At its 33rd Annual Conference in Toronto, LMDA presented the Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy to Magda Romanska.

The Elliott Hayes Award recognizes exemplary contributions by dramaturgs in the Americas to the conception, development and production of theatre or to educational projects in dramaturgy. Romanska for launching and editing The Theatre Times worldwide news platform.

The Theatre Times (thetheatretimes.com) is an online global theatre portal with over 140 global regional editors and 50 international media partners, covering theatre in 80 countries. With an expanding collaborative team of Regional Managing Editors around the world, it aims to be the largest global theatre news source online

The Theatre Times publishes theatre news stories and articles on daily basis from a variety of sources. In addition to original content, they have agreements with 40 regional publications which allow us to repost their stories and articles.

Since launching in November 2016, The Theatre times has developed 20 thematic sections, including on transmedia, transcultural collaborations, adaptation, devised, immersive and applied theatre, theatre and gender, disability and age.

This year, the site launched launched two Spotlight features: Spotlight on Russia and Spotlight on Poland. The Spotlight on Russia and Spotlight on Poland offered readers a window on the diverse landscape of Russian and Polish theatre. Bringing together reviews, exclusive interviews, and articles, the Spotlight on Russia and Spotlight on Poland are one of the largest English-language digital resources on contemporary Russia and Polish theatre. They are currently developing Spotlight on China series.

Their main goal is to create a transnational discursive space that would bring together theatre-makers and theatre lovers, facilitating global collaborative models, and generating opportunities for interaction and creative development amongst a wide network of international theatre-makers and theatre goers. The Theatre Times aimst to be the number-one destination for both globetrotting theatre lovers and adventurous theatre-makers looking for new inspirations and professional partnerships.

Romanska states: "During much of the last century, Western theatre scholarship and theatre-making have been in a somewhat predatory—colonial and postcolonial—relationship with the rest of the world. American, British or Western European theatre scholars and artists would travel to faraway locales—Africa, Asia, South America or Eastern Europe—to gain some, often superficial, knowledge of the local theatre ecosystem. They would use whatever they needed for their scholarship and theatre-making, too often without concern for the people and art they’d borrowed, written about and left behind. The entire semiotic landscape of a particular culture would be subsumed under the Western understanding, processed and interpreted through the prism of Western cultural codes and canons. This is not to say that such a state of affairs has never led to mutually respectful relationships and collaborations, but such methodology has not benefited the rest of the world and has also not helped the West.

"In today’s interconnected, global world, social media and digital tools provide access to the virtual public space for everyone, and Western scholars and theatre-makers do not need to serve as cultural intermediaries.  By giving a platform to local, regional editors, native language speakers and cultural insiders, TheTheatreTimes.com hopes to provide a new model of intercultural exchange. All of our editors have direct access to our platform; they are interpreters of their own cultures; and they represent their theatre as is, without filters. Thanks to modern technology, developing such a pluralistic model of cultural sharing is no longer a pipe dream. In the old model, access to international theatre and the professional network of collaborators and opportunities that accompanied it, was owned by those who could afford to travel. Even today, specialized articles written by knowledgeable scholars familiar with local theatre cultures are often locked behind paywalls of commercial scholarly online platforms. Most theatre practitioners and academics across the world do not have or cannot afford access to these databases."

The Theatre Times is accessible as both a website and app for both iPhone and Android. Says Romanska: "All of us can share knowledge despite often unequal access to external resources. Our goal is to create a network that supports and nurtures the professional mobility of our readers and contributors."

 

Honorable Mentions

Kaite O'Reilly, for her work on “'And Suddenly I Disappear...' Alternative Dramaturgies informed by a Deaf and Disability Perspective” -- an international, intercultural mosaic of monologues about diversity and difference, utilising multiple languages - spoken, visual  and projected - and the aesthetics of access - integrated audio description, and creative captioning. A theatrical dialogue exploring how Deaf and disabled experience utilising multiple modes of communication might meet, challenge and potentially expand theatre languages in live performance, avoiding ‘translation’ and the dominance of one language/culture over another.

 

Kaite O’Reilly is a playwright, radio dramatist, writer, and dramaturg who works in disability arts and culture and mainstream culture. She has won many awards for her work, including the Peggy Ramsay Award for YARD (The Bush, London), Manchester Theatre Awards best play of the year for Perfect (Contact Theatre), Theatre-Wales Award for peeling (Graeae Theatre company) and the Ted Hughes Award for new works in Poetry for her reworking of Aeschyluss Persians for National Theatre Wales in their inaugural year. She was a finalist in the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2009 for her play about memory and brain injury The Almond and the Seahorse. Widely published and produced, she works internationally, with plays translated/produced in eleven countries worldwide.

2016 productions included Cosy at Wales Millennium Centre (The Llanarth Group), The Almond and the Seahorse in Estonia and Germany, and the Taiwanese production of the 9 Fridas in Mandarin transferring to Hong Kong Repertory Theatre.These plays are collected in her critically acclaimed Atypical Plays for Atypical Actors, published by Oberon in 2016.

A leading figure in disability arts and culture in the UK, she received two Cultural Olympiad Commissions for In Water I’m Weightless, produced by National Theatre Wales/Southbank Centre as part of the official festival celebrating the 2012 London Olympics/Paralympics. She has received bursaries from Literature Wales and recently was awarded a Creative Wales Award from Arts Council Wales for exploratory work into ‘The Performative power of Words with Music’ in 2017. She is the 2017/18 recipient of an Unlimited International Commission, supported by the British Council, to develop And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore d Monologues. This premiered in National Museums Singapore Gallery Theatre in May 2018 and will be at Londons Southbank Centre in September 2018, part of the Unlimited Festival, before a short UK tour. This will be published as The d Monologues by Oberon in Autumn 2018.

In 2003-06 she was AHRC Creative Fellow at Exeter University, developing ‘Alternative dramaturgies Informed by a Deaf and disability Perspective.’ This work has continued as fellow of international research centre ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’ at Freie Universitat in Berlin (2010-17), where she is reflecting on her practice between hearing culture and Deaf culture, disability culture and ‘mainstream’ culture, with four essays forthcoming in books by Routledge.

She edited FACE ON: Disability Arts in Ireland and Beyond for Arts Disability Ireland and Shelf Life, an anthology of writing by those with reduced life expectancy for National Disability Arts Forum.

She is the patron of Disability Arts Cymru, and DaDa (Disability arts Deaf arts). Dramaturg for The Llanarth Group, she co-creates work internationally with renowned theatre director Phillip Zarrilli.

She received the Chwarae Teg Cultural Woman of the Year Award in June 2018.

Website: www.kaiteoreilly.com

Blog: www.kaiteoreilly.wordpress.com

 

*****

Ness Roque, for Gobyerno (Government), an interactive and participatory performance-workshop inviting audiences to create, perform, and film their ideal government and communities; create their own ruling bodies and develop a [new] national constitution. The work employs both the language of theater and cinema to activate audience agency as an opportunity to question and exercise global citizenship. 

 

First prototyped in 2015 and envisioned to become an eight-hour durational work, the six-year global project explores performance as rehearsals for revolutions and collective action. Key collaborators include playwright David Finnegan, filmmaker Brandon Relucio, and visual artist Ralph Lumbres

It has been performed and iterated in collaboration with Creative VaQi (Seoul, South Korea); Junnosuke Tada of Tokyo Deathlock (Honmoku, Japan), Lisa Pellegrino (Darwin, Australia), (Casltemaine, Australia), and (Gold Coast, Australia). Gobyerno is a recipient of the Kinosaki International Art Center artist-in-residence grant for Sept-Oct 2018 to further explore the work in its fourth year in development.

Ness Roque is a freelance theater and film actress, performance-maker, writer, dramaturg, teacher, and artist-manager. She is also a core member of Manila-based contemporary performance collective, Sipat Lawin Ensemble, which creates works and holds workshops for children and adults. She recently co-curated the Idea Exchange Platform of Karnabal Festival 2016, a festival that supports the development of new devised-works in the Philippines. In July 2017, she was part of the World TYA Creation Series residency program of the ricca ricca*festa International Theater Festival Okinawa for Young Audiences. Recent performance works include Battalia Royale (Manila 2013-2014); and Raya Martin's How He Died is Controversial (Asian Arts Theater Opening Festival 2016 in Gwangju Korea). Leading performances for film include Raya Martin's How to Disappear Completely (Museum of Modern Art - MoMA 2017, Locarno 2013) and Now Showing (Cannes Quinzaine des Réalisateurs 2008). For more information, visit sipatlawinensemble.com, or check out videos about Gobyerno herehere, or here.

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