In partnership with the United States Department of State, Arena Stage teaching artists Rebecca Campana, Ashley Forman, Anthony Jackson and Ariel Warmflash will work with students and young adults with physical disabilities in order to create a play entitled Disable(d) Prejudice. They will also provide professional development training seminars based on Arena Stage's Voices of Now devised theatre program.
The production will tour to schools and performance venues, and each performance will include a moderated talkback with the audience focused on the complications and prejudices physically disabled individuals face in Croatia.
Voices of Now, an 11-year-old program, equips participants to write and perform autobiographical theatre that asks questions about social, cultural and emotional issues. The program focuses on creating projects that bring voice to issues of relevancy for the young artists involved.
"Voices of Now is home grown and designed here at Arena Stage through director of education and Voices of Now founder Ashley Forman's creativity and intelligence," Arena Stage artistic director Molly Smith said in a statement. "That it is now finding homes to inspire artists around the world is a testament to the entire community engagement team at Arena and the United States State Department for their belief in the transformative power of the arts across cultures. This is the finest form of cultural diplomacy that we can do as a theatre company."
In October 2012, Voices of Now first partnered with the U.S. Department of State to go international when four Arena Stage artists went to Kolkata, Patna, New Delhi and Hyderabad, India, to create original plays inspired by the cities in which they took place. The plays asked questions about significant social issues, including how power relates to gender, pollution, lack of accessible health care and poverty and how to maintain positive cultural traditions in a new world. For more information on Voices of Now, visit arenastage.org/education/voices-of-now.