Living Culture in Action – Workcenter's Open Program at the Hippodrome Theatre

 

This fall, the Hippodrome Theatre welcomes the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards for a two-week residency as the culmination of a two-year grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Hippodrome Theatre is proud to host the legendary theater company, the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, in collaboration with the National Endowment of the Arts. This collaboration is the first-of-its-kind for the Workcenter in North America: the Hippodrome Theatre is proud to be the first regional theatre in the States to host in residence this international ensemble, which members come from all over around the world, including Italy, Poland, Colombia, Lebanon, Brazil, France, and Canada.

During its residency in Gainesville, the Open Program will present one of its latest performative works, The Hidden Sayings: directed by Workcenter’s associate director Mario Biagini, this performance has toured all around the world and will now be seen for the first time by Gainesville audiences.

During the Workcenter’s residency in Gainesville the public is invited to participate in the following events, which are free and open to all. Space is limited, so advance reservations are suggested by calling the Hippodrome Box Office at 352.375.4477.


SCHEDULE

Thursday, October 27 and Thursday, November 3
THE OPEN PROGRAM STUDIO
Hippodrome Basement 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Come learn acting and singing FREE with an international performing group. Open to all ages and experience! In this FREE session –open to artists, amateurs, and interested youths and elders, participants will work with songs and acting practices currently explored by the Open Program team of actors, primarily songs of tradition from African-American communities in the American South and Afro-Caribbean songs. The objective is to pass on the tools of the actor’s craft as developed by the Workcenter since its beginnings in 1986.
Saturday, October 29 and Friday, November 6
THE HIDDEN SAYINGS
Oct. 29: Hippodrome Mainstage 1 p.m.
Nov. 6: Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church 4 p.m.
Be immersed in a flowing chorus of dynamic and lively African-American songs.  The performance has been in constant development over the past four years. The theatre artists sing songs passed down from the days of slavery and read ancient texts related to Christianity’s origins. Explore the roots of the civilization you now live in through this powerful experience. The desire for this event is to awaken your senses and broaden your interactions with others while respecting and transcending cultural differences.
Wednesday, November 2
FILM SCREENING AND CONVERSATION
Hippodrome Cinema, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
This is a unique opportunity to see videos documenting past works of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards. Together, we will engage in conversation about quality, arts, serving, community and other topics of interest to the guests of the open forum. This is in collaboration with the UF Oral History Project.
ACTION  in Aya Irini
Realized by a film team led by Jacques Vetter, France, 2004.
Produced by ACCAAN -Atelier Cinema de Normandie.
Thomas Richards’ opus Action, created by Richards at the Workcenter in 1994, is composed of detailed lines of actions constructed with and around ancient  vibratory songs from African and Afro Caribbean traditions. Though created within the field of Art as  Vehicle, which focuses on the impact an opus can have on the doers, those doing, Action has been performed before thousands of people, always in small groups. In 2003, the piece was recorded in the Byzantine church Aya Irini in Istanbul when it was done as part of the Workcenter’s three-year “Tracing Roads Across” project, supported by the EU’s “Culture 2000” program and a network of cultural  institutions from five different countries.
Saturday, November 5
OPEN CHOIR
Hippodrome Mainstage, 1 p.m.
The culmination of this residency will lead to integrating members of Gainesville communities in the Open Program performative event The Open ChoirThe Open Choir is a free, public event, where everyone is welcome to participate. A core of Workcenter artists leads participants and guests, through a flow of songs, looking for the possibility of an alive experience and interaction. Everyone is invited to join in song and dance, or find his or her own way to support what happens.
These non-sectarian encounters through songs of the African diaspora allow participants of very different backgrounds to become co-authors of the meeting, creating an artwork that both respects and transcends cultural differences, an art event that embraces all guests.

HIPPODROME / WORKCENTER OF JERZY GROTOWSKI AND THOMAS RICHARDS PARTNERSHIP is supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Hippodrome programs are sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; a Tourist Development Tax Grant from the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners in conjunction with the Alachua County Tourist Development Council; and by the City of Gainesville, Dept. of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs.

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