News From the Field - Archive


An archived listing of news and events related to our collaborators.

2011


November 2011


Dunna: Creative Alternatives for Peace
Bogota, Colombia

In May 2010, Maria Adelaida Lopez and Natalia Quinones of Colombia decided to start a nonprofit organization called Dunna - Creative Alternatives for Peace (Corporación Dunna-alternativas creativas para la paz). Colombia has been suffering the consequences of violence and an armed conflict for more than a century, but fortunately, during the last few years has started a process to transition to peace. Combatants have begun giving up their weapons, victims are getting reparations for their losses and suffering, and internally displaced people (IDPs) are getting back their lands and communities. Dunna’s mission is to help restore the social structure in communities seeking peace through strategies including programs in arts and yoga, designed for helping high-risk populations to develop skills for personal reconciliation and social transformation.

Dunna: Yoga for Reconciliation

Photo credit: Dunna
Dunna logo

Maria and Natalia created two pilot programs to address the need for creative solutions to strengthen traditional mechanisms for building peace. The first program is called Yoga for Reconciliation, designed for ex-paramilitaries and guerrilla members who gave up their weapons and are going through the official road to reconciliation. The program has proved effective in helping participants recover from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as measured with psychiatric scales designed by the representative of the World Health Organization for mental health in Colombia.

The second pilot program is called Dance for Peace, designed to reduce depression and anxiety in youth affected by violence through dance movement therapy. The initial intervention was made on high school students at a public school located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Cartagena, where IDPs have found a home after fleeing form rural violence. Plans are in place to train local teachers and leaders in five additional municipalities. Dance has helped people to communicate effectively in a nonviolent way, and yoga has healed the scars of trauma in people who dedicated their lives to war. Visit their website.


Women in Action
November 25-27

Erbil City, Iraqi Kurdistan. 

Three-day International Conference to examine issues of women's human rights through Arts, Culture and Education.

This International event and public participatory programme comprises a symposium, workshops, presentations and an exhibition of contemporary art by female Iraqi artists including performance, installation, video, film, photography, painting and sculpture. 
Learn more.


Afghan Theatre Group Lets War Victims Tell Their Stories
November 7
Inter-Press Service

On a small stage, a woman appears, grief written on her face as she wanders through the streets of Kabul, searching for her missing child. Suddenly, she stops by a scene of ruins and stares... Read more.

October 2011

Museum of the Unspeakable:
Breaking through the chain of violence
Utrecht University, The Netherlands
October 28

Based on his studies with Augusto Boal, Brent Blair works with victims to break through the chain of violence with a theatre technique using the methods of theatre of the oppressed. As Director of Applied Theatre Arts at the University of Southern California, Blair’s Museum of the Unspeakable technique aims to break the silence about ‘unspeakable’ traumas through theatre in a collective, supportive environment.

On October 28, Blair hosted a workshop on post-genocide healing through theatre at Utrecht University. In the process, each participant is paired with a partner who copies their posture in a retelling of their lived experience, to allow the participant to step outside his or herself to observe and investigate. Blair emphasizes that the goal is not simply art, but a method of expression that does not require explanation or justification with words. This stage of healing is focusing primarily on survival, and looks to build the path to recovery and development. Blair doesn't make lofty claims about the universal effectiveness of what he does, especially outside his own cultural comfort zone in places like Rwanda. His goal is to teach some of his techniques to people, so that they can develop and apply the methods further in a way that is most beneficial for them. Watch the video.

Revisiting 9/11: 10 Years Later
Catherine Filloux’s play "Action Hero"

Action Hero (working title) is the culmination of Catherine Filloux’s work of the past 20 years. It demands we bear witness to a justice system that is often indifferent to crimes of violence against women, where the gravity of these offenses is minimized, even unnoticed, and too often perpetrators go unprosecuted. The setting—from Guatemala and Haiti to the oil corporations and corporate law offices of the United States—touches on the universality of the injustices women worldwide must endure. The action, dialogue, and scenes portray the volatile situations caused by these oppressive conditions. “Acting Hero” was performed at NYU Gallatin on October 20, 2011. Read more.

June 2011

Conversation with theater artists from Iraq and Pakistan

Roberta Levitow, co-founder and director of Theatre Without Borders sought and received funding to bring two Irqai theater artists and a Pakistani theater artist to the United States for two weeks of exposure and exchange between June 12 and June 26, working in association with Torange Yeghiazarian, Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco (a company dedicated to the stories of and about the peoples of the Middle East); Jordan Elgrably, Artistic Director of The Levantine Cultural Center of Los Angeles; Barrak Alzaid of ArteEast in New York City; Tracy Francis and J.J. El-Far, co-directors of Hybrid Theatre Works; and Kevin Bitterman, Associate Director of International Programs at TCG/Theatre Communications Group. The artists spent their first week in Los Angeles where they attended the TCG National Theatre Conference along with over 900 leading U.S. theatre artists and managers and presented their work both at the conference and during a special event "From Babylon to Hollywood" hosted by the Levantine Cultural Center.  The artists then spent a week in New York City meeting colleagues, attending performances and presenting their work in an ArteEast/Hybrid Theatre Works event "Theatre and Conflict."

Watch the interviews with two Iraqi theater artists, Amir Al-Azraki and Waleed Shamil, and Pakistani theater artist, Shahid Nadeem, filmed by Billy Clark at Culturehub, New York City on June 21, 2011.  Catherine Filloux from Theatre Without Borders interviewed the artists, after they attended the T.C.G. Conference in Los Angeles. Amir Al-Azraki, playwright, from Basra, Iraq, finishing his dissertation in Canada, performs from his short play, “Stuck” and speaks about theater and reconciliation in Iraq, as well as his hopes for U.S. and Iraqi exchanges. He goes on to discuss theater as a tool for change; the nature of Iraqi audiences: theater of the elite vs. working class audiences; the usefulness of comedy in Iraqi theater; problems with stereotypes, and ideas for dissemination of his dissertation. Waleed Shamil, theater artist and teacher in Baghdad speaks about the conditions in Baghdad and theater work in the city. He talks about a play performed/improvised by his students called “September” about September 11th.  Shahid Nadeem gives background about his theater company Ajoka, Theatre for Social Change, and discusses censorship in theater in Pakistan, and pressure received from extremists. He also discusses the peacebuilding work he does with his company Ajoka, as well as exchange possibilities with other countries.  


Passing the Flame - Festival and celebration of the 20th Anniversary of DAH Teatar
June 11-18

DAH Theater, Maruliceva 8, 11 000 Belgrade, Serbia,  +381 11 2441680
The Festival consists of panel discussions, presentations, and conversations with Masters, performances and workshops. The documentary, "Acting Together on the World Stage," is shown during the festival. See their website for more details.


Playback Theatre Festival North America
Acting for Personal, Organizational, and Community Change
June 16-19, 2011


Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
Join with members of many of the 74 Playback Theatre companies from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico gathering to perform, learn and celebrate.  The Festival welcomes all interested: those seasoned in Playback, those relatively new to the form, as well as anyone interested in the use of arts for social change and healing, whether familiar with Playback or not. The documentary, "Acting Together on the World Stage," is shown during the festival. See their website for more details and registration.


TCG National Conference 2011
Special Lunchtime Screening: "Acting Together on the World Stage"
June 18, 12:30-2:00pm


Central LA High School #9
450 North Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA
The documentary, "Acting Together on the World Stage," is shown during the conference. Roberta Levitow, Co-founder and Director of Theatre Without Borders, and Catherine Filloux, playwright and co-founder of Theatre Without Borders, will speak at this screening. See their website for more details and registration.

April 2011

Rotterdam International Community Arts Festival. Eugene van Erven, newly appointed artistic director for the festival, taking place March 30-April 3, 2011. Visit van Erven's webpage.

March 2011

World Theatre Day on March 27, 2011

Watch Jeffrey Wright's comments on World Theatre Day.  It includes a video montage including several images from Sundance Institute East Africa amongst many other projects.
 
Created in 1961, World Theatre Day, is celebrated annually on March 27 by ITI Centers around the world and the international theatre community. Each year, a renowned theatre artist of world stature is invited to craft an International Message to mark the global occasion. This year, ITI Worldwide, headquartered in Paris, asked artist, academic and humanitarian Jessica A. Kaahwa, from Uganda, to write the international message.  In addition, TCG/ITI-US, invited Tony Award-winning actor and global citizen Jeffrey Wright to issue a US message.

Kaahwa and Wright's statements will be translated into more than 20 languages and distributed to tens of thousands of audiences around the world prior to performances.

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