El Año en Que Nancî (The Day I Was Born) by theater artist Lola Arias, which will be featured in the festival. Photo credit: David Alarcon.

El Año en Que Nancî (The Day I Was Born) by theater artist Lola Arias, which will be featured in the festival. Photo credit: David Alarcon.

Update

Excitement is building as the final touches are being confirmed for the ambitious program of performing arts projects to be featured during Radar L.A., an International Festival of Contemporary Theater, September 24 to October 2. The wide-ranging festival will feature innovative Los Angeles-based performing artists and ensembles alongside influential international artists from Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand.

Adventurous Los Angeles-based performing artists and ensembles are in the midst of developing new works for the festival, and a vibrant mix of international companies are preparing to bring acclaimed productions to Los Angeles for the first time. The Festival will light up several downtown L.A. locations, ranging from rarely used historic theaters to a storefront in the Chinatown neighborhood and a new “pocket park” in the heart of downtown’s Old Bank District.

World premieres to be debuted at the festival following summer residencies (many supported by ArtPlace America) include:

- Stardust, a dance theater work by choreographer David Rousseve and his company, Reality;
- Hospital, a collaboration by heater ensemble Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) and Dutch company Wunderbaum;
- Three new works by solo artists to be presented at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theater, including projects by Luis Alfaro, Roger Guenveur Smith and Trieu Tran.

The festival will also feature new versions of previously staged works by Los Angeles artists, including a multimedia collaboration by puppet theater artist Janie Geiser and playwright Erik Ehn and an innovative take on Chekhov’s Three Sisters by Theatre Movement Bazaar. An ambitious staging of Prometheus Bound created by the Center For New Performance at CalArts will be premiered at the Getty Villa in September, and will also be co-presented by the Radar L.A. festival.

Among the national and international artists to be featured in the festival are:

Lola Arias and her documentary theater cast (Argentina/Chile)
Lemi Ponifasio / MAU (New Zealand)
Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol (Mexico)
Mariano Pensotti (Argentina)
Basil Twist and Yumiko Tanaka (U.S./Japan)
Rodrigo García / Manuel Orjuela (Spain/Colombia)
Claudio Valdés Kuri / Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes (Mexico)
Timbre 4 (Argentina)

Recent Wins

- Additional partners have come on board to help with the planning for a professional symposium to be held in conjunction with the festival. Representatives of the Network of Ensemble Theaters, the Los Angeles Stage Alliance and the Director’s Lab West met with staff from REDCAT and Center Theatre Group to discuss and refine the agenda for the symposium, and to expand the list of panelists and speakers.

- More than 25 influential colleagues from out of town have already confirmed their intention to attend the festival and symposium, including a delegation of 15 international guests participating in a special Caravan Meeting of the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts.

Insight/Reflection

The process of developing a special program of discussions for international colleagues who are interested in learning more about the unique challenges and opportunities that impact performing artists in Los Angeles has led us to see some of our circumstances from a different perspective. For example, many European governments facing difficult economic challenges have proposed reductions in arts funding, often citing “the American system” as a possible model. Many international partners who rely heavily on government funding don’t realize what a small amount of public support actually exists for contemporary performing artists in the U.S. We want to clarify how difficult the circumstances actually are, yet also give examples of some “Do It Yourself” examples of artists who are creating opportunities for themselves, and actually helping to self-subsidize some creative placemaking in the process. For instance, Automata Arts, the organization that will stage a small-scale puppetry event during Radar L.A., has turned a small storefront space in the Chinatown into a vibrant laboratory for contemporary artists to explore new forms. They have enhanced the neighborhood significantly, yet are barely able to compensate many of the artists who work there. The circumstances will be somewhat improved for the residency and presentations during Radar L.A., but we are reminded of the fact that artists are often the largest donors to contemporary culture through donations of time and talent.

El Año en Que Nancî (The Day I Was Born) by theater artist Lola Arias, which will be featured in the festival. Photo credit: David Alarcon.

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