Saturday, December 27, 2008

World Stage Design 2009

Korean Theatre Artist Association and OISTAT have launched a new website for World Stage Design 2009. Check out the website for their gallery of world theatre design and a competition for scenographers/theatre designers to be presented online and at Seoul World Stage Design exhibition in 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Visas / the discordant note

Ole Reitov & Hans Hjorth have released a white paper on visa issues, Europe and artist mobility. Focused primarily on the music industry, the paper hightlights a number of problems faced by creative companies working with artists from non-EU countries. Read the paper here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Applications for Romania's 2009 is a non-competitive international experimental theatre festival taking place between the 18th and 25 October 2009 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania and organized by Teatrul Imposibil (The Impossible Theatre), an independent Cultural Association located in Cluj-Napoca. is an event addressing young people (15-45), artists and public, both from Romania and abroad, interested in new/experimental arts and media, as they are the ones whose new perception needs and social references are served by the experimental artistic field. Also, either as public or as artists they need this kind of collaborative activities in order to have access to different perspectives on the cultural, political and social issues, through art. The participants will be “cultural ambassadors” of their countries, and will have the opportunity to represent their national cultural specificity. In the same time the event will offer them the time and the place to exchange experiences and points of view and to work in unfamiliar media, in order to challenge their creativity and to discover other perspectives, as a result of our across borders intercultural approach. Applications are due 1 March 2009.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The ‘Greening’ of London Theatres

Mark Shenton has written on the Guardian blog about London’s promise to reduce energy use in their buildings. According to a report from the mayor’s office, the theatre industry creates 50,000 tons of cardon emissions a year. The action plan proposes a 60% reduction by 2025, which would be the eqivalent of converting 5000 London homes to zero-carbon. The Arcola in Dalston has lead the charge by promising to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral theatre.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Boyd and Sacks Discuss Actors and Memory

RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd and neurologist & author Dr. Oliver Sacks recently had a conversation at Columbia University about memory and actors. Check out some excerpts here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Brantley says 'year of trans-Atlantic theatre in NY'

Ben Brantley, chief theatre critic of the 'New York Times', summed up the 2008 theatre season with this opening:

"According to all current maps the theater district known as Broadway is still in Manhattan, while its British counterpart, the West End, is firmly based in London. Yet a majority of the items in the list below might have been culled from either place. This was the year of trans-Atlantic theater in New York, when Anglo-American cooperation (a subject wittily excoriated this season in Caryl Churchill 's Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? at the Public Theater) produced a hearty crop of expertly mounted — and in some cases transcendent — productions. The year’s best new musical (Billy Elliot) originated in the West End, and the most important New York premiere (Blasted) was a production of a show first seen in London more than a decade ago."

He's right and he's wrong. Sure, it was a great year for English language UK imports, but that really doesn't encompass 'trans-Atlantic'. Brantley does follows it up by saying 'Anglo-American cooperation' which is much closer to the truth, so let's not kid ourselves. The Brits have, on average, have had better large scale productions, both dramatic and musical on Broadway for years (I mean, when will f*#king Phantom close?). But saying it's the 'Year of Trans-Atlantic theatre' is like Sarah Palin saying 'Africa is a country'. If London is all Brantley thinks is 'trans-Atlantic', then I encourage him to seek out productions from places like Reykjavik, Oslo, Madrid, Lisbon, Algiers, Casablanca, Dakar or Capetown. All of those are right across the Atlantic too.

Yes, Billy Elliot is another example of how a successful movie has made it to the West End/Broadway. Big deal. Shouldn't Lord of the Rings be coming soon? And Blasted was fantastic, as it was 10 years ago. So why has it taken so long for it to finally get here? New York likes to think it's the center of the universe, but in the 21st century, the center is everywhere. Instead, the city is quickly becoming a museum town like Rome or Paris. It's not the cutting edge anymore, just a theme-park replica of a place where things once happened. Americans can easily mass produce, package and promote a product in order to make money, but the art often gets lost in the shuffle. The Brits play the same game, but they haven't completely lost their sense of quality yet. They will, but not yet.

And it's far from over. 2009 begins with the biggest Anglophile f*#kfest imaginable with The Bridge Project at BAM. The radical concept of having Yanks and Red Coats work together on the same stage at the same time. This isn't a comment on the productions (I actually think they'll probably be pretty good compared to what else is out there). This is a comment on what is supposed to be radical. New York didn't experience a British Invasion as Brantley seems to suggest. The Brits have been here forever and don't seem to have any plans of leaving. We get our revenge in London by making them watch Josh Hartnett in Rain Man.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tercer Festival Internacional de Teatro y Danza

La Compañía de Teatro ANTIFAZ, fundada en la ciudad de Iquique, Región de Tarapacá el 03 de Marzo de 1993, a la fecha convertida en una de las organizaciones teatrales de mayor prestigio dentro y fuera de sus fronteras, convoca a todas las agrupaciones del arte representativo en las áreas del Teatro y la Danza al TERCER FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE TEATRO Y DANZA FINTDAZ 2009, A realizarse del 12 al 17 de Octubre, en la ciudad de Iquique, Región de Tarapacá – Chile.

IQUIQUE - Tierra de Sol, Playas, Desiertos, Salitreras, Oasis y Zona Franca.

El FINTDAZ es un evento de iniciativa privada, de autogestión, que logra su soporte económico a través de Proyectos Artísticos Culturales, Auspicios de Empresas Comerciales y Aporte de Colaboradores Anónimos.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Irish New Wave in New York

Belinda McKeon has written a great article for the ‘Irish Times’ about the new wave of Irish theatre that hit New York in 2008, and it sure wasn’t the Yeatsian vision that many traditional theatregoers and critics were expecting, including Rough Magic's Improbable Frequency at 59E59. Read it here.

“It's not such a bad thing to bring to New York a piece of theatre which belongs clearly neither in one box or in another…Preconceptions about Irish theatre - let alone Irish musical comedy - won't have been much help to them. Again, not such a bad thing. Because, in fact, it has been the year of living variously for Irish theatre in New York. Improbable Frequency is far from being the first Irish show which critics have found difficult to pin down.”

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Antonin Artaud for President

I read in the morning paper today that of all of the write-in votes for the recent U.S. presidential election, amidst the ballots cast for Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, someone wrote in 'Antonin Artaud'. Lord knows what ol' Antonin would think of Barack Obama, but I trust we can be pretty thankful that Artaud isn't around to run for office. Hasn't George W. Bush conducted enough 'Theatre of Cruelty'?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Peter Brook Begins Hand Over of Bouffes du Nord

Legendary stage director, Peter Brook, now 83, will begin a “gradual transition from the inside”, resulting in handing over the reigns of the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in 2010 to Olivier Mantei, deputy head of the Paris opera company Opéra-Comique and currently head of the musical programming at the Bouffes du Nord. Olivier Poubelle, a theatre entrepreneur specialising in modern music at some of Paris's most cutting-edge popular music venues, will work alongside him. The worn old theater, which Brook rescued from ruin in 1974, is where he has based his International Centre for Theatre Research.

Brook said: "I wanted to look very realistically to the future. I can't say I'll stay here forever. Everyone says something has been created almost invisibly in this theatre over 34 years. A lot of thought went into what would be the proper continuity. I didn't want to just place someone here and say, 'Here, take over.' I never talked about retirement as retirement is something forced on you by the state if you are unfortunate enough to work for the state. This has always been a private theatre… The first thing I wanted to establish – having spent all my life fighting against tradition and saying everything in the theatre must always be in a state of evolution, must always refuse to have a method, a way of working – was to avoid [appointing] a successor who would have to try and prove my line, which is against the whole life force of the theatre."

Read about here in English and here in French.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ERICarts Study on Mobility in Creative Sector

Check out the ERICarts Institute’s study for the European Commission on mobility incentives in the culture/creative sector. This was not intended to be an audit of all mobility related schemes in Europe, but rather a survey and analysis of the range and scope as well as motives and results of such programs.

During the course of the study, ERICarts collected information on:
* mobility trends in different regions of Europe;
* recent debates taking place within individual countries;
* existing mobility schemes (their objectives, kind of support, target beneficiaries, eligibility conditions and the nature of benefits);
* the main motives for funding bodies to support mobility; and
* the main sources where professionals can find information about mobility incentives or barriers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

NEA Announces Report on Nonprofit Theaters

Washington, D.C. -- Nonprofit theaters in the United States have seen unprecedented expansion across the United States, according to new research from the National Endowment for the Arts. All America's a Stage examines developments in the growth, distribution, and finances of America's nonprofit theater system since 1990. While the research indicates broad growth and generally positive fiscal health, it also reveals decreasing attendance rates and vulnerability during economic downturns.

"America has created a magnificent national network of nonprofit theaters," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "Our challenge now is to use them ambitiously to bring the power of theater to our citizens, students, and communities."

Nearly 2,000 nonprofit theaters were analyzed for the study, which draws from several data sources such as the Internal Revenue Service, Theater Communications Group member survey data, the U.S. Census Bureau's Economic Census Data, and data from the NEA's Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. The investigation revealed that NEA funding is a likely catalyst in drawing sizeable contributions from other sources. Each dollar in NEA grant support is associated with an additional $12 from individual donors, $1.88 from businesses, and $3.55 from foundations. Among the key findings:

Broad and rapid expansion across the country
The number of nonprofit theaters in the United States has doubled over a 15-year period. In 2005, there were 1,982 nonprofit theaters with annual budgets of at least $75,000, up 100 percent from 991 in 1990.
Among the top ten states with the highest per capita concentration of theaters are Vermont, Alaska, Montana, Oregon, Connecticut, and Minnesota.
Although theaters continue to cluster in high-population states, the number of theaters in small and mid-sized population states has grown substantially. From 1990 to 2005, the sharpest growth rate occurred in Nevada, Arkansas, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and Mississippi.

Theater finances – generally good news
Nonprofit theaters generally have maintained a healthy balance sheet. Between 1990 and 2005, real assets (such as land, buildings, and equipment) grew by nearly 60 percent, while liabilities remained flat.
Nonprofit theaters have achieved a more equitable balance between earned and contributed income. Earned income made up 52 percent of all nonprofit theater revenue in 2005, the remainder was mostly contributed. Individuals and foundations remain the biggest contributors to nonprofit theater.
In 2002, individuals donated 40 percent of all contributed revenue, and foundation giving made up 22 percent.
Between 1990 and 2005, nonprofit theater revenues fluctuated sharply with business cycles in the U.S. economy. After the 2001 recession, nonprofit theater revenue (including both ticket sales and contributions) dropped nearly 12 percent in 2002. Revenue continued to decrease slowly from 2002 to 2005.

Flat or shrinking attendance rates
Audience trends are flat or in decline. The percentage of the U.S. adult population attending non-musical theater has declined from 13.5 percent (25 million people) in 1992 to 9.4 percent (21 million people) in 2008. The absolute size of the audience has declined by 16 percent since 1992.
The number of adults who have attended musical theater has grown since 1992, but remains largely constant as a percentage of the population.
Attendance trends do not seem primarily related to ticket prices. Statistical models predict that a 20 percent price hike in low-end subscription or single tickets will reduce total attendance by only 2 percent. These data suggest that other facts are likely affecting the demand for theater.

Press Release from NEA

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Edinburgh Fringe Gets A Bailout

It’s nice to know that in some countries, such as Scotland, it isn’t only the financial and auto industries getting bailed out, but theatre festivals as well. The funding package for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival includes a loan of £125,000 from the city council and a one-off grant of £65,000 from the Scottish Arts Council. The Scottish Government will also provide an advance of £60,000 on future funding. Read the full BBC report here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Austrian Actor's Accidental Suicide On Stage

Daniel Hoevels, 30, accidentally slit his throat on stage last Saturday night when the prop knife for his suicide scene was actually a real one. Hoevels was performing his final scene in Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart at Vienna’s Burgtheater, when he committed the unfortunate act. When blood began pouring from his neck, the audience applauded, thinking it was a very life-like ‘special effect’. The police have questioned the cast and crew to determine whether it was a mistake or an attempted murder. Hoevels survived only because he missed his carotid artery. The knife was reportedly bought at a local shop and one possibility is that the props staff forgot to blunt its blade. After emergency treatment at a hospital, Hoevels declared that ‘the show must go on’, and returned to the stage on Sunday night with a bandage tied around his neck, ready to once again meet his mock demise. So the valuable lesson to be learned here for any actor is: Always check your props.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

UNESCO Committee Meets on Cultural Diversity

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee of Convention on the protection and promotion of diversity of cultural expressions is meeting in Paris from December 8-12 to discuss international cooperation and sustainable development. The 24-member committee, chaired by Canadian Gilbert Laurin, will examine means of promoting international cooperation in the field of cultural expressions as well as means of encouraging the parties to integrate culture into sustainable development in accordance with the terms of the Convention. It will also examine a preliminary draft on the use of resources of international funds for cultural diversity whose objective is to support the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector. Decisions taken by the Committee will be submitted to a conference of the parties to the Convention that will meet in June 2009.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

US Invades UK or UK Invades US?

The London critic, Michael Billington, recently ruffled some feathers with his article entitled ‘United Stages of America’. In it, he laments that there is an American takeover of British stages, singling out the Royal Court who has had 24 of its 36 playing weeks this season dominated by work from U.S. playwrights.

Later, Dominic Cook, the RC’s artistic director, concluded in a letter by saying, “You might even argue that the considerable American talent that exists is underrepresented - this year only 16 out of 44 playing weeks saw American plays in our main auditorium. In our second house, none of the seven plays was American. According to its founding mission statement, the Royal Court exists to ‘create the conditions for writers, nationally and internationally, to flourish’. To stage plays from beyond our own borders is our obligation and I am proud to do so.”

To complete the triumvirate, Karen Fricker, an American lecturer in contemporary theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London and deputy London theatre critic for Variety, posits on the Guardian blog that “What makes London one of the world's great cultural centres is the multiplicity of art forms available from every corner of the globe… Few would disagree that if London's arts scene were less international then the city's liveliness would start to wither.”, and then asks, “Is there a pressing need for London-based theatres in particular to prioritise plays that interrogate the state of the English nation? Are issues of national identity still of paramount importance in a 21st-century global city?"

What’s so wonderful about this discussion is that it’s nearly identical to the one being had in New York, except it is the complaint that the British have staged a takeover of American theatres, with Billy Elliot being the most recent invasion. Of course, this debate is rather moot, because it’s just re-enforcing the entire Anglo-American worldview. The upcoming Bridge Project at BAM is the prime example. Cross-cultural exchange and collaboration is incredibly important, and The Bridge Project is an important first step, but it is still the safest choice on the block. Sure, they are taking a victory lap around Europe between NY and London, but that doesn’t really amount to real engagement; only spectacular star-worship.

The real question that needs to be asked is, ‘Where are all the plays that weren’t written in English?’ (and staging Chekhov or Ibsen doesn’t count). There are clearly dozens of remarkable playwrights out there from every country offering unique stories that transcend national and linguistic boundaries. No doubt translation is an issue, but it is too often used as an excuse. How about the U.S. and U.K. settle their arguments by agreeing, for a season, to stage works by writers who aren’t from English-speaking countries? You want to talk about a true global explosion of stories and ideas? Let's try it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

U.S. Dept. of State Launches Online Video Contest

The U.S. State Dept., in conjunction with the Adobe Foundation, have launched an online video contest to amplify U.S. public diplomacy using web-based outreach campaigns and social media platforms. The “My Culture + Your Culture = ? Share Your Story” video contest is part of a Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) initiative to encourage cross-cultural community building and mutual understanding via the web and social media platforms. The contest also highlights the newly designed website,, which is a portal to ECA’s Facebook page and its ExchangesConnect social network (

The Department of State invite members of the ExchangesConnect online community to submit a short video (up to 3 minutes) on the contest’s theme. Video submissions will be accepted December 1, 2008 to January 26, 2009. The ExchangesConnect community will vote on video entries and an expert panel of judges, all ECA exchange alumni, will rank the “top 40” videos. Two foreign and two American winners will be selected by ECA. International winners will be eligible for a two-week all-expenses paid exchange trip to the United States; the American winners will receive the same to an overseas destination.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Iran: New Voices

Chris Wilkinson from The Guardian recaps the recent festival of new Iranian work at the Barbican. The season presented three productions: Daedalus and Icarus by the Mungu Theatre Company, Quartet: A Journey North from the Mehr Theatre Company and The Power of Cliché by Haleh Anvari. The program also featured films and a series of lectures about the history and current state of Iranian performance. As Wilkinson concludes, “If the Barbican's season demonstrates anything, it is that not only is this kind of cross-cultural conversation vital in overcoming common prejudices, but also that this dialogue is actually already thriving, even though you might not notice it at first glance.” Read the article here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ivo van Hove in Conversation with Chuck Mee

[I do theatre] 'to be happy.'

'Theatre is a real part of my life. It's not a job.'

'I hate the term "deconstructionist". It's not what I do.'

‘What’s interesting about life are the things you don’t know yet.’

‘Preparation is my safety net.’

‘Our goal is always Olympic; go for the gold. Better to fail with grandeur.’

‘A play is like a holiday. We have to all decide where to go. If I decide to go to Umbria and the actor goes to Budapest, we aren’t on the same vacation.’

‘Before you find the exit to the building, you have to find the entrance.’

‘I direct texts. They are not my fantasies. I try to direct what the writer intended.’

[to Chuck Mee] ‘Eugene O’Neill is your opposite.’

‘When you close the rehearsal room door, you can live all your fantasies. You can live what is forbidden in society. All these experiences are inside us.’

‘I try not to know how the scene ends. We have a misunderstanding that we have to know.’

‘I admire actors who play it like opening night at the first rehearsal.’

‘When you don’t know the answer to something, don’t pretend like you do.’

‘Craftsmanship without passion is boring.’

‘We always play an interpretation. It’s never objective.’

‘I can tell much more about myself with someone else’s words. It’s more personal.’

Friday, December 5, 2008

Foreman To Stream Wednesday Rehearsals

Looks like Richard Foreman at the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre has followed The Internationalists streaming lead and will begin broadcasting Wednesday rehearsals of his new show, Astronome – A Night at the Opera. Theatre bloggers have been abuzz, being given the change to witness this downtown director’s collaboration with musician John Zorn. We’ll see how the experiment goes, and if influences the show or is just a clever marketing devise.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Kentridge Amidst the Venice Floodwaters

Before Venice flooded this week, William Kentridge, a South African artist, with the Handspring Puppet Company and the Ricercar Consort, a small period-instrument ensemble from Belgium, mounted Monteverdi’s “Return of Ulysses” at the ancient Malibran Theater. At the same time, a video Mr. Kentridge devised for the fire curtain at Venice’s main opera house, La Fenice, was revealed. “Made to be seen as audiences arrive and the orchestra tunes up, it will be shown over the coming weeks before various operas.” Read Michael Kimmelman’s NYTimes article here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Alas, poor Yorick, I knew Andre well.

Apparently the dead are more distracting than the living in the latest incarnation of Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company. The skull of concert pianist and Holocaust survivor Andre Tchaikowsky has been appearing in the current Stratford production, starring David Tennant, and is causing a bit of a sensation. It was Tchaikowsky's dying wish to have his skull used in Hamlet and he bequeathed it to the RSC, but now the company says a fake skull will be used when it transfers to London. Audiences were unaware the skull belonged to the Oxford pianist, but the secret was revealed by Tennant. The RSC told Channel 4 that now the secret was out, it would be "too distracting for the audience" if the skull was used. Tchaikowsky died of cancer at the age of 46 and donated his organs to medical research, with the exception of his skull.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ivo van Hove Returns to NYC with 'Opening Night'

Acclaimed Belgian director Ivo van Hove returns to New York with a stage adaption of John Cassavetes’s 1977 film, Opening Night. New Yorkers know him mostly for his radical interpretations of the classics (Williams, Ibsen, O'Neill, Moliere) produced at NYTW. Opening Night shows another side of van Hove and his interest in screen-to-stage adaptions of classic films. The five performances begin at BAM on Tuesday and will be performed in Dutch with actors from Toneelgroep Amsterdam. Be sure to read Tom Sellar's fantastic article from the NYTimes here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

U.S. Deportee Brings Breakdancing to Cambodia

Yuy Sobil is a former gang member from Long Beach, California. He is one of the 189 Cambodians who have been deported within the last six years from the U.S. under the law that requires expulsion of noncitizens who commit felonies. Yuy Sobil, or K.K., is only technically a noncitizen. He was not illegally in the country, but was a refugee from the Khmer Rouge 'killing fields' who found safety in the U.S. in 1980. Now back in the homeland of his parents, he teaches boys that are Cambodian street children the art of break dancing, as well as his hard lessons in life. This story is amazing. Check it out here. I can already hear the phones ringing in Hollywood.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Central European Foundation's Arts Program

Central European Foundation - Celebrating Arts & Culture Programme (deadline: 15 Dec)

Central European Foundation (CEF) announces its third call for proposals to support projects in arts and culture in Slovakia (SR) and the Central European (CE) region*. Our primary focus continues to be breaking down geographic, cultural and financial barriers that keep artists and culture managers from working together in the region.

The goal of the program is to support projects from Slovakia and the Central European region* that focus on developing artistic works, events and performances and presenting them to the widest possible audience. Projects of all artistic genres and diverse themes may be submitted for financial support with several exceptions. Under this call CEF will not support production of feature films that entail major investment (with large budgets) and will not support folklore events or folklore festivals.

The year 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the democratic revolutions in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The foundation seeks to honor this anniversary by supporting projects that address the phenomenon of the revolutions in 1989 and their ramifications for society and culture. For this reason, the foundation will also welcome applications under this call for projects that address this anniversary in an additional category. These projects should, for example, address social or cultural questions related to the events of 1989. Another goal is to help facilitate awareness or interpret the events of the period for the younger generation that did not live through them. Because of the key symbolic and political significance of the Berlin wall, CEF encourages cooperation with partner organizations from Germany as well (see below for funding criteria).

In keeping with our broader mission, the foundation will continue to give priority to international, cooperative projects that foster the following three principles as defined below:
o Creativity: projects create new works in any one genre or combined genres, or revive lost traditions; projects find innovative ways to bring culture into daily life;

o Cooperation: projects involve cooperation across regional or national borders; and cooperation among nationalities and ethnic groups, social groups and sectors of public life. Projects that support mobility of artists and culture managers and involve partners from more than two countries are a point of emphasis; and
o Continuity: projects pay attention to sustainability and long-term impact and address possibilities for continued presence after the funding period is over. This may include educating future artists and/or pedagogues.

General Administrative Guidelines:
1. Applicants must be either an organization FROM SLOVAKIA or a team from Slovakia and any of the following countries: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. The grant application must be made by an organization from Slovakia. In projects that include German or Austrian partners, CEF will not fund administrative or production costs of partners from these countries.
2. Eligible grantees are nongovernmental organizations or public institutions headquartered in Slovakia that have been functioning actively for at least one year. For-profit entities are not eligible to receive grants.
3. CEF will cover up to 60% maximum of the total project budget. The applicant must be able to demonstrate its ability to co-finance the project.
4. There is no minimum or maximum size of a grant, but projects with a total budget over SKK 200,000 (EUR 6,600) will be given preference.
5. Projects must be publicized adequately in the media by the applicant as part of normal activities. Applicants should provide a promotion and media plan as part of each application.
6. The beginning of project implementation must be in 2009 and the project activities must be completed at the latest by 2010.
7. Applicants who have already received support from CEF during a previous grant round are eligible to apply.
8. Applicants must submit an application form, a detailed description of the project and a budget prepared according to the budget template given. The application form, requirements for the detailed project description (checklist) and budget template can be downloaded below.
9. Budgets should be submitted in Slovak crowns or Euros.
10. Each applicant may be a leader on only one project.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Those interested in a grant may apply if they meet the criteria listed above and if they send a completed application form and the necessary additional documents by regular post to the foundation address by December 15, 2008 at the latest (projects must be postmarked Dec. 15 or before). A copy of the application must also be sent electronically (e-mail) to by December 15, 2008 at the latest.

SELECTION PROCESS: The Board of the Central European Foundation makes the final decision on the results of the grant round. All applicants will be informed of the selection results individually. An updated list of approved projects will be regularly published on the foundation’s website. The selection may last 3-4 months. We request that applicants take this timeline into account when designing their projects. There is no set number of projects that will be supported under this call. The foundation reserves the right not to fund any projects submitted. The application form, checklist and budget template can be downloaded HERE. For reasons of lack of time, foundation staff will not offer personal consultations of project and will not check the completeness of applications before the deadline.

Please submit all materials to CEF at: Central European FoundationSasinkova 12811 08 Bratislava, Slovakiae-mail:

*The definition of the Central European region for this call is: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists

The UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists promote the mobility of young artists in order to enrich their personal perspectives, to enable them to engage in an intercultural dialogue and expose them to cultural diversity. The Program offers residencies to young artists (between 25 and 35 years old) worldwide. It shares many objectives with the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005), which advocates cultural exchanges and highlights creativity and the need for artists to enrich their experience through contact with other cultures. These residencies are catalysts for the development of artistic expression in all cultures of the world. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

U.K. Evening Standard Award Winners

Winners at the 54th Evening Standard theatre awards:

Best actress
Margaret Tyzack and Penelope Wilton - The Chalk Garden (Donmar Warehouse)

Best actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Othello (Donmar Warehouse)

Best play
The Pitmen Painters by Lee Hall (inspired by a book by William Feaver; Live Theatre and National Theatre co-production)

The Ned Sherrin award for best musical
Street Scene (The Opera Group, Young Vic and Watford Palace Theatre co-production)

The Sydney Edwards award for best director
Michael Grandage - Othello / The Chalk Garden / Ivanov (Donmar Warehouse and Donmar West End at Wyndham's)

Best design
Neil Murray - Brief Encounter (Kneehigh at Cinema Haymarket Theatre)

The Charles Wintour award for most promising playwright
Tarell Alvin McCraney - In the Red and Brown Water / The Brothers Size (Young Vic)

The Milton Shulman award for outstanding newcomer
Ella Smith - Fat Pig (Trafalgar Studios and Comedy Theatre)

Special award
Kevin Spacey

Editor's award
The Royal Shakespeare Company for the History Cycle at the Roundhouse

Sunday, November 23, 2008

'Theatre Methods 09' Festival-Fair in Slovenia

THEATRE METHODS 09: International Festival-Fair
Between Tradition and Contemporaneity
July 6-12, 2009
Bovec, Slovenia

"Theatre Methods" is the annual professional festival-fair dedicated to the Bridge between Tradition and Contemporaneity in performing arts. The festival is an opportunity to demonstrate methods of training in traditional theatre and to present contemporary works created as the result of traditional theatre training techniques. At the moment THEATRE METHODS 09 has been accepting presentation proposals.

Presentation format:
• performance (not requiring special technical conditions)
• workshop/master class
• work in progress
• reading/lecture• any other way of demonstration to the presenter's discretion.

The festival is aimed at new international contacts, creative exchange and communication. "TM" does not imply opportunity of a one-day tour. Important condition of "TM" is that performers and theatres presenting works at the festival participate in the whole programme from the first to the last day - attending other festival events, workshops, performances, etc.

ACCOMODATION & VENUE (Bovec mountain resort):
Nearest airports: Ljubljana (Slovenia), Trieste (Italy) or Klagenfurt(Austria).

If you wish to present your work at TM09, please become familiar with Submission Guidelines before submitting your proposal. The festival committee is considering proposals in appropriate standard only. Links to web sites are not considered as the application.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Canada Likely to Cancel International Tours

A survey by the members of the Conférence Internationale des Arts de la Scène (CINARS) suggests that up to 600 out-of-country performances by 36 Canadian arts organizations could be cancelled in the absence of two cultural diplomacy programs and a stalling economy.

CINARS said the questionnaire was informal, sent to 220 organizations, of which 36 responded. But the numbers hint at the broader impact the recent cutting of PromArt and Trade Routes - two programs until recently administered by the federal government to help artists and organizations tour their work abroad - will have on Canadian's foreign profile.

CINARS general director Alain Paré said the timing could not be worse with the economy already struggling. He hopes to have a more accurate picture of the fallout after its annual conference, now under way in Montreal. "Canada's a huge country, but we don't have the population to support our artists. It's a question of survival to tour abroad," he said.

Paré added that it would be dangerous to cancel so many shows, leaving international buyers hesitant to book Canadian acts they fear might not honour their agreements. Companies responding to the survey included the Alberta Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Les 7 doigts de la main. Their estimates put next year's resulting financial losses for all 36 companies at $4.9-million.

James Bradshaw
Canada's Globe and Mail
November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

China Invests in Cultural Centers

China will invest 800 million yuan (USD $117 million) this year improving cultural facilities in rural areas where some 800 million people live. In addition to 200 million yuan allocated earlier this year, the investment, announced last week, will mainly be used to build cultural centers while improving old ones in small towns and villages, according to the Ministry of Culture.

China has constructed about 36,800 such centers since 2006. More than 20,000 centers will be built before 2010, mainly in less developed central and western areas, said Zhang Xiaoping, director of the ministry's division for mass culture affairs. Total investment could reach 4 billion yuan by 2010 according to the government's plan, he said, adding that last year saw 100 million yuan spent to start the project.

With cultural centers next to their homes, villagers do not need to travel far to find a library, a cinema or a museum. They can enjoy folk performances and fine arts created by fellow villagers, or set up a handicraft workshop. They can also enjoy movies or read books via computers as many rural centers will be linked with a network called the National Cultural Information Sharing Project, Zhang said. He said the plan was to give rural people better access to cultural facilities to improve their quality of life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Company Theatre's 'Workspace' Residency

Mumbai’s The Company Theatre announces its international performing arts residency 2009 in India for interested actors, dancers, musicians and other artists. The Company Theatre (TCT) is a theatre organization with over 15 years of experience in the creation, sustenance and dissemination of theatrical work. Its ensemble of activities includes several performances, theatre workshops and seminars, performance-related studies, theatre festivals and international collaborative ventures. Over the last five years, TCT’s efforts have been directed towards the fruition of their most ambitious project: The Company Theatre WORKSPACE - an international residency for theatre research & performance. The dream now realized, rests on 5 acres of land, surrounded by the inspiring environs of a lake, mountains and open fields in the Indian countryside. It is three hours away from the bustling city of Mumbai, near the thriving hill-station of Lonavala in Maharashtra. Led by its founder, theatre director and performer Atul Kumar, this is a facility that provides performance artists with uninterrupted time and space to further research and creative work. More information and the application available here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chekhov’s White Dacha in Disarray

Due to his diagnosis of tuberculosis in 1899, Chekhov left Melikhovo (in southern Russia) for the warmer climes of Yalta (in the Ukraine). The playwright had a distinctive house, known as the ‘White Dacha’ designed for him by Leo Shapovalov. Chekhov stayed in the house until 1904, where he wrote two of his most famous plays, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. The dacha became a museum in 1921 and contains many of Chekhov’s belongings. Unfortunately today the house is in shambles. The heating was turned off in 2005, and due to the harsh winters by the sea, mold has set in and the roof is leaking. Scholar and translator, Dr. Rosamund Bartlett, has started the Yalta Chekhov campaign to save the dacha, and has already won the support of Tom Stoppard, Michael Frayn, Kenneth Branagh and Ralph Fiennes. The campaign aims to raise enough money to return the dacha to the condition in which Chekhov left it. The aim of the Yalta Chekhov campaign is to have restoration work complete by the 150th anniversary of Chekhov's birth, in January 2010. Why won’t the Russian or Ukrainian governments cover the expenses? As always, politics. The Russians don’t want to pay for something that’s in the Ukraine and the Ukrainians don’t want to pay for something that promotes a Russian writer. Read more about it here in a ‘Guardian’ article.

Monday, November 17, 2008

All the Web's a Stage

Having just completed our first 24 hour web-streamed global event this weekend, it seems the world wide web is playing a greater and greater role in all sorts of 21st century theatre. For instance, the UK company Punchdrunk has teamed up with gaming company Hide & Seek, Hewlett-Packard research arm HP Labs and online design firm Seeper to create a "hybrid experience" between real and computer-generated worlds. Also, The Builders Association’s latest show, now playing at BAM, is a techgeek’s dream. Continuous City was developed over two years and tells the story of families trying to stay in touch as they journey around the world. It stages the internal experience of using social networks, video chats and blogs. By no means are The Internationalists setting a trend, but we’re certainly pleased to be a part of the adventure.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Around the World in 24 Hours Schedule

Saturday, November 15

5pm: Opening Festivities
'Live from Newcastle, It's Saturday Night'
Streaming with Pia Furtado in the U.K.

6pm: Real Andromaca by Ximena Escalante (Mexico);
directed by Tamilla Woodard; translated by Andrea Thome

8pm: Herjólfur has stopped loving by Sigtryggur Magnason (Iceland);
directed by Jeremy Lydic; translated by Gunnlaug Guomundsdottir

9pm: Panel Discussion with International Artists:
Sigtryggur Magnason, Catherine Coray, Randy Gener,
Caridad Svich, Sergei Grabbe and Ana Mărgineanu

10pm: Cocktail Reception & Recorded Performance of Music Man (in Portuguese) written, performed and directed by Michel Melamed (Brazil)

11:30pm: You Don't Know What Love Is by Michael Baran (Finland);
directed by Jake Witlen; translated by Eva Buchwald

Sunday, November 16

2am: Miriam by Lenka Lagronová (Czech Republic);
directed by Ashley Kelly-Tata; translated by Petr Onufer and Mike Baugh

3:30am: Live Streamed Performance of Never Heard of Her (in Japanese)
directed by Yuko Takeda

4am: Recorded Performance of Regurgitography (in English)
written, performed and directed by Michel Melamed (Brazil)

5am: Recorded Performance of Free Money (in Portuguese)
written, performed and directed by Michel Melamed (Brazil)

6:45am: Recorded performance of Colombo Calling (in English)directed by Cristina Bejan (Romania)

7:30am: Recorded Performance of Buy Me With a Coffee (in Romanian) directed by Ana Mărgineanu (Romania)

8am: Live Streamed Performance of Brunch in Berlin – Truth or Lies
an adaption of "Quizoola!" by Tim Etchells with Katja Fillmann and Christine Rollar

9am: Recorded Performance of An Insider-Pre-Pre-View of NEXT:STOP
a Swiss-German Project by Theater Topoï:log

10am: Hkleelee-Tell Me & Flight 123 by Leila Buck (Lebanon);
directed by Lauren Keating

11am: Women of War by Jawad Al-Assadi (Iraq);
directed by Esther Neff; translated by Hania Jurdak

1pm: Mwena by Nick Nanna Hadikwa Mwaluko (Tanzania);
directed by Ana Mărgineanu

2pm: The Kings by Julio Cortázar (Argentina);
directed by Doug Howe; translated by Caridad Svich

3pm: Panel Discussion and Excerpts in Spanish from Mexican Playwrights: Luis Ayhllón, Jose Alfonso Carcamo, Cutberto López Reyes and Ernesto Anaya;
in association with the Lark Play Development Center
Andrea Thome – U.S. / Mexico Playwright Exchange Program Director

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Philanthropy Phalters

Given the shit-storm of the global financial meltdown, what will happen to charitable giving? Over $300 billion was donated last year in the United States, and individual donors account for 88% of that giving. It’s not really a question of ‘if’ things will be bad, it’s only a question of ‘when’. Check out this article from the NYTimes called ‘Bracing for Lean Times Ahead’.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

EATC's 'Art of Analysis and Rehearsal' Seminars

In January & February 2009, the European Association for Theatre Culture will host a seminar in two parts for directors, acting teachers, pedagogues and actors: Part I - The Art of Analysis and Part II - The Art of Rehearsal. “The first part of the seminar will concentrate on the analysis of the role and play at the table following different directions: vertical and horizontal, from different perspectives and on the basis of different philosophies and sciences. Furthermore, Jurij Alschitz has developed a new method for the analysis of a role by asking “40 Question of One Role”. The second part of the seminar will focus on rehearsal methods. Different authors and texts need different approaches. The rehearsal becomes a tool for analysis as well. In order to make a correct choice for one method, you must be familiar with various ones. This knowledge gives you the basis to find new ways for the realization of your own artistic language on stage.” The seminar includes lectures, discussions, exercises on the main subjects and practical stage work with individual assignments. Click here for the full details.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Gulliver Connect" Call for Applications

The Central European Foundation (Bratislava), Kulturkontakt (Austria) and The Felix Meritis Foundation (Amsterdam) are proud to present the Gulliver Connect program 2008 - 2009, a mobility program for young and up-coming artists, arts managers and cultural operators in Europe in 2009.

Thanks to a large network of cultural organisations throughout Europe and beyond, Gulliver Connect offers hands-on work experience. It's unique ability is to use such an extensive range of host organisations to match the individual talents of young people. And it enables the host organisations to find valuable working partners in future.

The work placements will lead to new professional skills and establish new forms of international co-operation. Both the visitor and the host organisation benefit from each other's working practices. They share information, experiences and ideas, and establish far reaching professional contacts.

By creating a dynamic network Gulliver Connect adds a new dimension to the social, artistic and cultural development of Europe and beyond - a stepping stone for the future co-operation in the arts. Click here for guidelines and applications.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama, The Musical!

Far be it for the theatre to lag behind when it comes to keeping up with current affairs. This past Sunday, OBAMA, The Musical opened in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The hour-long production was written and directed by George Orido, and tells the story of Obama’s life, beginning with his father’s move to America. Orido says there have already been invitations to perform in the UK and South Africa, and he isn't ruling out a sequel. Read the complete BBC story here.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

South Korea's Long-Term Cultural Strategy

South Korean Culture Minister Yu In-chon said he will formulate a long-term overseas promotional strategy to boost the global popularity of Korean culture. Long-term planning invariably means a bigger budget in promoting Korean culture. Yu said the plan is on the drawing board, adding that the action program will eventuate early next year.

Yu mentioned the on-going Korea Festival in Brussels, Belgium as a good example of promoting Korean culture overseas. The minister of culture, sports and tourism said the event is gaining huge popularity in Brussels because it shows the essence of Korean culture ― not only traditional culture, but also food, fashion and other things. He added preparations took two years. A similar event will be held in Petit Palais, Paris in 2010.

For the Americas and Europe in which Korean culture is relatively unknown, the government will take a more aggressive promotion strategy. It will expand multi-cultural exchange programs with East Asian countries through ASEAN to introduce diverse Asian cultures. He said the comprehensive Korean cultural promotion policies would be completed by 2012. Read the full Korea Times article here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama to the World

"And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope. For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow."

- President-elect Barack Hussein Obama

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

'Feasting or Flying' in Berlin

" Feasting or Flying: Art into Theatre – Theatre into Art". Orchestrating a dialogue between the visual arts and theatre, this project sets out to explore the reciprocal impact and attraction between the two media. On view across the three stages of the Berlin Hebbel am Ufer theatre are works by visual artists, newly emerging commissioned works, together with existing installations. Out of a series of discussions and on-site inspections with artists, there evolved a festival program, which is to be performed over 16 days on the three stages of the HAU. Here the focus of interest lies both in the theatral moments of the visual arts, and in the encounter of a diverse array of artists with the specific aesthetic of the theatre. This raises the question of the significance of mimesis describing processes, which oscillate between representation and imitation. Sharing the same title of the festival "Fressen oder Fliegen", the work by Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann alludes to the statement: "Some dissect a bird in order to eat it, others in order to discover how to fly".

With Jérôme Bel, Phil Collins, Keren Cytter/Susanne Sachsse, Thomas Demand, Diedrich Diederichsen, Tim Etchells, Harun Farocki/Antje Ehmann, Anselm Franke, Peter Friedl, Tellervo Kalleinen/Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, Katarzyna Kozyra, Melissa Logan/Thomas Meinecke, Mobile Academy, Rabih Mroué, Peaches, Rimini Protokoll, Christoph Schlingensief, Tino Sehgal, Tris Vonna-Michell.

Dates: November 1 - 16, 2008
Location: Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin, Germany

Monday, November 3, 2008

East Midlands Build Their ‘Curve’

Leicester’s £61 million replacement for its old Haymarket playhouse is about to get its curve on. The new building, designed by Uruguay-born architect Rafael Viñoly, is like “a cathedral, teleported from the future. Or a huge ocean liner, as dreamt by Salvador Dalí.” And after a ten year wait, Paul Kerryson, the theatre's artistic director, is “palpably excited”. Read the full UK ‘Telegraph’ article here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Magneto and Professor X wait for Godot

Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will star as Estragon and Vladimir, respectively, in a new production of Samuel Beckett's 1953 classic Waiting for Godot, which is being staged by Sean Mathias as the first production as artistic director of the 2009 Theatre Royal Haymarket Company. McKellen and Stewart first worked together in the original production of Tom Stoppard's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1977. Godot will tour prior to its arrival, beginning performances at the Haymarket on April 30 for a strictly limited season that is currently booking to June 28.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cambodia's First Rock Opera

Cambodia's first rock opera will premiere in Phnom Penh next month, a cultural milestone in the Southeast Asian country where performing arts were banned during the brutal Khmer Rouge years. "Where Elephants Weep" is an East-meets-West blend of traditional Cambodian music and Western rock that is modeled after "Romeo and Juliet" and inspired by the Broadway musical "Rent." Organizers said Wednesday the show will open a 10-day run Nov. 28 in a converted movie theater in the capital, Phnom Penh, a year later than its planned debut at the end of 2007.

The show was commissioned by Cambodian Living Arts, a project of the Boston-based nonprofit organization World Education, which seeks to revive traditional Cambodian performing arts and inspire contemporary artistic expression among Cambodians. Charley Todd, a co-president of the CLA's governing board, said the opera had a successful preview last year in Lowell, Mass., which has a sizable community of Cambodian refugees. But producers needed extra time for fine-tuning. It is expected to later tour in other countries, including the United States, South Korea and Singapore.

Arts and entertainment were banned when the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia between 1975-79 and killed some 1.7 million people through starvation, disease, overwork and execution. Execution sites from the time now serve as grim attractions for tourists visiting Cambodia. "Where Elephants Weep" is an operatic take on "Tum Teav," the Cambodian version of "Romeo and Juliet." It tells the story a Cambodian-American who lost his father during the Khmer Rouge era and returns home after Cambodia's civil war to trace his roots. In Phnom Penh, he meets and falls in love with a Cambodian woman who works as a karaoke singer.

The music was composed by the Russian-trained Cambodian maestro Him Sophy. He was inspired by the musical genre of the rock opera "Rent," which he saw twice during a trip to New York City. Cambodian musicians in the performance use electric guitars, electronic drums, keyboards and traditional instruments like buffalo horns, bamboo flutes, gongs and the chapei, a long-neck lute with two nylon strings. After seven years of work, Him Sophy said he expected a celebration - both on stage and in the country.

"It is going to be a big national cultural event," Him Sophy said. "And the entire team is committed to making it happen flawlessly and perfectly."

By Ker Munthit of the Associated Press

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama and McCain on the Arts

Not surprising, both U.S. candidates have differing view on the arts and government’s role in funding it. Obama is calling for more federal support, while McCain is calling for less. The McCain campaign has released very little language on the subject, but two weeks ago issued this four-sentence statement basically saying it’s up to local entities.

“John McCain believes that arts education can play a vital role fostering creativity and expression. He is a strong believer in empowering local school districts to establish priorities based on the needs of local schools and school districts. Schools receiving federal funds for education must be held accountable for providing a quality education in basic subjects critical to ensuring students are prepared to compete and succeed in the global economy. Where these local priorities allow, he believes investing in arts education can play a role in nurturing the creativity of expression so vital to the health of our cultural life and providing a means of creative expression for young people.”

Obama, on the other hand, has made arts proposals a part of his official party platform. His key points are: Expand Public/Private Partnerships Between Schools and Arts Organizations; Create an Artist Corps; Publicly Champion the Importance of Arts Education; Support Increased Funding for the NEA; Attract Foreign Talent; Provide Health Care to Artists and Ensure Tax Fairness for Artists. You can find his arts policy statement here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MacIvor Wins Siminovitch Prize

Canadian playwright, Daniel MacIvor, was awarded the 2008 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre. The $100,000 prize has been given out annually since 2001 with a director, designer and playwright winning in successive years.

MacIvor, 46, is a native of Nova Scotia who now lives in Toronto. He is best known for the series of solo shows he produced with Sherrie Johnson for their theatre group da da kamera with plays like House, Here Lies Henry, Monster and Cul-de-Sac.

The Siminovitch Prize is divided in two; $75,000 goes to the lead artist and $25,000 to people the artist chooses to share in the award. MacIvor has selected as his protégé co-winners Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn, two writer-performers he met last year in Vancouver.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Non-Profit Theatre Execs Make Big Bucks

Just when you thought the only fat cats getting bonuses this year were on Wall Street, think again. The boards of certain NY theater companies feel that there are some bigwigs who deserve some perks in addition to their already extraordinary salaries. Case in point, Todd Haimes, AD of the Roundabout Theatre Company, was rewarded with a guaranteed $3.2 million bonus, on top of his $480,000 salary, if he stays on board until 2018. Lynne Meadow and Barry Grove at Manhattan Theatre Club each earn around $485,000 a year, up 84% since 1998. Andre Bishop and Bernard Gersten at Lincoln Center pull in around $430,000. Joe Dowling of the Guthrie earned $682,229, plus a one time bonus of $100K tied to their new complex. Oskar Eustis at the Public seems to be the only poor house boy, only making $277, 568, down 2% from last year. And here I am, losing my job in two weeks, wondering where the rent is coming from. Maybe one of these fortunate souls can spare a dime. See the full Bloomberg article here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Simon McBurney on 'Watching Theatre'

“The only reality of the theater exists in the mind of the audience. That audience looks collectively at what is going on on the stage and collectively imagines that this is real. ... But what is more fundamental is the notion that when everybody laughs together or, last night, when I heard people around me collectively sobbing, at that moment we are bound together not by our bodies sitting in the theater but by a collective imagination. At that moment we understand the lie that what we think is only our own, that our internal lives are only our own. At that point our collective imaginations become one imagination and my internal life becomes the same as your internal life, which is what Aristotle understood when he analyzed tragedy. It’s a collective act in which we collectively understand something about being a community together. The moment we understand that, feel it, we feel a kind of responsibility in which we must collectively help and take responsibility for each other. That is part of the definition of our humanity and, if you like, if it’s not a contradiction in terms, our animal humanity.”

New York Times; Sunday 26 October 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Malkovich Directs In Mexico

John Malkovich will direct a Spanish-language version of Zach Helm’s play, The Good Canary in Mexico. Malkovich previously directed a French version in Paris. El Buen Canario will play ten-weeks at Teatro de Los Insurgentes in Mexico City beginning Nov. 26. Mexican actor Diego Luna will head the cast. Luna is best known for the films "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and "The Terminal”. Luna will be joined onstage by Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bruno Bichir, Irene Azuela and Yuriria del Valle. According to the press release, El Buen Canario "follows a frustrated writer struggling with his wife's addiction to amphetamines." Zach Helm also wrote the screenplay for "Stranger Than Fiction."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ontroerend Goed's Devriendt Interviewed

Brian Logan of ‘The Guardian’ interviews Alexander Devriendt, founder and director of Ghent-based Ontroerend Goed, a company best known for messing with the relationship between audience and cast, fiction and reality. Their latest show, Once And For All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen, was created and performed by 13 Belgian schoolchildren aged 14 to 18. The show was a huge hit in Edinburgh this year and is now arriving in London. Read the full article here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mellon Foundation Give $10M to Playwriting Orgs

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently awarded nearly $10 million to U.S. playwriting organizations and theaters in the hopes of getting more fresh voices before an audience. The recent grants are a result of a three-year study into the particular problems new plays encounter.

It turns out that developing plays is not the problem. Producing them is. New playwrights often get stuck in “workshop hell,” as Diane E. Ragsdale, the foundation’s program officer for theater and dance, put it. Supporting playwrights directly and creating long-term residencies at theaters were among the recommendations that emerged.

Recipients include Lark Play Development Center, New Dramatists, Sundance Institute Theater Program and the Playwrights’ Center. Three-Legged Dog, a nonprofit media and theater group in New York City, also received a grant. Read the full NYTimes article here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Comédie Française Attempts MC 93 Takeover

A battle is brewing in Paris. In one corner, the 328-year-old Comédie Française, and in the other, the cutting edge theatre company, MC 93. The stakes are dominance of the Parisian suburbs, and, of course, money. The Comédie Française receives more than £20m a year from the state, with another £6m from other sources. MC 93 gets most of its smaller financial needs from the local region. Who will be victorious? Read the ‘Observer’ article here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our New Social Networking Site for World Theatre

For those of you who visit our blog frequently or are here for the first time, we would like to extend a special, limited-time offer to join The Internationalists Global Theatre Network. It works as our own social networking site (ala facebook or myspace). As our mission is to create a more open, sustainable and interactive global theatrical community, this is a major step in achieving our goals. In addition to pertinent information about the world of theatre, this is also a place where you can create your own profile, meet & chat with other artists, post discussions, pose questions and create special topic groups. In order to receive an invitation, you must send us your email address at and put in the subject line, ‘Online Network: Blog’. You will then receive an invitation which will get you started. We look forward to having you join us at

-The Internationalists

Sunday, October 19, 2008

International Visegrad Fund

The International Visegrad Fund supports projects in the fields of cultural cooperation, scientific exchange and research, education, exchanges between young people, cross-border cooperation and promotion of tourism. It is open to projects thematically related to Visegrad cooperation (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic & Slovakia).

The maximum contribution of the Fund allocated to each Small Grant project is up to EUR 4,000. The financial contribution of the Fund cannot exceed 50% of the total project costs including the in-kind contribution of the applicant, or in-kind contributions of other co-financing subjects. The maximum time frame of the proposed budget is 6 months, even if the project is envisaged to last longer.

When considering funding, the Fund will prefer those projects that will involve partners (co-organizers) from all V4 countries (with the exception of the Cross-border projects). The Fund will not support projects in which less than three of the V4 countries are involved, except for projects within the cross-border cooperation. (Within the cross-border cooperation, partners from 2 V4 countries are sufficient.) The Fund may also fund projects proposed by (or implemented in cooperation with) an entity outside of V4 countries, provided that such projects are in compliance with the objectives of the Fund. Applicants from non-Visegrad countries can apply for Small Grants under the same conditions, but the project must be thematically related to Visegrad cooperation.

Annual budget: EUR 512,000
Deadlines: 1 March, 1 June, 1 September and 1 December.
Applications for the Small Grants must be submitted through the on-line application system.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Iraq: War in the Streets, War in the Wings

Wonderful article about the Iraqi National Theatre's first production to be performed after sunset since the 2003 US-led invasion. Click here for the the full LA Times article.

"Bring the King, Bring Him" opened a few days ago, hours after a car bomb shook the National Theater, crumpling the dressing room ceiling and bruising Zahra Beden, Munathar's wife, and another actress in the play. Munathar, who also stars as the king, worried that the attack would keep audiences away. But the crowds keep coming, braving the city's frequent explosions and horizon of curling smoke.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mark Ravenhill on Directing in Armenia

by Mark Ravenhill, 'The Guardian'
More than a decade ago, the statue of Lenin was removed from Republic Square, the heart of the city of Yerevan. Now the square is dominated by a massive water feature. This eye-catching, if rather kitsch, landmark in the new capitalist Armenia spits out great plumes of water in time with the blasts of popular classical music booming out of concealed speakers. The Armenian people have moved on from their Soviet past. The new cafe society of young couples parading in their Italian clothes is more reminiscent of Milan than Minsk. But there is one legacy of the Soviet past that Yerevan has held on to. The city, with more than 1 million inhabitants, has a tremendous appetite for theatre: there are no fewer than 12 working companies, and an audience that's enthusiastic for all kinds of performance. During the Soviet era, the challenge for Moscow was to balance the introduction of Russian ideas and language with a respect for local culture. Drama was an excellent tool: both Russian and Armenian theatre was supported and promoted by the Soviet state. And the Armenians have preserved this theatrical legacy.

I'm in Yerevan to direct a translation of one of my Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat plays, a 20-minute work called Paradise Lost. I have an impressive Armenian cast. Part of the Soviet legacy is the high standard of actor training. The quality of the acting is astonishing. So, too, is the loyalty countries such as Slovenia, Georgia and Lithuania still show to a Russian idea of theatre: large ensemble companies, actors working together for a lifetime, lengthy rehearsal periods, visionary directors. While all around them everything is being privatised, actors and audiences have held on to a form of theatre that, by the logic of market forces, should have disappeared long ago.

There is a barrier for me to cross: I don't speak any Russian or Armenian, and the cast doesn't have any English. I've been given an interpreter, an enthusiastic - but not exactly fluent - English speaker. And so rehearsals have taken an unusual course. After the briefest of introductions, in which I tried to summarise the play in a single sentence and gave a few key notes for each character, we hit the stage, slowly working through a couple of pages a day. I've found myself standing at the footlights, beating out the tempos for different sections with a book, holding my hand up to indicate the length of pauses, tapping my head to indicate changes of thought or intentions for the characters. I've focused on giving the actors concrete physical moments to play. I've even demonstrated actions - something many British actors would consider an insult to their craft.

The results occasionally look like the kind of coarse acting you can find anywhere in the world. But at other times, this commitment to the physical has produced exciting results that seem more like the theatre I've seen in mainland Europe than the type of work you usually see on British stages.

Some blimpish Brits still insist that theatre from other countries is more physical and visual than ours because they don't have our language, which - so the argument goes - is the richest in the world. I don't buy this. Surely Goethe, Molière and Chekhov couldn't have been inspired to produce the world's greatest plays in impoverished languages? But it is true that British audiences are unusually attuned to the nuances of language: they can smell a hint of irony quicker than theatre-goers anywhere else.

This ear for language is surely the greatest strength, but also the greatest weakness, of the British stage. Perhaps we should think a little less about the words. Here in Armenia, I'm learning to unlock the meaning of a play without understanding a word the actors are saying. It's a fascinating lesson.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Feinstein Wants to Tighten Visa Waiver Program

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that U.S. Homeland Security officals should adopt a more restrictive approach to the visa waiver program rather than expand it. During a recent hearing on Capital Hill, she stated a fear that terrorists are are looking for any loopholes in the system to enter the United States. Below is an excerpt. Click here for the full article.

"Feinstein is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security, which heard testimony in September on the “Visa Waiver Program: Mitigating Risks to Ensure Safety of All Americans.” The visa waiver program (VWP) allows citizens in participating countries to enter the United States without obtaining a visa or being interviewed or screened in U.S. embassies and consulates. Bush administration officials are “moving aggressively” to expand the program to include 13 new countries before the end of the year, according to a General Accounting Office (GAO) report released in late September. Those prospective new members include Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and South Korea. At present, the VWP allows citizens of 27 nations to enter the United States for business or travel for up to 90 days. Some 13 million foreign citizens took advantage of the program last year, the GAO report states. Expanding the program is warranted in part because the new nations under consideration have had strong economic, political, and military ties with the U.S., say officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Nós do Morro at the Barbican

by Alice O'Keeffe (New Stateman)

From the roof terrace of the Nós do Morro theatre in the Vidigal favela, Rio de Janeiro looks like the sparkling tropical paradise it would be in a perfect world. Ipanema Beach is just visible in the moonlight and the shanty towns stretching up the hills are spangled like Christmas trees with blue and orange street lamps. Inside the hot, airless auditorium the audience is settling in for a performance of The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Babies snuffle, teenagers laugh and fidget. People greet one another with easy smiles and handslaps. This is not a rarefied, high-class crowd - it is drawn from a community in one of Rio's many poor and conflict-battered districts.

Community theatre, in this case, does not equal wobbly amateur dramatics. The actors are young and beautiful, the staging slick and inventive. With no sets and the simplest of costumes, Verona is created before us - complete with walls, statues and towers - using the bodies of the performers alone. The romance between Silvia and Valentine, played by Roberta Rodrigues and Thiago Martins, is genuinely funny, human and touching in the hands of this remarkable theatre company. By the end, actors and audience alike are sweating in the sauna-like heat, but the spell of the drama is unbroken until the curtain call.

"When we started over 20 years ago there was no culture of theatre in the favela," Guti Fraga, founder and director of Nós do Morro, tells me over a glass of evilly strong cachaça at an Ipanema restaurant the following afternoon. He is a lean, middle-aged man with a smooth, bald head and an intense but irreverent manner. Having worked as a travelling performer and a journalist, he came to Vidigal in 1980 and, inspired by community theatres he had visited in Brooklyn, New York, started the company.

"When I came to live here it bothered me to meet so many very talented people with no opportunities," he says. "Nós do Morro started with nothing but a philosophy: to practise real solidarity, irrespective of social class, and to create work of excellence. The quality of the work is the most important thing."

Initially the project was for the people of Vidigal alone, but over the years it has established a reputation across Rio and further afield. "People from the rich areas of the city will now come here to go to the theatre," Fraga says. "They might never have ventured to a district like this before." In 1992 Fraga met Cicely Berry, a coach for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and so began a working relationship that culminated in Nós do Morro coming to Stratford-upon-Avon to appear in the Complete Works season in 2006. The group returns to the UK this October to perform Two Gentlemen at the Barbican.

The really big break for the company came in 1999, when it was approached by the directors Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, who were looking for young actors from the favelas to cast in a feature film. The project went on to become City of God, Brazil's most successful film internationally. The child actors from Nós do Morro created some of the hardest-hitting scenes in its graphic, violent depiction of the evolution of the drug trade in a Rio favela. Their lives also provided its inspiration: the film raised the profile worldwide of the increasingly bloody armed conflict that was swiftly engulfing urban ghettoes such as Vidigal.

"When Nós do Morro started we didn't see guns in the favela," says Fraga. "Now it's normal. I have lost a lot of people very dear to me. It is not something I can talk about." The smile disappears from his animated face, and he looks away. "Many times during rehearsals we have heard gunfights start outside between the police and the drug traffickers. We all have to get down . . . and then we get up and carry on rehearsing. We have become very resistant. It is calm now, thank goodness - until the next incursion."

For the actors of Nós do Morro, the theatre company has provided a much-needed outlet for their creativity as well as an escape route from the tough existence in the favela. For some, it has even paved the way to stardom. Roberta Rodri gues appeared in City of God and subsequently featured in one of Brazil's biggest soap operas. "City of God opened up a new profile for actors in Brazilian drama," she says. "You can now see actors on TV who look like normal people from the favelas. You see a mix of races and social types, where before it was very selective."

Thiago Martins, who also starred in City of God's excellent spin-off television series, City of Men, agrees. "It has made a difference both personally and in a wider sense. I see myself as equal now, intellectually, if not financially," he says. "We are like the representatives of the favelas in the outside world."

Both actors continue to work with Nós do Morro and to live in Vidigal, though Martins has bought his mother a new house in a safer area of the favela. "Before, we were living in what you might call the 'Gaza Strip' of the favela. Our windows were blown out and our water was always going. I thought my mother deserved something better," he says. For Rodrigues, living in Vidigal is "both a choice and a necessity. I don't want to leave my parents and the people I grew up with, or a way of life I respect. "

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Actor's Visa Rejected by Homeland Security

by Phil Gallo (Variety)

The visa application for Austrian actor Martin Niedermair has been rejected by the Dept. of Homeland Security, forcing UCLA Live to cancel the first production of its Intl. Theater Festival. Niedermair was to star in Barrie Kosky’s one-man show "The Tell-Tale Heart," which was scheduled to open Wednesday.

UCLA Live asserted that the labor union Actors’ Equity automatically rejects visiting visas to any actor performing in English, which has happened for every English-speaking production they have imported. The union has long had a role in regulating the number of acting jobs that go to foreign actors in the U.S.

"This physically challenging role was written specifically for Martin Niedermair," David Sefton, UCLA Live’s executive/artistic director, said in a statement. "It is our intention to challenge what we believe to be an unfair decision and reschedule the show later in the season." The seventh edition of the UCLA fest will now open Oct. 14.

Friday, October 3, 2008

If the World Could Vote on the US Election

As a non-partisan organization, The Internationalists don't officially support any candidate for US president in the upcoming election, but as a global entity, we'd like to draw your attention to a site that asks the world who they'd like to see running the show. Thus far over 113,000 people from 178 countries have responded. You can draw your own conclusions as to which way we're leaning.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Festival de Teatro Experimental

submitted by Jake Witlin

For those of you in and around Ecuador for the next few weeks, make sure not to miss the 11th annual FITE (festival de international theatro experimental). I had the great pleasure of taking in two shows, of which I can highly recommend both.

First, the street performers David Berga, Ferran Aixalà, Oriol Aubets, Jordi Huete, Jaume Jové, all from Spain, delight with an outdoor show of mime, mimickry and general merrymaking in EFS (¨Encara Farem Salat¨). Set against the backdrop of a funeral, the procession starts somber enough, as the four wiry actors carry a coffin thru Mariscal Foch, stopping in front of several coffee shops, where a crowd quickly gathers. Over the course of the next hour, we are taken on a humorous ride of pratfalls and wonderful mime as they try desperately to find the missing body!

The second, and more traditional show, comes from Uruguay, and was a truly unique experience. Josep Pere Peyró´s ¨Una Lluvia Irlandesa¨ is a touching and poetic look inside the psychologies of a young woman seeking to let go of a love, and the man who continually psychoanalyzes her, remarking that without feeling, there is no where else to go. Taking place inside of the hip and happening bar Pobre Diablo, the actors comfortably navigated the mess of tables and chairs, to leave the audience with a sense of wonder and awe as we voyeuristically witness the birth, then death of love without emotion. Underscored with a haunting score, it is not to be missed. Click here for more information.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fire at Egypt's National Theatre

The Associated Press
Saturday, September 27, 2008

CAIRO, Egypt: A fire destroyed the main hall of Egypt's National Theater in the heart of the downtown Cairo Saturday, wounding three firefighters, a civil defense officer said.Billowing white smoke filled the busy Ataba Square just after sunset as 22 engines responded to the alarms. Dozens of riot police also deployed to keep back onlookers. A major general with the civil defense on the scene described the fire as "almost contained," after high winds briefly drove flames into neighboring shops and buildings. Three firefighters were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. The official smoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Brig. Gen. Nasr Zakaria of the civil defense operations room told the state MENA news agency that the fire began with an electrical short that caused an explosion in the theater's air conditioning system. The fire started just before the sunset evening meal during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan while workers were performing maintenance on theater's electrical systems. "There was a big blast, then smoke started rising from the roof," said Mahmoud Osman, the owner of a shop across the square. "Then flames engulfed the whole roof area and damaged parts of the wall."

The theater was original built in 1935, but had been recently renovated.The building would have been practically deserted due to the evening meal, but was scheduled to perform popular poetry recitations later on that evening. In August, Egypt's upper house of parliament was devastated by massive fire, also in the downtown area. That fire provoked popular outrage at the incompetence of firefighters and it was described as the latest failing of a government unable to stem rising prices of basic staples. Press reports at the time focused on poor training of firefighters and the absence of sprinklers or a fire management plan for the building — features which are rare throughout Egypt, where safety rules are nonexistent or lax. Few buildings in Cairo even have smoke alarms.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How the Brits Took Over Broadway

It is no surprise to any New Yorker that the British theatre is in command of the Broadway stage. While the foolish Americans greedily produce big, gaudy, movie-based, cotton-candy musicals, the English seem to be more interested in producing quality performances that somehow always wins critical praise and Tony awards. This Sunday, in the London 'Guardian', we're informed as to how this new 'British invasion' took place. Can anyone say Andrew Lloyd Webber? Here's an excerpt and the link to the full article.

According to Eleanor Roosevelt, 'No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.' The former First Lady may have made her famous remark in a different context, but her words resonate today as British art and entertainment again dominate New York's cultural scene. For some American commentators it is as if there is still a collective colonial hangover in Manhattan, with audiences happy to prize talent from across the Atlantic above anything of their own.

Broadway's theatres are packed with UK drama, British music, British performers, even British history. The statistics match even the peaks charted in recent years. As Harry Potter's alter ego, Daniel Radcliffe, triumphs in Peter Schaffer's Equus - directed by fellow Briton Thea Sharrock - could there be more hardcore products for committed anglophiles than Maria Aitken's stylish tribute to Hitchock in The 39 Steps, the high farce of Boeing, Boeing or Robert Bolt's deft approximation of Tudor dialogue in A Man for All Seasons

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Actor, Activist, Racecar Driver and Popcorn Impresario, Paul Newman, died yesterday, at the age of 83, at his farmhouse near Westport, CT. Best known for such films as ‘Hud’, ‘The Hustler’, ‘Cool Hand Luke’, ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’, ‘The Sting’ and ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, Newman was the classic 20th century anti-hero. Here’s a link to the NYTimes Obit.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Performance Studies international Conference

The conference will take place in Zagreb, Croatia, its theme being MISPERFORMANCE: Misfiring, Misfitting, Misreading. The aim of the 15th PSi conference is to study a broad spectrum of cultural, organizational, technological and political performances by focusing on the causes and the problems of performance mistakes,misreadings, misunderstandings and misfittings – i.e., those outcomes of performance that are susceptible to provoking disturbances – even deep alterations – within diverse spheres of life: from the private to the social and political, ranging from slips of tongue, via artistic avant-garde and aborted revolutions, to environmental disasters; from ideological distortions and abuses of power to new perspectives andresistance to authorities of any kind.

The Organizing Committee of PSi #15 has decided to propose a new conference format, combining both the traditional and various non-conventional, open and flexible models of presenting, discussing and performing. While during the day conference participants present their papers in panel discussions, in the evening and late night slots they will be invited to participate in a program of shifts. Shifts are designed to accomplish a higher level of interaction between the participants in the conference, and, more specifically, between artistic and theoretical work. For more info, please visit PSi here.