Jul 11, 2016
Aug 10, 2016

Umbria 2016: International Symposium for Directors

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Mabou Mines: From Idea to Execution

Lee Breuer/Maude Mitchell (USA)

Legendary experimental theatre company Mabou Mines’ founder Lee Breuer and Maude Mitchell lead participants through the company’s process of creation used in their iconic productions. Participants develop projects under Lee and Maude’s mentorship.

Lee Breuer is the founding artistic director of Mabou Mines He one of this century’s most innovative and honored stage directors, as well as an author, lyricist, film maker, and teacher. Maude Mitchell, Mabou Mines Associate Artist, is an actor, dramaturge and teacher. She graduated from Oberlin College and attended The Neighborhood Playhouse – studying with the great acting teacher and theoretician, Sanford Meisner.

Lee Breuer is the founding artistic director of Mabou Mines He one of this centuries most innovative stage directors, as well as an author, lyricist, film maker, and teacher. Lee has directed thirteen OBIE Award winning performances, and has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a Chevalier Des Artes et Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture, a MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Fellowship, and Tony and Pulitzer Nominations He is in high demand as a director, teacher and educator, both in America and internationally. He has held positions at Yale University School of Drama, Stanford University, University of California, and Harvard University.

Maude Mitchell (Mabou Mines Associate Artist) is an actor, dramaturge and teacher. She graduated from Oberlin College and attended The Neighborhood Playhouse – studying with the great acting teacher and theoretician, Sanford Meisner. She has lent a Meisner oriented approach to workshops conducted with Lee in America, Europe and Asia and was a recipient of a US – Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission to be the first western acting teacher at the Far Eastern Acting Academy in Vladivostok. Maude is also an accomplished dramaturge, Un tramway nommé désir (for The Comédie-Française), Mabou Mines DollHouse, and The Laramie Project. Maude is best known for playing Nora in, and co-adapting Mabou Mines DollHouse with Lee Breuer. Maude performed Nora to critical acclaim in thirty cities on five continents, and  for her performance she was awarded a Village Voice OBIE, Drama League Nomination, Backstage West Garland and an Elliot Norton award.

For further information about Lee and Maude’s work, please visit www.maboumines.org.

Challenging the Idea of What Puppets Can Do

Basil Twist (USA)

As Basil Twist creates iconic, visionary puppetry worlds with a remarkable range of style and scope, he has furthered contemporary artistry and the technical craft of puppetry.   Learn to explore shape, color, and movement, creating objects and learning to manipulate them to create your own form of theatrical expression.

Basil Twist is a designer, director, performer and puppeteer and the sole American to graduate from the École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in France. On Broadway he created and staged the puppetry in The Addams Family, for which he won a Drama Desk Award. He was recently honored with a 2015 MacArthur Fellowship. He guides The Dream Music Puppetry Program at HERE.

Scripting Play instead of Playing the Script

Sanjoy Ganguly (India)

The actors will be scripting play. The games and exercise in the workshop will act as social metaphors. Through games the actors will relate to their realities and will relate to themselves.  Thus  actors will find oppression, all of us will try to understand various dimensions of the oppressor and Oppressed  characters. After the scenes are scripted, the forum play will be structured. The workshop will also undertake a theoretical journey to visit & revisit Boal.

Sanjoy Ganguly began working in the theatre in rural Bengal in the early 1980s. His encounter with Augusto Boal, and his own passionate commitment to the creation of a more just and equal society, led him to found Jana Sanskriti, an independent organization committed to the use of theatre to empower the communities it serves. With more than thirty active theatre groups, Jana Sanskriti is now the largest organization of its kind in India.

Theatre as Bridge

Nube Sandoval/Bernardo Rey (Colombia)

The main objective of this workshop is to offer necessary instruments to work in spaces of social vulnerability, while creating processes of intercultural integration and of psychosocial rehabilitation, amid a theatrical practice directed to empower the resilience capacity of individuals. The combination between civil and ritual elements its what makes this method unique.

Nube Sandoval & Bernardo Rey are the winners of the 2016 Ellen Stewart International Award, Sandoval and Rey directed the Theatrical Laboratory of psycho-social rehabilitation with refugee victims of torture in Rome and continue to work in Colombia in social contexts of high vulnerability. Their methodology, Theater as Bridge, is based on the rescue, stimulation and enhancement of artistic skills of participants.


July 27 - August 10

Theater for the 21st Century

Marianne Weems (USA)

Media affects every aspect of our experience. How can the stage be updated to reflect our 21st century lives?  We will investigate bringing narratives and new forms together to create an innovative theatrical language.   We expand our toolkits as we work through exercises and sketches for integrating media (film acting vs. stage acting, composing with technology, merging media with meaning, and more.)

Marianne Weems is a theater and opera director and co-founder of the award winning New York-based performance and media ensemble The Builders  Association.  Since 1994, Weems and the ensemble have created a significant  body of work at the forefront of combining media and performance.  She has created original large-scale productions and toured internationally to over 80 venues; their last four productions premièred at The Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Shifting Concepts from Brain to Bone

Yoshiko Chuma (Japan)

Chuma will guide a workshop in which participants will transform conceptual ideas into physical movement. The investigation process of transformation from intellectual concepts to physical movements becomes an exercise for both the brain and the body. There will also be several lectures by Chuma about past and present work, and action exercises with props.

For more than three decades now, Yoshiko Chuma has been building unique structures in the liminal area between her native Japanese culture and her adopted American one. Using trained and pedestrian movers, virtuoso instrumentalists (whose playing she often conducts), film, video, and sculptural forms by collaborating artists, she develops unusual time-based art works that blend the live and the recorded, the flat and the three-dimensional, people and things.

Chinese Opera Technique for Contemporary Performance

Tian Mansha (China)

Tian Mansha’s performance methodology training workshop for directors leads participants, from understanding their own bodies, to exploring the use of breath, thought, emotion, energy, and transmittance for working with actors. She will introduce the three essential energies (“jing,” “qi,” “shen”) of xiqu (“Chinese opera”) performance; how emotion is generated; and, when emotion is generated, aside from physiological changes within the body, what external expressions are employed.

Tian Mansha is a prominent performing artist of Sichuan Opera and a National 1st Rank Actress and director. She is a forerunner in the contemporary Sichuan Opera reform, and one of the most important people in contemporary Chinese Opera Theatre, who is engaged in acting, directing and teaching at the same time. She is one of the few artist and directors in China, who tries to find modern forms and expressions of the XiQu and to introduce modern forms of teaching.

Expanding the Notion of Where Artistic Inspiration Comes From

Martha Clarke (USA)

Bring your own projects to develop as you learn Clarke’s multi-disciplinary approach to theatre-making. Taking inspiration from visual art, text, music, film and other forms, learn to use all tools at your disposal as you prepare and develop a new work. Clarke and playwright Samuel D. Hunter will share their collaborative methods on a new piece they are developing, enriching your connection to these artists’ creative process.

Martha Clarke is an American theater director and choreographer noted for her multidisciplinary approach to theatre, dance, and opera. A founding member of Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Crowsnest, Martha Clarke has choreographed for Nederlans Dans Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, and The Martha Graham Company, among others. As a director Ms. Clarke’s many original productions includeGarden of Earthly Delights; Vienna: Lusthaus; Miracolo d’amore; Endangered Species; An Uncertain Hour;The Hunger Artist; and Vers La Flame. She directed the premiere of Christopher Hampton‘s Alice’s Adventures Underground at the Royal National Theatre in London. In opera, Ms. Clarke has directed The Magic Flute for the Glimmerglass Opera and the Canadian Opera Company; Cosi Fan Tutte for Glimmerglass;Tan Dun‘s Marco Polo for the Munich Biennale, the Hong Kong Festival, and the New York City Opera; and Gluck’s Orfeo and Eurydice for the English National Opera and New York City Opera. She directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream for The American Repertory Theatre and a new music/theatre work, Belle Epoque, based on the life of Toulouse-Lautrec at Lincoln Center Theatre. Kaos, an evening of Pirandello’s short stories presented at New York Theatre Workshop, was granted the first Tony Randall Foundation Award in 2006. Ms. Clarke is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Award in addition to fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation. She has received the Drama Desk Award, two Obie Awards and the LA Critics Award. In 2007, she received an NEA grant to re-envision Garden of Earthly Delights under a program dedicated to the remounting of American masterworks. It opened at the American Dance Festival and ran five months Off-Broadway. In 2010, Ms. Clarke received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement. Angel Reapers, a collaboration with Pulitzer prize-winner Alfred Uhry, toured New England with performances at The Joyce Theater in 2011 and the Signature Theatre in 2016. She created the full-evning work L’altra metá del cielo spring 2012 at La Scala Opera in Milan, Italy. She is the recipient of the 2013 Dance Magazine Award.


A training program for professional directors, choreographers, actors and others. Internationally renowned theatre artists conduct workshops and lecture/demonstrations. During the Symposium, participants will travel to Umbrian towns such as Orvieto, Perugia  or Assisi to get a taste of Umbrian art and culture. Performances at local arts festivals and community fairs are also included.  In addition, participating directors may conduct their own workshops to share insights and techniques with their colleagues.

Participants will be exposed to a variety of theatrical perspectives during the Symposium, from instructors who will expand their sense of what is possible in the theatre. Directors attending the Symposium see how prominent artists on the international scene create their unique productions. The workshops are participatory, and it is expected that all attendees will engage actively in the processes of the various teaching artists.

EXCURSIONS: While most of the time will be spent in workshops at La MaMa Umbria, at least one day has been set aside for excursions to nearby cities. We will attend at least one performance event at a local arts festival, which may include Umbria Jazz in Perugia, Spoleto Estate, Todiarte Festival in Todi, etc. There may also be opportunities to see additional performances on an ad hoc basis. The group will visit nearby towns such as Perugia, Umbria’s capital, Deruta, where world-famous ceramics are still painted by hand or Assisi, where the famous Cathedral of St. Francis has reopened after extensive renovation and reconstruction. In addition, we will share an old fashioned Italian tradition, a sagra, or community celebration dedicated to celebrating the specialties produced by small Umbrian villages (such as truffles, olive oil and wine.) Sagras typically include an abundance of locally prepared specialty foods, local wines, entertainment, costumes and games.

EXTRA WORKSHOPS: In addition to our internationally renowned guest teaching artists, there will be an opportunity for you and your colleagues to share exercises and techniques with each other in late night sessions. You may propose a special workshop to offer in one of the late (after dinner) sessions. Use the space on the registration form to describe what you would share. Not all proposals will be accepted based on time and space availability.

CREDIT: The La MaMa International Symposium is accredited through Sarah Lawrence College. While the Symposium is geared for working professionals, some slots may be filled by university students, who may get credit (2 credits for one session of the Symposium and 1 credit for the Retreat) for their participation through an arrangement with Sarah Lawrence College. For more information, please contact La MaMa at (212) 254-6468.

FEE: $2,800 for one session / $5,400 for both sessions. Fee includes all workshops, housing and meals, ground transportation from the Rome airport to and from La MaMa Umbria, excursions by bus, van or car, including tickets to performances at a local festival, entrance fees to museums and other points of interest.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Space is limited. Registrants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Registrants must fill out the Registration Form. Space is secured with a deposit of $1,000 due with the registration form. $100 of the deposit is a non-refundable processing fee (unless the Symposium is already full when we receive your registration). All fees should be paid in US dollars in the form of checks or money orders payable to La MaMa ETC. In the case that a participant cannot attend the Symposium after having paid, 50% of the fee will be refunded if the participant cancels by June 20, 2016. After this date, the fee will not be refundable.

La MaMa Umbria International


La MaMa Umbria International provides artists from around the world with residency programs and intensive workshops. For over 25, La MaMa Umbria has fostered cross-cultural and international exchanges and creative collaborations. Hundreds of artists have found Umbria to be a space that is beautiful, spiritually enriching, welcoming, and open to bold artistic experiments.

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