March 7, 2017
Washington, D.C. — The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (The Lab) is pleased to announce a one-night only event in celebration of World Theatre Day, presented in partnership with the Global Theater Initiative, the Embassy of Sweden, and the Georgetown University/Arena Stage/Ammerman Family Partnership. Dreams Deferred: Crossing Continents and Cultures with A Raisin in the Sun will be presented for free on Monday, March 27 in Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall.
Timed to coincide with Arena Stage’s forthcoming production of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic 1959 masterpiece, Dreams Deferred examines the resonance of A Raisin in the Sun in three different cultural contexts – South Africa, Sweden, and the United States – as well as the larger legacy of Hansberry’s work and the themes of racial equality and justice, the Civil Rights Movement, and Apartheid. The evening will feature artists and scenes from groundbreaking recent productions of A Raisin in the Sun from the legendary Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South African and the Riksteatern, Sweden’s National Touring Theater. Participants include the celebrated directors of these productions, Swedish director Josette Bushell-Mingo, OBE, and James Ngcobo, Artistic Director of the Market Theatre, as well as Joi Gresham, Director and Trustee of the Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust. The event will be moderated by Georgetown Professor and leading Hansberry expert Soyica Colbert. The evening will begin with Kwame Kwei-Armah, OBE, Artistic Director of Baltimore CenterStage and producer of the Raisin Cycle in 2013, who will give the US World Theatre Day address.
“It’s hard to imagine a more timely or auspicious World Theatre Day event, as we bring together leading artists from around the world who have all been deeply engaging with an enduring American classic that continues to have new and powerful resonances in global contexts almost 60 years after its historic Broadway premiere,” says Lab Co-Founding Director Derek Goldman. “At a time when the indelible question posed in the iconic Langston Hughes poem that gave Hansberry’s play its title – “What happens to a dream deferred?”– feels as raw and relevant as ever, this event provides an opportunity for artists from diverse cultural contexts to come together in a substantive workshop and public dialogue to learn from each other, and to celebrate the power of theater to speak across history and across cultural borders.”
“Art, and perhaps especially theater, can create understanding and empathy between people in an unsurpassed way,” adds Linda Zachrison, Cultural Counselor for the Embassy of Sweden. “It can shed new light on the toughest, hardest questions, and bring us together, open us up. With this one-night event we want to bring people together: to share experiences, to share knowledge, and to share strategies for the future.”
“The struggle of the African person to live a life of dignity and power is a brutal and sacred work, one that will stretch beyond our lifetime,” says Bushell-Mingo. “Plays like Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun help to guide us, to make us remember, to heal us and make us ready for our victory. We must work, we must work until the change is upon us. Until the revolution is complete. Until we are free.”
Created in 1961, World Theatre Day, is celebrated annually on March 27 by International Theatre Institute Centers around the world and the international theater community. Each year, a renowned theater artist of world stature is invited to craft an International Message to mark the global occasion. Dreams Deferred is produced in association with the South African Embassy, Riksteatern, and the International Theatre Institute. It will be livestreamed by HowlRoundTV.
This event is part of Georgetown University’s partnership with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, which has been made possible by the generosity of the Ammerman Family.