Presented as part of
As part of the inaugural CrossCurrents festival, The Lab presented The Gathering, which brought together more than 200 visionary artists from more than 40 countries to celebrate and highlight how their innovative work harnesses the power of performance to address the pressing challenges of our world.
The video archive of The Gathering can be viewed on
Watch more of The Gathering’s sessions, including the panel “Honoring the Past/Shaping the Future,” Sanctuary City: Preview of Scenes/Reading and Conversation with Playwright Martyna Majok, Vaclav Havel’s Protest in Conversation, and more.
“The impulse that brings us together is rooted in action. We are doing something by gathering… This is meant not only as a reflective space but a catalytic space.”
–Derek Goldman, Lab Co-Director
In an innovative, highly participatory format, The Gathering featured inspiring productions, pop-up performances, workshops, and vibrant discussions around a suite of topics, including migration, climate, political polarization, extremism, the role of the arts on health and well-being, and much more. In addition to the performances of The Chibok Girls: Our Story, a suite of solo and pair performances ran in repertory throughout The Gathering, featuring artists such as Inua Ellams, Pascale Armand, Ifrah Mansour, Ashtar Theatre, LubDub Theatre Company, Ifrah Mansour.
Throughout this four-day event, artists were joined by thought-leaders, policymakers, activists, scholars, and the next generation of change-makers.
Find the full program for The Gathering, including a list of attendees, here.
The Gathering also featured performances of The Chibok Girls: Our Story, the US Premiere of Renegade Theatre’s searing work of testimonial theater about the abduction of 276 girls from their school in the Nigerian town of Chibok by the Boko Haram in 2014, and the enduring reverberations of their story. Written and directed by Wole Oguntokun, The Chibok Girls: Our Story was presented in tandem with The Lab’s special guest, Nobel Prize winning playwright and author Wole Soyinka, who premiered excerpts from his brand new work A Humanist Ode for Chibok, Leah.
“The women of “The Chibok Girls” are armed with nothing but these testimonies, trusting that the detailed, alarming stories are enough to change hearts and minds. It’s a fitting centerpiece for a Gathering on how artists can use the public platform of the stage to confront politics in the most powerful and even dangerous ways, especially when officials spin facts and warp reality.”
– The Washington Post review of The Chibok Girls
Read about The Gathering in the press.
“The Gathering was a powerful demonstration of the urgency of theatre in today’s polarized world. We heard from artists and companies around the world whose work speaks to issues of climate change, migration, white supremacy, unequal justice, authoritarianism, and fundamentalist attitudes of all kinds. These are the forces shaping our world, and theatre makers have a critical role in bringing new awareness and creating forums for education and dialogue.”
– Howard Shalwitz, Artistic Director Emeritus, Woolly Mammoth
CrossCurrents was funded in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support provided by The Revada Foundation and Samia Farouki.