Day 25: Humanizing the stories of the refugee crisis

by Tobi Mattingly | Aug 15, 2016

This Sunday, a group of directors will descend upon Chicago for the 11th DirectorsLabChicago. Five of them are from outside the United States.

If you read our two-part interview with Evan Tsitsias this weekend, you know that this international collaboration is one of the primary hallmarks of the Lab network. In that spirit, the resource we’re sharing today examines the role of theatre on the international stage.

A few days ago, American Theatre Magazine shared the full text of a speech by Joel Hellman, Dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, given at the Global Pre-Conference to this year’s TCG Conference in June.

In it, Hellman discusses the European migrant crisis and the role of theatremakers:

“And that is why I think this effort that you are doing today is so critical. Because what is going to impact that dialogue? It’s narrative. It’s humanizing the story of these 65 million people who are impacted. Humanizing not only their flight, but their stories and their histories in their home countries—why they’re leaving, what they’re seeking, what they are trying to do, what their experience is. This has never been more important, and I think the power of performance, the power of storytelling, and the power of narrative, are absolutely essential. In my mind, it is one of the only things that can actually have an influence on the political dialogue in this very, very peculiar moment in the politics of the United States and Europe.”

Joel Hellman, Georgetown University

Read the text of the full speech here.

Tobi Mattingly is a Chicago-based director, actor, music director, and teaching artist. She is the founder of Artistic Conspiracy, an arts organization dedicated to creating and enabling world-changing theatre. Through this organization, she helps professional theatremakers take control of their theatre careers through learning and balancing artistic craft, bodymind practices, and business/marketing management.