Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, has assembled 25 U.S. theatre leaders to attend the 16th Festival de Teatro de La Habana, October 20-26, 2015 in Havana, Cuba.
TCG has recently organized similar delegations to Fujairah (UAE), China, Sudan, Chile, Colombia, Spain, and a prior trip to Cuba in 2013, catalyzing numerous international projects and artist-to-artist exchanges.
The Festival will honor the 30th anniversary of the celebrated Teatro Buendía, and feature a screening of the recently restored full-length feature film TELL ME LIES by Peter Brook.
“We return to Cuba to build on the relationships developed from our 2013 delegation and discuss what’s possible now with the warming relations between our two countries,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. “Artists have always been powerful cultural ambassadors, and these delegations present an impactful opportunity to manifest our core value of Global Citizenship.”
“I will be the first member of my extended family to visit Cuba since my parents and grandparents left Havana over 50 years ago,” said Damaso Rodriguez, artistic director, Artists Repertory Theatre. “As a Cuban American theatre artist I am thrilled and grateful for this opportunity to foster connections with Cuban artists and theatre companies, and to begin to experience Cuba firsthand at this extraordinary time of transition and possibility. I hope this trip will lead to new friendships and future collaborations.”
“TCG crafted a magnificent experience,” said Moisés Kaufmann, artistic director, Tectonic Theater Project, of the 2013 Cuba delegation that influenced Tectonic’s Afro-Cuban jazz-infused production of Carmen. “We truly got a chance to experience Cuban theatre, dance, and music intimately, and have meaningful conversations with Cuban artists. Cuba is in a moment of vertiginous change, and we got to see both the old and the new.”
TCG staff members have curated a week of artistic exchanges with various theatres and cultural institutions beyond the Festival, including visits to The Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, Teatro Argos, Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, Teatro Isla Secreta, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, and the Instituto Superior de Arte. The delegation is co-led by Kevin Bitterman, TCG’s associate director of artistic & international programs, and Teresa Eyring.
The U.S. delegation includes representatives from Artists Repertory Theatre, Atlantic Theater Company, The (B)IM Project, CalArts Center for New Performance, DePaul University, Florida Studio Theatre, Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, La MaMa ETC, Mabou Mines, Miami Theater Center, McCarter Theatre Center, Olney Theatre Center, The Play Company, PlayMakers Repertory Company, PopUp Theatrics, Skewed Visions, Theater Latté Da, Tricklock Company, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Learn more about delegation attendees: www.tcg.org/pdfs/international/Cuba15Bios.pdf.
“As a Cuban American with a long and politically significant legacy, Cuba has always had a tremendous pull on me,” said Marissa Chibas, head of Duende CalArts. “I am deeply interested in collaborating with Cuban artists in order to pull ourselves out of our habitual patterns and prejudices and move towards new ground together, creating new and socially significant work for both our countries. Cuban culture has long been acknowledged as rich and vibrant and I wish to bring to U.S. audiences some of that vital work.”
Founded in 1980, the Festival de Teatro de La Habana is a bi-annual festival, which opens the streets and stages of the island to local audiences and the global theatre community through performances, symposiums, and opportunities to convene with the Cuban performing arts community. Over 57 performances will be presented during the two-week festival, including work from Cuba, Spain, Colombia, the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, Russia, Chile, Canada, Belgium, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Turkey, France, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Norway, Monaco, and Australia. Learn more about the festival www.cubaescena.cult.cu.
This year, the Festival de Teatro de La Habana will honor the 30th Anniversary of Teatro Buendía, who has collaborated in recent years with the Goodman Theatre and its Latino Theater Festival. Founded in 1986 by actress, teacher, and artistic director Flora Lauten, with graduates from the Instituto Superior de Arte, Teatro Buendía is one of the most celebrated independent theatre companies in Cuba. Their work is renowned for its poignant adaptations of classic texts whose themes reflect the struggles and challenges of contemporary Cuban society.
In addition, a special screening of Peter Brook’s recently restored full-length feature film, Tell Me Lies, will be introduced by his son Simon Brook. Tell Me Lies was filmed in 1967 against the tense backdrop of the Vietnam War. The semi-fictional, semi-documentary work was released very briefly in 1968 in London and in New York before receiving a special mention from the Jury at the Venice Mostra.
Learn more about TCG’s 2013 delegation to Cuba at www.americantheatre.org/2013/11/01/the-cuban-theatre-crisis.
For over 50 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting its constituents to the global theatre community. TCG is North America’s largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 14 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its member theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. For more, visit www.tcg.org.