CrossCurrents Festival 2019, European Theatre Residency in Washington, DC

European National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) cooperate in Washington’s CrossCurrents Festival with the objective to humanize global politics

April 24th, 2019
Danaja Antonija Volk, News from Berlin
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The EUNIC cluster in Washington, DC teamed up with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics “the Lab” of Georgetown University. Their cooperation stems from the aspiration to bring a European element to the CrossCurrents Festival. Artists will be joined by policymakers, activists and scholars in a variety of performances in hopes of engaging civil society with policy issues.

From the 8th-11th of May this year, Washington, DC will be hosting the bi-annual CrossCurrents Festival. Throughout the three months under the artistic leadership of stage director Derek Goldman, The Lab will be working on several signature productions. Falling Out, will be a multimedia response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster by Phantom Limb, presented in partnership with the Kennedy Center; Republics of Imagination, a World Theatre Day event with best-selling author Azar Nafisi, exploring the enduring value of literature in dark political times; and Renegade Theatre of Nigeria’s The Chibok Girls: Our Story which is about the 276 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram.

Part of the inaugural year of CrossCurrents will be a multi-day cultural exchange entitled The Gathering. The vision of this exchange is to make a transformative impact on critical global challenges, from migration and refugee issues to climate change to political polarization. Visionary artists will be joined by thought-leaders, policymakers, activists and scholars. Participating at this event is free of charge and open to everyone.

A major factor this year is the cooperation with the EU Delegation which will make way for more policy discussions. This year eight EU countries will participate: Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Romania, Sweden, Spain and Greece. The artists were chosen particularly for the work with the civil society and audience engagement. The Austrians this year will have a focus on human rights and arts. In a way all the activities of the embassies in Washington contribute and impact what goes on at the EUNIC and consequently the content of the festival.

The main idea is that the more the public talks about it, the easier it is to influence the policy making level. CrossCurrents seems to be a great way to use culture to make politics and policies more approachable to the larger public. Humanizing global politics is the main ambition and understood as a tool for further engagement and growth. The Lab has emerged as a leader and is being recognized for its unique way of integrating performing arts and international relations. Their signature approach is raising voices rarely heard in Washington, DC through fascinating authentic narratives.

“At a time when the world seems broken to so many across the globe, CrossCurrents aims to highlight the innovative work done by performing artists around the world to foster empathy and understanding,” says Derek Goldman, Co-Director of The Lab. “These inspiring examples offer innovative models of how performance is working to confront and to counter burning problems that may be out of the reach of traditional policy approaches.”


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