“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 7
I’ve just returned from a week in Bogotá and my third visit to the Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro de Bogotá, one of the largest and most respected theatre festivals in the world. With me were Moisés Kaufman and Tiffany Redmon of Tectonic Theater Project, Jan Kallish of Victory Gardens Theater and Angel Gil Orrios of Thalia Spanish Theatre. During our visit, we met with multiple Latin American theatre companies and saw work from Colombia and around the world.The Actors Gang was also at the Festival, performing their production of Orwell’s 1984, directed by Tim Robbins. While there, Tim and “the Gang” are also giving a number of workshops in the local artistic community.
Orwell’s dystopian future might have a hard time gaining a foothold in the present rebellion of consciousness in Colombia’s theatre community. There is a rising trend of plays whose subject matter addresses the ongoing violence deriving from the guerillas, paramilitaries and the drug trade. While the devastation of the armed conflict in Colombia has always found its way to the stage, some theatre leaders attribute an increase in what some called “Conflict Dramaturgy” to the bold Victims and Land Restitution Law passed last June that promises reparations for the many victims of human rights violations.
A number of the Colombian theatre companies we met with support and disseminate their work through an innovative four-part producing structure that includes traditional indoor shows, street theatre events, social activism and corporate events. When I asked how the work was funded, the most common answer was “projects.” Government funding is minimal, and individual contributions seem to be rare—particularly because there are no tax laws to support individual giving.
Meanwhile, TCG’s own rebellion of consciousness is nearing the end of its 50th year of strengthening, nurturing and promoting American theatre. Help us continue that work by joining us for our 50th Anniversary Gala in New York City on Monday, April 23. We will be honoring the Shubert Foundation, Kenny Leon and Judy Rubin, so learn more here and then purchase your tickets.
That 50th anniversary culminates in our 2012 National Conference – Model the Movement. In her just-released I AM THEATRE video, Mica Cole talks about the shift in her consciousness that occurred listening to Kwame Kwei-Armah at the 2008 Conference in Denver. This a-ha moment is exactly the kind of experience our conferences are meant to inspire, so please register now and take advantage of our early bird discount until April 13.
I leave you until next week with this post from Laurie Baskin about several important studies concerning the impact of arts education and its lack of equitable distribution. How can we ensure every student has access to the creative rebellion of consciousness that arts education provides?