Global Arts Group; Janez Janša; Robert Lepage; Michael Lessac; Sean Lewis; The Living Theatre; Michelle Memran; The National Theatre of Hungary; Frédéric Nauczyciel; Needcompany; Michael Beach Nichols & Deidre Schoo; Marielle Nitoslawska; Zachary Oberzan; Amir Orian; Aneta Panek; The Prelude Festival; Brigitte Poupart; Rimini Protokoll; Nadia Ranocchi & Davide Zamagni; Brian Rogers; András Salamon; Carolee Schneemann; Andrew Schneider; Arran Shearing; Tahweel Theatre Ensemble; Aurélia Thiérrée; A Two Dogs Company 

Full festival schedule will be posted the week of February 6, 2017

Festival Program is subject to change.

Festival Curators: Festival founder Frank Hentschker (Executive Director and Director of Programming at MESTC), Antje Oegel (AO International and Director of Special Projects at MESTC), and Nina Segal (Playwright and Producer), and Soriya Chum (Dramaturg).

Festival Founding Producer: Joy Sarah Arab

All screenings are FREE and open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, City University of New York,

365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street. Subway: Herald Square, lines B, D, F, M, N, Q, R.

www.theSegalCenter.org. Info: 212-817-1868.

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Stefano Massini’s SOMETHING ABOUT THE LEHMANS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ITALIAN PLAYWRIGHT & DIRECTOR,
STEFANO MASSINI (PICCOLO TEATRO DI MILANO-TEATRO D’EUROPA),
ADDRESSES LEHMAN BROTHERS BANKRUPTCY IN NEW PLAY.
READING & CONVERSATION.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center & UMANISM,
with The Italian Cultural Institute of New York, and in
collaboration with 369gradi, present:

The Italian Playwrights Project
Stefano Massini’s SOMETHING ABOUT THE LEHMANS
Stefano Massini / Piccolo Teatro di Milano-Teatro d’Europa

Monday, December 5, 2016 at 6:30pm.
FREE & open to the public.
First come, first served. thesegalcenter.org

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center
at The Graduate Center, City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue (bet. 34th & 35th), New York, NY 10016

The Italian Playwrights Project presents Something About the Lehmans, a conversation with playwright Stefano Massini about his work as well as the role of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano and contemporary theatre in Europe. At the artist talk, moderated by Dr. Frank Hentschker (The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Executive Director and Director of Programs), Massini will be joined by Valeria Orani (Umanism founder and director), and Giorgio Van Straten (Director of the Italian Cultural Institute of New York).

The event will also feature a reading of an excerpt from Something about the Lehmans, translated by Allison Eikerenkoetter, directed by Marco Calvani, and performed by actor Robert Funaro.

Something About the Lehmans (Mondadori 2016) by Italian playwright Stefano Massini tells the story of the historic rise and fall of the Lehman Brothers investment house. The play premiered at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano-Teatro d’Europa in 2015 and was the last work of legendary Italian theatre director Luca Ronconi. It has since been produced widely in Europe. Oscar Award-winning director Sam Mendes will be staging The Lehman Trilogy.

After the event at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, the audience is invited to meet the artists and curators of the Italian Playwrights Projects at the Umanism Fundraising After Party to support the Italian Playwrights Project activities. The After Party will take place at The Archive Bar (12E 36th St. New York). Suggested minimum donation of $50 includes VIP Pass with food and drink.

The Italian Playwrights Project was created by Valeria Orani (Umanism NY) and Frank Hentschker (The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center), in collaboration with The Italian Cultural Institute in New York, Giorgio Van Straten, Director. This event is made possible by the generous support of Joseph LoCicero/ The Segal Company.

Event Information:

Monday, December 5, 2016 at 6:30pm
The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, City University of New York,
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY.
FREE + Open to public. First come, first served.
Info: www.thesegalcenter.org/event/italian-playwrights-project-something-about-the-lehmansitaly-with-stefano-massini

UMANISM Fundraising After Party
From 8:30pm at The Archive Bar (12 E.36th St. New York)
LIMITED ADMISSION
Suggested minimum Donation: $50 (includes VIP Pass with food and drink)
Info: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/italian-playwright-project-stefano-massini-fundraising-after-party-tickets-29061501734           

Stefano Massini – Biography
Stefano Massini (Florence, September 22, 1975) is an Italian playwright and director. With a degree in Ancient Literature from the University of Florence, he started his career in theater in 2000 as an assistant of Luca Ronconi at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, and as an assistant to international directors at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Festival. In 2005, with L’odore Assordante del Bianco, he won the Pier Vittorio Tondelli Award, the highest playwriting award in Italy. In 2004, he won the Flaiano Prize, and received a nomination at Vallecorsi Prize with La Fine di Shavuoth. With the 2005-2006 season, he began his collaboration with the Drama Centre “Theatre of Women” at Teatro Manzoni in Calenzano (Florence), developing the project Trittico delle Gabbie, among other productions. Inspired by the events following the 2008 economic crisis, between 2009 and 2012, Massini wrote his most ambitious and successful work, The Lehman Trilogy, translated into 14 languages. Staged for the first time in 2015 in Italy in an extended version by Luca Ronconi, The Lehman Trilogy has gained great success from critics and audiences and numerous prizes, including five Ubu Awards. Since May 2015 Stefano Massini is the new artistic advisor of the Piccolo Teatro of Milan, replacing his master Luca Ronconi, who died three months before.

More about the Italian Playwrights Project: The Segal Center invited Italian Artistic Director Valeria Orani from 369gradi (Italy) and UMANISM (NY) to collaborate on this ambitious new translation, performance and publishing initiative. “Valeria’s initiative is the most significant Italian playwright project in the last two decades in the Americas, and we are honored to be able to support this project,” says Segal Center Executive Director Dr. Frank Hentschker. Valeria Orani adds: “We have a truly fantastic selection of some of the most significant contemporary Italian playwrights working today and we believe that American audiences will connect with the themes in their works.”        

Italian Playwrights Project has three principal goals:

  • To raise the awareness of contemporary Italian writing for the stage in the Americas and to foster the development of collaborative relationships between playwrights from Italy and American theatre artists.
  • After the December 2015 readings and other events, the launch of a contemporary Italian theatre festival in New York with fully staged productions of selected plays.
  • The publication of a translated anthology of the selected Italian plays.

About the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center: The Segal Center bridges the gap between the academic and performing arts communities through dynamic public programs and digital initiatives that are free and open to all. Home to theatre artists, scholars, students, performing arts managers, and the local and international performance communities, the Segal Center provides a supportive environment for conversation, open exchange, and the development of new ideas and new work. Year round, the Center presents a wide variety of FREE public programs which feature leading national and international artists, scholars, and arts professionals in conversation about theatre and performance. Programs include staged readings to further the development of new and classic plays, festivals celebrating New York performance (PRELUDE) and international plays (PEN World Voices), screenings of performance works on film, artists in conversation, academic lecture series, televised seminars, symposia, and arts in education programs. In addition, the Center maintains its long-standing visiting-scholars-from-abroad program, publishes a series of highly regarded academic journals, as well as single volumes of importance (including plays in translation), all written and edited by renowned scholars. www.theSegalCenter.org

About UMANISM NYC: UMANISM is a company dedicated to the promotion and support of contemporary Italian culture and its professionals in New York. A movement, an open platform connecting Italy to the USA recognizing and expanding the creative potential of projects by Italian artists, supporting them in each step of the production and communication in the larger and more challenging context of New York www.UMANISM.com

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For more info:
UMANISM Press Office
Alessia Meloni
+1 646-579-4589
E: info@UMANISM.com

piccolo_0931bdf3-1a9d-434b-adbd-db7d702a401fiic-vector-newyork umanism-logo369gradi

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PRELUDE 2016 Full Schedule Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contact: Nina Segal / ninasegal@gmail.com / 347-836-2050

 

THE MARTIN E. SEGAL THEATRE CENTER ANNOUNCES

PRELUDE 2016:
THE ANNUAL FESTIVAL SHOWCASING THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE WORKS-IN-PROGRESS
BY NYC ARTISTS

THE 2016 FRANKY AWARD GOES TO:
MIGUEL GUTIERREZ

The festival will be followed by the PRELUDE 2016 Closing Night Party
with performances by KIPPY WINSTON and an exclusive DJ set by MANCHILDBLACK.

www.preludenyc.org

(NEW YORK September 22, 2016) The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY is pleased to announce the full lineup of its thirteenth annual PRELUDE Festival.  Dedicated to artists at the forefront of contemporary New York City theatre and performance, PRELUDE 2016 features an array of artists working in theatrical and interdisciplinary performance.  The festival gives audiences and artists a survey of the current moment in New York via in-process performances, conversations, and workshops.

The themed portion of PRELUDE 2016 will focus on the theme of failure. “Failure has long been a crucial element in experimental theater, dance, and performance of all kinds,” said PRELUDE curator Tom Sellar. “How are New York City’s progressive stage artists thinking about the ethics and applications of failure given today’s economic pressures? In a highly polarizing election season, how are theater-makers engaging with broader systemic failures of national institutions and political systems?” Performances, conversations, and workshops will explore these questions.

Beginning Wednesday October 5, PRELUDE 2016 will feature more than 30 artists and companies.

Helmed by curators Antje Oegel and Tom Sellar, with festival founder Frank Hentschker (Executive Director, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center), PRELUDE 2016 provides a unique preview of new work being created by groundbreaking New York theatre and performance artists working in theatrical, interdisciplinary, and mixed media performance. The festival is a public lab for sharing new ideas through performances, conversations, and workshops featuring some of the most exciting artists working today.  PRELUDE is the only festival of its kind in New York that remains completely free and open to the public.

Featured artists: Aaron Landsman, Alessandro Magania, AmeriSHOWZ, Big Dance Theater, Brian Rogers, Built for Collapse, Carl Hancock Rux, Christina Masciotti, Claudia Wilsch Case, Cori Olinghouse, Dan Safer/Witness Relocation, David Levine, Ellie Covan, I AM A BOYS CHOIR, Ikechukwu Ufomadu, Ilan Bachrach/Robert M. Johanson, Institute of Failure—Tim Etchells/Matthew Goulish, Joey Weiss, John Collins, Jonathan McCrory, Jonathan Payne, Joseph Silovsky, Kate Benson, Kate Watson-Wallace, Katy Pyle/Ballez, Kippy Winston, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat, luciana achugar, Marissa Perel, Mark Russell, Matthew Korahais, Melanie Joseph, New Saloon, Ni’Ja Whitson, Noreen Whysel, Ruby Lerner, Sahra Motalebi, Sean Edward Lewis/LILAC Co., Sibyl Kempson/7 Daughters of Eve, Tanya Elder, The Builders Association, The Living Theatre, Tina Satter/Half Straddle, and Tiny Little Band.

The final night of PRELUDE 2016 on Friday, October 7, will conclude with the presentation of the fourth annual FRANKY AWARD—created to recognize an artist who has made a long-term, extraordinary impact on contemporary theatre and performance in New York City.

This year’s FRANKY will be presented to Miguel Gutierrez, a fearless choreographer and performer who has been on the forefront of transforming contemporary dance in New York City.

 

PRELUDE 2016 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
For the most up-to-date festival information, go to www.PreludeNYC.org

 

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5th

4:30pm-6pm Segal Theatre

CONVERSATION: “To Fail As No Other Dare”: Imperfection in the Creative Process

     Participants include: John Collins and Sibyl Kempson

6pm-7pm Segal Theatre

CONVERSATION: Pieces We Never Did

7pm-8pm Segal Theatre

PRESENTATION: Matthew Goulish

Peculiar Detonation

8pm-9:30pm Segal Theatre

Matthew Goulish

Broken Red Balloon Dog NY Edition

 

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6th

12:30pm-2:30pm Seminar Room C-198

WORKSHOP: The Depth of Surfaces with Tina Satter

2:30pm-4pm Segal Theatre

Tina Satter/Half Straddle

Cadences (screening) – 2:30pm

Brian Rogers/The Chocolate Factory

Screamers (screening) – 3:30pm

4pm-6pm Segal Theatre

Kate Benson

Porto – 4pm

Jonathan Payne

Poor Edward – 4:30pm

Tiny Little Band

Your Hair Looked Great – 5pm

Christina Masciotti

Raw Bacon from Poland – 5:30pm

4:30pm-6pm Elebash Recital Hall

CONVERSATION: America 2016: Evaluating System Breakdowns

Partcipants: Melanie Joseph, Ruby Lerner, and Carl Hancock Rux.

6pm-7:30pm Segal Theatre

CONVERSATION: Care As a Choreographic Structure and Practice

Participants include: luciana achugar, Cori Olinghouse, Marissa Perel.

Conceived and moderated by Kate Watson-Wallace.

6pm-8pm Elebash Recital Hall

Aaron Landsman

Perfect City – 6pm

The Living Theatre (in Elebash Recital Hall Lobby)

Seven Meditations on Political Sado-Masochism – 6:30pm

Alex Rodabaugh

AmeriSHOWZ – 6:45pm

Alessandro Magania

Radio Delirio – 7:00pm

Sahra Motalebi

Directory of Portrayals – 7:30pm

7:30pm-9:30pm Segal Theatre

Ni’Ja Whitson

Time Trickle ‘Cross You (The Hunted) – 7:30pm

Big Dance Theater

Section Six from Untitled – 8:00pm

luciana achugar

Blessed Art Thou – Bendita Tu Eres – 8:30pm

8pm-9:30pm Elebash Recital Hall

David Levine

Talk Show XIII: Death of a Salesman

 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7th

3pm-4pm Elebash Recital Hall

PRESENTATION: The Builder’s Association

Historical Failures and American Spectacular Entertainment

4pm-6pm Elebash Recital Hall

WORKSHOP: Preserving Performance with Claudia Wilsch Case, Tanya Elder and Noreen Whysel

4pm-6pm Segal Theatre

Katy Pyle/Ballez

Nijinska Channel – 4pm

Joey Weiss and Matthew Korahais

Take Me Through This on the Ground – 4:30pm

Joseph Silovsky

The History of Oklahoma in Three Violent Acts – 5pm

6pm-7:30pm Elebash Recital Hall

CONVERSATION: Early Failures of Theaters That Define New York

Participants include: Mark Russell and Jonathan McCrory

6pm-8:30pm  Segal Theatre

Kyoung’s Pacific Beat

Pillowtalk – 6pm

Sean Edward Lewis/Lilac Co.

Igor Mortis – 6:30pm

Ilan Bachrach and Robert M. Johanson

Most Wanted – 7pm

Built For Collapse

Danger Signals – 7:30pm

I AM A BOYS CHOIR

This is what you shall do… – 8pm

7:30pm-9:00pm Elebash Recital Hall

New Saloon

Just You Wait – 7:30pm

Dan Safer/Witness Relocation

The Loon – 8pm

7 Daughters Of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co.

12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens – 8:30pm

8:30pm-9:30pm Segal Theatre

Ikechukwu Ufomadu

Ike on Art

 

THE FRANKY AWARD/CLOSING NIGHT PARTY
The 4th annual FRANKY award will be presented to Miguel Gutierrez, featuring a special performance from Kippy Winston, at The Liberty NYC, 29 W 35th St., New York, NY 10001.

All programs are free and open to the public; first-come, first-served. For the most up-to-date festival schedule, please visit www.PreludeNYC.org. 

 

About PRELUDE:

Since 2003, The Segal Center’s PRELUDE FESTIVAL has presented more than 300 emerging artists, including: Sarah Benson, Big Art Group, Cynthia Hopkins, Young Jean Lee, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, 600 HIGHWAYMEN, alongside legendary figures like Richard Foreman, Marina Abramovic, Mabou Mines, Charles Mee, and many more.

 

About The Curators:
Antje Oegel
is the founder of AOInternational (AOI), a NYC-based agency that represents American and international theater artists and Associate Director of Programs at the Segal Theater Center at the Graduate Center/CUNY. Originally from Germany, Antje worked at the Euro-Scene Leipzig, an international theater and dance festival and then became the co-artistic director of the theatre Schaubühne Leipzig. Antje came to NYC in 2002 and worked at MCC Theater before becoming a theater agent at Bret Adams, Ltd. In addition to her work at AOI and the Segal Theater, Antje co-runs 53rd State Press along with founder, Karinne Keithley Syers. 53rd State Press is dedicated to publishing performance texts and new plays. She is also the co-founder of Drama Panorama, a Berlin-based forum for international theater translation.

Tom Sellar is editor of Yale’s international performance journal Theater. Under his editorship since 2003, Theater has commissioned and published plays, criticism, reportage, and creative dossiers by leading global artists and authors. Tom is professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale University, where he teaches courses in contemporary global performance and theater, critical practice, and performance curating. His criticism and arts writing has appeared in Artforum, The New York Times, the Guardian, American Theatre, and other national publications. From 2001-2016 he was a frequent contributor to the Village Voice, where he served as chief theater critic for two years. A New York City native, he is a proud resident of Brooklyn.

 

About The Segal:

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC) is a non-profit center for theatre, dance, and film affiliated with CUNY’s Ph.D.  Program in Theatre.  The  Center’s  mission  is  to  bridge  the  gap  between  academia  and  the professional performing arts communities both within the United States and internationally. www.theSegalCenter.org

 

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PRELUDE 2016 — Preliminary Artists Annouced

Prelude 14 Full Logo v2 white no period

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contact:
Nina Segal
ninasegal@gmail.com
347.836.2050

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Presents
PRELUDE 2016 — OCTOBER 5, 6 and 7
PRELIMINARY ARTISTS ANNOUNCED

(New York, NY. July 22, 2016) The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center presents its annual PRELUDE FESTIVAL on October 5, 6, and 7 at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). The theme of this year’s festival will be FAILURE.

The Segal Center’s PRELUDE FESTIVAL, dedicated to artists at the forefront of contemporary New York City theatre and performance, will be curated for the second time by Antje Oegel (Founder, AO International) and Tom Sellar (Editor, Theater magazine and Professor at Yale University). The Festival Producer is Nina Segal.

The themed portion of PRELUDE 2016 will focus on the theme of failure. “Failure has long been a crucial element in experimental theater, dance, and performance of all kinds,” said Sellar. “How are New York City’s progressive stage artists thinking about the ethics and applications of failure given today’s economic pressures? In a highly polarizing election season, how are theater-makers engaging with broader systemic failures of national institutions and political systems?” Panels, public salons, and original performances will explore these questions.

In addition to this thematic program, there will be showcases of approximately 30 works in progress, scheduled to premiere in this or future seasons, from New York City artists and ensembles including I Am A Boys Choir, Christina Masciotti, Paul Lazar, John Del Gaudio and Kate Benson, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat, Big Dance Theater, Robert Johanson and Ilan Bachrach, and Katy Pyle. A workshop with The Builder’s Association is also scheduled.

The final night of PRELUDE will conclude with the presentation of the fourth annual FRANKY AWARD—created to recognize an artist who has made a long-term, extraordinary impact on contemporary theatre and performance in New York City. Previous honorees include Kate Valk (Wooster Group), Paul Lazar & Annie-B Parson (Big Dance Theater), and Jay Wegman (Abrons Art Center/Skirball Center).

Since 2003, the PRELUDE FESTIVAL has given audiences a fast-paced, first look at new work and ideas by groundbreaking New York theatre and performance artists by presenting brief readings, mini-performances, installations, panels, and discussions featuring some of New York City’s most thought-provoking performance artists and companies. PRELUDE has presented more than 300 emerging artists, including: Sarah Benson, Big Art Group, Cynthia Hopkins, Young Jean Lee, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, and 600 HIGHWAYMEN alongside legendary figures like Richard Foreman, Marina Abramovic, Mabou Mines, Charles Mee, and many more.

PRELUDE remains the only festival of its kind in New York City that remains completely free and open to the public.

Full festival schedule to be announced in early September. For updates, please visit www.PreludeNYC.org.

All PRELUDE events are presented at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, New York, NY 10016. All are free of charge and open to the public. First come, first served. All programs are subject to change.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC) is a non-profit center for theatre, dance, and film affiliated with CUNY’s Ph.D. Program in Theatre. The Center’s mission is to bridge the gap between academia and the professional performing arts communities both within the United States and internationally.
www.theSegalCenter.org
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PEN World Voices International Play Festival 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Announces
The 2016 PEN World Voices: International Play Festival

  • Internationally celebrated playwrights tackle global issues including gender identity, inequality, migration, refugees, and climate change in 8 free play-readings.
  • With plays by LARA FOOT (South Africa), TRINIDAD GONZÁLEZ (Chile),
    YUDAI KAMISATO (Japan), JONAS HASSEN KHEMIRI (Sweden), CONCHI LEÓN (Mexico), IVOR MARTINIĆ (Croatia), SHAHID NADEEM (Pakistan),
    and YAEL RONEN (Israel).
  • Directed by Charlotte Brathwaite, Oskar Eustis, Lara Foot, Sarah Hughes, Shira Milikowsky, Dan Rothenberg, Debbie Savietz, and Tony Torn.
  • APRIL 27 and 28 — THE SEGAL THEATRE The Graduate Center CUNY,
    365 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10016
    +
    APRIL 29 — DIXON PLACE 161A Chrystie Street, New York, New York 10002
    FREE and open to the public. First come, first served. No reservations required.
    www.TheSegalCenter.org

(NEW YORK, March 7, 2016) The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Graduate Center, City University of New York announces the complete line-up of its annual PEN World Voices International Play Festival, running April 27-28 at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (365 Fifth Avenue, New York), and April 29 at Dixon Place (161 Chrystie Street, New York).

All readings are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED basis.

Presented in partnership with the PEN American Center’s annual PEN World Voices Festival, the three-day event generates a global dialogue on art, culture, politics and beyond, through play readings and in-person discussions with the featured playwrights — who hail from eight different world regions, as classified by the United Nations.

The selected 2016 playwrights — Lara Foot (South Africa), Trinidad González (Chile), Yudai Kamisato (Japan), Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Sweden), Conchi León (Mexico), Ivor Martinić (Croatia), Shahid Nadeem (Pakistan), and Yael Ronen (Israel) — offer plays that tackle a range of themes including, gender identity, inequality, migration, refugees, and climate change. Each reading will be followed by a short discussion with the artists.

The readings will be directed by a line-up of notable New York-based and international theatre-makers, including Tea Alagić, Oskar Eustis, Lara Foot, Sarah Hughes, Shira Milikowsky, and Dan Rothenberg.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center is located at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street. FREE and open to the public. First come, first served. No reservations required. Subway: Herald Square, lines B, D, F, M, N, Q, R.

For more information on the 2016 PEN World Voices International Play Festival, and all of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center’s ongoing programming, visit www.thesegalcenter.org.

2016 PEN World Voices International Play Festival Full Schedule

Wednesday. April 27
+51 AVIACIÓN, SAN BORJA by Yudai Kamisato (Japan)
Directed by Sarah Hughes | Translated by Aya Ogawa
Intensely personal, +51 Aviación, San Borja references Kamisato’s grandmother’s address in Lima. It shifts between reportage and fiction with the narrative unfolding around places Kamisato has traveled, from Tokyo and Okinawa to his grandmother’s Japanese-Peruvian community. This event is supported by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program.
4:00pm, Segal Theatre

MY SON JUST WALKS A BIT SLOWER By Ivor Martinić (Croatia)
Directed by Shira Milikowsky | Translated by Tomislav Kuzmanović
Martinić’s play explores three generations of a family while centering itself on a young man, Branko, who is in a wheel chair. The central relationship is between a son and his mother who tries to keep up her spirits and lives in denial while watching her son move around in his wheel chair.
6:00pm, Segal Theatre

COMMON GROUND by Yael Ronen (Israel)
Directed by Charlotte Brathwaite | Translated by Frank Hentschker
Ronen brought together performers who migrated to Berlin from Belgrade and Sarajevo to explore common ground between the children of victims and perpetrators. Based on a trip to Bosnia and on encounters with experts and the family members of the protagonists, the theater becomes a safe space for discussing terms like guilt and atonement, forgiveness and forgetting, while stereotypes, prejudices and conflicting narratives gleefully collide. This event is supported by Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in the USA.
8:00pm, Segal Theatre

Thursday, April 28
THE REUNION By Trinidad González (Chile)
Directed by Tony Torn | Translated by Alexandra Ripp
The Reunion is a play about power and the abuse of power. As Queen Isabella of Spain and Christopher Columbus discuss América’s destiny, their confrontation reveals their own arrogance and violence. It questions the hidden places of human ambition and reflects the pain of the victims who suffer when power is abused.
4:00pm, Segal Theatre

≈ [ALMOST EQUAL TO] By Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Sweden)
Directed by David Rothenberg | Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles
In ≈ [Almost Equal To] we encounter a number of people who, seemingly invaded by numbers, are colliding with the economy surrounding them. Whether the character dreams about growing her way out of the contemporary economic system or wants to crush it, they all end up investing money in postage and pine nuts, fake bubbles and perfumes, strollers and utopias. This event is supported by the Swedish Arts Council. In collaboration with the American Swedish Institute Minneapolis, Scott Pollock/Director of Programs.
6:00pm, Segal Theatre

DARA By Shahid Nadeem
Directed by Oskar Eustis | Adapted by Tanya Ronder
Set in 1659 in the imperial court of Mughal, India, Dara explores the blood war of succession between two brothers, both heirs to the Muslim Empire, whose mother’s death inspired the Taj Mahal. The brothers embody the struggle between religious absolutism and liberalism, which has renewed impact today. It premiered in 2010 was performed widely in Pakistan and India, and was translated into English for a sold out run at the UK’s National Theatre in 2015. Special thanks to Rose Cobbe, United Agents LLP, London.
8:00pm, Segal Theatre

Friday, April 29
FISHERS OF HOPE By Lara Foot (South Africa)
Directed by Lara Foot
Known for her award-winning plays that tackle social issues, Foot’s play explores the theme of hope: its essence, values, meaning, impressions, longevity and even possible demise, examining the prospects of hope and livelihood within the African continent.
5:00pm, Dixon Place

MESTIZA POWER By Conchi León (Mexico)
Directed by Debbie Savietz | Translated by Virginia Grise
Through a series of monologues and interviews conducted with street vendors in Mérida, the capital of Yucatán, and other rural areas of the state, this play explores the inherently complicated world of the modern day Mestiza. Ranging from domestic violence to street life to mystical practice, these stories paint a portrait of the faces, the thoughts, and the voices of today’s Mayan women.
7:30pm, Dixon Place

All programs are subject to change.

The PEN World Voices International Play Festival was conceived
and created by Frank Hentschker in 2005.

2016 Festival Co-Curator, Antje Oegel.
2016 Festival Producer, Brooke Christensen.

The PEN World Voices: International Play Festival 2016 has been made possible by the support of Marvin Carlson, Sidney E. Cohen Chair, The Graduate Center CUNY and Susan and Jack Rudin.

For further information on the 2016 PEN World Voices International Play Festival, and all of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center’s ongoing programming, please visit www.thesegalcenter.org.

The World Voices Festival April 25- May 1, 2016.
Launched by PEN American Center in the wake of the tragedies of September 11, 2001, the 11th annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature serves as a means of combating American cultural isolationism. The festival is an extension of the organization’s work as a champion of freedom of expression. For more information on PEN World Voices Festival, visit www.penworldvoices.org.

About the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center
The Segal Center bridges the gap between the academic and performing arts communities through dynamic public programs and digital initiatives that are free and open to all.

Home to theatre artists, scholars, students, performing arts managers, and the local and international performance communities, the Segal Center provides a supportive environment for conversation, open exchange, and the development of new ideas and new work. Year round, the Center presents a wide variety of FREE public programs which feature leading national and international artists, scholars, and arts professionals in conversation about theatre and performance. Programs include staged readings to further the development of new and classic plays, festivals celebrating New York performance (PRELUDE) and international plays (PEN World Voices), screenings of performance works on film, artists in conversation, academic lecture series, televised seminars, symposia, and arts in education programs. In addition, the Center maintains its long-standing visiting-scholars-from-abroad program, publishes a series of highly regarded academic journals, as well as single volumes of importance (including plays in translation), all written and edited by renowned scholars. www.theSegalCenter.org

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Crisis to Creation: Public Report on A Town Hall for the Future of NYC Performing Arts

gaias_crisistocreation-group-wide
Photos by Gaia Squarci

Crisis to Creation
Town Hall on the Future of NYC Performing Arts
Public Report available

This February, the Segal Center asked 16 organizations to present their missions, programs and services in response to the financial collapse of 2008 and the subsequient lean years in arts economy. These organizations, while just a sample of the many in the city, covered all 5 boroughs of NYC and with strong representations from Black, Latino, Arab, and Queer artist populations, among others.

Tom Finkelpearl, the newly appointed Commissioner of The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, attended and addressed the large crowd, with representatives from more than 100 groups and universities in attendance.
He also spoke highly of the night’s honored guest, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was presented with the first Segal Center Award for Civic Engagement in the Arts.

gaias_crisistocreation-JVB-and-BB-Award

RESOURCES:
Click on the links below for:

The Public Report

The Streaming

 

 

 

Organizations included:
A.R.T./New York
Actors Fund
Arab Stages
ArtsPool
Asian American Arts Alliance
Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance
The Field
Fourth Arts Block
The League of Independent Theater
LITFund
Network of Ensemble Theaters
The New Black Fest
The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation
One Percent for Culture
Staten Island Arts
Theatre Communications Group

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Cultural Mobility Symposium. US Guide + Public Report

 

Logo_cultural-mobility_web

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center created, in collaboration with the European cultural mobility information network On the Move and the U.S.-based grass-roots international network Theatre Without Borders, a free and user-friendly guide to funding for international exchange for artists traveling to and from the USA. This guide builds upon On the Move’s existing guides for artists and cultural professionals in Europe, Asia, and Arab countries (check out www.on-the-move.org/funding).

The US Cultural Mobility funding Guide was launched during a full day Conference on January 7, 2015 which was attended by more than 300 participants. The Symposium was jointly organized by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Centre (The Graduate Centre, CUNY) in collaboration with Theatre Without Borders and On the Move.

YuChienLiu_CulturalMobility-MichaelLoCicero-2-web
Download the Cultural Mobility Funding Guide for the U.S.A.: Theatre, Dance and the Performing Arts as well as the guides to Asia, Arab Countries and Europe on www.us-culturalmobility.org

Public Report and Resources are available on:
www.us-culturalmobility.org/symposium

Streaming available on: www.howlround.com

 

 

Funding guide prepared and edited by Michael LoCicero and Isabella Curry,
in close collaboration with
Marie Le Sourd, Frank Hentschker, and with assistance from David Diamond, and Roberta Levitow.

 

Conference organized by
The Martin E. Segal Center | Frank Hentschker, Rebecca Sheahan, Michael LoCicero, Yu Chien Liu, and Camille Gaume (Producer)
On the Move | Marie Le Sourd
Theatre Without Borders | David Diamond and Roberta Levitow

 

The organizers wish to thank:
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea; and
Korea Arts Management Service

MCST_Korea1(1)       KAMS_Eng_LOGO

the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States
& the Open Society Foundation-Arab Regional Office

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The Unparalleled Magic of City and Stage

written by Rami G. Khouri

NEW YORK—Many significant things related to the Middle East and its relations with Western societies happened on Monday of this week, some more significant than others. Benjamin Netanyahu squaring off with Barack Obama. Egyptian policemen sentenced to jail for torturing to death Khalid Saeed three and a half years ago. The ageing Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika officially filing papers to run for a fourth consecutive term of office. Confirmation that Israeli settlements doubled last year to reach a 13-year high, and a dozen other significant news items from that day.

Well, yes, these are all newsworthy developments, but I was able Monday to step back from the day-to-day political news and experience an event in New York City whose consequences must be measured by a very different set of criteria than these political issues. I was fortunate to be able to attend the excerpted readings of the first English translation of the late Syrian writer Saadallah Wannous’ play Rituals of Signs and Transformations. Not an earth-shaking event, you might comment, but as I watched with fascination the 45-minute performance, followed by a discussion among key people involved in translating, directing and hosting the play, I was struck by the tremendous power that cultural performances can have in creating appreciation and respect among Americans and Arabs who otherwise spend much time mocking, abusing and killing each other.

The themes of the play largely, but not totally, explain my fascination for the power of cultural performances. Set in 1880s Damascus, the play batters the hypocritical and scheming political and religious leaderships of society, alongside moving episodes of sexual affirmation and transformation by both straight and gay men and women, held together by the common thread of the power of liberating oneself from the constraints of oppressive social rules. This play written by a Syrian author in the 1990s captures human emotions and hypocrisy, social constraints, and political power relations that are reflected in very similar manners in perhaps every country in the world. But this cultural and creative power that affirms universal human attributes, and that emanates from modern Syria in this case, is virtually unknown outside the Arab world.

Beyond the thrill of the play and the wonderful performance by the Noor Theater, I was equally impressed by how several quality institutions came together to offer the public this reading and the illuminating discussion that followed. The Martin Segal Theater Center at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York hosted the event, under the able leadership of executive director Frank Hentschker. The English translation of the play and its first production in Beirut a few months ago largely reflected the work of two professors at the American University of Beirut—Robert Myers and Sahar Assaf—along with Nada Saab at the Lebanese American University in Beirut.

The result—especially amidst the ugly news of wars, terrorism, starvation sieges, bombs, and widespread political criminality across the Arab world—was a powerful reminder of the deep and textured humanity that defines the Arab world that I know, love and encounter every day. Only art and culture can reflect this reality to other societies.

This play and three others were published Monday in English in the book Four Plays from Syria: Saadallah Wannous (edited by Marvin Carlson and Safi Mahfouz, published by the Martin E. Segal Theater Center Publications). They remind us again of the importance of both translation and theater arts as potentially immense forces in the transmission of culture and human values across continents.

On a freezing Monday evening in midtown Manhattan, I emerged from this 90-minute spectacle with heightened respect and appreciation for the phenomenon that underlies all of this—urbanism, with its grandeur, productivity and endless joys. It is in cities that hypocritical leaders in all spheres of society operate, and cities also are where ordinary citizens perform extraordinary deeds as they assert their common humanity, their enticing individualism, and their determination to live in freedom and dignity. Cities also allow great universities to thrive.

Damascus, Beirut and New York combined across time and geography to give us this captivating display of the best they have to offer us, and each other. For this moment in time, the killing, castigating and bombing could wait; this Monday evening in New York, Americans, Arabs and people from a dozen other lands touched and marveled at their shared humanity. They walked away richer, wiser and warmer. We need more of this, flowing in both directions.

Rami G. Khouri is Editor-at-large of The Daily Star, and Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, in Beirut, Lebanon. You can follow him @ramikhouri.

Copyright © 2014 Rami G. Khouri—distributed by Agence Global

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