Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Cultures collide in virtual space" with IAN ROWLANDS (Wales, UK)

What do you hope to gain from this project?
Inspiration as different genres / cultures collide in virtual space.

Who is your greatest writing influence?
My influences are outside the theatre. At 13, it was Jack Kerouac, in my thirties it was Umberto Eco then Baudrillard. Increasingly, Peter Sloterdijk, having been introduced to him by a Dutch colleague, Jeroen van den Berg, with whom I’m collaborating upon a production, Fragments of Journeys Towards the Horizon, to be staged internationally in 2016

Describe your writing room / process.
As I wrote, in an essay inspired by a comment once made by Amanda [Feldman, Lead Coordinator of The Around-the-Globe Chain Play] (and included in Historia, NoPassport Press, NY - a collection of plays I wrote whilst in NY).

‘The house in which I write these few notes is built upon a Roman wall on land once owned by a pre-Reformation monastery. I exist in a palimpsest of history. In the main, most Europeans do. In Europe it appears that there is no ‘No-space’. Here, no single thing is ‘virgin’. For no single thing is free of historic association; layered history is lived as life in the Old World.’ The room is a small back room; a book lined bubble (see Sloterdijk)

My process is haphazard / shards of time snatched in between the school run and the quotidian demands of life

How old or young are you?
Too old, but blessed by my children’s youth and surprised by my eternal anger at injustice, which drives my need to keep dreaming of Utopia for my children.

NATALIA ANTONOVA (Russia)-- "My life is eternally split between at least three countries"

Who is your greatest writing influence?

It's hard to say. I think others are always more qualified to make such an assessment. A critic friend once compared my work to the work of Russian screenwriter Alexander Mindadze. 

What makes a great play in your country?

I don't know if there is such a thing as "my country," per se, since my life is eternally split between at least three countries. If we're talking Russia - then that's really hard to say. Are we talking about modern plays, the classics, the popular foreign plays that have found a home in local theaters? Considering the conservative backlash currently going on in Russia, I'd say a great play is a play that gets people talking.

Describe your writing room / process.

I don't have a writing room, I write wherever and whenever. That's what happens when you're always busy/have a small child. I probably get my best ideas in the shower/when I'm walking somewhere, listening to music. I usually make notes on my phone, to look up later.

How do you wake up?

Usually, my kid wakes me up by demanding something or other, as kids do. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

"All is not what it seems" with playwright, JC NIALA (Kenya)

How were you contacted to participate?
I was contacted to contribute through The Theatre Company in Nairobi, Kenya.

Who is your greatest writing influence?
My greatest writing influences are the magical realists who thankfully remind us all is not what it seems. 

What makes a great play in your country?
In Kenya, the populist plays make people laugh and the profound plays make people think. Both types of plays are considered great if they speak to the essence of how Kenyans see themselves.

How do you wake up?
I wake up at 4am full of excitement and anticipation to get to my writing desk and the to watch the sunrise. 

JC Niala (Kenya) is an award-winning playwright whose plays have been performed and aired on radio in Kenya and the UK. Her play The Strong Room was shortlisted by Wole Soyinka in BBA Africa Performance 2010. She is also a producer and founder of KikoPro. KikoPro specializes in publishing diverse Children's Books and Adult Non Fiction Books. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015


The author of the Message of World Theatre Day 2015 is the Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski!

The true masters of the theater are most easily found far from the stage. And they generally have no interest in theater as a machine for replicating conventions and reproducing clichés. They search out the pulsing source, the living currents that tend to bypass performance halls and the throngs of people bent on copying some world or another. We copy instead of create worlds that are focused or even reliant on debate with an audience, on emotions that swell below the surface. And actually there is nothing that can reveal hidden passions better than the theater.  

Most often I turn to prose for guidance. Day in and day out I find myself thinking about writers who nearly one hundred years ago described prophetically but also restrainedly the decline of the European gods. the twilight that plunged our civilization into a darkness that has yet to be illumined. I am thinking of Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann and Marcel Proust. Today I would also count John Maxwell Coetzee among that group of prophets.

Their common sense of the inevitable end of the world--not of the planet but of the model of human relations--and of social order and upheaval, is poignantly current for us here and now. For us who live after the end of the world. Who live in the face of crimes and conflicts that daily flare in new places faster even than the ubiquitous media can keep up. These fires quickly grow boring and vanish from the press reports, never to return. And we feel helpless, horrified and hemmed in. We are no longer able to build towers, and the walls we stubbornly construct do not protect us from anything--on the contrary, they themselves demand protection an care that consumes a great part of our life energy. We no longer have the strength to try and glimpse what lies beyond the gate, behind the wall. And that's exactly why theater should exist and where it should seek its strength. To peek inside where looking is forbidden. 

"The legend seeks to explain what cannot be explained. Because it is grounded in truth, it must end in the inexplicable"--this is how Kafka described the transformation of the Prometheus legend. I feel strongly that the same words should describe theater. And it is that kind of theater, one which is grounded in truth and which finds its end in the inexplicable that I wish for all its workers, those on the stage and those in the audience, and I wish that with all my heart. 

Krzysztof Warlikowski

Translation: Philip Boehm
Supported by Theatre Communications Group and the U.S. Center of ITI

Krzysztof Warlikowski is a famous European director. Born in 1962 he is known for his exceptional theatrical images he creates in collaboration with designer Malgorzata Szczesniak. He created new ways to stage Shakespeare, subversive interpretations of the Greek tragedies and is also known for his work with contemporary authors. Since 2008, he has been Artistic Director of Teatre Nowy (New Theatre) in Warsaw. Warlikowski has created a personal vision of the role and place of theater in society by involving the audience in the debate. His motto for the theater became: "Escaping the theater." Warlikowski theater productions have been presented at major festivals: Fesitval of Avignon, Prensa Festival Otono Madrid, Edinburgh International Festival, Vienna Festival, Festival BAM Next Wave of New York, Athens Festival, International Festival Theatre Santiago Mil in Chile, Ponti International Festival in Porto, XXI Festival of Performing Arts in Seoul, South Korea, BITEF Festival in Belgrade. He's received numerous awards from around the world. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"I still get surprised at every little thing around me."--an interview with MARIANA LEVY (Argentina)

What do you hope to gain from this project?
I'm excited about the experience of being part of a creative process that I can't control. Sometimes writing is lonely and you depend only on your own mind and imagination. It's also quite nurturing to get to read the almost raw work of playwrights from parts of the globe I have never even visited...

Who is your greatest writing influence?
Right now: Woody Allen, Paul Auster and Vince Gilligan.

Describe your writing room / process.
I drink a lot of water or different non-alcoholic drinks, Diet Coke, Mate (Argentinian drink, it is like tea, but much more fun, Google it!), I get really thirsty when I think! I have two cats and I like them to be around when I'm writing, preferably close but not on top of my computer...I Google a lot, I ask my friends for ideas for a particular situation or character, I watch movies again or re-read books that I think might put me in the mood for what I'm writing. And when I'm about to finish, a song appears that gives meaning to the whole material. The last days of writing involve listening to that particular song thousands of times while I write.

How old or young are you?
I'm 33. I feel really old for certain things, it still amazes me that fully formed people can be 15 years younger than me... And then I feel amazingly young for other things. I'm still scared about being an adult and I still get surprised at every little thing around me. 

Mariana Levy (Argentina) was born in Buenos Aires. She is currently a playwright, scriptwriter, stage director, and professor. She majored in Literature and Playwriting. She was a member of "Omega", a philosophy and dramatic structures research group. Her plays Misil Children, El Condor, La carne de tu ex en el freezer, and Funde a Negro have been performed in different theatres in Buenos Aires. She is a professor at ENERC Film University, where she teaches and researches dramatic structures in modern TV Series. She does many other things and is usually super funny: to bad this dull bio was written by her evil twin.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Meet the "slightly peripatetic" ANDREW TEMPLETON (Canada)

What do you hope to gain from this project?
I love these sorts of interactive playwriting experiences and creating work on the fly. My main expectation was to have fun and I did. 

Who is your greatest writing influence?
No single person, so in alphabetical order: Caryl Churchill, Will Eisner, Henrik Ibsen, Jack Kirby, Robert Lepage & William Shakespeare. This list could change radically, depending on the day. 

What makes a great play in your country?
I'm not sure how to answer this. At the moment, in the independent sector, we've seen the raise of devised, creation-based work. the text for this type of work does not come out of the traditional, playwright working in isolation process. Often the subject of the work is the creators themselves (in a strange hybrid of performance art and reality television). To my mind, the single best work that I've seen come out of this area of exploration has been Winners & Losers by Marcus Youssef and James Long, which is simply amazing and the show I'd suggest anyone to see to understand what's going on in Canada right now. 

There are some interesting regional variations as well, at least in English Canada. In my hometown of Vancouver, there is a strong pull towards creating visually interesting shows; in Toronto the focus is still much more language-based.

Describe your writing room / process.
At the moment, slightly peripatetic. I share a small apartment with another writer. I have a power station, where all my files are kept. I often work at the dining table or stretched out on the sofa. I've started using shared, creator spaces and I like them. It feels like going to the office, which I think is important to the psyche. 

Andrew Templeton (Canada) Originally from Vancouver and now based in Toronto, Andrew has had plays produced in Vancouver, Toronto and London (UK). With an interest in creating works that explore and test the use of genre, he is currently working on Angus Drive, a re-imagined murder mystery based on a real cold case from the 1920s. Past credits include: What You Want: Toronto (MachineFair/Theatre Passe Muraille); Babylonia (Radix, part of the Free Fall Festival), What You Want (MachineFair), Fever (Radix, part of HIVE 3), Biographies of the Dead & Dying (productions in both Vancouver and Toronto), This Mortal Flesh (Jessie nominated for Outstanding Original Script), Portia, My Love (Jessie nominated for Outstanding Original Script), Howard Johnson Commits Suicide  (London, UK); Branwell Alone (London, UK), Ken Dolls (also adapted for television) and Hazardous Cows (also adapted for radio). He was also one of the winners of the 2011 Vancouver-based Crazy8’s competition with the script Funny Business (directed by Russell Bennett). He is currently working on his first feature length screenplay and is in the planning stages of writing and directing a short film scheduled for production later this year.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kicking Off 2015...Playwright KRISTOFFER DIAZ (NYC, USA)

What do you hope to gain from this project?
It's just great to connect with writers from across the world, collaborating to make something that crosses all imaginable borders. 

What makes a great play in your country?
Impossible to answer, as this country has a wide range of aesthetic tastes. For me, a great play is one that feels like nothing else out there.

How do you wake up?
To the sounds of my son yelling: "Daddy! Dad! It's daytime!"

How old or young are you?
37, which honestly feels ancient. 

Kristoffer Diaz (NYC, USA) is a playwright and educator living and working in Brooklyn. Full-length titles include The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety, Welcome to Arroyo’s, The Upstairs Concierge, and The Unfortunates. Awards: 2011 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award; finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; winner, 2011 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play; winner, 2011 OBIE Award, Best New American Play; and the inaugural Gail Merrifield Papp Fellowship from The Public Theater (2011). His work has been produced, commissioned, and developed at The Public Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Geffen Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, The Goodman, Second Stage, Victory Gardens, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Actors Theatre of Louisville, among many others. He is a playwright-in-residence at Teatro Vista; a resident playwright at New Dramatists; a co-founder of the Unit Collective (Minneapolis); the creator of the #freescenes project; and a recipient of the Jerome Fellowship, the Future Aesthetics Artist Regrant and the Van Lier Fellowship (New Dramatists). Kristoffer holds a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, an MFA from NYU’s Department of Dramatic Writing, and an MFA from Brooklyn College’s Performing Arts Management program.

Friday, February 27, 2015

NYC World Theatre Day Coalition is excited to officially announce...

The Staged Reading of the Third Annual

Thursday, March 27th at 7:00pm

To be performed at the Lark Play Development Center
(5th Floor, 311 West 43rd Street, NYC)

Tickets are FREE
To make reservations go to

The reading will also be live streamed on

Starting and ending in NYC, a play is being written as it travels around the world, making 18 stops with playwrights from across the globe. Each playwright is contributing one to five pages of text, moving the plot forward from where the previous playwright left off. Our playwrights are:

Kristoffer Diaz (NYC, USA)
Andrew Templeton (Canada)
Mariana Levy (Argentina)
Mariana Hartasanchez (Mexico)
Ross Mueller (Australia)
Sarah Treem (Los Angeles, USA)
Michelle Tan (Singapore)
Purva Naresh (India)
Vera Ion (Romania)
Natalia Antonova (Russia)
Najwa Sabra (Lebanon)
Deborah Asiimwe (Uganda)
JC Niala (Kenya)
Ogutu Muraya (The Netherlands)
Lola Blasco Mena (Spain)
Oladipo Agboluaje (United Kingdom)
Ian Rowlands (Wales)
Qui Nguyen (NYC, USA)

The reading will be directed by Ana Margineanu, Co-Founder of the international, site-specific theatre company, PopUP Theatrics. Casting will be announced when the script is finalized after March 8th, 2015.

The reading will be followed by a World Theatre Day Reception, where a number of NYC theatre luminaries will read the International Theatre Institute's World Theatre Day 2015 Message.

The reading will once again be globally live-streamed, to watch click HERE >>

To watch the 2014 Around-the-Globe Chain Play click HERE >>
To watch the 2013 Around-the-Globe Chain Play click HERE >>

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cheers to World Theatre Day 2014!

A big thank you to everyone who attended last night's celebration of World Theatre Day 2014 at the Lark Play Development Center! We had a terrific audience who all greatly enjoyed the world premiere reading of this year's Around-the-Globe Chain Play, penned by fifteen playwrights from thirteen different countries. If you missed the show, don't worry! You can still watch it online at

Here are some photos from the reading:  

Left to right: Evan Thompson, Reynaldo Piniella, Sarah Todes, Patricia Randell, JoJo McCabe
Charles Browning
L to R: Sarah Todes, Patricia Randell, JoJo McCabe, Jamie Effros

Following the play, director Sherri Kronfeld polled the audience for the play's title... 

Sherri Kronfeld
And it shall be forever known as "Belly of the Snow Globe."

Finally, several World Theatre Day veterans delivered this year's international World Theatre Day message, written by South African playwright, director, designer, and Artistic Director of Third World Bunfight, Brett Bailey. 

L to R: Joanna Sheehan Bell, Anuvab Pal, Doug Howe
L to R: Chisa Hutchinson, Nick Micozzi, Shay Gines
As Brett Bailey (and Doug Howe and Joanna Sheehan Bell) reminded us last night, "Wherever there is human society, the irrepressible Spirit of Performance manifests."

Thank you to The Lark, ART/NY, American Theatre Wing, and all of our volunteers.

We look forward to celebrating WTD 2015 with you next year!