ABOUT US

WHO ARE WE?

Theatre Without Borders (TWB) is a grass-roots network of international artists, theatres, and organizations that share a common interest in international exchange.

Today, TWB is an international grass-roots community comprised of a wide-spectrum of individual volunteers around the world who meet irregularly and communicate primarily through the Internet and our website. Ideas are generated and then implemented by the group. We start with a need and respond to that need.

We value “Conversation”, “Hospitality”, and “Information Sharing”. We welcome artists at all levels of practice: professionals, academics, amateurs, artists working in countries where there is no such thing as a professional theatre community, and students.

 

HOW DO WE WORK?

We work primarily through our website: www.theatrewithoutborders.com. But, in addition, we create gatherings of artists around urgent themes, always in partnership with host organizations.

We are, above all, a mechanism for the free exchange of information and conversations between individual theatre artists around the world. We are the independent, affiliated and unaffiliated theatre artists in the US and abroad who want to talk to each other and share information person-to person, artist-to-artist. We believe that this single idea has enormous power in a world where information can come at a price in some countries, or where politics and bureaucracy too often mediate communication with others.

We want to speak with other organizations and individuals that serve and work in international theatre exchange. We’re made up of people who see the work in many different ways and are not partial to any particular viewpoint. We support them all. We want to keep the connections alive and growing.

 

WHAT ARE OUR VALUES?

Our Mission:

  • TWB is an informal group of individual artists around the world who are interested in supporting international theatre exchange
  • TWB advocates for theatre artists who seem themselves as members of a global community, as well as citizens of their respective nations and cultures.
  • TWB works through this website (www.theatrewithoutborders.com) , as well as through public forums to explore and encourage the exchange of international theatre projects and artists.
  • TWB works with and supports the activities of other US-based organizations involved with international theatre exchange such as The Martin E Segal Theatre Center, Theatre Communications Group, Brandeis University’s Peacebuilding and the Arts Program, La MaMa, I.T.I./The International Theatre Institute, The Center for International Theatre Development, and many others.
  • TWB does not represent any political ideology. TWB was created to recognize the universality & diversity of theatrical expression and the need for international artists to maintain dialogue across political boundaries.

 

Our Vision:

TWB was born out of a need to connect artists around the world.

TWB is a container for creating connections and sharing knowledge, information and skills.

TWB takes no political positions and it represents no political ideologies, but rather serves as a neutral space where artists from all backgrounds can meet in mutual respect.

TWB offers hospitality and service.

TWB is open to all.

TWB works on the basis of volunteerism. By donating our time, skills and experience–rather than fundraising, administrating and aligning ourselves with central funders–TWB strives to remain independent and inclusive, providing information sharing and supporting cultural exchange across all borders.

 

“SEED & GROW”

We “Seed & Grow”: We plant seeds and watch the plants grown and develop, thanks to our many partners. Our list of partners & projects demonstrate some of the ways that enthusiasm, insight, skill and commitment of TWB artists is leading to significant progress supporting international theatre exchange.

 

WHAT IS OUR HISTORY?

Theatre Without Borders (TWB) began in November 2003 when American theatre director Roberta Levitow returned to the U.S. from a Fulbright Senior Specialist residency at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Following attendance at the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre and theatre workshops in East Africa and Poland, she was searching for artists, theatres and organizations in the U.S. that shared her interest in international exchange.

She soon discovered other friends and colleagues who were infused with the spirit of internationalism: Erik Ehn, playwright (former Dean of Theatre at Cal Arts & presently Chair of the Theatre Department at Brown University) who had traveled to Rwanda in order to write his theatrical response to the 1994 Genocide of the Tutsi’s Maria Kizito; Catherine Filloux another Fulbright Senior Specialist and playwright, who had been creating theatre pieces with artists in Cambodia; and Deborah Brevoort, also a playwright, who had done playwriting in Denmark, Mexico, Australia and Canada.

Together, this small group started meeting to talk about ways to activate and expand international theatre exchange in the U.S. They began a series of conversations with Joan Channick (former Deputy Director of Theatre communications Group & Director of the International Theatre Institute/US Center and now Associate Dean of the Yale School of Drama), as well as with Todd London (formerly of New Dramatists and now Head of the Theatre Program at the University of Washington.)

On May 10, 2004, Catherine organized an informal “theatre without borders” gathering at New Dramatists to discuss international exchange. Expecting no more than 15 people to attend, they were surprised to find the theatre packed with 70 theatre artists who had heard about the gathering via word of mouth and had shown up to the part of the conversation. Before we knew it, our e-mail list of 6 names had grown to over 400 worldwide.

Morgan Allen (playwright and now General Manager at New Dramatists), offering to help us create and maintain our original website (with enormous thanks to technical advisor Randy Paris) Daniel Banks, a director and NYU performing arts scholar, offered to help us design and implement our symposium in New York City. Directors Sarah Cameron Sunde and Marie-Louise Miller of The Translation Think Tank offered to collaborate on a pilot international translation project. Ellen Kaplan, artist and Smith College professor, offered to edit a book featuring essays on international exchange.

The eventual April 2005 two-day symposium at New Dramatists in New York City, entitle THE FUTURE OF INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE: CHALLENGES, REWARDS, RESPONSIBILITIES, POSSIBILITIES, drew over 100 theatre artists and administrators from throughout the United States and around the world. Director and producer Marcy Arlin (Immigrants Theatre Project), playwright Ruth Margraff, director and dramaturg Daniel Brunet (German Theatre Abroad) and theatre artist & web designer Greg Beuthin were some of the participants who joined the ever expanding and evolving TWB working group.

Between 2005 and 2015, Theatre Without Borders continued to grow in community and in influence.
Early and valued advisors included international theatre veterans Martha Coigney (former Excecutive Director of the I.T.I. US Center, Phillip Arnoult (Center for International Theatre Development, Towson, Maryland) Bill Reichblum (Kadmus Arts), Michel Fields (Dell’Arte Theatre Company), Emilya Cachapero (I.T.I US Center) and Melaine Joseph (The Foundry).

In 2005, TWB began a 7-year relationship with Dr. Cynthia Cohen and the Co-Existence Program at Brandeis University. With the goal of exploring the intersection of Theatre and Peacebuilding, Dr. Cohen led an inquiry that resulted in a 2-volume anthology, a 50-minute documentary and the ongoing ACTING TOGETHER PROJECT (www.actingtogether.org.)

The ACTING TOGETHER PROJECT work culminated in the September 2010, ACTING TOGETHER ON THE WORLD STAGE Conference at La MaMa, where over 400 artists from over 30 countries spent 4-days together examining theatre practice in conflict zones. Today TWB artists continue to provide insights into theatre and peacebuilding practice world-wide.

On January 7, 2015, TWB celebrated a partnership with Marie Le Sourd of On the Move (the European Union cultural mobility website) and Dr. Frank Hentschker of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, CUNY to create the first-ever Cultural Mobility Funding Guide for the USA: Theatre, Dance and the Performing Arts. The Launch Symposium was attended by over 300 guests from over 25 countries.

January 28-February 1, 2015, TWB partnered with Tricklock Company and their Revolutions International Theatre Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to create a Symposium weekend discussing in-depth questions about inter-cultural practice.

 

Today, TWB continues to inspire and to be inspired by the passion and creativity of the international performing arts community.