2019 SF Festival Lineup Announced

The San Francisco International Arts Festival has unveiled its program for the 2019 Festival that will run from May 23 - June 2 and have as a central theme The Path to Democracy. The Festival will take place at, and in partnership with, the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture.

The 2019 program features work and unique perspectives by 50 ensembles from the United States and 10 other countries including Argentina, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Tuva, South Korea, Syria and Taiwan.

Festival director Andrew Wood commented on The Path to Democracy theme, "As the citizenry of the United States contemplates the probability that their own electoral democracy has been usurped, the Festival reflects on, among other things, unique moments in the travails and struggles for equity and democracy in the evolutionary paths of the USA and other countries."

Per SFIAF's mission, most of the International Artists participating at the Festival do not have US representation and have never performed in the United States before. Some of the international highlights include: Making their US debut from Syria via Germany is Collective Ma'louba with the US Premiere of Your Love is Fire--playwright Mudar Alhaggi's jarring and surreal drama about a group of individuals caught on multiple sides of the Syrian civil war and the questions posed regarding remaining in a combat zone or fleeing and becoming refugees in a democratic Europe.

From the Czech Republic The Spitfire Company presents Antiwords the west coast debut of their physical theatre interpretation of Vaclav Havel's seminal play Audience, a cleverly-constructed satire on power and those who wield it written in the years following the Prague Spring. An impoverished playwright tries to earn a living in a communist era brewery. Vanek (an only slightly veiled reference to Havel) is summoned to a meeting with the Head Maltster and offered promotion, but only if he informs on himself.

From Kowloon Theatre de la Feuille presents the Orphan of Zhao a physical theatre retelling of the classic Chinese story in the years following the yellow umbrella protest movement for democracy in Hong Kong.

Japanese composer Tomoko Momiyama approaches her role through a medium of communication and intervenes in the relationships between people and their environments, in order to weave diverse narratives into multi-layered music. Her projects cross a wide range of media and their outputs vary to include inviting people to communicate with different elements in their ecology, such as wind, water and trees. Tomoko will create a piece for the Festival made in community with the U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network that reflects on themes of environmental justice and equity.

The Festival presents two international dance performances that reflect very differently on the politics of male-female relationships. Chen Wei Lee and Zoltan Vakulya (Taiwan and Hungary respectively) present the US Premiere of Together Alone about the pressures of living as a couple who are also freelance touring artists with different companies. They pose the question, "How do you get a marriage to work when you spend most of your time apart?"

Compagnie Virginie Brunelle from Montreal Canada provides the Festival's international moment of levity with the US premiere of Complex de Genres, as the battle of the sexes plays out in an eternal but light hearted struggle for advantage and supremacy amid tulle skirts, fierce partnering and a ballet aesthetic.

The list of artists participating in the Festival to date include: ABADA Capoeira San Francisco, Abhinaya Dance Company, Amy Lewis Dance with Agnes Szelag, Ancient Future, ArtB&B, Art Critique Comedy Show, Bay Area Theater Sports, Brian Copeland, Chirgilchin, Chris Carlsson / Hidden San Francisco, Collective Ma'louba / Theater an der Ruhr, Conspiracy of Venus, Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Edward Schocker's Crossing Ensemble with Yun Kyong Jin and Hwan-Yeong Park, Eth-Noh-Tec, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, GenRyu Arts, Guru Shradha, Jessica Fertonani Cooke, Jessica Fudim & The Dance Animals, Jessica La Rel, Kay DeMartini Productions, KulArts with Florante Aguilar, Ledoh / Salt Farm Butoh, LEVYdance, Lian Ensemble, Lili Weckler / Unhinge, Lucia August, Melody of China with Sound of Dragon, Magic Theater, Museo Italo Americano with Blue Bear School of Music, Pablo Estigarribia, Samudra Dance Creations, San Francisco Flamenco Dance Company, Sha Sha Higby, SISK Dance, Source Material Collective, the Spitfire Company, Tango Con*Fusion, Tara Brandel, Theatre de la Feiulle, Theatre Flamenco de San Francisco, Tomine Ako, Tomoko Momiyama, Toolbox Percussion, Us in the U.S., ViBO Simfani, Compagnie Virginie Brunelle and Yaelisa & Caminos Flamencos.

The San Francisco International Arts Festival is presented in partnership with the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and co-presented by the Eyes and Ears Foundation.

SFIAF 2019 is funded in part by the Bernard Osher Foundation, Sam Mazza Foundation, Taube Philanthropies, Goethe Institut San Francisco, Exportforderung (German Ministry of Culture) Trust for Mutual Understanding, Global Affairs Canada, Taiwan Academy, Taiwan Ministry of Culture and the Western Arts Federation (WESTAF).

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