(Editor’s note: Here on the Circle, Aya Ogawa reported back from the initial impact of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis on theatres in Japan. As we approach the year anniversary of the disaster, images like this remind us how the crisis continues, even though it may no longer make headlines. What follows is our recent press release for Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, a relief effort for the Japanese theatre community led by an exciting consortium of theatre organizations. Please consider joining us in this extraordinary opportunity to strengthen the interdependence of our global theatre community. - August Schulenburg)
NEW YORK, NY– Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, is pleased to announce Shinsai: Theaters for Japan. On March 11, 2012, the first anniversary of the earthquakes, theatres everywhere are invited to stage fundraising events featuring a menu of 10-minute plays and songs donated from major American and Japanese artists. Led by a growing nationwide consortium of theatre organizations, Shinsai will raise relief funds for the Japanese theatre community affected by the disaster through audience donations distributed though the Japan Playwrights Association.
Shinsai [SHEEN-sigh] means great quake in Japanese. The genesis of the event began shortly after the disaster when actor James Yaegashi, whose family is from a nearby area, called friends in theNew York theatre to say, “We as a theatre community have to do something to help our fellow artists on the other side of the world.”
Six months later, a consortium of over a dozen organizations has come together to catalyze a nationwide effort, including the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, The Atlantic Theater, The Cooper Union, The Dramatists Guild, The Dramatists Guild Fund, Japan Playwrights Association, Japan Society, Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Play Company, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, The Martin E. Segal Theater Center, New York Theatre Workshop and TCG.
Using the model of 365 Days/365 Plays, theatres everywhere are invited to craft their own event, drawing from the donated plays and from work generated by their own resident artists. The commissioned artists include Edward Albee, Philip Kan Gotanda, Richard Greenberg, John Guare, Oriza Hirata, Naomi Iizuka, Nen Ishihara, Shoji Kokami, Tony Kushner, Jeanine Tesori, Toshiki Okada, Yoji Sakate, Kumiko Shinohara, Toshiro Suzue,Suzan-LoriParks, Doug Wright, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman.
“The international solidarity of artists is a vital model for the international solidarity of all humanity,” said Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater. “The American theater community is proud to offer support and partnership to our Japanese colleagues.”
“Shinsai: Theaters for Japan is part of TCG’s efforts to help theatres in this country and across the globe become more resilient in the face of adversity and disaster,” said Teresa Eyring, Executive Director of TCG. “Our national theatre is increasingly connected to the worldwide theatre community, and Shinsai is an important step to strengthening that interdependence through supporting those theatres inJapan struggling to recover.”
For more information about Shinsai, visit: www.tcg.org/shinsai.