Theatre Communications Group Announces New Recipients of Global Connections Program

With renewed support of $375,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

CONTACTS: Gus Schulenburg | | 212-609-5941


New York, NY – Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, is pleased to announce the recipients of the latest round of Global Connections. Supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Global Connections encourages reciprocity and cultural exchange through two programs: ON the ROAD grants to foster new relationships with international colleagues; and IN the LAB grants to further pre-existing international collaborations. Now in its sixth year, the Global Connections program awarded over $80,000 to eleven projects in this cycle, with over $784,000 awarded to date. Over its first five rounds, the program has awarded 94 grants to artists and companies in 39 U.S. states to collaborate with their colleagues in 53 different countries on six out of seven continents.


“From Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut to Indigenous communities in Norway, from innovative transmedia strategies to the oldest of cultural traditions, these Global Connections recipients are forging new ways of working across aesthetic and political borders” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. “Thanks to enduring support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, these projects will strengthen our shared commitment to fostering global citizenship in a time of discord and division.”


The following five recipients were each awarded up to $5,000 for unrestricted travel support to foster new relationships with international colleagues and inspire future collaborations:


Annalisa Dias, Washington, DC
Annalisa Dias and DeLesslin George-Warren will continue their artistic exploration of the effects of global colonialism and unrestrained capitalism on all forms of life experiencing the impending signs of catastrophic climate change in a new collaboration with Sámi Center for Contemporary Art in northern Norway. They will use the residency to speak with local Sami (indigenous) communities about the already unfolding effects of climate change in their communities. This residency has two goals: to create a multimedia album using found and processed sounds and visual media presented through an interactive website; and to complete a crucial stage of research in contemplative arts practice leading to the production of Annalisa's full-length play, The Earth, That is Sufficient, to be produced by The Welders in 2019.


EgoPo Classic Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
Artistic and administrative representatives from EgoPo will travel to Central Java over two weeks to train with Javanese artists, attend Javanese performance experiences and establish connections for a future collaborative production of the Ramayana. Re-establishing cultural exchange with Indonesia will bring new understanding of the diversity of the Muslim world to U.S. audiences in a time of growing suspicion and xenophobia. The project also focuses on building a unique cultural experience based on Javanese long-form performance events to reinvigorate and expand U.S. theatre-going audiences.


Ismail Khalidi, New York, NY
Playwright and director, Ismail Khalidi, will collaborate with director/producer Aliya Khalidi, in association with Dar El Nimer Center for Palestinian Art and Culture in Beirut. They will develop Ismail’s solo play, Foot, which has been translated into Arabic by Eyas Younis and was selected to be part of Dar El Nimer's Stories of Palestine festival. He will direct the play, which will be performed by a local actor and will tour to Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut.


Emily Mendelsohn, Bronx, NY
U.S. object theatre director Emily Mendelsohn and Ugandan short story writer Doreen Baingana will spend two weeks in Kampala to explore adapting Baingana's story about a woman's journey across Kampala to sell used clothes. This workshop will help both find shared vocabulary across discipline and culture as they work towards a new object theatre piece that explores migration, home, and memory through everyday journeys in Kampala and San Francisco.


Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington, DC
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company will collaborate with a Zimbabwean theatre director who will serve as assistant director and Shona cultural consultant on their production of Danai Gurira's Familiar during their 2017-18 season. The cultural consultant will engage in dialogue about accurate representation of Familiar's Zimbabwean characters and references to Shona cultural traditions. Furthermore, this will be the Zimbabwean artist’s first time working at a theatre in the U.S., which they view as a crucial step for their career and to advance their goals towards building capacity for Zimbabwe's theatre industry.


IN the LAB
The following six recipients were each awarded $10,000 to further pre-existing international collaborations by supporting residencies that advance the development of a piece and/or explore elements leading up to a full production:


Ty Defoe, New York, NY
Long term collaborators Ty Defoe (citizen of the Oneida/Ojibwe Nations) and Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota), co-founders of Indigenous Direction, will deepen their artistic partnership and continue a two-year collaboration with Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island artists through PA'I Foundation and the University of South Pacific, Fiji. This project will engage members of four indigenous nations in an effort to decolonize theatre practices and create an indigenized community-engaged theatre piece, Water is Sacred.


W David Hancock, Saint Paul, MN
W David Hancock is in the process of co-authoring Cathexis with Nick Millett, a participative judicial-theatrical event which imagines the performance space as an interactive tribunal of the future. The trans-media, multi-national collaboration is partly supported by the European Union's Creative Europe program as a pilot project to create a theatre work that incorporates socio-technological research and open innovation.


Wendy Jehlen, Somerville, MA
Wendy Jehlen will co-create The Conference of the Birds, an evening-length movement theatre work inspired by the epic poem of Farid Ud din Attar and embodying stories gathered from modern-day refugees and other migrants. Collaborating artists will come together from eight countries and five continents. This work was commissioned by Boston Center for the Arts, created by ANIKAYA Dance Theater, and funded by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Jacob's Pillow, New England Foundation for the Arts, The Boston Foundation, the James K. Spriggs Charitable Foundation, a Fidelity Charitable donor-advised fund, and the Kates Foundation.


Zoey Martinson, Brooklyn, NY
Writer, director and actor, Zoey Martinson, will travel to Berlin, Germany with her company Smoke & Mirrors Collaborative to continue development of #HASHTAGPROJECT with a creative team from the U.S., Germany, and China. The #HashtagProject is a theatrical experiment in the creation of extremist movements and online protests. A collaboration between theatre artists and interactive technology designers, #HashtagProject translates online social interactions into an immersive and surprising live performance event where the audience makes the decisions about what happens next.


Ron Ragin, New Orleans, LA
Ron Ragin and co-director, Rebecca Mwase, will bring two performing artists from Ghana to participate in the remaining development process and perform in the premiere ensemble of Vessels, a seven-woman harmonic meditation on the Middle Passage that seeks to answer the question "what does freedom sound like in a space of confinement?" The work will debut in New Orleans in the fall of 2018, and the collaborators' presence and participation in the show will deepen the transatlantic dialogue that is critical to amplifying the healing potential of this project.


Tricklock Company, Albuquerque, NM
Tricklock Company will travel to Colombia to embark on the second phase of their international collaboration, Mother of Exiles. Tricklock will be joined by Dagmara Zabska of Poland and Lucho Guzman of Colombia to expand the stories and create a theatrical structure inspired by Colombian issues and policies on immigration. The company will continue their research and rehearse new facets of the work before performing two shows with audience feedback.


The Global Connections selection panel included Philip Boehm, artistic director, Upstream Theater, St. Louis, MO; Tracy Cameron Francis, freelance director, Portland, OR; and Anthony Moseley, artistic director, Collaboraction, Chicago, IL.


Building upon TCG's core value of Global Citizenship, Round 6 of Global Connections aligns with other TCG international activities to maximize impact. Those activities include the Global Theater Initiative (GTI), a partnership that combines the unique reach of TCG’s international programming with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (the Lab) at Georgetown University’s experience in humanizing global politics through the power of performance. GTI strengthens, nurtures, and promotes global citizenship and international collaboration in the U.S. professional and educational theatre field through programs like World Theatre Day, international-themed convenings, and delegations of U.S. theatre people to international festivals. TCG’s global reach includes numerous programs and services for the field, such as advocacy efforts urging Congress to increase resources to support cultural exchange through the U.S. Department of State, and to enact the Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act, S. 2510, which would require U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ensure timely processing time for petitions filed by, or on behalf of, nonprofit arts-related organizations. Learn more about TCG and GTI’s international activities here.


Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.


For over 55 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for U.S. theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture, and promote the professional not-for-profit theatre. TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 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 through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG's partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 15 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.
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