In the month of Edinburgh Fringe festival, join Scholars Amy Ng (Hong Kong & Balliol 1997), Banuta Rubess (Ontario & St Antony's 1978) and Barry Edelstein (Massachusetts & Pembroke 1986) as they talk about the world of playwriting, directing and theatre.
Moderated by Yan Chen (China & St John's 2019), Amy, Barry and Banuta will discuss how to make a living in the arts, the relationship between politics, history and theatre, and how playwrights engage with global themes (such as climate change , capitalism, feminism etc) whilst also speaking to local sensibilities and concerns, to try and affect change within communities.
Together they will consider 'risk' and 'danger' and why we don't like those words anymore, how much TV has altered what an audience craves from theatre, and why do we habitually underestimate the impact of culture?
Amy Ng (Hong Kong & Balliol 1997) is a British-Hong Kong playwright. Her plays include UNDER THE UMBRELLA (Belgrade Theatre Coventry, UK Tour), ACCEPTANCE (Hampstead Theatre) , SHANGRI-LA (Finborough Theatre), and WE LIKE TO MOVE IT MOVE IT (co-written with Donnacadh O’Briain, Ice&Fire). Adaptations include Strindberg’s MISS JULIE (Chester Storyhouse, 2020; UK tour 2021, Singapore Repertory Theatre and Hong Kong Arts Festival 2022). Radio plays include TIGER GIRLS (BBC Radio 4) and KILBURN PASSION (BBC Radio 3). She is under commission to the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Almeida Theatre, the Young Vic, and Kiln Theatre.
Amy trained as a historian with a research interest in multinational empires, imperial decline, and nationality conflict, and is the author of ‘Nationalism and Political Liberty’ (Oxford University Press). She is fluent in English, German and Chinese and regularly translates contemporary Chinese plays into English.
Barry Edelstein (Massachusetts & Pembroke 1986) is the Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director and is a stage director, producer, author, and educator. His Globe directing credits include The Winter’s Tale, Othello, The Twenty-Seventh Man, the world premiere of Rain, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Hamlet, the world premiere of The Wanderers, the American premiere of Life After, Romeo and Juliet, and, during the pandemic, Hamlet: On the Radio. He also directed All’s Well That Ends Well as the inaugural production of the Globe for All community tour, and he oversees the Globe’s Classical Directing Fellowship program. In addition to his recent Globe credits, he directed The Tempest with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2018, and he will next direct The Wanderers Off Broadway with Roundabout Theatre Company in 2023. As Director of the Shakespeare Initiative at The Public Theater (2008–2012), Edelstein oversaw all of the company’s Shakespearean productions as well as its educational, community outreach, and artist-training programs. At The Public, he staged the world premiere of The Twenty-Seventh Man, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Timon of Athens, and Steve Martin’s WASP and Other Plays. He was also Associate Producer of The Public’s Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino. From 1998 to 2003 he was Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company. His book Thinking Shakespeare is the standard text on American Shakespearean acting. He is also the author of Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions. He is a graduate of Tufts University and the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
Banuta Rubess (Ontario & St Antony's 1978) is a theatre artist and writer who pioneered feminist theatre, diaspora theatre, and contemporary opera to national renown in Canada and Latvia. She has lived in four countries and writes in two languages. Her stage work is blazingly visual, and often knits together music, theatre, and dance.
She cut her professional theatre in Britain, where she co-founded an international touring company with British artist Neil Bartlett. In Canada, she created groundbreaking works for Nightwood Theatre, Theatre Direct, and Tapestry New Opera Works. As Associate Artist at Theatre Passe Muraille, she threw open the doors to a new generation of theatre creators.
Her first foray into Latvian music theatre was a succès du scandal with a lasting impact. In 1998, she moved with her family to Riga, in order to join in the renewal of Latvia's democracy. She created productions across the country, ranging from an immersive version of La Ronde to an adaptation of The Trojan Women performed on a beach. For many years she was a regular columnist in the national newspaper.
Her most celebrated works were collaborations with her creative muse and husband, the late composer /musician Nic Gotham. Baņuta returned to Toronto in 2012. A Rhodes Scholar with a doctorate in history, she recently acquired an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. She has been nominated for many awards and has won a few, including Best Play, Best Director, Best Short Story. Currently, she is devoted to writing prose. She teaches theatre at the University of Toronto.
Yan Chen (China & St John's 2019) has made it her life's project to foster connectivity between people, cultures, and worlds, through working on artistic projects with Tony Award-winning theatres, directors, and playwrights, team management for Y Combinator startups, running local, nationwide and transnational educational, communications, outreach, and community-building efforts, and more.
Yan was born and raised in China, and received her education in China, the US, UK, Russia, and Poland. She is a MSc candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford. She also holds a MSt in Comparative Literature and Translation (with Distinction) from Oxford, a Master's in Dramaturgy and Theatre Studies from the A.R.T. Institute at Harvard University, and a BA in English from Nanjing University, China.
As a theatre dramaturg, she has worked professionally with the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.), Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre, Hartford Stage and more. As an arts writer, she has been a Fellow at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Centre’s National Critics Institute (US). As a literary translator, she has been awarded a Tilted Axis Mentorship from the National Writing Centre (UK). She believes in the power of international exchange, transcultural collaborations, interdisciplinary dialogue, and civic engagement through the arts, and aims to make the arts and humanities more affordable and accessible for a wider range of audiences.
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Q & A:
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