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Shows From 20 Countries Featured In JCTC's VOICES THEATRE FEST

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The festival's opening ceremony will take place on Sunday October 18.

Shows From 20 Countries Featured In JCTC's VOICES THEATRE FEST

Jersey City Theater Center presents the 2nd annual Voices International Theatre Festival from Friday October 16 to Sunday October 25, a unique hybrid of virtual and live events featuring the work of 21 groundbreaking theatre companies from Europe, Eastern Europe, South Asia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and NY-NJ.

The festival's opening ceremony on Sunday October 18 is a specially designed, socially distanced live-assembly gathering in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, combining both live and virtual elements, including classes during the afternoon and a performance-ceremony broadcast live at 6pm EST.

The 2020 Voices International Theatre Festival showcases daring and thematically provocative multi-disciplinary work that has been curated to offer festival-goers a deeply stimulating cross-section of ethnic, racial, gender and political perspectives. Among the notable companies and artists participating are the internationally acclaimed Belarus Free Theater; Palesa Mazamisa from South Africa; Ranan from India; Roman Viktyuk Theatre from Russia; RAAAM Theater Group of Estonia; Manuel Vignoulle from France; Matara from Israel; New York-based Sidra Bell Dance; Los Escultores del Aire from Spain, and Haeboma from South Korea. (Full list below)

"Many of the artists and groups we are inviting are acclaimed in their home countries as well as internationally," says Olga Levina, the artistic director of the Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC), who is originally from Belarus. "Their work is a direct response to the state of our world and the need for greater equity and unity. Their stories are eloquent, forceful and often surprising, and their messages and testimony are riveting and shattering. They deserve as wide an audience as we can give them."

Several of the companies chosen would not otherwise be able to travel to the United States, for a variety of reasons. Because their performances will be staged and livestreamed from their home-base theatres, the companies will share not just the perspectives and rich performative content of their most mature work, but also the context in which they create their work.

"We are very interested in sparking a far-reaching conversation with this festival," adds Levina. "Of course the voices of the different groups will interact and combine with one another, but it is crucial for the participants to enter a conversation with the host city and the diverse local audience we nurture at JCTC. That is why our partnerships with the City of Jersey City, and with organizations throughout New Jersey, and even on-the-ground neighborhood groups and individual artists are so important. We want the conversations of 2020 Voices to be uniquely inclusive, local and global."

The Festival is divided into three parts... 1/ Conversations, 2/ Performances, and 3/ Classes-Workshops. The Conversations section includes "Meet the Artists" (Fri Oct 16) and a Festival Forum about the work (Fri Oct 23). Performances are scheduled throughout the 10-day festival, and livestreamed in their entirety over four days -- Oct 16, 17, 24 and 25 -- with a special Live Performances section staged from Merseles Studios at JCTC on Oct 24. Classes and collaborative workshops take place on Sun Oct 18 and the Festival's closing day, on Sun Oct 25.

The Festival's Opening Day Ceremony, boasting spectacular views of New York Harbor's Ellis Island and Liberty Island, will be staged live on Sunday October 18, at 6pm, in Liberty State Park on a specially designed Gateway Grid created by Gernot Riether on the lawn of the Park's Crescent Field. From 12pm to 4:30pm several live, distance-safe presentations and workshops will take place. Tickets for the ceremony are $35 for the live event and $15 online. For Festival tickets and passes visit

Co-hosted by JCTC and the City of Jersey City, the opening ceremony convenes the Festival both virtually and live, and announces Jersey City's commitment to sharing its rich history and current opportunities as the Golden Gateway of the United States, and JCTC's goal of raising Voices to become an annual theatre festival generating sizable cultural and economic prosperity for the community. Jersey City can lay claim to having one of the highest concentrations of ethnic groups by population density in the country,

"America, of course, finds itself very conflicted right now," Levina remarks. "People like myself who have come to America and found opportunity, are so grateful for what we believe America stands for. At the same time, many Americans -- descended from immigrants ironically enough -- are demanding that our borders get shut down, that we stop and even turn away people from around the world who are still yearning to breathe free. A festival like Voices will no doubt capture this struggle, but hopefully it will give voice to those who love and respect the cultural diversity of the planet and who are ready to celebrate this no matter where they live!"

THE COMPANIES AND PRODUCTIONS OF THE 2020 VOICES INTERNATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL Included in the 2020 Voices International Theatre Festival are works by white and non-white artists about racial and social justice; gender equality; climate change; globalization; tech revolution; personal freedom vs. totalitarianism; materialism and hedonism; war and terror; and traditional vs. modern culture. Participating are 21 companies and artists from 20 countries from Europe, Eastern Europe, South Asia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and NY-NJ. The 23 productions are:

1/ Roman Viktyuk Theatre (RUSSIA) - "Chernobyl" winner of the 2020 Golden Mask, conceived and directed by Roman Viktyuk. Ensemble performance. Video with English subtitles. Sun Oct 25, 10am ($10) 2/ Vladimir National Theatre (RUSSIA) - "Dreams of Hamlet," written by N. Mazur, directed by Linas Marijus Zaikauskas. In a bravura performance by Alexander Aladyshev, a leading actor at Vladimir Theatre in Moscow, "Dreams of Hamlet" relocates the Prince of Denmark in a modern-day press conference before an unknown audience under hard to know circumstances. Multi-media monodrama. Video with English subtitles Sat Oct 24, 12n ($10)

3/ Ranan (INDIA) - "Shunya Se," conceived and choreographed by Vikram Lyengar, with co-choreographers Debashree Bhattacharya and Sohini Debnath. Produced by Ranan, developed in the Kathak movement style, "Shunya Se" illustrates the five elements of that resonate in the universe and within the human body of space, air, fire, water and earth, seeing them in their most intangible and concrete forms. Performance dance. Sat Oct 17, 10am ($10)

4/ Denisa Musilova (CZECH REPUBLIC) - "Fitting Rooms," conceived and choreographed by Denisa Musilova, with music by John Mosloskie. Performance dance. Sat Oct 24, 2pm ($10)

5/ RAAAM Theater Group (ESTONIA/IRAN) - "Antigone," adapted by Iranian exile Ghanizadeh, written in Estonian, with Farsi and English subtitles. This censored work was produced with Estonian actors from RAAM Theater Group. Modern adaptation of Sophocles. Sat Oct 24, 4pm ($10)

6/ Youth Theatre of Uzbekistan; International Akko Theatre Festival (ISRAEL); Essence Theatre-Studio (USA) (a trilateral project by companies from UZBEKISTAN-ISRAEL-USA) - "Vox in Deserto" ("Voice in the Desert"), written by Didi Tal, directed by Nabi Abdurakhmanov, music by Ilya Melamed, video by Evgeniy Fuzulov and Ildar Shayhlislamov. Multi-media play. In Russian, Hebrew and English with English subtitles. Sat Oct 24, 8pm ($10)

7/ Palesa Mazamisa (SOUTH AFRICA) - "Shoes and Coups" by Palesa Mazamisa which premiered at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg in 2018, is a biting satire about the complicated, intimate, and absurd relationships between citizens, government and big business and the critical undermining of democratic, constitutional and human rights principles that is playing out in the world today. Satirical drama. Zoom performance, in English. Opens the Festival Fri Oct 16, 10am ($10)

8/ (SOUTH AFRICA) - "Fordsburg's Finest" by Paul Slabolepszy. Drama. In English Fri Oct 23, 10am ($10)

9/ (SOUTH AFRICA) - "Lost Property" by Megan Furniss. Directed by Jacquelyn Claire de Villiers, with Zane Gillian and Furniss. This drama about a white, middle-aged woman losing her grip on her marriage and her home looks at South Africa 25 years after the end of apartheid, revealing how little has shifted in the minds, hearts and circumstances of a deeply divided population. One-act drama. Zoom performance. In English Sat Oct 17, 12n ($10)

10/ Mogilev Theatre (BELARUS) - "Second Hand Time Project," an adaptation of the Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Aleksievich's novel of the same name, that tells the story of Soviet life from Stalin to Putin. Aleksievich is an international figure under threat of arrest in Belarus where she is protesting dictatorship in her country. She is currently sequestered in her home, surrounded by a rotating cordon of diplomats with her at all hours, trying to prevent her arrest. Directed by Vladimir Petrovich and Nabi Abdurakhmanov, and co-produced with JCTC. Sat Oct 17, 2pm ($10)

11/ Grodno Regional Puppet Theatre (BELARUS) - "Poem Without Words" conceived and directed by Oleg Zhiugzhda and Larisa Mkikina-Probodyak, based on the poem "Dream on a Hill by renowned Belarussian poet and playwright Yanka Kupala. A parable of resistance against oppression about a little person in a glass cube and the futile pursuit of a paradise that doesn't exist but that beckons forcefully. What happens when the witches fight over the glass cube and break it, releasing the unborn person inside? Unique puppet theatre play Sun Oct 18, 8pm ($10)

12/ Belarus Free Theatre (BELARUS) - Unannounced work by the daring underground and outlawed theatre company that is part of the current groundswell of international protest against repressive regime of Alexander Lukashenko. Co-led by playwright and journalist Nikolai Khalezin and theater producer Natalia Koliada, with the collaboration of director Vladimir Shcherban. Ensemble performance. In Russian and English.

13/ Sidra Bell Dance (USA) - The award-winning New York-based choreographer Sidra Bell, who calls herself a movement illustrator, brings us her acclaimed "Mönster Outside," which premiered in New Orleans and Sweden in 2017. With a score by the Swedish composter Per Störby, the piece comments on the nature of outliers and constructed self-identity of a new work. Performance dance. Sat Oct 24, 7:30pm ($10)

14/ Jane Arnfield (ENGLAND) - Mike Alfreds and Jane Arnfield's "The Tin Ring," a dramatization of the true-life story of Holocaust survivor Zdenka Fantlová, performed by Arnfield, and directed by Alfreds. One-woman performance in English. Sat Oct 24, 10am, talk-back following performance ($10)

15/ Manuel Vignoulle - M/motions (USA-FRANCE) - "Black and White," a new work by Manuel Vignoulle, whose project-based company is based in New York. Winner of two Grand Prize Awards Palm Desert Dance Festival and the 2019 KoDaFe Dance Competition. Dance performance. Sat Oct 17, 4pm ($10)

16/ Haeboma (SOUTH KOREA) - "Pound it, Macbeth!" based on the story of Shakespeare's "Macbeth," conceived and produced by Jongsik Kim, combining traditional Korean martial arts, drumming and modern staging. Performance music-theatre. Sat Oct 17, 8pm ($10)

17/ Matara (ISRAEL) - "Myth," based on the play by Ido Netanyahu. A phantasmagoric examination of the role and responsibility of the media in Israel - often referred to as "the third power" -- and around the world, created by the company. Municipal Theater Matara is based in the city of Ariel. Classic melodrama in chamber format Sun Oct 25, 2pm ($10)

18/ Rehab: Theatre from Israel (ISRAEL) - "Puh-Puh-Puh," a Russian-Israeli project conceived by the screenwriter, director and actor Ilya Demidov. Created on Zoom during quarantine by a conspiracy of actors from Russia and Israel about the mysterious mosaic glorifying Putin and celebrating the annexation of Crimea in 2014, which may or may not exist. Political satire. In Russian with English subtitles. Sun Oct 18, 7pm ($10)

19/ Nau Ivanow (SPAIN/CATALONIA) - "Memoria," Nau Ivanow is a project of the Sagrera Foundation, and a partner-resident company of JCTC. Sun Oct 18, 12n ($10)

20/ Los Escultores del Aire (SPAIN) - "Turberias" conceived and directed by artistic director Mai Rojas by Los Escultores del Aire, based in Barcelona. The company's unique style uses corporeal mime as the basis, adding dance, circus elements and object manipulation. Mixed media performance including mime, circus arts, dance and music. Sun Oct 18, 6pm ($10)

21/ Los Escultores del Aire (SPAIN) - "The Legend of the Faun & The Journey" conceived and directed by artistic director Mai Rojas by Los Escultores del Aire, based in Barcelona. The company's unique style uses corporeal mime as the basis, adding dance, circus elements and object manipulation. Mixed media performance including mime, circus arts, dance and music. Sun Oct 25, 4pm ($10)

22/ Vohidov Youth Theater (TAJIKISTAN) - "Banner of Kova" based on the classic poem "Shahnameh" by Abulkasim Firdousi, directed by artistic director Nazim Melikov. Explores the roots of violence, hatred, war, and killing in the name of God, with warnings for us not to stray from the path of knowledge and wisdom. Dramatic mixed media tone poem. In Tajik with subtitles. Sun Oct 25, 12n ($10)

23/ Kyle Marshall Choreography (USA) - "King" conceived, choreographed and performed by the Bessie Award-winning dancer and choreographer Kyle Marshall. Using Martin Luther King Jr.'s final speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," as its sound score, the solo performance considers the effort and willing struggle of one body to create a better future. Commissioned by Harlem Stage to commemorate the 50th anniversary of MLK's assassination, "King" premiered in April 2018. Solo dance performance Sat Oct 17, 5:30pm ($10)

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