Highlights

8 May 2020

ICAF News: Community Theatre in China

We first discovered that community theatre existed in China while participating in the Performance Studies International conference at the Shanghai Theatre Academy (STA) in July 2014. There we met Dr. Daniel Shen, who teaches social drama at STA. He subsequently attended the ICAF summer school in 2016 and ICAF-7 in 2017.

 

Daniel introduced us to his colleague, Dr. Zhiyong Zhao, a professor of applied theatre at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing. He and two of his students travelled to Barcelona to be part of the ICAF Summer School in July 2018. Early 2019, Zhiyong wrote to Eugene to ask if it would be possible for him to spend a sabbatical as a guest scholar in the Media and Culture Studies department at Utrecht University, where Eugene is in charge. After some back and forth that included difficulties with permissions and visas, Zhiyong finally arrived in the Netherlands on January 14th2020. We found lodging for him in the homes of community arts colleagues in Utrecht, he attended seminars at University, studied, and he explored Holland. He was all set to offer a couple of workshops at ICAF-8 on his community theatre practice with migrant workers in Beijing when the Corona crisis struck. On March 16th, Zhiyong returned home, but promised to send us material that we could post on our website to inform the ICAF-community about his work in China. We first tried to interview Zhiyong via Skype after he was released from quarantaine, but the internet connection kept breaking down. Assisted by his partner, Yuan Ye, Zhiyong then made a video in which he explains why and when he became involved with a group of female migrant workers connected to community center Mulan Huakai (meaning: ‘Magnolia blossom’) in the Dong Shagezhuang settlement north of Beijing and how they together went about creating and producing a play about their precarious existence, called ‘The Story of Giving Birth’. Applied theatre (Playback, Forum theatre, Boal) was first introduced in China in 2006 by a group of artists from Hong Kong. Chinese artists and social workers then began using these techniques with vulnerable communities. Having written his doctoral dissertation on Bertold Brecht, Zhiyong was attracted to it as well. When he witnessed a moving self-made performance by migrant workers on New Year’s Day 2009, he was sold and has been working in community theatre ever since, in addition to teaching at the drama academy. A registration of ‘The Story of Giving Birth’ follows his introduction …

For all our Dutch and Flemish colleagues; we are happy to welcome you to our ICAF NWE MKRS festival from 3 to 5 June 2022 in Rotterdam! …

14 May 2022

TRIP TO PORTO

Last month Jasmina, Anamaria and Eugene had the pleasure of travelling to Porto to meet and exchange with friends and collaborators MEXE Associação …

It was with heavy hearts that we learnt last week that dear ICAF friend and collaborator Sally Gordon …

29 March 2022

ICAF PLATFORM SURVEY

We are in the process of developing a brand-new online platform, that will act as a 24/7 accessible ICAF. …

Our first ICAF Reads is a critical summary, in English, of Teatro de Vecinos: de la comunidad …

The ICAF 2023 Open Invitation is now live!
 
Dear community artists, thinkers, …

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