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Barrancabermeja, Colombia.

INTERNATIONAL THEATRE FESTIVAL FOR PEACE: For 10 days this spring, under a tent in a troubled town in northeastern Colombia, theatre folk will unite to exchange ideas about theatre as a force for social transformation. Barrancabermeja is the informal capital of a mostly rural region, Magdalena Medio, where armed conflict and violence are rife, and where the wealth of a major oil refinery has failed to enrich the lives of the surrounding population, an estimated 70 percent of which dwells below the poverty line. In response to these harsh realities, a "Peace Laboratory" was set up in Magdalena Medio in the 1990s, and gained support from the World Bank and the European Union for its investigation into ways to promote peace and development in the region. In keeping with the idea that local strategies may be applied internationally and vice versa, a multi-national theatre festival will crown the endeavor next month. Youth, university and professional companies will all take part; Colombian participation is high, of course, and a particularly large cohort will be sent from Mexico, which is acknowledged as a special guest in consideration of the resonances between Mexican and Colombian struggles with violence.

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In addition to presentations and talks, companies will present work both in Barrancabermeja and the surrounding rural area. The performances include Hector Aristizabal--a Colombian-born theatre artist and psychologist who trained with Augusto Boal and is now based in Southern California--in a harrowing solo performance about his own arrest and torture at the hands of the Colombian military, Viento nocturno (NightWind). Also on the program are the political drama Anatole, by Haiti's Foudize Theatre Association; Relato de una criatura, by Ecuador's Zona Bastarda Teatro Experimental, based on poems by Brecht; and the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization's documentary piece Infinite Incompleteness. A full program and extensive background information in Spanish is available on the festival's website, along with a contact for requesting details in English. (May 21-29; (57) 7-321-234-0594; www.festival.etpbarranca.org)

COMPILED BY NICOLE ESTVANIK TAYLOR

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Title Annotation:GLOBAL SPOTLIGHT; the International Theatre Festival for Peace
Author:Taylor, Nicole Estvanik
Publication:American Theatre
Geographic Code:3COLO
Date:Apr 1, 2011
Words:335
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