Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan and longtime CPT artist Holly Holsinger, Cleveland State University’s theatre and dance department chair, will be representing the theater at the Global Women’s Performing Arts Festival in Busan, South Korea (GWPAF) this summer. The event is being facilitated by acclaimed international lighting designer and professor Jakyung Seo of Kent State University. The annual festival seeks to engage actors in a creative process to provoke conversations of equity and social justice.
Furthering Cleveland Public Theatre’s mission to raise consciousness and nurture compassion through groundbreaking performances and life-changing education programs, Raymond and Holly will be leading a workshop and discussion entitled “Finding and Sharing Voice in Action,” which utilizes physical and ensemble theatre techniques to share stories of healing and empowerment.
“Finding our voice begins in the body using our creative performance skills to embody trauma, defeats, and triumphs. Seeking stories from our past, our ancestors, and our own imagination, this workshop focuses on using acting exercises of physicality, vocal expression, and creative dramatics to develop performances of power and poetry. Centering women’s empowerment, participants will create individual and collective scenes and actions to be presented in a culminating sharing of work. Participants will learn new approaches to performance creation and acting while deepening their personal creative practice. Participants will also leave with the foundational elements to create their own performances.” ―Raymond Bobgan
This workshop is being undertaken in tandem with discussions of important developments in the international theatre field which are advancing new artistic practices to make powerful art through strong rehearsal processes that are nurturing, safe and free of harassment and trauma. These creatively super-charged practices align with social justice.
Festival Director Hyeja Ju envisioned this project based on her experience of Cleveland Public Theatre in 2019 and Raymond’s subsequent visit last year that included a workshop for actors.
“I was deeply moved by the work of CPT and wanted to share this inspiration with my own community! Last year, we invited Raymond to share the CPT story of utilizing theatre to engage communities and to share the work CPT has done of championing women playwrights and directors. This year we are taking this work further. I believe that the work of Raymond, Holly and Jakyung will make a lasting impact on the Busan theatre scene and support our work in transforming our practices to be more inclusive, nurturing, and safe.” –Hyeja Ju, GWPAF director
Adding to this significant cultural exchange, Holly will also be working with director/creator Hyeja Ju on a new iteration of her production of My Dear, Helen, a cross cultural story based on the autobiographical writings of Helen Keller.
“When I saw Frankenstein’s Wake on video and later as a live zoom production, I was deeply impressed by Holly’s unique stage presence. Her command over voice, body, and spirit is remarkable. I am thrilled she will be joining this multi-cultural cast and thrilled that Cleveland will be represented on our stage!” –Hyeja Ju, GWPAF director
“This is a learning journey. We come with great experience in experimentation and supporting the creativity of performers. We know we have much to share, but more importantly we know we will be changed by this journey and will bring that impact back to our community.” ―Holly Holsinger
The Global Women’s Performing Arts Festival led by Korean artists Hyeja Ju and Jisook Lee was formed as a place to celebrate women in theatre and dance, and to address systemic misogyny in the arts and throughout the world. Formed in 2020 the festival has roots in virtual performance, and upon its success, expanded to combine virtual and live performances in 2021. Last year’s participants were able to stream CPT’s 2022 National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of playwright/director India Nicole Burton’s critically acclaimed Panther Women: An Army for the Liberation.
“Now that there is an issue over gender equality mixed with hatred, exclusion, and disparagement both inside and outside the country, we must fulfill the tolerance of art more than ever for a world that recognizes difference, not discrimination. Until the day when we can share, empathize, and understand each other’s different perspectives, GWPAF will gather voices and movements from all over the world to open a stage that changes the world.” ―Jakyung Seo
Over the course of ten days this team will engage in a theatre workshop that includes public sharing, a broadscale community workshop, and various lectures and panels.
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