If you missed World Theatre Day on Tuesday you really missed out. It was a great afternoon filled with inspiration, education and celebration. Our first panel featuring Henry Godinez, Peter Taub and Criss Henderson and moderated by Chris Jones explored what it meant to be a theatre in Chicago bringing artists from all over the world. Criss talked about it being important for Chicago Shakespeare in a number of ways, including bringing artists together and showing off Chicago theatre among other things. Henry talked about the balance between presenting work in English and in other languages and the care that has to be taken in translation and also about the importance of presenting works that are less text based and Peter talked about how important it is for MCA to present work from a wide variety of cultures with roots in different art forms.
Jaroslaw Fret from Teatr ZAR was up next. He talked about the work of Teatr ZAR which has a long development period during which the company does massive amounts of research and exploration. It was fascinating. You can catch the company at the MCA this weekend with a piece that was developed over the last 10 years.
Finally Kwame Kwei-Armah spoke with us about many things. He talked about the unique ecology of Chicago theatre and our incredible reputation as a theatre town. He went into some detail about the larger culture and how experience based we have become and that we have an advantage in that because everything is being sold through stories now and we are in the business of telling stories. He talked about his work as artistic director on the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture and what a profound experience it was working with artists from 50 different countries.
Audio recordings were made and we will have those up soon. I was really inspired and I hope everyone there was as well.