Tuesday, July 24, 2007


It didn't dawn on me until just this moment how ironic it was that Tamilla and I ran into each other at 5:30 in the morning last week at the airport, only to find some 45 minutes later that we were flying the same airline, to the same city, and sitting in the SAME ROW, NEXT to each other (Okay, we split the aisle, but that still counts, right?). We, of course, had different final destinations, but this was our arrangement to the halfway point of our respective trips. Strange coincidence: doesn't it have something to do with what we're trying to accomplish here? In this vast global society, our boundaries continually push further and further out, drawing each of us closer to our international companions, and stretching us further from our companions at home. It's at these rare intersections (Tamilla 34C, Jeremy 34D) (Hah, hah. Yeah, I already thought of that joke), that we are reminded that we A.) Have to take better advantage of our rare times together, to harness the spark of creation and benefit mutually from collective brainpower and emotional presence, and B.) Have to work on our global communicative strategies. I'm having a hell of time getting all of the performers in my permanent ensemble all together right now, and yet all of you are reading this, posting, and effectively making great strides in communication across many international borders.

And speaking of communication, I just read all of my gmail inbox. Haven't looked at it since I sent that email with that TERRIBLE idea of meeting at Grasroots. I logged into that account that day because I it's the only email account I could access on those dinosaur machines they had in the blogging room. I never check this account, though, and I've missed out on a lot of emails. Now I've read them all, though, and I'm back on track, and I'm really sorry that I haven't replied to any of these emails that I didn't get until now.

YOU: "Okay, is this guy ever going to get to the point?"

ME: "Yes. Here it is."

It's really great that so many of you are taking the initiative to go forth and talk to people about this and sell it. I think we all definitely need to be on the same page about what it is we're "selling," however. What I would like to hear us discuss, is the nature of this(these) first project(s) at 45 Bleecker, and Edinburgh(?). Doug listed COMMUNITY, EXCHANGE, AND COLLABORATION as three primary functions of this group. They all can work independently or together, and I'm interested in knowing what the function of all three will be. I think there's probably an exchange camp and a collaboration camp in this unique group of people (Everyone wants community), and I would like to make sure that everyone's needs get fulfilled. I guess I would like to open up the conversation on artistic content a little wider. We might have space and support. Now, what do we do with it?

It's already been noted that this is not a Theater Company, but a collective. I understand that, and agree full-heartedly with it. I do not think that that precludes us from artistic collaboration, however.

I'd like to propose, then, that the formation of a collaboration group begin, which over time creates a project that is then integrated into the overall scheme as an exchange project. What does everyone think about that, and who would be interested in participating in it?

I'll openly admit that I'm very inexperienced at founding/forming an official group, and more importantly, I'm really scared of it. Luckily, some of you are amazing at it (We all know who you are), and I'm very thankful for your work. That said, I'm very willing to work in whatever way is needed to make this thing go forward.

And yes, let's do this Skype conference. Except, let's not use skype, because only five people can be on a skype conference call at a time. I suggest that everyone get a username at stickam.com. I (Or someone) could set up a private session, and then we all could be invited into that room. That's the only way I can figure out getting 17 people in on a video (Or just audio) conference call (Oh, yes, it will be chaotic). Someone suggested sending in three possible times we could meet. Perhaps I'll just suggest first that we do it on a weekend day. It could start in the morning for west coast, early afternoon for east coast, evening for Europe, nighttime for Asia. August 4th or 5th?


Email to Anne

Dear Internationalists,
I hope this voices our concerns and how Anne could possibly help us at this phase.
this is the email Pia and I have send to Anne.

Dear Anne,
Thank you again for the interest and support you have shown in our proposed collective. We shared your email with the group and have come to a mutual understanding about the next step in our development.

At the moment there are 17 of us committed to and excited about this venture. Whilst our time at the Lincoln Center was invaluable to get to know each other, we need the opportunity to build this core collective, understand each other’s work and crucially find a collaborative structure that will accommodate our goals
(establish an international network of venues and a community of collaborators) and enable an efficient method of working.
This seems to us like phase 1 in a multi-phased process.
There has been a group consensus that inviting others to join at this stage will complicate the decision making process. Our aim remains to incorporate many directors from around the world (thus continually expanding our venue network as well as our community) but we cannot achieve this until we have laid strong structural foundations. We see the growth of the group as part of the next phase.
Whilst we all agree that many of the questions you raised are fundamental and need addressing, our primary concern is how we can transform our idealistic visions into a practical functioning network.

Are you able to help us explore the different structural /management methods? Can you put us in touch with people who have experience in this area and will be able to illuminate different approaches?

One of the questions that you posed was the difference between communicating in cyberspace and real space. We are all agreed that whilst skype conferencing, blogs and emails are vital tools to our international collaboration there is an undeniable need to be able to interact in real space both as a group of directors and with our advisors.

Is there still potential for Lincoln Center to host our first phase, including inviting mentors and advisors?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,

Athina and Pia (and the Internationalists)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Choosing the collaborative model

from Michel van der Aa

Dear friends,
Sorry to not have jumped in sooner but I was away for a bit.
I agree, the first thing we need to do is choose what kind of collaborative model we want to use. I don't think its a good idea to invite 50 more directors as Anne suggested. I would almost say the opposite, to make the group smaller rather than larger. It will be impossible to come to any sort of decision with 70 members.

During our Cooper Square meeting it became clear that everyone wants slightly different things. Maybe its a good idea to compare the list we made during that meeting and see where our interests overlap and take it from there? (Doug?) If I remember well there were two basic interests; some people wanted a very practical collaborative structure, to start an international theatre group and the other group was more interested in sharing the process of making theatre and to have a private bouncing board for idea's and practical work related problems.

Hope you are all well, love from Amsterdam
x Michel

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

thoughts on model

So some of you have heard me (already) toute the efficiencies and deplore the deficiencies of the co-operative system but overall I am in strong favor of this model as applicable to theatre organization. I feel that it may work well for us because A: it establishes a leadership team (Artistic Director and Associate Artistic Director) through votes as well as the other board posts (PR, accounting, etc) thereby aborting the weaknesses that arise from consensus operation and B: this leadership team is rotated through an organization by periodic re-voting and accountability to the mission statement. C: membership in the organization is confirmed by a certain number of hours contributed, i.e work on shows or in administration (one board member is in charge of keeping track of hours) and D: the co-operative model is trans national and not "commercial" in the American sense of corporate model. The board may be established for each production/project and need not be a timeline (monthly, yearly) post. In any case, that is my thought on organization...
P.S Dina and I couldn't wait and are collaborating on a project for November some time...we decided to jump first and ask questions later and are more than willing to be guinea pigs for the organization regarding how well this kind of idealism "plays" (ha ha) out.
P.P.S I will take time off to write grants if this is needed, I really truly believe in this with all my heart, and the mission statement thing is EXCELLENT in my opinion.
P.P.P.S I have a blog called the Panoply Theatrician if anyone wants to read a bit on the process of building a play called ORGANS/ORIGINS...that was a side note. (ASHLEY??? Are you back from Greece?)
Love, Esther

Monday, July 16, 2007


The blog is an extremely powerful tool in ensuring freedom of information, to ensure that everyone is aware of the processes at play and feels included. It is vital that important documents and drafts be shared by this medium. To this end, it would be beneficial for minutes to be taken of any meetings and for these to be made available on the blog. Not only will such minutes provide us with templates for running meetings (and highlight cultural differences in how they are managed?!) but they will ensure that when we speak for the rest of the group - we speak in the knowledge that we know what we are saying on each other's behalf. Sound possible? Work intensive I know, but everything is complicated by our distance...

It struck us in London that there seems to be some confusion over the nature of our group. We are not a theatre company but a collective. We are a community rather than a producing company. If this is not the case, then there are many, quite complicated issues to process. Where do we see the company as based? WIll we be following international company laws or the laws of the country in which the company has it's main base? How will that work for the other countries? This then goes into many issues of finance etc. which we can't ignore indefinitely...!

If we see ourselves as a community we will be able to stall those questions for a little while, although they probably do need answering. Like any community (or company) however, we still need to create the bylaws by which we can function. We need a means of creating those laws, and a means of making those laws accessible to the community. Without them, aren't we in danger of creating dictatorships?! (melodramatic analogy I know, but I hope that this makes sense!)

Which leads us to the first of our four suggested topics of conversation and questions to be solved:

1) Creating a management structure
- how as a group can we make decisions? Can we post ideas on this and start discussions on this?
Do we want to follow Anne's suggestion and invite more people to join or do people feel that we need to lay foundations first?
Is there worth in getting Anne to help us develop this management structure? Do we need help creating it?

2) Developing our mission statement
- this seems a crucial step in the conceptual phase of our process and necessary to have undertaken and canned before we proceed any further. Are we all on the same page on this? Are we agreed that our collective success and collaborations will bolster our individual success rather than the internationalists being predominantly a means for us to promote our individual work and agendas? Getting the right wording of our mission that meets our different cultural contextual needs is key to selling ourself internationally. How wonderful to present a paragraph of our vision and ideals to theatres and funders, that has been translated into all our languages, from Deutsch to Mandarin Chinese and that we all agree with? At present there is a working paragraph: "The internationalists was formed expressly to build a network of venues under one alliance in order to promote the exchange and collaboration of trans-continental theatrical ventures and to develop an international collective environment of new work across the globe." This was taken from the Ashley and the Esther's blog and reduced to one sentence by Tamilla. Not an easy task! Is it clear? Does it encapsulate us?

3) Branding ourselves.
- we need to choose how we market ourselves and to ensure that we are internationally attractive. This must involve international feedback on our ideas regarding -
1. Name of the company (Agree with Tamilla should basically be something that describes who we are and to which the consumer and donor community respond positively. Are we happy with Internationalists?)
2. Logo (needless to say having a visual symbol is advantageous. Symbols are important and powerful (and often have different cultural connotations). Should we be getting ideas and then finding graphic designers to develop them? - a global competition of sorts?
3. Press releases - we need to think about how we want to launch ourselves onto the global stage - how do we sell ourselves on a local and global stage? Again - there will be a need to tailor this to our specific countries and get local expertise - but it will be so much more powerful if the press is blitzed en mass. Also, how do we strategise the release of information to the press?

4) Can we start posting models of how productions are run and budgeted in our various countries? If we start to share our systems, we will have a clearer understanding of the collaborative possibilities. Additionally - if people have collaborative project ideas, perhaps it is time to start posting them?

It is necessary to have a more detailed and immediate conversation about these topics. Would everybody be able to arrange access to a skype conference call? If we each post 3 options of preferred dates and times and take it from there...?

Hoping that this is clear and sending much love (and reaffirming my joy and admiration!)
Missing NYC a whole whole lot on this rainy London morning and looking forward to hearing from you.

Pia and Athina

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Anne's response

I will attempt to write another more informal paragraph following Anne's advice.
Please feel free to post further suggestions, comments or disagreements.
this is Anne's email to us:

Hi Athina
Thanks for sending this along
And it was great to meet with you and Tamilla
I also talked to Indy about this as well

Might I suggest you ask Tamilla to help you draft this excellent
proposal in a slightly more informal way - so it says something like

We, the dozen or more directors from abroad who came to the 2007
Directors Lab this summer, have been meeting and dreaming of making a
network across the globe of new work, made by young artists. Who are
we? How do we share our work? Do we have access to theater spaces? How
can we communicate in cyberspace and in real space? And how can we
begin to bring our realized work to other countries to play for new
audiences? We dream of setting up a new international network.

Anyone want to join our quest? Who are you? Where are you from? What
are your thoughts? What are your resources?


Your names, your countries, your theaters

Jill and I can forward this to about 50-60 other international directors
We should think about making a new email group called The
Internationalists so you all can communicate - and we (who?) should
gather names and ideas and contact info...

Can you pass all this on to the others? You're welcome to use the
language I wrote above or of course amend or use your own. I would make
it a little more informal, and open the idea to the suggestions of

Excellent work - look forward to hearing from you

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

1 out of 22

I'm going to assume that everyone has had an opportunity to throw in their suggestions for a name. Unless anyone has any final submissions, I think we should put it to a vote and begin to narrow it down. - Doug

The World Theatre
The Internationalists
International Theatre Alliance (ITA)
United Nations of Theatre (UNT)
International Directors Collective
The Transnational Directors Collective
ANTIC (Artist's International Theatre Institute for Collaboration)
Shared Space
Global Stage
Embedded Theatre
Global Stage Alliance
Interhuman Theater
Earth Theater Alliance
Global Performance Lab

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mission - work-in-progress

Dear all,

After lots of rewrites Pia and I have come to this paragraph:

The internationalists (working title)


We are a community of international theatre makers looking to exchange theatrical currencies on a global stage.

Through broadening the exposure of both individually and collaboratively initiated work, we invite our audiences to enter an intercultural dialogue, expand personal and political perception and impact our creative processes. Building a network of venues under one alliance, we can offer one's theatre to another's community. By exploring means of linking artists, audiences and spaces, we want to ensure that an array of international work is readily accessible to audiences worldwide.

We have send this to Anne, since we need to get the ball rolling, but I made it clear this is a a work-in-progress. DON'T panic if you have further suggestions - things are flexible.

What we need to do is use this paragraph - or versions of this mission to attack HOME RESOURCES - find as much information as possible about international organisations/festivals/funding/network - anyone who can give us some information or is interested in helping us with our mission. GOOD LUCK! let the research begin!


Sunday, July 8, 2007


From Jeremy Lydic

what's in a name?

allied/axis - A jolting name? Hmm, it definitely brings something specific to mind, but it's also a transparent reminder that the world is full of alliances between places that go to war, or at least are at odds, and yet coexist in harmony, discordant harmony, yes, but a necessary global harmony. Also, axis denotes 1.) the spinning of the earth, 2.) an intersection (between countries, artists, ideas, people, you get the idea), maybe I'll revise the name with a slight flip:

axis/allied - ahh, that's better.

Interhuman Theater
Earth Theater Alliance
Golbal Performance Lab

I'm just riffing here, names are hard!

Mission Statement idea:
To create a microcosm of the international theater community in order to see and understand how our global art ecosystem works, and to take advantage of the benefits of golbalzation while striving to maintain global diversity.

I like the idea of a microcosm. It's like we're a reduction of the entire world theater community down to 10-20 people/companies, come together with a common understanding and desire to benefit from interglobal communication.

Sorry I can't be more succinct. I guess I'm just Process Oriented.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Quote o' the Day

We can no longer speak of ‘outsiders’. It once was possible for the ancients to say, “We are the chosen of God!” and to save all love and respect for themselves, projecting malice ‘out there’. That today is suicide. We have now to learn somehow to quench our hate and disdain through the operation of actual love, not a mere verbalization, but an actual experience of compassionate love, and with that fructify (to make fruitful or productive), simultaneously, both our neighbor’s life and our own.

Joseph Campbell
Comparative Mythologist

Friday, July 6, 2007


Jake Witlen (New York)

In terms of names, I have been kicking around the idea of "The Embedded Theatre" for a long time and give it to the pile for consideration. It takes its name from the sense of "embedding" reporters in the field, and I think there's something nice about the inclusion of all inside of the form.

As our world gets smaller and smaller it becomes increasingly important to find the interconnectedness of us all. Through the ever present technology we share, what are the means and possibilities of morphing them into a theatrical event? What happens if an audience in New York and Berlin experience the same show, simultaneously, but the actors share scenes from across the pond? If we harness the power of internet/satellite hook ups, we allow audience members 3000 miles apart to share the same air, be together in more than just spirit. These connections bring us together, remind us that we all share the same space on this tiny planet, and survival is shared equally among all of us. The connections between people and culture becomes paramount in our new theatre, for as we grow closer together in spirit, our minds sometimes grow further and further apart. Theatre is a breeding ground for people to come together. It's time to come together and breathe the same air, share thoughts, and discover each other as we all are-- human.

Look at those Brains Storming

Early chat session at Cooper Square June 25th (pictures from Meghan)

More names & update on mission/vision paragraph

Athina Kasiou (London)

Hope everyone is doing well.

Pia and I have some more suggestions about names.
We have also been working on the paragraph... it is taking a lot of time but it will be up by this weekend. We have been taking things on the blog and trying to weave them into the paragraph so if you have any more thoughts express them in the next day or two.
kisses to all and this is our list:



Sunday, July 1, 2007

C'est la personnalite qui conte!

"There is no such thing as 'National' art. There is only art. The art of the Hindus is of the same wonderful beauty of the art of the French Gothic artists because the spirit is the same. There is no patriotism in art - the whole of our destiny forms the flower of our work. Its beauty and its vitality depend on how we are nourishing the ground on which it is supposed to grow."

Antoine Bourdelle
French sculptor and teacher