The NYC World Theatre Day Coalition was thrilled to learn that this year the International message will be written by South African playwright, designer, director, installation maker and artistic director of Third World Bunfight, Brett Bailey. Upon its release in March, the message will be translated into more than 20 languages to reach tens of thousands in the international theatre community.
Additionally, The Theater Communications Group (TCG, The US Center for the International Theatre Institute) is proud to announce that noted theatre artist and TCG board chair Diane Rodriguez, the associate producer/director of new play production at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, will give the U.S. World Theatre Day message. Past U.S. World Theatre Day messages were given by actor Jeffrey Wright and playwright Lynn Nottage.
Brett Bailey is a playwright, designer, director, installation artist, and the artistic director of Third World Bunfight. He has worked throughout South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe, Uganda, Haiti, the U.K. and Europe. His acclaimed iconoclastic dramas, which interrogate the dynamics of the post-colonial world, include Big Dada, Ipi Zombi?, iMumbo Jumbo and Orfeus. His performance installations include Terminal (Blood Diamonds) and Exhibits A & B. He directed the opening show at the World Summit on Arts and Culture in Johannesburg (2009), and from 2006-2009 the opening shows at the Harare International Festival of the Arts. From 2008-11 he was curator of South Africa’s only public arts festival, ‘Infecting the City’, in Cape Town. His works have played across Europe, Australia and Africa, and have won several awards, including a gold medal for design at the Prague Quadrennial (2007). He headed the jury of the Prague Quadrennial (2011) and was a juror on the International Theatre Institute’s Music Theatre Now competition (2012/13).
Diane Rodriguez is an Obie Award-winning multi-disciplinary theatre artist. She is an accomplished actor, anthologized writer, regional theatre director and associate producer/director of new play production at Center Theatre Group (CTG) in Los Angeles. She began her career as a lead actress with the seminal ensemble, El Teatro Campesino. Recognized as one of the country’s leading advocates for non-text based and ensemble-driven work as well as a long-time advocate of Latino playwrights and actors, Diane maintains her artistic career while being a member of the artistic staff of Center Theatre Group, which includes the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theatre and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Currently, under her tenure as director of New Play Production (NPP), CTG’s NPP program was awarded a one million dollar grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the commissioning and development of seven new collaborative works from ensembles or creative collaborators. She has developed and directed the works of numerous writers including Nilo Cruz’s Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams and Dreams of My Father, Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation at Sundance Theatre Lab, Lloyd Suh’s American Hwangap at Ojai Playwrights Conference, Erik Patterson’s Sick for Playwrights Arena, and Les Thomas’ Cave Quest for East West Players, among many others. In 2008, for Mattel Toy Company, she wrote the book and was the supervising director for the first live Barbie musical Barbie Live/The Princess Adventures. The show premiered in Buenos Aires and toured Brazil in 2012. She won an OBIE for Performance (Best Ensemble) in 2007 for playing 23 characters in Heather Woodbury’s Tale of Two Cities. In 2012 her two plays, Living Large in a Mini Kind of Way and Pitch like a Girl were produced in Chicago and Los Angeles, respectively. With Mark Murphy and Mark Russell she co-directed the RADAR LA Festival in 2011. She lives in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles with her long time husband, friend and advisor, Jose Delgado.
The first World Theatre Day international message was written by Jean Cocteau in 1962. Succeeding honorees include Arthur Miller (1963), Ellen Stewart (1975), Vaclav Havel (1994), Ariane Mnouchkine (2005), Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi (2007), Augusto Boal (2009), Dame Judi Dench (2010), Jessica A. Kaahwa (2011), John Malkovich (2012) and Dario Fo (2013).