TCG Global Connections Recipients, New International Touring Program Announced

TCG Global Connections Recipients, New International Touring Program Announced

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, is pleased to announce the recipients for the latest round of Global Connections. Supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Global Connections encourages reciprocity and cultural exchange through three programs: ON the ROAD grants to foster new relationships with international colleagues; IN the LAB grants to further pre-existing international collaborations; and ON the STAGE grants to share U.S. culture with global audiences through sustained international tours and/or co-productions. Now in its fourth year, this round of the Global Connections program awarded a total of $127,000 to fourteen projects, with over $574,500 awarded to date.

This round marks the launch of the ON the STAGE grants, a new pilot initiative of the Global Connections program. Five grants between $10,000 and $15,000 have been awarded to theatres located in New York and Connecticut to tour a work internationally or to present international work on their stages. The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation supports ON the STAGE, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports ON the ROAD and IN the LAB.

"Thanks to the combined support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Global Connections is now able to nurture the full continuum of international collaboration," said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. "From the new relationships kindled by ON the ROAD, to the deepened collaborations of IN the LAB, to the full productions of ON the STAGE, this round of Global Connections recipients are inspiring in their commitment to the border-crossing power of theatre."

ON the ROAD

The following six recipients were each awarded up to $5,000 for unrestricted travel support to foster new relationships with international colleagues that will inspire future collaborations:

Chinese Theatre Works, (Long Island City, NY) company members will meet with members of the Yangzhou Puppet Theater in Yangzhou, China (one of the foremost puppet theaters in China) for two weeks beginning in early July 2015. The purpose of the meetings are: to establish long-term personal and working relationships between the artistic staffs of both companies that will further their missions and artistic capacities in both China and the U.S.; to discuss and lay the groundwork for future collaborative projects; and trade technical knowledge and skill sets.

Imagination Stage (Bethesda, MD) artists will foster a relationship with Barcelona's Mons Dansa to explore new possibilities for visual theatre and movement in Theatre for the Very Young (TVY) productions. Mons Dansa is an expert in highly imaginative movement-based work for audiences 1-5 and incorporates innovative and fun production elements into its work. Imagination Stage will share their experiences in story-telling and building an interactive experience, as well as knowledge of the early childhood audience. Through the exchange with Mons Dansa, they hope to strengthen and grow their TVY offerings.

Playwright Jeremy Kamps (Brooklyn, NY) will co-facilitate a drama workshop with Kenyan theatre artists for women who work at "flower farms" in Naivasha, Kenya as a way to collaborate across cultures. Secondarily, this will be research through experience for a play he is writing about the life of a rose. The play will follow a rose from the woman who picks it, to the pilots who transport it, to the storeowners who sell it and the person who receives it. While the drama workshop is research, its primary purpose is to be a full, cross-cultural experience unto itself.

Playwright and director Kyoung H. Park (Brooklyn, NY) will travel to Santiago, Chile for an artistic residency at the Centre Gabriela Mistral, GAM, to write and direct a workshop of K-ONDA Hamlet, a new performance piece about a group of young performers who occupied GAM's public squares to dance choreographies inspired by Korean pop music. With support from GAM's Artistic Director, Javier Ibacache, Kyoung's Pacific Beat's TALA will also be discussed in a public forum in the context of GAM's current season, which celebrates the 70th Anniversary of Gabriela Mistral's Nobel Prize awarding, and lay the groundwork for TALA's Chilean premiere at GAM in 2016

Riti Sachdeva (Brooklyn, NY), author of the stage play Other Farmers' Fields, will collaborate with kathakali dance theatre interpreter and practitioners, Viswanath Kaladharan and Shanmukhan Kalamandalam, to start the process of adapting Other Farmers' Fields (OFF) to kathakali form. She will travel to Kerala, India for a five-week intensive collaboration to interpret her script into kathakali context and build a movement vocabulary for each character and scene. This would be the beginning stage of a multi-stage process of adapting the text, training U.S. based actors, and producing OFF as a hybrid western stage play/ kathakali drama.

Indika Senanayake (New York, NY) plans to travel to Colombo, Sri Lanka with the acclaimed Chilean playwright and director Guillermo Calderón. They will collaborate with Floating Space Theatre Company on a production of Villa, his play in which three women reckon with the legacy of a notorious Pinochet-era torture site. Guillermo will direct the production, and Indika will act and co-produce, initiating an artistic conversation between theatre-makers from these two countries with strongly resonant experiences of national trauma on opposite ends of the world.

IN the LAB

The following three recipients were each awarded $10,000 to further pre-existing international collaborations by supporting residencies that advance the development of a piece and/or explore elements leading up to a full production:

CalArts Center for New Performance's (Valencia, CA) conceiver Marissa Chibas and Mexico City-based director, Martín Acosta, in collaboration with a team of artists and community groups will develop a mobile theatrical event to promote discourse on the stories of Central American refugee children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and entering the U.S. detention and deportation system. Designed to be performed in Spanish and English on site in communities impacted by and implicated in the border crisis, the grant will support a four-week workshop of SHELTER, a theatrical performance and multimedia documentary.

Director/designer Tom Lee and collaborator Josh Rice (New York, NY) will travel to Hachioji, Japan, to work with fifth generation master of the Japanese traditional puppet form Kuruma Ningyo (cart puppetry), Koryu Nishikawa, on a workshop of Shank's Mare, a collaborative theatre production that will premiere in New York in November 2015. Rehearsals and training focused on the visual storytelling of this puppet theatre piece will culminate in a work in progress showing at Koryu Nishikawa's studio. The artists will experiment with contemporary and traditional puppetry techniques to devise new modes of performance that take those traditions into the future

Gerard Stropnicky (Danville, PA) will return to Kampala, Uganda and to remote Alebtong District to story-gather and workshop with independent producer Albert Mubiro and Okweny George Ongom of A River Blue. They will collaborate to bring professional Kampala-based actors together with Lango individuals toward an original story-play, Langi Stories, designed to communicate the lives, the joys and the profound challenges faced by the people of Alebtong District to others in Uganda and beyond. The work will combine traditional music and dance with applied story form techniques Stropnicky has refined in successful, change-bringing community story plays in rural America.

ON the STAGE

The following five recipients located in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were each awarded grants of $10-15,000 to tour a work internationally or to present international work on their stages:

Aquila Theatre Company (New York, NY) will present a production of A Female Philoctetes, based on Sophocles' Philoctetes, with a cast of actors and military veterans at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation's Cultural Centre in Athens, Greece. As part of the series of performances, Aquila will hold workshops in partnership with Athens-based theater company, Synergy-O, for a refugee theater project entitled We are the Persians! Workshops will include recent refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, and Pakistan who performed in We are the Persians! Working together with recent military veterans and artists to explore what these stories mean to them today.

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts (Fairfield, CT) will launch the Global Theatre initiative to foster generative conversations on identity, belonging, and community from diverse cultural perspectives as a centerpiece of their 25th anniversary celebration. For the Spring 2016 Quick Center season, the initiative will focus on artists from Africa through a collaborative relationship between Fairfield University and Dr. Megan Lewis, who is the series curator at their partner university, The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The collaboration will produce a multidisciplinary performance program exploring the feminine narrative and its place in the global theatre landscape. The first project of the series will be the presentation of the one-woman piece Afrocartography: Traces of Places and All Points in Between by Zambian-born, South African-based theatre maker Mwenya Kabwe. This choreopoem is performed and written by Kabwe and speaks to the challenges of grappling with identity and seeking a sense of belonging through the themes of migration on the African continent and displacement on a physical, psychological and emotional level. The work will be presented January 20-23, 2016 at the Quick Center.

Repertorio Español (Spanish Theatre Repertory Company, Ltd) (New York, NY) will participate in the Festival Internacional de Artes Escénicas "Escenarios del Mundo" (The International Performing Arts Festival "Stages of the World") in Cuenca, Ecuador, presenting its production of Federico García Lorca's The Shoemaker's Prodigious Wife. In its 9th edition, the Festival attracts theatre companies from Europe and Latin America. Repertorio's participation will represent the first U.S. Latino theatre taking part in the festival.

Theater Breaking through Barriers (TBTB) (New York, NY) will present an unpublished full-length theatrical work, The Granduncle Quadrilogy: Tales from the Land of Ice, at the 9th bi-annual Blind in Theater (BIT) Festival held every two years in Zagreb, Croatia. In addition to presenting their work to an audience of Croatians and blind theater artists from around the world, TBTB will experience the artistic work of other blind theater companies from other countries, and participate in workshops and seminars to collaborate and problem-solve ways to promote the work of disabled theater artists around the world.

Yale Repertory Theatre (New Haven, CT) will present Refuse the Hour by William Kentridge on November 6-7, 2015 with Philip Miller, Dada Masilo, Catherine Meyburgh, and Peter Galison. In this multimedia chamber opera, renowned South African artist William Kentridge joins forces with a composer, a choreographer, a video designer, and a physicist to deliver an astonishing collision of art and performance. Sharing the stage with a menagerie of strange machines of his own invention, along with singers, dancers, and musicians, Kentridge conjures a stunning and profound exploration of the nature of time. Yale Rep's No Boundaries series explores the frontiers of theatrical invention through cutting edge, thought provoking performance from around the world.

The Global Connections selection panel included Juli Hendren, Artistic Director, Tricklock Company, (Albuquerque, NM); Peter Howard, Founding Ensemble Member, Cornerstone Theater Company, (Los Angeles, CA); Manda Martin, Producing Director, The TEAM, (Brooklyn, NY); Emily Mendelsohn, Director, (Brooklyn, NY); and Meghan Pressman, Managing Director, Woolly Mammoth, (Washington, DC).

The next application deadline for the Global Connections program is the fall of 2015 (exact date TBD). To learn more about the program, please visit www.tcg.org/globalconnections.

Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work. www.mellon.org.

The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation makes grants in three program areas: Promoting International Arts Engagement, Safeguarding Reproductive Rights and Health, and Improving the Performance of Public Institutions in New York. The arts program's aim is to strengthen cultural organizations of the highest artistic quality by enabling them to participate in the global marketplace. Grants help leverage new support in this area and introduce American culture to communities around the world, as well as bring diverse world cultures to American audiences. The Foundation supports arts organizations that are based in the New York region and those that serve national constituencies. www.rsclark.org

For over 50 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. TCG's constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting its constituents to the global theatre community. TCG is North America's largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 13 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning AMERICAN THEATRE magazine and ARTSEARCH, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its member theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. www.tcg.org.

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