Friday, January 30, 2009

Europe's Lab for Culture Website

Specifically for our friends in Europe, but for anyone interested in what's shaking in regards to news, funding and resources, I want to turn your attention to This is a network for information on European arts and culture. "Linking you across borders." It's available in English, German, French, Italian, Polish and Spanish. Their most recent posting is call "How can the cultural sector survive the financial crisis?"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

IFA InteatroFestival Academy

IFA InteatroFestival Academy is the name of the professional artistic project promoted and founded in 2006 by Inteatro. Every year, young artists of various nationalities have the possibility to stay for a long period in Villa Nappi, in order to work with established artists.

The program has 12 vacancies for young artists / performers aged between 18 and 32 years, of different nationalities, who want to gain experience in research and training for the development of their practice.

IFA 2009 will start on Monday May 18th and will end on July 4th 2009. During their weeks in residency, the participants will explore their working methods and theatrical languages, with international artistic directors and performers, who will guide them in their personal and artistic growth.

Among the Mentors who have already confirmed their participation: Rosa Casado (Madrid), Cláudia Dias (Lisbon), Gustavo Frigerio (Rome), Jan Ritsema (St Erme Outre et Ramecourt) and Aydin Teker (Istanbul).

The participants will have the possibility to develop their personal projects within the planned working sessions. The course is intensive, and attendance is mandatory. The working sessions will take place in the morning, afternoons or evenings as decided by the mentors and for a maximum of 8 hours per day in the spaces of Villa Nappi and Teatro della Luna in Polverigi. Days off will also be agreed with the Mentors. Click here for the full application.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Churchill's Play for Gaza at the Royal Court

The Royal Court in London has wasted no time responding to the recent crisis in Gaza, and all thanks to Caryl Churchill’s breakneck pen-pace. Her new play, Seven Jewish Children – A Play for Gaza, is ten-minutes long, starts rehearsals this week, and will begin performances on February 6th through the 21st after Marius von Mayenburg's The Stone. The free performance will hold a collection after the show for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians. After its run at the Royal Court, Churchill will put the play up online and let anyone, anywhere perform it, copyright free, as long as they raise money for the people in Gaza. Read the Guardian article here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Will Arts Play a Part in the Economic Recovery?

Arts leaders in the U.S. are urging Obama not to overlook the role the arts should play in the economic recovery. With the departure of Dana Gioia, Bush's chairman of the NEA, Obama has yet to name a successor. Funds for the N.E.A. have declined to $145 million in FY09 from $176 million in '92. Read the full NYTimes article here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Advice for the Arts Council England

Since the U.S. doesn’t have anything like a Ministry of Culture or an Arts Council (and let’s not pretend the NEA comes even remotely close), I was curious to hear what advice professionals had for Liz Forgan, the incoming head of the Arts Council England. What agenda should be set forth for the coming year in arts policy, especially in the wake of the announcement that the U.K., like the U.S., is also in a recession? That’s the question Imogen Carter in the ‘Guardian’ to people like Phil Redmond, Penny Woolcock, Alex Poots, Josie Rourke, Steven Parissien, Nicholas Hytner, Michael Boyd, Ekow Eshun and Vicky Featherstone. Read what they had to say here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Community Theatre or Theatre Community?

For time immemorial, the phrase ‘community theatre’ has been synonymous with poor quality and performance, but now that it’s become harder and harder, both socially and economically, to connect to audiences, potential funders are calling for greater engagement with the Average Joe. Lyn Gardner from the London ‘Guardian’ travelled to the Wildworks Theatre Company to see if they possibly had the solution. Read an excerpt below and the full article here.

"Community participation is a growth area in theatre at the moment. There's funding available, for one thing, particularly when there's talk of regeneration and legacy, two persuasive buzzwords when it comes to convincing politicians that the arts are a jolly good thing. But how do you really get the community involved? Stories abound of dubiously ethical projects where theatre companies descend like vultures, then depart when they've torn the meat from the bones. Sometimes the community makes it clear that they don't want the project at all: a major musical collaboration between The Shout and Protein Dance had to be cancelled at short notice during last year's Brighton festival, when it became apparent that it would be impossible to put together the required choir.

But some companies are clearly getting it right. I am in Devonport, near Plymouth, where upstairs in the Oddfellows Club on Ker Street, a lesson in community engagement is taking place. The teacakes and the biscuits have been laid out and the room is buzzing. This is a tea party organised by Wildworks theatre company, whose community-based project The Beautiful Journey will premiere inside the Devonport naval yard in June. The show will explore the spirit of ships, shipyards and the people who live nearby."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nikolai Roshchin's New ARTO Theater

John Freedman had once again written a great profile for the Moscow Times’ Context. This one is about director Nikolai Roshchin, his new theater ARTO and his new version of Leonid Andreyev’s Savva. Ignis Sanat. Below is an opening excerpt and here is the link to the full article.

“Nikolai Roshchin is a director who is not only willing, but eager, to tell people what they may prefer not to know. His can be an ominous theater, one that relies on the theatrical equivalent of fire and brimstone to get its points across. The examples are myriad, but I'll limit myself to one: Last year in Mystery-Bouffe, Roshchin abruptly dropped a forest of nooses over spectators' heads during a scene touching on the topic of what political leaders may do to achieve their ends.

Roshchin has always been a large canvas artist. His productions are boldly visual and invariably employ grandiose, complex sets, such as the scale-model sea schooner that sailed right up to the front row of spectators in School of Fools. Now comes Savva. Ignis Sanat, Roshchin's first fully independent production since establishing his own ARTO Theater and acquiring his own theatrical home in a small space near Turgenevskaya Ploshchad."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama on My Mind

Right on the heels of his historic inauguration yesterday is the announcement of a new musical based on the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Featuring a book, music and lyrics by American film maker and crime writer Teddy Hayes, Obama on my Mind will open in the UK (Islington) in March. Featuring pop, jazz, gospel and soft rock, the show will be directed by Tim McArthur with musical direction by Chris Jerome. Visit to purchase tickets or just have a good laugh.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Michael Jackson - The Musical

If Broadway needs any tips as to how to stay afloat in these hard economic times, they need not look any further than the West End and the recent opening of the jukebox musical to top all jukebox musicals. That’s right folks, it’s come to this – ‘Thriller Live’. The King of Pop may not be in the production, but more than 30 of his chart topping songs are. As there is no real plot or dialogue, it’s more of a tribute concert, but, hey, it could be worse, and no doubt, it’s headed that way. We’re bound to encounter a Britney Spears muscial one of these days. Read the WSJ article here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

5th International Festival of Making Theater

The 5th International Festival of Making Theater will be held in Athens, Greece from July 5th – 12th 2009. During a whole week of creative interaction, Theater Makers from different parts of the world will have the opportunity to share and get acquainted with new working methods and ideas, regarding the following three sectors: Acting, Movement and Voice. For more information visit

In.F.o.Ma.T.’s preparation plan will be completed in two phases: • The first phase - completed by March 31st 2009 - regards the INVITATION for TEACHERS. Teachers are considered all acting, movement and voice teachers. Their response will finalise the festival’s syllabus which will be announced no later than April 30th 2009. • The second phase - which will be completed by June 30th 2009 - regards the INVITATION for PARTICIPANTS. Participants are considered all those interested in attending the festival’s workshops. English will be the official language of the festival.

INVITATION for TEACHERS Theater of Changes invites acting, movement and voice teachers to take part in the 5th International Festival of Making Theater (In.F.o.Ma.T.) which will be held July 5th – 12th 2009, at the Theater of Changes, 19a 3is Septemvriou str, 104 32, Athens, Greece. The selected teachers will have the opportunity to present their work three times to a different group of participants each time, over a three-hour workshop. Furthermore, teachers - in their turn - will be able to witness and keep themselves updated with other teachers' methods and working techniques.

The selection will be completed in three phases: a) All teachers should express their interest by sending an email with all the necessary information (short CV, workshop description, max 50 words). b) Agreeing with the terms and conditions that will be emailed as a preapproval, teachers should send the official Application Form no later than February 28th 2009. c) Having sent the official Application Form, the selected teachers will receive the final approval of their participation at the Festival. No final approvals will be made after March 31st. ATTENTION!!! Do not send the Application Form if you have not completely understood and accepted the terms and condition of the Festival.

Friday, January 16, 2009

‘Exit the King’ Enters Broadway Line-up

Geoffrey Rush will star in a Americanized version of
Eugene Ionesco's Exit the King along with Susan Sarandon, Lauren Ambrose and Andrea Martin. Rush starred in the play at the Belvoir St. Theatre in Sydney last year. Australian director Neil Armfield will helm the production which he also translated along with Rush. Performances will begin March 7 at the Barrymore Theatre with an official opening March 26; the limited engagement will run through June 14.

According to the press release, Exit the King "is a hilarious and poignant comedy about a megalomaniacal ruler, King Berenger (Rush) whose incompetence has left his country in near ruin. Despite the efforts of Queen Marguerite (Sarandon) and the other members of the court to convince the King he has only 90 minutes left to live, he refuses to relinquish any control."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oberender to Stay as Director of Salzburg Festival

Thomas Oberender will not step down as Director of the Salzburg Festival as previously announced. Oberender claimed creative differences for his early departure and said the last 3 seasons were “the most painful time of my life”. He told the AP that disagreements and personal conflicts with management led to his early departure. Ulla Kalchmair, the Festival spokeswoman, said that Oberender would stay on, and in an email, that his contract would be reinstated thru 2011.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Josef Fritzl Incest Soap Opera to Open in Vienna

A German producer once told me she thought the English-language theatre (primarily Broadway and the West End) were all about appealing to the lowest common denominator and filling the houses with as many people as they could, where German-language theatre in Austria, Germany and Switzerland were about alienating as many people as possible. This theory may be put to the test soon. The 3raum-anatomietheater in Vienna says it will mount a satirical soap opera based on Josef Fritzl, the man accused of holding his daughter captive for 24 years and fathered her 7 children. Fritzl, whose trail is set for March, is accused of rape, incest, false imprisonment, enslavement and murder. The production is being directed by the well-known Austrian comedian, Hubsi Kramer, who, in the past, attempted to attend Vienna’s Opera Ball dressed as Adolf Hitler. The show is titled Fritzl’s Bed and Breakfast and opens February 23.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MAKE: Theatre Forum Ireland: 22-29 March 2009

MAKE is a collaborative initiative by Dublin Fringe Festival, Project Arts Centre and Theatre Forum, committed to the generation of new performance work. It will take the form of a residential laboratory open to Irish and international artists, whereby ideas for new performance works will be developed with the assistance of renowned international theatre artists Florian Malzacher, Richard Gregory and Gerardo Naumann. Over the course of one week, 15 practitioners will come together at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annnaghmakerrig. Their purpose there will have an expressed emphasis on creating new work with assistance, mentoring and support, rather than learning specific skills or techniques. The week long laboratory will culminate in a short showing of the work they have developed over the course of the week. The emphasis of this workshop will be on the generation of new performance work outside of the traditional writer-led model. Click here for more information about the program and how to apply.

Monday, January 12, 2009

U.S. Increases Regulations for Visa Waiver Nations

Effective today, Monday, January 12th, citizens and nationals from all Visa Waiver eligible countries must have approval through the ESTA system before traveling to the United States on a Visa Waiver. Visit ESTA for more information. The Visa Waiver program allows persons from certain countries to travel here for purposes of business or tourism for a period of 90 days or less without a visa. Last year, 7 new countries were added to the list: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Malta. The other eligible countries are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Iraqi Theatre Reappears

This is an article from 'Variety' by Bryan Pearson published January 7, 2009

BAGHDAD -- With security improving throughout Iraq, once-ubiquitous theater groups are starting to reappear. The National Theater led the way in October when it staged a series of evening performances for the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003. The National Theater led the way in October when it staged a series of evening performances for the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.

Playwright Ali Hussein's biting satire "Bring the King, Bring Him," marked the Eid al-Fitr holiday -- one of the most important on the Muslim calendar. Because violence is still a real and present danger in the Iraqi capital, theatergoers were forced to make their way to the perfs on foot, and police closed off roads near the venue.

Security was as tight for a series of performances of yet another satire (Dec. 21-23) in the western city of Kut, capital of Wasit province, which was handed back to Iraqi security control by U.S. forces in late October.

But as a measure of the improvement in security in Kut, which until March was under the control of Shiite militiamen, some 500 people turned out for each of the three performances of the play, dubbed "Mud House" because the actors are from an Iraqi sitcom of the same name.
With local elections set for the end of January, the importance of voting was as much a focus of the play as the effects of administrative corruption -- always a favorite theme with Iraqi audiences.

"Using a play as a way to educate people helps to get important messages out to the audience through comedy, and the popularity of 'Mud House' definitely gets people out to see the show," said U.S. military official Staff Sgt. Melissa Powell, who helped organize the event.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Testing the Boundaries of Drama in Syria

A recent performance of Al Muhajiran, Samer Omran’s adaptation of Slawomir Mrozek’s Polish play, The Emigrants, has caused a stir on the streets of Damascus. The drama, being presented at the Al Qazzazine air-raid shelter, is about the dark intimacy of two exiled compatriots, and has been a nearly impossible ticket to get. Read the full article from 'The National' here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sec. of the Arts and Arts Stimulus Plan Petitions

Here are two petitions for U.S. citizens to our soon-to-be-president and new Congress to help them make the arts a vital and necessary part of American life. As of this posting, over 16,000 people have signed this first petition encouraging President-elect Obama, upon the recommendation of Quincy Jones, to create a Secretary of the Arts cabinet position. The second petition encourages the new Congress to dedicate 1% of the upcoming economic stimulus package for funding for the arts. Visit both sites and sign today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Faculty Positions in Theatre at NYU Abu Dhabi

New York University is establishing a campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and invites applications for faculty positions at various levels (assistant, associate or full professor).

The Arts Program of NYUAD will offer a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural curriculum for study of the arts and training in artistic practice within the context of a broad liberal arts education. They are looking for extraordinary faculty who have either previously inaugurated programs or have the combination of qualities to design and implement an inter-arts curriculum in a global environment.

They encourage applicants in all fields of theatre and performance, including acting and design, theatre history, drama, and performance studies; however, they have a particular interest in comparative approaches to performance traditions and world theatre. Preferred candidates will have an active agenda of creative or scholarly work and significant undergraduate teaching. Ph.D. or M.F.A. at time of appointment is expected. Successful applicants will be able to integrate themselves within the trans-national culture of the Emirates and would be open to re-thinking their own disciplinary boundaries within an innovative arts curriculum.

The teaching load is three undergraduate courses per year (semester system), including one in the core curriculum. The terms of employment are competitive compared to U.S. benchmarks and include housing and educational subsidies for children. Faculty may spend time at NYU in New York and at its other global campuses. The appointment may begin as soon as September 1, 2009 but could be delayed until September 1, 2010.

Moreover, NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi will be integrally connected, together forming the foundation of a unique global network university, actively linked as well to NYU's study and research sites on five continents. NYU Abu Dhabi's first class of students will arrive in fall 2010; its research and public programs have commenced this fall.

The review of applications will begin on December 15, 2008 and will continue until the positions are filled. Please send curriculum vitae, statement of research and teaching interests, plus names and address of three referees via email to, or send a hard copy to: NYUAD Arts Search Committee, New York University, 70 Washington Sq. South, Rm. 1242, New York, NY 10012. Information concerning the faculty, programs, facilities and benefits of NYU Abu Dhabi, can be obtained at: NYU Abu Dhabi is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

China's Broadway

Now that Broadway has closed (9 shows concluded runs on Sunday), who better to take up the baton but China? As reported in Variety, Beijing is constructing a 32-theater complex to the tune of $686 million, which will feature Western musicals and other shows year-round. Being built by Beijing Shibo Real Estate in the city’s Haidian district, the biggest theater will seat 2000 people, while the others will accommodate between 300 to 500 audience members. With the success of such recent imports as The Lion King and Hairspray, the complex expects to produce more than 100 shows a year.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 European Capitals of Culture: Vilnius & Linz

Vilnius, Lithuania and Linz, Austria are the European Capitals of Culture for 2009. Check out their respective websites for the year’s upcoming programs: Vilnius and Linz.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Where's the Arts Bailout?

Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, has written an article for the 'Washington Post' about the current U.S. government bailouts of the financial markets, and asks where the ones are for the arts. He comments on what many of us in the arts community already knew, that “in the past few months, dozens of opera companies, theater companies, dance organizations, museums and symphonies have either closed or suffered major cash crises.” Kaiser suggests that “we need an emergency grant for arts organizations in America, and we need legislation that allows unusual access to endowments. Washington must encourage foundations to increase their spending rates during this crisis, and we need immediate tax breaks for corporate giving.” Read the full article here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Irish Arts Council Slashes Funding

And the global theatre funding cuts continue. This time it’s The Abbey, Ireland’s national theatre. The Arts Council has cut 16% of its annual grant to the theatre from €10 million to €8.35 million. In addition to the Abbey, the highest profile recipient of Arts Council funding, the average grant cut to Irish theatre in 2009 will be just over 8% including major companies like the Gate and the Druid. Unfortunately, companies like the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin and the Galloglass Theatre Company in Tipperary have lost all Arts Council funding in the cutbacks. The council is also taking some of its own medicine, promising to cut its administration costs next year by €1.5 million. Happy New Year indeed.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Buddhist Monks Force Ban on Cambodian Musical

Not to be outdone by right-wing Christian conservatives in United States, Buddhist monks in Cambodia have convinced authorities to ban the nation’s first rock opera, Where Elephants Weep, because it features actors dressed as clergy who sing and dance. In a letter sent to both the media and the ministry of religion and cults, the Supreme Sangha Council also demands an apology from the director, writer and actors. The show, a modern love story that merges pop with traditional Cambodian music, played in Phnom Penh for a few weeks starting in late November. The complaint and ban followed the airing of the musical on a local television station. The monks, who steer clear of earthly pleasures such as entertainment, said “some scenes in the story insult Buddhism”, including one in which an actor leaves the monkhood and sleeps with a woman, only to return to the robe soon after. The show, which had a US preview last year, is expected to tour South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan before returning to the United States.