End of Year Review of Global Arts Corps’ Current Projects

THE NORTH OF IRELAND / NORTHERN IRELAND

Hold Your Tongue, Hold Your Dead

In September of this year, Global Arts Corps premiered our Northern Irish production—Hold Your Tongue, Hold Your Dead—in four workshop performances at ArtsEmerson in Boston’s historical theatre district. The performances came after a 2-week script and music development workshop at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annamakerig, Ireland, in July 2013, and a 5-week incubation period at ArtsEmerson from late-August through the end of September. Each presentation of the production in Boston was opened up to the local community and talkbacks were held after each performance with audiences composed of students, local members of the community working on social justice issues, members of the Irish-American community, and many others. In the discussions following these productions, what surfaced was not only a sense of shared concern of what is lacking between generations but a parallel shared history of North Ireland’s conflict with that of the 1976 busing conflict in Boston itself. To support the music of the production, we enlisted students from the Berklee School of Music to perform with our cast on-stage. We filmed throughout our final week in Boston and are currently editing a short film on the project that we hope to share with all of you in 2014. 

Stay tuned to our website and future newsletters for updates on performances and future tour destinations.   If you have the time, check out this ten-minute film we shot while working with young children in Belfast from both sides of the divide: http://vimeo.com/49385225

CANADA 

In November of 2013, we took the first step towards developing an original theatre production in Canada that would be created by a cast of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal actors, storytellers, and musicians and a group of local mentors, including “Elders”, to the project. To this end, with lead support from the J.W. McConnell Foundation and the Counselling Foundation of Canada, in collaboration with The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples, we brought together a group of stakeholders that included indigenous artists from across the breath of Canada, NGO leaders involved in formal healing and reconciliation efforts, youth, Elders, and philanthropic foundations, as well as performing artists and storytellers.  Over two days in Winnipeg, we shared approaches and exchanged ideas on how a GAC production in Canada could extend the work already being done; become part of the legacy of Canada’s own Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and how we might use our global experience to create a national touring production built around the multiple truths, languages and cultures that both divide and strengthen collective consciousness in Canada today. We are working toward building a consortium of Canadian foundations to support this large project over the next three years.

SOUTH AFRICA 

Global Arts Corps, in collaboration with master teachers of the Arthur Lessac Institute of Voice and Speech, presented a ten-day workshop in South Africa, which included students and teachers from local South African townships, three actors from our Northern Irish company, former cast members of the Truth in Translation company of South Africa, and special invited artists from the United States. The workshop was a tremendous success, and we look forward to incorporating teachings from the Lessac Institute in our future productions and to organization future workshops.

KOSOVO

The first international gathering of Global Arts Corps artists and supporters from eight countries around the world

In July 2012, Global Arts Corps brought together actors from Albania, Serbia, Bosnia, South Africa, France, the USA, Kosovo, and Northern Ireland/the North of Ireland to participate in a 2-day workshop in Prizren, Kosovo. Over the two days, we shared our storytelling and ensemble-building exercises and discussed the future of applied theatre in the area of conflict resolution, identity, and the use of conflict transformation to prepare for the future. We worked with simultaneous translators throughout the discussions and brought shared a rough cut of Truth in Translation with audience members from eight different cultures. This event was tremendously exciting for us, as it constituted the first of what we hope will be many more such gatherings of Global Arts Corps artists across borders. Following the workshop, we were able to bring three of our cast members from our Northern Ireland/the North of Ireland cast to South Africa for the work described above, and we have just finalized plans to bring one of the Albanian actors who joined us in Kosovo with us to work with the Phare Ponleu Selpak in February, along with members of our South African cast.

CAMBODIA

In February 2013, we will be traveling with three members of our Truth in Translation cast and one actor from our Kosovo project to Battambang, Cambodia, where we will be conducting our second workshop with the youth of the Phare Ponleu Selpak (“the brightness of art”)—the Cambodian Arts School that provides circus and related arts training to orphans and destitute, impoverished children.

Please take a look at our initial theatrical workshop with the young circus students and performers at Phare and witness their extraordinary potential in this short piece of film:

https://vimeo.com/62121947 (password: GAC)

The touring circus/theatre production is tentatively called “Landmines”. It will explore the legacy of the Khmer Rouge regime by examining the silence that lingers between generations.  In Cambodia, as in many countries emerging from genocide, violence and conflict, communication between generations tends to be avoided. Out of feelings of shame, guilt and a desire to “move on”, Cambodia’s troublesome past has been swept under a rug of discarded memories and untold stories, resulting in an entire generation of young people who have little sense of identity and an overbearing sense of hopelessness and isolation. The working title of the piece comes from the landmines that still litter the Cambodian landscape, waiting to detonate under the feet of unsuspecting passersby – an event that happens regularly.  But in this production, we are focusing on the emotional, historical and inter-generational “landmines” and the psychological consequences of leaving them buried for the current and future generations.

SCREENINGS OF TRUTH IN TRANSLATION – THE DOCUMENTARY

In the spring of 2013, we completed our documentary feature film on the South African project Truth in Translation. Since its completion, the film has been shown in private and educational screenings in cities around the world, including:

  • Berlin (DNA Gallery, in coordination with the exhibition “SEE New Perspectives: from Balkan photographers)
  • Munich (Robert Bosch Stiftung Annual Forum)
  • Kabul (Afghanistan Center at Kabul University, as part of the Transitional Justice, Reconciliation, and Peace International Seminar – Nick Boraine flew to Kabul at their invitation and participated in the four day conference))
  • Boston (Paramount Theatre, as part of our collaboration with ArtsEmerson while incubating the NI production)
  • Atlanta (Carter Center)
  • New York (Columbia University, Institute for the Study of Human Rights)
  • Winnipeg (Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, as part of our stakeholders conference)
  • Soweto (Wits University)
  • Paris (Le Laboratoire arts and design center, sister cultural center to The Laboratory at Harvard University)

2014 will see a number of screenings of Truth in Translation in New York, Washington DC and elsewhere. We’ve also submitted the film to festivals throughout the world and are waiting on feedback… watch out for newsletters and blog posts with outdates on upcoming screenings in your area!

INTERNSHIPS

A search has begun to bring into the Global Arts Corps College interns to work closely with Sarah Case, our current Development and Program Manager. If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact us at info@globalartscorps.org. We will be posting additional information on the position on our website in the coming weeks.