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Theater of the Voiceless: International Symposium and Festival of Documentary Theater

Zeitgeist DC

Staged Readings, Symposium and Film
Sunday, 16 June 2013 - Wednesday, 19 June 2013
various venues
No charge
+ 1 (202) 289-1200

Documentary theater possesses a unique ability to respond to issues of pressing political import and social justice, and provides a platform and voice for the dispossessed. “Theater of the Voiceless”, a symposium and festival produced by Zeitgeist Theater Project DC and the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics takes place from June 16 – 19, 2013 at various venues around Washington. Its goal is to bring together leading playwrights, artists, governmental, political and cultural experts from the United States and German-speaking countries to discuss, perform, and celebrate the international power and vitality of this art form.

Global migration challenges, government-sponsored genocide, terrorism and other manmade disasters that permanently alter our world view – these universal topics are addressed in non-fiction plays by playwrights interested in using their art for social change: Konradin Kunze and Sophia Stepf (Germany), Milo Rau (Swiss founder of the International Institute of Political Murder), and Kathrin Röggla (Austria). The Symposium and the Festival will feature workshop performances and readings of these playwrights’ plays produced in partnership with three of Washington DC’s largest theaters, a presentation about the power of documentary theater to affect social change by Ping Chong (one of the United States’ foremost practitioners of documentary theater), and performances of devised theater works specifically created for this symposium by two of Washington’s most innovative theater companies, as well as a screening of one of Europe’s most famous documentary theater pieces by Rimini Protokoll.

Documentary theater provides the perfect platform for the new partnership between Zeitgeist Theater Project DC and the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University (The Lab). Zeitgeist Theater Project DC is a collaboration of the Austrian Cultural Forum Washington, the Embassy of Switzerland, and the Goethe-Institut Washington. Its mission is to create cross-cultural understanding and awareness of universal social, political and environmental issues through performances of new cutting-edge plays by innovative playwrights from their countries. The Lab strives to develop interdisciplinary approaches to studying the power of the performing arts to advance peace, social justice, and increased understanding and collaboration across peoples and cultures.

Festival artistic director Gillian Drake teams up performance partners Georgetown University's Davis Performing Arts Center (through its association with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater), The Shakespeare Theatre Company, and The Studio Theatre Company, with their resident artists, Derek Goldman, Jenny Lord, and Serge Seiden, to direct performances of three pieces by German-speaking playwrights with local actors. Additionally, Artistic Director Michael Dove and his Forum Theatre Company and Co-Artistic Director Marcus Kyd and the Taffety Punk Theatre Company will perform original pieces inspired by the content of these three powerful plays. The German and Austrian plays will have additional staged readings throughout the festival.


Sunday, June 16, 7 pm
Konradin Kunze and Sophia Stepf: a small, small world
Director: Serge Seiden, Associate Producing Artistic Director, The Studio Theatre
Location: Goethe-Institut

Monday, June 17, 11 am – 6 pm
Theater of the Voiceless: An International Symposium of Documentary Theater in Performance
Location: Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

Monday, June 17, 7:30 – 10 pm
Milo Rau: Hate Radio
Director: Derek Goldman, Co-Artistic Director, Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, Georgetown University.
Location: Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University

Tuesday, June 18, 7:30 pm
Kathrin Röggla: Worst Case
Director: Jenny Lord, The Shakespeare Theatre Company
Location: Embassy of Austria

Wednesday, June 19, 6:30 pm
Rimini Protokoll: Soil Sample Kazakhstan (Bodenprobe Kasachstan)
Location: Goethe-Institut

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