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Sundance Institute’s Theatre Directors Retreat in Arles: Fellows Announced

International Stage Directors Convene for Creative Exchange

Los Angeles, CA – WEBWIRE

Sundance Institute announced the five directors who will gather at the annual Sundance Institute | Luma Foundation Theatre Directors Retreat in Arles, France, from July 12-23, 2018. The Retreat was developed in 2013 as an opportunity for mid-career directors to meet, work on upcoming projects and to share ideas and practices across borders.

“This unique collaboration between the Institute and the Luma Foundation reflects our shared values around artist support,” said Philip Himberg, the Theatre Program’s Artistic Director, “Specifically, we create a space for attendees to reconnect with their creative impulses, and for the Fellows to connect with one another across cultural borders as colleagues and world artist citizens.”

In addition to organized confabs and unstructured work time, the group will participate in cultural outings -- including a performance of Theatre Lab alumnus Ali Chahrour’s May He Rise and Smell the Fragrance at the Festival d’Avignon, exhibitions at the Rencontres d’Arles and the Vincent Van Gogh Fondation Arles as well as an excursion to the Camargue’s Tour du Valat.

The Fellows selected for this year’s Retreat and detailed below are: Omar Abi Azar (Beirut), Lina Abyad (Beirut), Oliver Butler (New York), Leah Gardiner (New York) and Loretta Greco (San Francisco).

Omar Abi Azar is a theatre director and founding member of Zoukak Theatre Company. He was the dramaturge and director of several of Zoukak’s performances. Since 2008, Omar leads psychosocial interventions with Zoukak, targeting various communities in different regions of Lebanon and abroad (in Serbia and in Calais’ Migrants’ Camp, France); giving drama-therapy workshops and creating collective performances with various groups. He co-curates “Zoukak Sidewalks” an international platform of performance, and “Focus Liban” a showcase of the work of local artists in Lebanon.

Lina Abyad is a stage director, actress and an Associate Professor at the Lebanese American University. Her plays are eclectic. Several themes haunt her stage: the Lebanese Civil War, women, Palestine and Arab dictatorships. The theatre she creates is socially and politically engaged with highly controversial and crucial issues for the Middle Eastern region.

Oliver Butler is a co-Artistic Director of The Debate Society with whom he has co-created and directed 9 full length plays since 2004 including The Light Years which was developed with the help of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program. He has worked on new plays with Jordan Harrison, Will Eno, Daniel Goldfarb, Lally Katz and Christopher Shinn and is currently working on upcoming plays by Heidi Schreck, Itamar Moses and Will Eno. He is a Bill Foeller Fellow, Sundance Institute Fellow and Obie Award Winner.

Leah C. Gardiner is an Obie Award-winning stage and film director known for the “incisive clarity” (The New York Times) of her work with physicality and text. Her work, ranging from Pulitzer-finalist new plays to Shakespeare to musicals, has been seen across the U.S. and in England and Japan.

Loretta Greco has just completed her tenth season as Magic Theater’s Artistic Director where she’s proud to have developed and premiered Taylor Mac’s Hir, Mfoniso Udofia’s rungboyrun and to have directed the premieres of Barbara Hammond’s Eva Trilogy; Jessica Hagedorn’s Gangster of Love, Han Ong’s Grandeur, and Luis Alfaro’s Oedipus el Rey among many others. New York credits include: The Story, Two Sisters and a Piano and Lackawanna Blues at the Public; and A Park in our House at NYTW.

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is supported by an endowment from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with generous additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Time Warner Foundation; Perry and Martin Granoff; National Endowment for the Arts; Wendy vanden Heuvel; John and Marcia Price Family Foundation; Luma Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; and the Wyncote Foundation.

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Mudbound, Get Out, The Big Sick, Strong Island, Blackfish, Top of the Lake, Winter’s Bone, The Wolfpack, Dear White People, Trapped, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

In 2004, Maja Hoffmann created the Luma Foundation in Switzerland to support the activities of artists, independent pioneers, and organizations working in the visual and performing arts, photography, publishing, documentary filmmaking, and multimedia. Envisioned as a production tool for Hoffmann’s multi-faceted ventures, the Luma Foundation produces, supports, and enables challenging art projects committed to an expansive understanding of environmental issues, human rights, education, and culture.

In 2013, Hoffmann launched Luma Arles to plan, develop, and manage the Parc des Ateliers an expansive former industrial site located in Arles, France. Situated adjacent to the city’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Parc des Ateliers serves as the major programmatic and cultural center for Luma’s diverse activities.
Luma Arles includes a resource center designed by architect Frank Gehry; various industrial buildings rehabilitated by Selldorf Architects; and a public park designed by landscape architect Bas Smets. In anticipation of its completion, the site’s main building designed by Gehry will open spring 2020, Hoffmann works closely with the Luma Arles Core Group (Tom Eccles, Liam Gillick, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, and Beatrix Ruf) on a program of exhibitions and multidisciplinary projects presented each year in the site’s newly rehabilitated venues of the Grande Halle, Les Forges, La Formation and the Mécanique Générale.
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