First Press for “See You Yesterday” at ArtsEmerson!

Global Arts Corps, Phare Ponleu Selpak, and Phare Performing Social Enterprise are excited to share our first piece of press for the U.S. Premiere of “See You Yesterday” at ArtsEmerson from Broadway World!

“Second Generation Survivors Of The Khmer Rouge Genocide Shatter Its Silence in ArtsEmerson’s SEE YOU YESTERDAY”
by Broadway World News Desk, Apr. 19, 2019  

Photo by Jacqueline Lessac

On the heels of Cambodian New Year, ArtsEmerson is honored to welcome “See You Yesterday,” a moving performance by Global Arts Corps which explores the painful history of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. Directed by Michael Lessac, nineteen Cambodian performers utilize their extraordinary physical skills, including acrobatics and circus arts, to travel back in time and shatter a legacy of silence. Global Arts Corps brings “See You Yesterday”‘s U.S. premiere to Boston to close ArtsEmerson’s 2018/2019 season, for five performances only, May 16-19, at the Emerson Paramount Center Robert J. Orchard Stage.

Tickets for “See You Yesterday” start at just $20 and may be purchased online at www.ArtsEmerson.org, by phone at 617.824.8400, or in person at the box office. Group, student, and senior discounts are also available. Tickets are also available at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre box office in Lowell, MA.

Over 22 weeks of development since 2012, Global Arts Corps–whose celebrated work brings together people from opposite sides of violent conflicts–collaborated with these young Cambodian artists as they grappled with the painful history of their country’s genocide. While details of the four-year horror have largely gone unexplored by younger generations of Cambodians, the cast of “See You Yesterday” interviewed their elders (and even a former Khmer Rouge child soldier) to build a stunning performance that is both beautiful and cathartic.

“In 2013, when we brought our Northern/North of Ireland production ‘Hold your Tongue, Hold your Dead’ to Boston audiences, we witnessed two communities, separated by an ocean and burdened by their own personalized historical memories, find a common healing ground in talk-backs across the footlights,” says “See You Yesterday” director Michael Lessac. “At a time when we seem to be clinging to what separates us and not what connects us, we wanted to be in the same place again to see what happens when another, totally different, theatrical vision of honesty, tenacity, and imagination takes the ArtsEmerson stage. ‘See You Yesterday’ brings to Boston a cast of young Cambodian circus artists whose culture has forced them to live in silence with a harrowing memory. They have created a performance that shows us how hope can emerge from despair and how truth can emerge out of a powerfully moral and courageously honest imagination. I could not be more proud to be working with David Dower and his extraordinary team, in the namesake space of my old friend, Rob Orchard, as we once again explore together what happens when inherited conflict and unspoken multiple truths are surfaced across continents so that generations can talk to each other again.”

“‘See You Yesterday’ is precisely the kind of experience that ArtsEmerson has become known for over these past nine seasons,” says ArtsEmerson artistic director David Dower. “The show puts one of most vibrant world cultures in the spotlight. Our region hosts one of the largest Cambodian communities in the nation and as with last season’s Bangsokol, we are presenting it in deep partnership with that community, both in Boston and in Lowell. This effort to put the world on stage in dialogue with diverse communities delivers that particular synergy between the art and the audience that our supporters have come to count on. ‘See You Yesterday’ also uses a form of storytelling that is entirely ArtsEmerson – sharing its moving search for restorative justice through the tools of circus and dance. We are proud to be working with Michael Lessac and Global Arts Corps to tell this story.”

Rest In Power, Alex Boraine

Dear Friends,
 

Alex Boraine Has Died.

In a world gone criminally mad, to lose such a man must make us doubly committed to finding more among the youth of the world to carry on the spirit of his fight.
Alex was a warrior who saw forgiveness as a weapon for understanding — a man who actually made a difference and helped save a nation from a punishing and violent revolution. Here is a memory paraphrase of a quote of his that demonstrates his love for emotional precision:
 
“Forgiveness is not the easy option, damnit! Forgiveness takes enormous courage and great strength of will. It’s so much bloody easier to give in to anger and righteousness. But you can’t have anger and righteousness…and also have healing. They don’t live in the same house.” 
We are honored to say that Alex was a father to our work and a very special friend to all of us at Global Arts Corps. His calming smile balanced by his fierce passion was the antidote to capitulation. He was a beacon for forgiveness while risking his and his family’s life for justice and basic human rights. With Archbishop Desmond Tutu he served as Co-Commissioner of The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which acted on the premise that justice and truth were co-equal. It was Alex’s book that gave me the idea of presenting the TRC through the eyes of the translators, which became the basis for the story of our production of “Truth in Translation”.
Alex Boraine at a book launch with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
For us at Global Arts Corps. he was a constant and consistent inspiration. For me, he was a mentor. He literally taught us that hope resided in our despair and so we should respect both. He gave me courage when giving up would have been easier.

His son, Nick, an Associate Artistic Director of Global Arts Corps (and one of the actors who originated “Truth in Translation”), wrote me yesterday with the news. He wrote simply:

“A great light has gone out. Alex has passed – peacefully in his sleep. Eyes open, filled with wonder, a smile on his lips.
We are broken.
We will heal – just like he taught us.”

Yes we will, Alex.
Thank you.

–Michael Lessac, Artistic Director, Global Arts Corps

End of the Year Update from Global Arts Corps

Cambodian cast members of “See You Yesterday” with Global Arts Corps associate artists

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Courage to us all in the coming year, and many thanks for your support of Global Arts Corps.

In 2019, after 15 years in the field, we are embarking on an ambitious new project; an unexpected consequence of all that we have done before. The largest cast of actors we have ever convened, from conflict zones around the world, will travel back in time to address the DNA of the world’s continuing chaos, together on a single stage. This theatrical “social experiment” will be generated from each culture’s present and historical conflicts to examine the structures creating individual and national identities…identities that ultimately demonize the “other.” We will be putting social chaos on the stage because we feel it is the only way to find the simple order that binds us together.

More on this over the next few weeks but, at the moment, a brief summary of some special successes of this past year:

-In March, the young Cambodian cast of “See You Yesterday” (SYY) performed for over 4,000 audience members in three cities in their home country, and gave workshops for over 800 teachers-in-training. We were supported in this endeavor by the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation, which also supported the 2016 Rwandan tour to the Ubumuntu Arts Festival at the Kigali Genocide memorial, and the Kigeme Congolese refugee camp, where the cast performed for over 20,000 people.

-We have been invited to present the U.S. premiere of “SYY” in May 2019, at the Robert J. Orchard Stage at ArtsEmerson in Boston. We will send you a “save the date” newsletter, and hope some of you will join us to see these remarkable performers, who have become the first phase of our burgeoning youth program.

-The first rough cut of the feature length film of these young people’s courageous journey into a past previously shrouded in silence, was shown in October at the four US Embassy centers in Cambodia (Four Corners). A final cut will be ready for finishing by the end of January. Stay tuned…

-This November in Paris, seven Global Arts Corps team members from around the globe met with a team of six UNESCO program heads to discuss our new project and our future work together. Discussions are underway to bring “SYY” performances to UNESCO’s magnificent, state of the art theatre.

-Finally, we have been extremely fortunate to assemble an extraordinary new advisory council of eminent artists, statesmen, journalists and scientists whom we will introduce in our next post.

It is only with your support that we can continue to do the work we are doing, and should you choose, we gratefully welcome gifts of all sizes. We hope you will keep us in mind with your end-of-year donations before December 31st by making a tax-deductible contribution to Global Arts Corps either through our website, or by mailing a check to Global Arts Corps at 790 Riverside Dr. #6P, New York, NY 10032.

As always, our sincere thanks for your inspiration and support, and happy holidays from all of us at Global Arts Corps.

End of the Year Update

Dear Friends,
 

The past 12 months have been a time of momentous change. Division seems pervasive, and unity fragile and elusive. In response, all of us at Global Arts Corps have renewed our commitment to working with the next generation of young artists, educators, and activists and feel certain that this growing movement is more important than ever.

The reach and relevance of our Cambodian production, “See You Yesterday,” continues to grow. After traveling over 5,000 miles to Rwanda last year to share a story built out of their fragmented, inherited memories of the Khmer Rouge, the 19 young circus performers in our cast are now ready to share what they learned on the road. In 2018, they will tour Cambodia, performing outdoors for the public and conducting post-performance workshops at schools and at teacher training centers. Additionally, the documentary film, “Year Zero36,” which follows the development of the production, the trials and triumphs of its young cast, and the culminating performance in a Congolese refugee camp, will be shared with audiences worldwide. 

Simultaneously, our research and development continue for our newest project – an immense, multi-year, multi-pronged initiative born out of our work over the last 15 years that will bring many different powerful stories of past and present conflict together on one stage, at one time. In 2018, we’ll begin to develop pieces of the final production on multiple continents, highlighting the efforts of women’s movements past and present and working with refugee and host communities, among many others. Stories from each of these places and more will be shaped into a single kaleidoscopic production exploring multiple conflicts as they move backwards in time, all examining violence, fear, courage, denial, shame, and hope across borders and across generations. This project will live on in a multimedia online educational archive that will allow participants to study the various smaller theatre pieces and conflicts that contribute to the larger whole, finding connections across an infinite number of combinations….and serving as an open space for transformative dialogue between people who’ve never talked to each other before.

Consistently, throughout all of these projects, our programs and techniques of learning and empathy exploration multiply as the number of our international youth mentors grows. The fact that this team is made up of teachers from totally disparate cultures reminds us that no matter where we’re from, we wrestle with the narratives that have been passed on through generations. 

Your support contributes to our efforts to help youth embrace and honor all of their conflicting identities – without shame and with empathy – in the face of entrenched difference. 

Global Arts Corps is funded entirely by donations. We hope that you will support these efforts by making a tax-deductible contribution – either through our website, or by mailing a check to Global Arts Corps at 790 Riverside Dr. #6P, New York, NY 10032.

Thank you, and happy holidays from all of us at Global Arts Corps.

Redefining the nature of hope

 
In the past year, we finished the development of our Cambodian productionSee You Yesterday, with performances that broke a silence between generations in Phnom Penh; we toured with the Cambodian cast to Rwanda–where genocide met genocide–closing the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Kigali to a standing ovation; and we performed for thousands of Congolese refugees on a makeshift stage in a dusty football field in the Kigeme refugee camp, giving our audience members a sense of hope and possibility through the realization that they are not alone in the conflicts they have endured.

The Cambodian cast of See You Yesterday leading a workshop with young Congolese refugees in the Kigeme refugee camp

The Cambodian cast of See You Yesterday leading a workshop with young Congolese refugees in the Kigeme refugee camp

At the same time, we finished filming a new documentary on our work in Cambodia that will be completed in the coming year; we screened A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake at the UN and are arranging educational distribution for the film; and we are a designing a theatre-based curriculum that will introduce students here in the US to Global Arts Corps’ work, while asking them to collaborate and empathize with others from around the world.
 
It has been an extraordinary 12 months… and we would like to thank you all for your support.
 
As we look to 2017, we will continue to pursue touring opportunities for See You Yesterday while also expanding our work with migrants and refugees–incubating smaller productions in places like Sicily, where we will begin partnering with UNICEF to share the stories of young refugees arriving in Europe via Lampedusa. We will also look to increase our educational outreach through the Corps of teachers we have built up over the past 12 years… with trainers from South Africa, Kosovo, the US, the North of Ireland, and now Cambodia… where we have brought on 19 young artists at the very start of their careers.
 
The goal is to begin putting the tools that we have developing working in conflict areas around the world into the hands of young people with the courage to share and lead in teaching those even younger than they are. It’s about approaching youth to find ways to create identity based on diversity and not on inherited hatred or victimhood.
 
So It also involves redefining the nature of hope… turning hope into an expectation rather than a dream, taking people isolated by their own fights and introducing them to others with their own fights and training them to use each other’s denial to temper their own. We will bring these young artists together in a Summit of Radical Reconciliation–a well-publicized place for a groundswell of dialogue between people who have never talked together before. I plan to achieve this by 2020–our next election.
 
As we approach the end of the year, we would like to thank you for all of your past generosity and ask that you join us again in 2017 by supporting this effort with a tax-deductible donation to Global Arts Corps–either through our website, or by mailing a check to Global Arts Corps at 790 Riverside Dr. #6P, New York, NY 10032.
 
Thank you and happy holidays from all of us at Global Arts Corps.

See You Yesterday – Previewed in Phnom Penh

A Note from Michael Lessac

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We’ve just returned from Phnom Penh where we had an extraordinary opening of our Cambodian production See You Yesterday. Word spread fast and we played to overflow houses filled with children and adults of all ages, including some former Khmer Rouge soldiers, survivors of the genocide, students and teachers as well as delegates from around the world who were part of Cambodian Living Arts’ Forum on “Living Arts in Post-Conflict Contexts.”

We have added a magnificent new score by Michael Jay, an exquisite lighting design by Dave Feldman, a subtly brilliant soundscape by Scott Lehrer, and beautifully simple costumes by Vong Vannak. The piece starts in a circus rehearsal room with this opening line: “Every day we rehearse to become normal again.” It quickly catapults into an adventure of startling imagined reminiscence. Very little translation is needed in this piece because, using their extraordinary circus skills, the cast paints memories. They have created a piece that moves like a graphic novel. It is structured out of their own lives, their own research, and leavened with their own imagination. This company has become an incredible ensemble and their circus skills are world class. We worked on this piece for seventeen weeks over a period of four years. They have in my opinion created a vision and memory of incredible honesty and imagination – hope out of despair.

“KR gives way to Hope in Haunting Show” was the headline of the lead story in the Cambodian Daily the next morning.

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After each show we mingled with elders who said they were were swept away by the immediacy and generosity of these magnificent young people, finally in dialogue with their elders in what I can only describe as a reconciled reunion. People were listening to each other again.

To my friends, I can only say I wish you all could have been there and promise that I will do my best to bring it on tour around the world.

Scotland Screening and Other Updates from Global Arts Corps

 Dear Friends,

We are pleased to announce that A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake will be shown at the upcoming Africa in Motion Film Festival in Edinburgh. The film will be part of a series exploring recent transitions towards freedom across the African continent. The Africa in Motion Film Festival, now in its tenth year, highlights remarkable stories and filmmaking from across the region. This year’s festival will run from Friday, October 23 to Sunday, November 1. Here are the details for our screening:

Edinburgh Screening
Friday, October 30th, 8:45pm
Summerhall, Red Lecture Theatre
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL

Tickets and more information can be found here.

We are also very happy to welcome a new board member at Global Arts Corps, Alan Winnikoff. Alan is the co-principal of Sayles & Winnikoff Communications and has an extensive background in digital communications and content strategy for arts organizations. We look forward to collaborating with Alan to share our work with a broader audience and expand our current media presence.

And finally, Michael and Jackie Lessac are traveling to Cambodia this week for our final eight-week production development workshop with the performers of the Phare Ponleu Selpak. They will be joined by Global Arts Corps Associate Artists from the US, Cambodia, Kosovo/France, and South Africa. A fusion of circus and theatre, the final production will explore the silenced past of a nation through the imaginations of its youth.

A photo from our last workshop with the Phare performers, February 2015, Battambang

A photo from our last workshop with the Phare performers, February 2015, Battambang

 Please stay tuned for more updates on their progress in Cambodia in the coming weeks.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Warmly,

Global Arts Corps 

We’re Hiring!

Dear friends,

We are hiring a Communications and Production Assistant for our NYC office! Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or applications. Find more information about this opportunity below.

Thank you!

Communications and Production Assistant

Start date: flexible, preferably late-September
Hours: 15 hours/week, specific days/times flexible
Compensation: Commensurate with experience

The theatre/conflict resolution organization, Global Arts Corps, seeks a qualified communications and production assistant. Working closely with the Managing Director, the communications and production assistant will assist in the day-to-day operations of the organization, drafting and coordinating the output of organizational communications (social media, newsletters, website, etc.), planning special events, researching fundraising opportunities, and producing Global Arts Corps workshops and performances.

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION

Global Arts Corps is an international community of professional artists who believe in the transformative power of theatre. Our aim is to use theatre as a catalyst for dialogue, as a way to shift perspectives, and ultimately, as a means of bringing about reconciliation.

The Global Arts Corps is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a small New York headquarters staff, which includes the Artistic Director, Executive Producer, and Managing Director; our team also includes an Associate Artistic Director and several local line producers based overseas and outside of the office.

QUALIFICATIONS AND SKILLS:

• Ambition, and a passion for the Global Arts Corps’ mission with a “can do” attitude
• Excellent written and oral communications skills
• Familiarity and comfort with social media channels
• Experience updating website content
• Is a self-starter with the ability to work both independently and in an office setting
• Experience & comfort communicating with an international base of colleagues
• A personal laptop to use in the office
• Global Arts Corps’ office is located on W. 157th Street. Candidates should be available to come to the office at least twice per week
• Sensitivity to confidential information
• Familiarity with FinalCut Pro and basic film editing experience is a plus, but not required

RESPONSIBILITIES MAY INCLUDE (but are not limited to):

• Event planning (making travel arrangements, reserving spaces, etc.)
• Conducting research for fundraising opportunities
• Assisting in the compilation of materials for grant proposals
• Filing, organizing, and data entry
• Maintaining and updating organization’s social media profiles
• Monitoring and reporting on analytics of social media channels
• Researching and pitching story ideas for blog and social media channels
• Writing and editing blog posts
• Brainstorming strategies for increasing social media presence and designing online marketing and fundraising campaigns
• Assisting in writing, designing, and disseminating organizational newsletters

This is a unique and exciting opportunity to learn about the operations of an international conflict resolution/theatre organization and to support our work in post-conflict areas around the world.

To apply: Please send an email with your resume, cover letter, and one short writing sample (1-2 pages) to Sarah Case at info@globalartscorps.org with “Communications and Production Assistant – [your name]” in the subject line. No phone calls please. We will email candidates selected for interviews in early-September.

New Yorkers You’re Invited…

a snake poster

A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake in New York City

Dear friends, 

Global Arts Corps will be having an afternoon screening of A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake in New York next week at The Paley Center for Media. The screening is free of charge.

Seating is limited so if you are interested please RSVP as soon as possible to Rebecca Paller at: rpaller@paleycenter.org or 212-621-6886. 

Screening Information:

    Friday, June 12 at 12:30 pm 
    The Paley Center for Media, Mark Goodson Theater
    25 West 52nd Street, New York, NY

* The film runs 96 minutes and will be followed by an informal Q&A with director Michael Lessac.

Warmly,
Global Arts Corps 

Melding Archetypes and Acrobats in Cambodia

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A melding of archetypes and acrobats from our circus theatre exploration

21 performers working together as an ensemble to collectively probe their imaginations about the past… – The Landmines or The Good People

News from Cambodia

Dear Friends,

Based on the extraordinary progress we made during this last workshop, we have decided to return to Battambang in October 2015 to finish the production before the end of the year. This means we will be touring a year earlier than we anticipated. We are already working with partners to design an international tour of the production that will include stops in several American cities in 2017. \

Stay tuned for updates over the coming months. For now, please take a look at the gallery from our most recent workshop. These young adults are amazing.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Warmly,
Global Arts Corps 

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Group improvisations with a variety of props