The Gathering

The Gathering

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
HowlRound’s website.  

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

Hopeful Encounters with Lab Fellows Faisal Abu Alhayjaa and Devika Ranjan.

Hopeful Encounters with Lab Fellows Faisal Abu Alhayjaa and Devika Ranjan.

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.

Global Hip-Hop Dance party with Next Level

Global Hip-Hop Dance party with Next Level.

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. 

Professor Wole Soyinka premiering new epic poem "A Humanist Ode for Chibok, Leah"

The cast of The Chibok Girls with writer/director Wole Oguntokun, Nobel Prize Winner Wole Soyinka, and Director of the National Museum of African Art Gus Casely-Hayford.

“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 more.

Secretary Madeleine Albright and Amb. Martin Palous

Secretary Madeleine Albright and Amb. Martin Palous.

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
Read more.

Professor Wole Soyinka premiering new epic poem "A Humanist Ode for Chibok, Leah"
Photo of Fellows gathered
Ashtar Theatre's Oranges and Stones
Lab Co-Director Derek Goldman
The Gathering image at microphone
Kathleen Chalfant, Four Quartets
Jason Tamiru, Land Acknowledgment Ritual
Photo of Ali Madhi at the gathering 2019
The Lab's I Pledge Allegiance
Global Hip-Hop Dance party with Next Level
Lab Fellows Workshop
Inua Ellams, An Evening With An Immigrant.
Photo of Lab Performance
Photo of Chibok Girls Performance
EUNIC Residency Artist Ana Margineau leads of workshop

CrossCurrents logo

CrossCurrents was funded in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support provided by The Revada Foundation and Samia Farouki.

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