Project history For one week, from August 29 to September 4th 2011, the first edition of Between the Seas Festival ( http://betweentheseas.org/home/i
For one week, from August 29 to September 4th 2011, the first edition of Between the Seas Festival took place and with it a dream that we nourished for over a year materialized. The first appearance of the festival in the world was in May 2010 when Artistic and Producing Director Aktina Stathaki presented the project to the First Forum for Cultural Diplomacy organized by the Chios Institute of Mediterranean Affairs. With precious feedback and advice from the conference participants we embarked on the journey of making the idea come true: from September to December 2010 we undertook a fundraising campaign and organized our first event- Between the Seas Staged Readings, a two day event with new works by young US-based playwrights. We also formed an advisory board of distinguished academics and performing arts practitioners and acquired the auspices of Paralleli Institute of the North-West and Anna Lindh Foundation, two of the most prominent networks on Mediterranean cultural policy.
Vision and activity
Since the beginning, the festival's mission has been to promote contemporary Mediterranean performance among NYC audiences, create a platform for artists of Mediterranean origin, and encourage exchange and dialogue on Mediterranean identity among artists, audiences and institutions. With the program of our first edition, we feel we took a big step towards our vision: we presented a wide array of artists from emerging to world-renowned, with a focus on a young generation that is starting to make its mark in the USA and abroad. We hosted American and international artists and presented no less than four NYC premieres (Entomo from Spain, Inside it's raining from Israel, Nur from Italy and Solitaire from Egypt); and we are proud to have given space to debuting artists to develop and get feedback on their work. We were interested in works that ranged from openly political and engaged (such as Touafek's Land of the Setting Sun and Glade Dance Collective's The Wall) to works that explored identity and history (such as Tami Stronach's Mother Tongue) and those that brought on the stage a new style and aesthetic or successfully explore the fusion of traditional and contemporary modes (A Palo Seco, Entomo, Nur, Malika Zarra).
The success of the first edition as we experienced it from the attention and positive feedback of press, audiences and artists gives us the conviction that we should continue the work and that Between the Seas is an initiative that is much needed in the cultural landscape of NYC. It also gives us the responsibility to organize an even better festival in 2012. We will continue with a programming that brings on the same stage USA and Mediterranean based artists emerging and established. We will remain committed to inclusiveness in terms of geographical representation, identity, aesthetic style and level of experience. And as we grow our programming we will look forward to more partnerships with institutions and individuals in New York and abroad. Eventually we want Between the Seas to be a sustainable, yearly cultural project that will bridge the USA and the Mediterranean and where ideas, information and artistic creation will circulate and dialogue will be always open and interesting.
Between the Seas would have never happened without the support, advice and help of the many people who devoted energy, time and ideas. We want to thank our distinguished advisory board for their advice, ideas and suggestions and the enthusiasm with which they embraced the festival vision; the Consulate General of Spain in New York and Accion Cultural Espanola for their generous support in presenting and promoting Spanish artists; our donors, sponsors and friends for their generous contributions that enabled us to share exciting performances with NYC audiences. We also want to send heartfelt thanks to so many people who volunteered their time and skills during the festival: designers, sound engineers, photographers, technical and production support offered generously their work and the festival would have been impossible to carry out without them. And last but not least a great thank you to the artists who trusted us with their work and our audiences who embraced it. We look forward to having all of you by our side for the next Between the Seas Festival in 2012!
Quick facts and figures
In 7 days we presented performances by 14 different artists. These included concerts, theater, contemporary dance, performance art, musical and educational programs. We served an audience of 500 and worked with a staff of 8. The countries represented in the performances were: Spain, Italy, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria/France, Israel, Greece, USA, and Canada.
Support Between the Seas!
If you believe in our mission and find our programming exciting, get involved and show us your support!
Donate: It is thanks to our donors that we were able to create the festival's first edition. Your contributions will help us grow and offer opportunities to more artists. Click here to find out how to make a tax deductible donation or contact us directly to discuss sponsorship options.
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Stay tuned: the Call for Submissions to the second edition in 2012 will be out soon!