Press Release for Sri Lankan media -- might help give a sense of what we have been up to for the past few months:
April 3, 2015.
For Immediate Release
Subject: American Theater Artists Land in Sri Lanka
Contact: Marcella Trowbridge, firstname.lastname@example.org, 076-840-1973
Dic Wheeler and Marcella Trowbridge, of the United States of America and the Founders and Directors of the theater company, ARTFARM, have landed in Sri Lanka.
ARTFARM is an independent, non-profit organization, founded in 2001, dedicated to creating high quality theater with a commitment to simple living, environmental sustainability and social justice.
ARTFARM received grants from the Theatre Communications Group and the Network of Ensemble Theaters to pursue theater partnerships in Sri Lanka. ARTFARM Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge and Executive Director Dic Wheeler are spending four months on the island.
Trowbridge is bringing to Sri Lanka ARTFARM’s physically-based actor training and unique techniques for developing original, ensemble-created work based on community issues and challenges. Wheeler will is working in his signature areas of circus, clown and Commedia dell’ Arte.
Co-founders Marcella Trowbridge and Dic Wheeler have extensive history creating theater in the community and devising original work on both United States coasts, as well as abroad. ARTFARM has been dedicated to the development of performance work that engages the local community and sees theater as an opportunity for social commentary and reflection on the human condition.
While in Sri Lanka, Trowbridge and Wheeler are embarking on numerous collaborations.
ARTFARM will continue its artistic relationship work with Sri Lankan composer Gayathri Khemadasa. Wheeler and Trowbridge first worked with Khemadasa when she was in the United States as a Fulbright Scholar in 2012, performing in and assisting in the production of her original opera about the life of Indian bandit Queen Phoolan Devi. Now, with support from the Khemadasa Foundation, they are working together again this spring to reimagine the original work, “When Caged Birds Sing.” This piece will be performed in universities and in a gallery space in late April and early May.
In rehearsal for "When Caged Birds Sing"
ARTFARM is working with Colombo’s Floating Space Theater. With founders, Ruhanie Perera and Jake Oorloff, Trowbridge and Wheeler are sharing strategies for new work development, through physical theater, storytelling and narrative, as well as strategies for sustaining small theater companies artistically, administratively and financially. Their studio time together holds the potential to broaden each company’s work practices. Floating Space and ARTFARM may offer some ‘open workshops’, so keep posted.
Mr. Wheeler and Ms. Trowbridge are leading the Workshop component of the Fourth Annual Colombo International Theater Festival. “Create, Agitate, Communicate’ is a five day Acting, Voice and Movement Intensive with 20 participants working as anensemble to create original performance pieces based on issues identified by the group as of high value. The Ephemeral Ensemble will present an informal share at The Goethe Institute on Thursday, April 9th at 2pm. ARTFARM is the first company from the United States to present in the Festival.
Generative Theater workshop at the Colombo International Theater Festival
Wheeler and Trowbridge are also working with the American Center in Colombo, and, through their Access Program, are bringing theater workshops to under-served teenagers who are new to the English language in areas around the country, including Negombo, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Bandarawela and Belihuloya.
Working with youth in Negombo
While in Sri Lanka, these American artists are humbly trying to learn about the very complex culture that exists on this island in the Indian Ocean, while sharing their ways of working, with the notion that art and theater hold the potential to cross boundaries and to foster growth in individuals and communities.
While here, Wheeler and Trowbridge are meeting many Sri Lankan artists, experiencing local and international performances, participating in forums and workshops, appearing in a local film, and ARTFARMers have been seen juggling- and teaching juggling- in parks, on beaches and at bus stops.