Monday, June 30, 2008

YINdeYAN Movement Workshop

YINdeYAN will host an international workshop for actors in Laudio-Llodio, Spain from September 1-19, 2008. The workshop, Movement, Dynamics and Mask Playing, is taught by Pablo Ibarluzea from Spain and Sara Lewerth from Sweden, both graduates of the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris and Kulturama in Stockholm. Supported by the Basque government, the Laudio-Llodio local council can pay part of the travel and accommodations for foreign students. The price for the 75 hour workshop is 340 Euros. Learn more here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Scottish 'Bacchae' Arrives at Lincoln Center

Nice article in the NYTimes about the National Theater of Scotland’s production of Euripides’ Greek classic, The Bacchae, which opens the Lincoln Center Festival on Wednesday. I'm very pleased also that the journalist focused more on the establishment of the National Theater of Scotland, rather than star-fucking Alan Cumming. Instead she points out how the Scottish press finger-bang-banged Cumming when he returned to Scotland after a 16-year absence (not unlike our dear friend, Dionysus).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Brook does Dostoyevsky at NYTW

The Centre for International Theatre Creations/Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord and Theatre for a New Audience will co-present Marie-Hélène Estienne's adaptation of the Inquisitor section of Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov”, directed by renowned director Peter Brook at New York Theater Workshop from October 22 – November 23, 2008. The production stars Bruce Myers, a long time collaborator of Brook.

Friday, June 27, 2008

PACT Zollverein Residencies

From January to June 2009 PACT Zollverein is offering a residency program for the development and realization of projects and productions, which is open to professional artists from both Germany and abroad working in the fields of dance, performance or media art. Awarded twice yearly by jury, residencies provide artists with rehearsal space and local accommodation. By arrangement and subject to requirement, PACT Zollverein also offers its residents technical support and advisory assistance with press and public relations and dramaturgy.

A residency can incorporate the following:
> Studio space (from 63 to 173 sqm)
> Technical equipment (by arrangement and subject to availability)
> Stage rehearsals with professional technical supervision and support
> Daily professional open class
> Local accommodation (maximum 6 people)
> Professional advice in: Project funding, project management, press and public relations

Closing date for applications: August 18th 2008 (post-marked)

Click here for information in English and German.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Created for and fuelled by artists, cultural practitioners and policy makers, Culture360 is a platform to inform, collaborate, interact and exchange ideas with the arts and cultural communities across Asia and Europe. Culture360 aims to stimulate the cultural engagement between Asia and Europe and enhance greater understanding between the two regions.

Culture360 is the only multidisciplinary arts and cultural online portal with a focus on Asia and Europe. As a reference tool, and a place for dialogue, this exciting new portal will take cultural cooperation within and between Asia and Europe to a whole new level.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Iraqi Artists Flee

Iraqi singers, actors and artists are fleeing the country after dozens have been killed by Islamic radicals determined to eradicate all culture associated with the West. Cinemas, art galleries, theatres, and concert halls are being destroyed in grenade and mortar attacks in Basra and Baghdad.

According to the Iraqi Artists' Association, at least 115 singers and 65 actors have been killed since the US-led invasion, as well as 60 painters. But the terror campaign has escalated in recent months as both Shia and Sunni extremists grow ever bolder in enforcing religious restrictions on the citizens of Iraq. Those remaining are in hiding as they make preparations to get themselves and their families to safety.

Haydar Labbeb, 35, a painter in Baghdad, said he had received five death threats and an attempt was made on his life as he drove his family home from a wedding. He is now trying to get to Amman in Jordan, where he hopes to continue painting.

'My art is seen by extremists as too modern and offensive to Islamic beliefs,' he said. 'For them, every painting has to be based on Islamic culture. But I am a modern artist. Life for artists in Iraq has turned into hell. We have been forced to stay in our homes and to stop working. I don't remember the last time I saw an exhibition, or a singer at a club, or an actor at a local theatre. All of us have been prohibited from working as a result of the killings.'

The Iraqi Ministry of Culture estimates that about 80 per cent of singers and other artists have now fled. In November Seif Yehia, 23, was beheaded for singing western songs at weddings, and painter Ibraheem Sadoon was shot dead as he drove through Baghdad. In February Sunni fighters killed Waleed Dahi, 27, a young actor, while he rehearsed for a play due to open at the Jordanian National Theatre this month.

Culture was encouraged during Saddam's regime, but no longer. Abu Nur, an Islamic Army spokesman, said: 'Acting, theatre and television encourage bad behaviour and irreligious attitudes. They promote customs that affect the morality of our traditional society.'

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Middle East America

submitted by our friend and colleague, Eyad Houssami, currently splitting his time between Amman, Beirut and Damascus on a Fulbright.

Three theater organizations from across the United States (Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, the Lark Play Development Center in New York, and Silk Road Theatre Project in Chicago) are collaborating to form Middle East America: A National New Plays Initiative. This initiative represents the first national effort to actively cultivate and support development of Middle Eastern-American playwrights and their plays.

Middle East America will provide a $10,000 commission to a Middle Eastern-American playwright to write a new play. Awarded through an application process, the prize also provides intensive developmental support from the Lark, possible productions at Golden Thread Productions and Silk Road Theatre Project, and travel expenses for the writer to be present at all stages of the process.

The Initiative is designed to encourage other theatres, both American and international, to produce work from Middle Eastern-American writers, and hopefully, in doing so, creatively challenge the lack of representation and one-dimensional, stereotypical depiction of persons of Middle Eastern descent often seen on America’s stages.

Applications are due July 31. The selected writer will be announced in September 2008. For more information and application guidelines on Middle East America: A National New Plays Initiative, visit:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jeune Lune Shuts Down

After 30 years, Minneapolis' Theatre de la Jeune Lune is closing. The board of directors, after a very emotional meeting Saturday, voted to shut down the theatre to fill a $1 million budget gap. Only 3 years after winning the Tony Award for best regional theatre, Jeune Lune’s space will be sold to repay the debt. Read the full article here.

Theatre de la Jeune Lune was born in 1978 when Parisians Serrand and Gracieux joined up with Berlovitz, a Minnesotan, after completing studies at the International Theater School of Jacques Lecoq in Paris. In its early years, the group split its time and its performances between France and the United States. The name they took translates as "Theater of the New Moon" and comes from a poem by Bertolt Brecht, reflecting the company's vision to discover the new in the old.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Callow's Curtain Call

An amusing and insightful little article by UK actor and writer Simon Callow on the art of the curtain call. Here's the first paragraph.

"One of the most universally held beliefs about the theatre is that performers are applause junkies, living for that moment at the end of the evening when they step down to the footlights and gratefully accept their reward. My own experience - and, I think, that of many of my colleagues - has been rather different. Most of us do not view the curtain call with relish. What matters much more is what has passed between us and the audience over the course of the evening. Of course that may involve applause - especially if it's a musical - but even then, it's the minute-by-minute interplay (as often as not silent) that really counts; the sense of communication, the engagement with an audience. It is generally the case that an audience who have laughed and applauded a great deal during the show will be less forthcoming at the curtain call: they've done their bit, and the final bringing together of hands is more a formality than anything else."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kosova & Canada do Punch & Judy

Submitted by our friend and colleague, Jeton Neziraj, currently the Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Kosova.

Punch and Judy Murder Love is described by the playwrights as "a cartoon for adults in 12 episodes". The famous traditional puppet characters of Punch & Judy are brought to life in modern times, facing all the problems and challenges of a modern relationship between two psychopaths. Punch is an insecure Austrian who behaves like Hitler; Judy is a neurotic Hungarian porn star. The clever but lazy Arlecchino is their not-so-willing servant in trying to bridge the communication gap that exists between languages and cultures.

The play takes place in 12 separate "episodes" which, like cartoons, feature the same characters in different eras and circumstances. The language is Albanian mixed with nonsense Hungarian, German, and Italian. Playwright Jeton Neziraj and playwright/director Michael Devine worked with actors in 2 countries, Canada and Kosova, to develop the improvisational structure of the play. A little bit naughty, a little bit provocative, and extremely silly, Punch and Judy Murder Love is a play about ethno-centrism and the war between men and women, otherwise known as love.

Punch and Judy Murder Love is designed and directed by Michael Devine and features Ernest Malazogu (Punch), Alban Morina (Arlecchino), and Xhejlane Terbunja (Judy). It premieres at the Prizren Professional Theatre on June 21, 2008.

Friday, June 20, 2008

TKTS comes to BKLN

Starting July 10, discount tickets to Broadway shows will be offered at the new TKTS booths opening at MetroTech. The Theatre Development Funds already runs two booths in Manhattan, offering tickets up to 50% their regular price. More than 50 million tickets have been sold since it opened in 1973. TKTS doesn’t offer tickets to any Brooklyn events yet, but that is about to change, as BAM and other groups looks to sell at the booths as well. In the 1980s Brooklyn had a TKTS booth, first on Fulton St. and then on Montague St., but after dismal sales, it closed in 1993. TKTS Brooklyn will be open Monday-Friday, 11 AM-6 PM.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dubai-Owned Cirque du Soleil?

Cirque du Soleil is denying reports that an oil-rich Dubai investment fund has approached the Canadian company with a takeover bid. British media reports say an investment arm of the Kingdom of Dubai has offered the equivalent of close to $2-billion for the wildly successful Montreal-based circus company.

"Cirque du Soleil is not for sale," Cirque spokesperson Renée-Claude Ménard said, calling the reports "rumour and speculation."

When asked whether Cirque du Soleil has received any interest specifically from Dubai, Ms. Ménard wrote: "We do not comment on which organizations or individuals we have conversations with."

Last year, Cirque du Soleil announced a partnership with Dubai-based Nakheel, which describes itself as the world's largest privately held real estate developer. The 15-year deal will see a new, resident (as opposed to touring) Cirque show offered at a purpose-built location in Dubai, beginning in 2010.

This year, Cirque will offer 18 different shows around the world, including 9 resident shows (6 in Vegas). Close to 80 million people have seen a Cirque show since '84, according to the company.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Open Society Institute's ACNP Grants

The Open Society Institute's Arts and Culture Network Program (ACNP) makes grants to individuals and organizations to support projects that draw on the power of culture, in particular artistic and expressive culture, to help build and maintain open societies.

Grants are awarded in three program areas:
1. Enhancing Collaborative Practices: Professional Development - Collaborative Artistic Production
2. Developing Public Cultural Spaces: Capacity-Building - Public Cultural Events
3. Roma Cultural Program: Professional Development - Individual or Collaborative Artistic Production - Capacity-Building - Public Cultural Events

Enhancing Collaborative Practices and Developing Public Cultural Spaces support projects that include activities in one or more of the following countries:
Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The Roma Cultural Program supports projects that include activities in one or more of the following countries:
Afghanistan, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Preference will be given to applicants based in these countries, although partners or collaborators in other countries may be included as participants in grant-supported activities. Applications will be reviewed approximately every two months, and applicants will be notified of ACNP’s funding decision within one month of review. Applicants will be advised of the anticipated notification date upon submission of an application. Applications must be submitted electronically, in English or Russian, on the downloadable Application Form available at

Rita Bakradze
Program CoordinatorArts and Culture Network Program
Open Society Institute Budapest
H-1051 Budapest, Oktober 6. utca 12.
Phone: +36 1 3273100
Fax: +36 1 3273121

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weak $ = More Tourism + Higher Costs

With NY awards season finally over (and many shows getting a post-Tony bump in sales), Gordon Cox of ‘Variety’ writes about the ‘double-edged sword’ facing American producers. Though the weak dollar has meant a rise in international tourism, it also means a steep increase in production costs for anyone mounting plays from abroad. See full article here.

“For the nonprofit presenters whose main goal is to bring international legit fare to a largely local aud, the dollar's slippage proves a major hindrance.

"Brooklyn Academy of Music is a global performing and cinema arts center," says BAM exec producer Joseph V. Melillo. "A weak dollar eats right into our operating budget."

"We pay international artists their fees, we transport them by air, we bring them to New York City and give them a per diem," Melillo chimes in. "If you're doing that in pounds sterling, you feel the impact. For us, it means more fund-raising. It means higher ticket prices."

Newer, smaller orgs can have an even tougher time. "It's not a happy situation for Under the Radar or for smaller presenters," says Mark Russell, the former A.D. of small-scale international presenter P.S. 122 and current topper of the Public Theater's Under the Radar fest of new legit works. "We're having to do fewer pieces and cut our seasons down. It comes around to the fact that often, international troupes are subsidizing a tour of the U.S. themselves."

At St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, a current production of Macbeth from Polish troupe TR Warszawa has seen costs spiral to around $700,000, rising by about $200,000. "What's hurting the most is the devaluation of the dollar," says St. Ann's A.D., Susan Feldman. "You'll make a deal and then the dollar drops. It adds tens of thousands of dollars to the budget." (Macbeth is co-funded by the Polish Cultural Institute.)

Whether to pay relocating artists in their own currency or in dollars therefore becomes an issue. "It's good for our gang when they go overseas, because they get paid in euros," notes Russell. "But when I end up paying them in dollars, they don't like it. It makes it harder to keep them interested."

Still, Gotham orgs have the prestige of the New York arts scene working in their favor. "Breaking into this market is of interest," Russell says. "Artists aren't going to take a reduced fee to go to Piscataway."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Arab Fund Call for Proposals

submitted by our friend and colleague, Eyad Houssami, currently splitting his time between Amman, Beirut and Damascus on a Fulbright.

The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture aims at simulating and supporting artistic creativity and freedom of cultural expression in the Arab World.

The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture (AFAC) is a non profit organization providing direct financial assistance to independent artists and cultural institutions across the Arab region. AFAC invites individuals, NGOs, cultural and educational organizations, governmental bodies and private companies working in culture and arts in the Arab World to send in project proposals in the fields of:

1. Independent Filmmaking
2. Performing Arts
3. Visual Arts
4. Literature
5. Research
6. Capacity Building and Training
7. Regional Cultural Events and Regional Exchange

Application should be completed in Arabic and sent by no later than 30 September 2008 to:

Or in a sealed envelope addressed to:
Arab Fund for Arts & Culture
Amman 11118, Jordan Po Box 1402

Application form, guidelines and frequently asked questions can be downloaded from their website:

"Confirmation of receipts" emails will be sent by email to applicants.
If you have any questions write to us at:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

US Performing Artists' Tax Break Legislation

New York Senator Chuck Schumer and California Senator Dianne Feinstein announced plans Thursday to introduce legislation that would make it easier for more actors and performing artists to deduct business expenses from their taxes.

Under the new legislation, artists earning less than $30,000 a year would be able to write off performance-related expenses such as head shots, audition tapes, and transportation to and from auditions.

The legislation would update the current tax law concerning actors, which was passed in 1986, and allows those making less than $16,000 annually to deduct business expenses. The updated legislation would also allow performing artists to claim business expenses as adjustments to income, rather than having to write these expenses off as itemized deductions.
Mr. Schumer said more than 36,000 New York actors would now qualify for the tax break. "This tax code is so outdated, it's more appropriate for court jesters from the Middle Ages than for today's performing artists," said Sen. Schumer.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

EU Culture Ministers Pledge To Boost Artists' Mobility

The mobility of artists and other cultural workers within Europe featured prominently among policy priorities for the next two years adopted by European Union culture ministers. The proposal forms part of a wider set of recommendations for a 'Work Plan for Culture 2008-2010'.

The ministers agreed to set up a working group comprised of national experts to develop ways to improve the mobility of artists and "other professionals in the cultural field". The experts will explore ways of boosting cooperation between Brussels and national capitals, primarily by studying existing national practices to suggest "ways of improving the regulatory conditions and related administrative processes for mobility".

What's more, the working group will "suggest solutions at the national and Community levels" to explore ways in which national and EU-level initiatives could "include mobility in the professional training curricula of artists and culture professionals. Other priorities identified include boosting access to culture by promoting cultural heritage, multilingualism, digitization and cultural tourism.

Ministers asked the Commission to carry out a study on the mobility of cultural workers in Europe by October 2008 and publish recommendations on the feasibility of developing a "comprehensive EU-wide system of information on mobility in the cultural sector" by the end of the year. The Council working groups will meet three times a year between now and the end of 2010, and are expected to submit their mid-term reports by July 2009.

Friday, June 13, 2008

American Artists in the Workforce

The National Endowment for the Arts has released a study, based on U.S. Census Bureau results, titled Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005. This is the first nationwide profile of professional artists in the 21st century. As the NYTimes reports, “If every artist in America’s work force banded together, their ranks would be double the size of the United States Army."

The study found that there are almost 2 million artists, or roughly 1.4 percent of the labor force, and that they earn a collective $70 billion annually, or $35,000 per capita. The study found that men make up for 54 percent of the artistic population, a percentage that has fluctuated little over the past 30 years. The number of African-American artists has remained steady at 5 percent of the artistic population between 1990 and 2005, while Hispanic, Asian and Native American artists increased from 9 percent to 15 percent. About 13 percent of people who say their primary occupation is artist also hold a second job — about twice the rate that other people in the labor force work two jobs.

California claims the most actors per capita, Nevada the most dancers and entertainers, Vermont the most writers, Tennessee the most musicians, New Mexico the most fine artists, Massachusetts the most architects and designers (including, among others, commercial, fashion, floral, graphic, interior designers and window dressers), Hawaii the most photographers and North Dakota (where radio shows abound) the most announcers. In 2005, there were nearly 40,000 people in the United States whose primary job was acting, a 10.6 increase from the previous 10 years. According to the study, out of the current acting population, 45.1 percent are women, 23.4 percent are minorities, 58.6 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the median age is 35.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Polish Director, Brooklyn Production, 'Scottish' Play

Melena Ryzik write a great article about Polish director, Grzegorz Jarzyna’s wholesale production of Macbeth, hosted by St. Ann’s and staged on a specially constructed, two-story stage in the roofless, 19th-century Tobacco Warehouse in Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn. The production, which took over two years and $700K to get to NY, will open for a two week run next Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NEA New Play Development Program

The NEA New Play Development Program (NPDP) is a new leadership initiative created by the National Endowment for the Arts and managed by Arena Stage. The program will support the process and production of new American plays. This is the first round of the new program, through which a total of seven projects will be selected, developed, and documented over the course of the next two and half years. The Program is open to nonprofit, professional theaters or a consortium of theaters who apply in collaboration with a playwright. The Program Director is David Dower, Associate Artistic Director at Arena Stage. The Program Coordinator is Arena Stage’s Vijay Mathew. You can reach them at, or by calling 202.554.9066 x1215. Intent to apply deadline is June 20, 2008 and the application postmark deadline is July 31, 2008. Click here for the full guidelines and application.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Theatre for One

Mark Ravenhill discusses the current trend of theatre artists seeking out smaller spaces and audiences, and asks what’s wrong with the mass shared experience? Below is an excerpt from the full blog post.

In our individualistic world, it could be that every cultural form is gradually being transformed into a private experience. Music, once the public marker of religion and carnival, has now largely become something we plug into our ears to keep the world at a distance. Ghetto-blasting cars and groups of teenagers playing music from their mobile phones are seen as noise polluters. It's almost unthinkable that a family would sit down together and listen to the "wireless", as we did in huge numbers for several decades. Now, the most popular use of the radio is to fill the private space of our cars during rush hour - drivetime. The television has made a similar retreat, with individuals watching TV in their own rooms, often on a PC or laptop.

You would think that the theatre, that most public of acts, would resist this transformation into private experience. Yet, increasingly, directors, actors and writers seem to be seeking out smaller and smaller spaces for their work: this week, the Royal Court theatre in London opened a play in an upstairs meeting room, a room which seats only 30 people. The Edinburgh fringe regularly debuts a clutch of shows performed in cars, cupboards and kitchens.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Calanchi International Theatre Festival

The Calanchi International Theatre Festival in the Republic of San Marino invites artists to submit projects for the 6th annual festival which will be help from October 3-12, 2008. The organizers will provide the necessary technical equipment, as well as promotional material and marketing. They will also cover the expenses for food and accommodation, and pay 800 Euros for artist fees. Note that they prefer visual/dance/non-verbal theatre, opposed to language/text heavy material. The deadline for submission is June 21. To apply send a DVD and annexed schedule to the following address. Here’s a link the website.

A.C.T. Bradipoteatar - Calanchi
Via Raffonella, 5
47897 Fiorentino
Republic of San Marino

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Oskar Eustis

Nice article about Oskar Eustis and his current tenure at the Public.

My favorite quote is “How do you say yes in a way that is realistic, and how do you say no when you need to say no, and how do you get the resources to say yes when you want to?”

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Orchard Project

Up at The Orchard Project this weekend in the Catskills. Not only is it nice to get out of the City for the weekend, it's even nicer now, since it's nearing 100 in NYC. My dear friends, Ari Edelson and Meredith McDonough, are up all month running this fantastic program. The OP is an incubator for world class and cutting edge theatre, providing companies an opportunity to intensively develop new work. I'll be leading a workshop on 'Simplicity' with the apprentice company, and tonight and tomorrow, will have a chance to see new work being developed by Pig Iron/Teatre Slava and Tectonic Theatre Project.

Friday, June 6, 2008

UK Visa Woes for African Artists

Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the (Thames) water, more complications arise from the UK Visa system, especially for African artists. As there are few consulates in many African countries, many artists have to travel to another neighboring nation just to be fingerprinted. The £200 fee obviously doesn’t cover the cost of airfare or tour expenses, so these already struggling artists usually have to cancel their shows. Read about Konono No 1’s struggle, as well as others, to get to London.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The American Model in the German System

Check out this great article from the NYTimes that specially focuses on the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and how it has Americanized its not-for-profit festival. Europe as a whole, and Germany in particular has always had a strong subsidized arts culture. Just a few years ago it would have been unthinkable to ask private donors and foundations for money. But now that the cuts to public funding are increasing, organizations are being forced to rethink their fundraising activities. Here’s a taste.

"It’s a trans-Atlantic looking-glass situation. Germany alone this year, including all city, state and federal support, will dole out a total of $12.4 billion on culture — libraries, theaters, museums, musical and dance groups — including $4.6 billion just for music and theater, according to the country’s department for statistics. There are no fewer than 80 state opera houses, staging 7,000 performances a year.

That sounds great, astonishing even. But the system, bloated and not everywhere well managed, inevitably produces much mediocrity. The reality is that about 20 percent of the budget for Berlin’s three struggling opera companies today must come from private contributions. Bayreuth scrambles to raise nearly half its budget from donations and ticket sales. It would have gone bankrupt by now if donors hadn’t made up for deficits due to bad leadership."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

An End to "Never on Sunday"?

Starting in September, the National Theatre in London will offer Sunday matinees at 3 o'clock. This breaks the long standing tradition of not producing plays on the ‘Lord’s Day’. Looks like, in addition to films, concerts and exhibitions, theatre will be yet another activity that the Brits can participate on the 'day of rest’. As Michael Billington predicts, within a year or so, all London theatres will follow suit. Check out the Guardian blog for the whole scoop.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Singapore's Renaissance

When Singapore’s Esplanade arts complex opened in 2002, there was strong opposition from the media and business establishments. They wanted to know how the government justified such a costly development ($461M) in a country where so few people cared about the arts, and how the hell were they going to fill the 2000 seat complex. Six years later, the critics have been silenced as the Esplanade has become Singapore’s cultural heart. With its 1600-seat concert hall, two theatre studios which each seat 200-250 people, outdoor performance space and foyer art displays, the centre is an example of how aggressively Singapore has grabbed the cultural baton and run with it. Read more from 'The Australian' article here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Necessity of Theater

Paul Woodruff, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has written a book that was reviewed this past week in the Sunday Times Book Review. The Necessity of Theater: the Art of Watching and Being Watched posits that “People need theater…to secure our bare, naked cultural survival.” The text is loosely modeled on the Poetics and, like Aristotle, Woodruff breaks down and defines what he considers the five kinds of theater (“mimetic,” “everyday,” “extreme,” “art” and “theater of presence”). Leah Hagar Cohen’s critique is thorough, and I look forward to reading the book (once I can afford it). If anyone has a chance to read it, please feel free to throw in your two cents about its content.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

NY's International Seasonal Round-Up

With the Tonys coverage flooding the pages of the NYTimes, it’s nice to know someone is paying attention to what’s going on outside of midtown Manahttan. Once again, kudos of Jason Zinoman for shining a spotlight on international work. Here’s a little excerpt and link to the full article.

In the last year I have seen shows in Off Broadway theaters from, among other places, Argentina, Canada, England, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Poland, Russia and Scotland. New York is as much a global theater capital as ever, so why doesn’t it always seem that way?

In part it’s because the cultural world has been slowly shrinking for decades. It has been a long time since Howard Taubman in The New York Times wondered why American artists didn’t do more to welcome those from abroad. “Did they think they had nothing to learn from the visitors?” he asked in 1967 in an article about a New York meeting of the International Theater Institute, an organization designed to foster discussion within the industry.

Broadway sticks to a diet of prestige dramas from London while BAM, Lincoln Center Festival and LaMaMa E.T.C. are known for the strength of the adventurous foreign work they host. In the last couple of years a new generation of globetrotting producers, some of whom were born abroad (including Vallejo Gantner of Performance Space 122 and Peter Tear, who runs 59E59 Theaters with Elysabeth Kleinhans), has become more aggressive in pursuing international work…The result has been an excellent season for foreign shows.