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Cross-cultural Exchange and Cultural Mobility

Content in this section focuses on theatremakers having conversations and creating work across geographical and cultural borders. There are many examples of powerful work here, but for those interested in learning more, consider starting with “Ten Transformative Ideas for Community-Building and Cross-Cultural Exchange.”

The Latest

Palestinian Storytelling
Podcast
Palestinian Storytelling
by Marina Johnson, Nabra Nelson, Fidaa Ataya
23 July 2024
The Beauty of Being Lost Is Like Honey on Watermelon
Essay
The Beauty of Being Lost Is Like Honey on Watermelon
by Ifrah Mansour
11 July 2024
Islam, Migration, and Storytelling
Essay
Islam, Migration, and Storytelling
by Asif Majid
8 July 2024
A promotional graphic for Kunafa and Shay.
Palestinian Storytelling
Podcast

Palestinian Storytelling

23 July 2024

Hosts Marina Johnson and Nabra Nelson are joined by Fidaa Ataya, a Palestinian storyteller who talks with us about the tradition of the hakawati and how she and her work are looking at different forms of storytelling from ancient traditions to new ways of storytelling in Palestine.

A woman leans her head against a figure wrapped in a colorful blanket
The Beauty of Being Lost Is Like Honey on Watermelon
Essay

The Beauty of Being Lost Is Like Honey on Watermelon

11 July 2024

Ifrah Mansour creates performance art that explores joy and healing while connecting communities. In this essay, she illuminates the connections between her work and her experiences as a Somali American, a refugee, and a Muslim woman.

event poster for performingborders in conversation with  Rosa-Johan Uddoh and Party Office.
performingborders in Conversation with Rosa-Johan Uddoh and Party Office
Video

performingborders in Conversation with Rosa-Johan Uddoh and Party Office

An Ongoing Conversation Between Artists, Thinkers, and Activists

Wednesday 10 July 2024
London, UK

performingborders is excited to invite you to join artists Rosa-Johan Uddoh and Party Office for an open online conversation exploring their upcoming performingborders commissions: our annual performance to camera for 2024 and our guest-curated digital pamphlet, both to be published before 10 July.

Pages from the oldest known Qur'an, written in Arabic.
Islam, Migration, and Storytelling
Essay

Islam, Migration, and Storytelling

8 July 2024

Asif Majid introduces the Transatlantic Muslim Voices series with an essay that traces histories of oral performance and migration away from oppression that continue to inform experiences of Muslimness in today’s world and theatre landscape.

A group of artists sand in front of a brightly painted mural.
Finding Open Channels’ Place in the Caribbean Cultural Landscape
Essay

Finding Open Channels’ Place in the Caribbean Cultural Landscape

20 June 2024

J Emilio Bencosme-Zayas shares the experience of participating in the Festival del Caribe in Santiago de Cuba as part of Open Channels/Canales Abiertos. In reflecting on the festival, he discusses what Open Channels has achieved so far, and imagines what else could happen in the future.

A group of protesters carrying a sign in support of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin.
Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part Two
Essay

Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part Two

18 June 2024

In the final installment of this two-part conversation, artists from the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine and Al Límite Collective in New York City come together to discuss the performance of Youth Against Invasion in the Cultural Resistance March, the Freedom Theatre’s global impact, and hopes for the future of the Freedom Theatre.

A promotional graphic for Kunafa and Shay featuring ancient architecture.
People of the Cave
Podcast

People of the Cave

18 June 2024

Hosts Marina Johnson and Nabra Nelson talk about Egyptian playwright Tawfiq al-Hakim and his “unstageable” classic play People of the Cave. They provide historical context of the play, al-Hakim’s career, and the Christian and Islamic stories that served as al-Hakim’s inspiration.

A zoom meeting featuring the authors of Youth Against Invastion.
Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part One
Essay

Art as a Weapon (Youth Against Invasion), Part One

17 June 2024

In the first installment of this two-part conversation, artists from The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine and Al Límite Collective in New York City come together to discuss the work of The Freedom Theatre and its school and the creation of Youth Against Invasion.

A promotional graphic for Kunafa and Shay.
Majnun Layla
Podcast

Majnun Layla

11 June 2024

Audiences pack houses to see stories about forbidden love. Romeo and Juliet is a famous Western example of this phenomenon, but the trope goes back much further, to a poem that likely inspired even inadvertently Shakespeare's famous play. In this episode, we look at the timeless tale of Layla and Majnun made famous by Nizami Ganjavi as a poem and later adopted for the stage and the screen countless times.

A man plays a guitar in front of a microphone.
How Cultural Resistance for Palestine Makes Revolution Irresistible
Essay

How Cultural Resistance for Palestine Makes Revolution Irresistible

15 May 2024

Beto O’Byrne discusses the work of three theatre artists in New York whose acts of cultural resistance contribute to the movement for a free Palestine.

headshots of ten playwrights.
World Voices
Video

World Voices

Displacement Plays from Uganda, Lebanon, West Africa, Haiti and Ukranian Playwrights Project

Monday 13 May 2024
New York City

Join us for an evening of plays by nine writers who personally experienced displacement, migration, and war. Alongside four thirty-minute pieces, we will hear shorter ten-minute works by five young Ukrainian writers.

A drawing of people writing haikus.
Sowing Futures at the Latinx Theatre Commons Tenth Anniversary Convening
Essay

Sowing Futures at the Latinx Theatre Commons Tenth Anniversary Convening

8 May 2024

Georgina Leanse H. Escobar writes and draws a reflection on the second day of the Latinx Theatre Commons Tenth Anniversary Convening, which brought Latinx theatremakers together through poetry, conversation, and hope founded in community.

A large room full of people sitting at tables.
Blessings and Provocations from the 2024 Under the Radar Symposium
Essay

Blessings and Provocations from the 2024 Under the Radar Symposium

8 April 2024

Ashley Malafronte reflects on the 2024 Under the Radar Symposium, which convened global theatre artists, producers, and presenters in New York City for a day of keynotes and discussions that surfaced the issues plaguing the international performing arts sector, as well as the emergent paths that could strengthen it.

Open Lab Kyiv x NYC Event Poster.
Open Lab: Kyiv x NYC
Video

Open Lab: Kyiv x NYC

An open collaborative session between teams of artists in Kyiv, Ukraine, and New York City livestreamed for an international audience. 

Monday 5 February 2024
New York City and Kyiv, Ukraine

Watch a live collaborative rehearsal between two teams of artists; one in NYC and the other in Kyiv, Ukraine. In this open lab session they experiment in real time with digital tools to expand what we imagine is possible on stage and online.

A group of actors perform in a dimly lit space.
On Translating Nobel Laureate Jon Fosse’s Works for American Audiences
Essay

On Translating Nobel Laureate Jon Fosse’s Works for American Audiences

11 December 2023

Amelia Parenteau sits down with Sarah Cameron Sunde, who has translated and directed six of Jon Fosse’s plays, to mark the occasion of Fosse being awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature. Their conversation pays tribute to Sarah and Jon’s longstanding creative relationship, examines the plays’ Norwegian context as it is translated internationally, and uplifts the need for American audiences to see more dramatic work in translation.

ArtsLink Assembly teaser image.
2023 ArtsLink Assembly: The Future is Not What It Used to Be
Video

2023 ArtsLink Assembly: The Future is Not What It Used to Be

A two-day assembly featuring perspectives from artists rooted in their communities, and figures in cultural policy and practice, philanthropy, and social justice.

Thursday 16 November to Friday 17 November 2023
Chicago, Illinois and Kyiv, Ukraine

The 2023 ArtsLink Assembly is a meeting of potent ideas and individual actions, of insights and practices, of artists and institutions, of engaging speakers and active listeners – seeks to spark new ways to dismantle, remember, repair, and reinvent the historic frameworks, ideas, and power structures.

A group of people hold a white sheet between them on a lawn.
Performance, Pro-Democracy Protest, and Activism Across Cultures
Essay

Performance, Pro-Democracy Protest, and Activism Across Cultures

13 November 2023

Kristin Idaszak reflects on experiencing Theatre Du Polet’s Be Water, My Friend at the Prague Quadrennial. This protest art about Hong Kong’s fight for democracy in 2019, performed in the Czech Republic, crosses cultures, political regimes, and time periods.

Three students stand with two chairs in the middle of a circle of audience members outside.
Setting the Stage for Empowerment with Theatre of the Oppressed
Essay

Setting the Stage for Empowerment with Theatre of the Oppressed

9 November 2023

Applied theatre scholars and practitioners Jennifer Schaupp and Dr. Felicia Owusu-Ansah discuss the empowering potential of Theatre of the Oppressed, and how Felicia has been able to utilize it in Ghana and other places around the world.

shadow puppets representing a horse and a rabbit.
Global Puppetry in the United States
Video

Global Puppetry in the United States

A Presentation of Excerpts from Chinese Theatre Works (New York) and US Karagöz Theatre Company (Washington)

Monday 30 October 2023
New York City

An evening celebrating the work of New York based international puppet theatre company Chinese Theatre Works and Washington's US Karagöz Theatre Company. Ayhan Hulagu (KTC), Kuang-Yu Fong, Stephen Kaplin (CTW) presented excerpts from their repertoires and demonstrated the puppets. The panel was joined by Prof. Marvin Carlson, editor of one of the latest Segal Center Publications: Turkish Traditional Theatre: Karagöz Puppet Plays.

event poster for Mental Health, Well-being and International Cultural Mobility forum.
Mental Health, Well-Being, and International Cultural Mobility
Video

Mental Health, Well-Being, and International Cultural Mobility

On The Move Mobility Webinar

Tuesday 26 September 2023
European Union

For this fourth Cultural Mobility Webinar, On the Move explored the positive and negative impacts of international cultural mobility on the mental health and well-being of artists and culture professionals. Many studies and cultural initiatives at local, national, or European levels have investigated the various contributions of arts and culture to the well-being and good health, including mental health, of the population.

Two photos merged, depicting a woman and man side by side.
On Black and Indigenous Shared Kinship Futures
Essay

On Black and Indigenous Shared Kinship Futures

13 September 2023

As part of the Black and Indigenous Futures series, Amber Starks and Kyle Mays discuss the siloing of Afro-Indigenous identity, the opportunities and challenges of developing Black and Indigenous solidarity, and the potential to build a future more deeply rooted in kinship.

On the left, a performer stands on top of a curved platform and speaks. On the right, a performer sits on a round platform with hands clasped together.
A Cypher Among Theatremakers from the Laotian Diaspora
Essay

A Cypher Among Theatremakers from the Laotian Diaspora

7 September 2023

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay convenes a roundtable discussion among actors, directors, producers, and playwrights from the Laotian diaspora who work in theatre in the United States. As former refugees and/or the refugees, these theatremakers navigate their places as arrivers in the settler-colonial structure of the United States.

A woman looks skeptically toward the camera.
Negotiating the Migrant Self in Maia Novi’s Invasive Species
Essay

Negotiating the Migrant Self in Maia Novi’s Invasive Species

15 August 2023

Maia Novi’s testimonial play Invasive Species tells the story of one Argentinean immigrant’s experience constructing her sense of self in the United States in the face of the limitations on her identity that she encounters in her new home. Sebastián Eddowes-Vargas, a Peruvian living in the United States, reviews the production with an eye toward the way that Invasive Species embraces complexity, humanity, power imbalances, and even humor.

Strengthening International Exchange in Turbulent Times.
Strengthening International Exchange in Turbulent Times
Video

Strengthening International Exchange in Turbulent Times

A Meeting of the International Presenting Commons (IPC) at the Edinburgh International Festival

Wednesday 9 August 2023
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

On 9 August 2023, the International Presenting Commons (IPC) and the Edinburgh International Festival gathered an invited, international group of presenters, producers, artists, and agents for a candid exploration of the opportunities and barriers artists and programmers face as they move work across borders.

A group of people surrounds a table serving food in a festive setting.
On Producing an International Tour During a Global Pandemic
Essay

On Producing an International Tour During a Global Pandemic

24 July 2023

Amelia Parenteau chronicles the process of translating Eva Doumbia’s Autophagies from French to English and producing its tour in the United States, a project that unfolded across four years.

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