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THE BIG 'US' PROJECT Invites Houston Refugees To Create Theatre

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THE BIG 'US' PROJECT Invites Houston Refugees To Create Theatre

Brave Little Company invites members of Houston's refugee communities to take part in the second year of THE BIG "US" PROJECT, a community-driven theatre piece to be created by 100 refugees. No performance experience is necessary and all ages are welcome; adult participants will be paid.

The performance will take place in Houston's Gulfton neighborhood in fall 2020, and will be free and open to the public. THE BIG "US" PROJECT is supported in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. For more information about THE BIG "US" PROJECT, visit www.thebigUSproject.com or www.brave-little.com.

Since the first BIG "US", the need for centering refugee and immigrant voices has only increased. This year's work, The Window and The Mirror, refers to the process of seeing oneself, seeing others, and seeing our common humanity through art. Brave Little Company founder Troy Scheid said, "We can experiment not only with the artist/audience relationship, but also any relationship that involves 'us and them,' which we call making our us bigger." Details about the date and location of the final performance will be made public as soon as they are finalized.

The inaugural year of THE BIG "US" took place from 2018 - 2019 and centered on the archetype of The Journey. Four artist-mentors (Rachel H. Dickson, Neda Khan, Troy Scheid, and Sophia Torres) worked with 124 members of Houston's refugee communities to devise 10 "chapters" in a performance epic created by the participants. Audience members viewed the pieces while walking on foot through several rooms of the Southwest Multi-Service Center, a community center in Gulfton. Participants represented Afghanistan, Burundi, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, Mali, Mexico, Pakistan, Rwanda, Syria, Sudan, and Vietnam. Over 70 performers took part in the final piece.

Organizational partners on the first year of THE BIG "US" PROJECT included CHAT - Culture of Health, Advancing Together, KIPP CONNECT Houston, Sugar Grove Academy, Texan-French Alliance for the Arts, and vitally, PEACE Gallery. Through the efforts of PEACE Gallery, the first-year facilitation team was able to engage several participating master artists, including this year's new facilitators Asaal Alghazzee, Somer Atshan, and Dima Waqialla.

Facilitated by a partnership of eight artists (including three master artists from Houston's refugee communities who participated in the first year's work), the final piece's form and content will be determined by the participants and the stories they value. As part of the process of creating THE BIG "US", participants will attend professional theatre productions and participate in rehearsals to contribute ideas and devise performances.




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