Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company to Offer Alternative to 'Festival of Radical New Theatre From Moscow'

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company to Offer Alternative to 'Festival of Radical New Theatre From Moscow'

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company announces a very "Woolly" alternative to The Russians are Coming! A Festival of Radical New Theatre from Moscow.

Last month, the theatre announced the cancellation of the Festival due to funding freezes stemming from an unstable political climate in Russia. While Woolly has continued to dialogue with its colleagues in Moscow about re-igniting this historic partnership in the future, the theatre was left with the immediate problem of how to best use the gap in its 35th anniversary season.

The staff has been hard at work over the last month to come up with fitting projects, considering everything from presentations by international and American companies and co-productions with theatres in other cities, to leaving that period un-programmed in deference to the artists whose work is being censored by their government's actions. In the end, the theatre decided to honor the spirit of the Festival and use this time to celebrate what is most inspirational about its Russian counterparts: the depth of their artistic process which often leads to radically inventive results.

In keeping with its goals for its 35th anniversary-to push the boundaries of the theatre's artistic process and the way it connects with its community-Woolly will program a series of development workshops and special events for the productions coming up later in Season 35: one each for Cherokee by Lisa D'Amour and directed by Company Member John Vreeke; Lights Rise on Grace by Chad Beckim and directed by Company Member John Michael Garcés; and Zombie: The American by Company Member Robert O' Hara and directed by Woolly Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. Through curated readings, rigorous discussions, relevant film screenings, and playful workshops, Woolly will draw its community into the production process earlier-and on a larger scale-than ever before. Together, artists and audience will launch an inquiry into the themes of the shows, and frame the dialogues they spark.

"I've been speaking around the country about how my travels in Eastern Europe have inspired me to "get off the assembly line"- to create a production development process that focuses on deepened artistic engagement, bound not by the necessities of seasons and timelines, but by the goals of aesthetic innovation and path-breaking performances," says Shalwitz. "At the same time, Woolly's work in Connectivity has pushed us to build deeper connections in our community, working closely with our audiences to shape the conversation sparked by each production. These two threads have come together to point us in a new and exciting direction. So for a few weeks, we will get off the assembly line and produce a series of events that we hope will not only deepen the engagement of our audiences, but also harness their knowledge to influence the productions on our stage."

The details for this game-changing experiment are being put together right now and will be announced in the coming weeks. Subscribers to next season will be given first access to this unique opportunity, after which it will be opened up to the public.

Season 35 subscribers currently holding tickets to the Moscow Festival will be offered the opportunity to switch their tickets into any of Woolly's summer offerings-Rodney King, Stupid F##king Bird, or a yet-to-be-announced production in the summer of 2015. Alternatively, they may turn their tickets into a tax-deductible donation, or request a refund by June 29, 2014. Subscribers may reach out to the Woolly Mammoth Box Office at 202-393-3939 or tickets@woollymammoth.net with any concerns or questions regarding their subscriptions.

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