Monday, July 21, 2008

Performing the World/ Blogging the World


I hope you'll join me this year at Performing the World 2008 [aka PTW].


PTW has in the past been attended by educators, psychologists, social workers and other community-based practioners who are attempting to deal with social issues in their communities ranging from genocidal war (Bosnia) to sexual assault (Prince George, British Columbia) to educating and helping refugee children assimilate (Decatur, GA) to community health issues (South Africa).... Most of these programs and helping professionals use a variety of performance-based approaches to human development.


Most attendees, I would daresay, consider themselves changers of society, if not changers of the world. They are political activists in the larger (and best) sense of the word.


This year the conference organizers decided to reach out more broadly and I was invited to submit a proposal for a session on blogging.


My session is a panel discussion called "Blogging the World" and is designed to engage the issues of grassroots activism, influencing the political process from the bottom up, and ways the internet/ blogging/ etc. has (and has not) democratized our political process. (I have one or two more slots on the panel, so if you're interested, please email me and I'll get you the details.)


And let's face it: 2008 a big fat election year, and I'm also interested in promoting and discussing independent politics.


PTW promises to be very interesting this year. Over 200 proposals have been submitted from every corner of the world. Here are a few:


Human Flag of Peace: Meditation for Planetary Peace - CHILE
This is a performance happening that will take place outdoors in a public space involving scores of PTW attendees. Developed by the Green Planet Collective in Valparaiso, Chile, the “Human Flag of Peace” is a performance-meditation involving in three circles created by human bodies, surrounding by another big circle created by human bodies. It is the international symbol of peace agreed on in 1935 by all the nations in Americas. The three circles in the middle represent art, science and spirituality and the big circle represents the culture of peace.

Bukom Dance Ensemble - GHANA
The Bukom Dance Ensemble is a drumming and performing group. It was established in 1989 to raise awareness on the link between culture and development and travels to communities within the country to educate the public.

Youth Theatre in Ireland – A Model of Practice - IRELAND
Orlaith McBride, the Director of the National Association for Youth Development in Ireland, will discuss the innovative approaches to working with young people through theatre developed by the Irish National Youth Theatre. The session will present the specific methodologies that have been developed over thirty years of practice from its unique method of auditioning to the building of an ensemble company through the rehearsal process to an exploration of the impact of the experience on the young people’s personal, social and aesthetic development as well as the impact of the National Youth Theatre on theatre practice in Ireland. The session will chart the development of the Youth Theatre movement in Ireland in the late 1970’s and the particular place the fifty youth theatres in Ireland occupy in 2008 in the spectrum of theatre in Ireland.

‘Inside A Box”: Community Theater in Times of Community Crisis - ISRAEL
This study focuses on the impact of participation in a community theater on women living in an Israeli city near the Lebanese border during a time of security crisis in Israel. Amnon and Esther Boehm will discuss how the participants’ coping resources were developed in the process of creating community theatre.

Mother{r}ight - MACEDONIA
Mother {r}ight works with Roma (Gypsy) mothers who beg with their children on the streets and intersections of Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. The session will look at different aspects of this project and will include performative aspects of their work through video questions recorded by each Roma mother involved in the project.

Improvising Yesterday to Clarify Today and Illuminate Tomorrow; Performance for Conflict Resolution and Political Stability in Nigeria - NIGERIA
The session will include a discussion of the use of performance in Nigeria as a means of conflict resolution and a performance of a comic solo skit titled “Bicycle.” “Bicycle” is a 10-minute comic solo skit dramatizing the anguish of a 45-year-old man who has to work as a house boy to make ends meet. The skit is a reflection of the extent to which poverty dehumanizes.


The Hankster will be there, capturing a little bit of it for you online. But if you can join us here in New York City Oct. 2-5, you'll be in for a treat. Hope to see you there!


PTW ‘08 is sponsored by the All Stars Project, Inc. (www.allstars.org) and the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy (www.eastsideinstitute.org)

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