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Jersey City Theater Center presents Voices International Theatre Festival

originally published: 05/22/2024

Jersey City Theater Center presents Voices International Theatre Festival

(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Voices International Festival, an exhilarating celebration of diverse voices from around the globe, returns to Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) in June. The festival aims to bring together diverse stories and cultures, celebrating the unifying power of storytelling through the arts during these current global climate.  Performances will take place from June 14-22, 2024.

“During these uncertain times for our world, marked by war and the rise of dictators, it is crucial for us to come together as a global community, share our stories, and unite as free people,” remarked Olga Levina, JCTC Executive Producer. “Freedom is not given; it must be protected and cherished, and only together can we secure it.”

In addition to live performances, the festival will offer some virtual streaming options, ensuring accessibility for global audiences who wish to experience the transformative power of the performing arts from their own homes.

Tickets for the Voices International Theatre Festival are now available for purchase on the festival's official website www.JCTCenter.org. A Festival Pass which grants access to all of the performances is available now at a discounted price of $70.00.

Featuring an eclectic lineup of performances, each event promises to transport audiences on a journey through various cultures and artistic expressions.



 
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Executive Director Olga Levina expressed her excitement for the festival, stating, "The Voices International Festival exemplifies our commitment to showcasing diverse perspectives and fostering cultural exchange. We invite audiences to join us for a week of inspiring performances that celebrate the beauty of global storytelling."



Jersey City Theater Center presents Voices International Theatre Festival

FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2024 AT 7:30PM - Hand To Earth / World Music / Australia. Embark on a musical odyssey with Hand to Earth, an ensemble from Australia, as they blend traditional Yolngu songs with contemporary music, creating a mesmerizing fusion of sound and culture.

Vocalists Daniel Wilfred and Sunny Kim form the heart of Hand to Earth, which has quickly developed an international reputation as one of Australia’s most distinctive contemporary music ensembles. The quintet’s self-titled debut album has won international praise and was nominated for an ARIA award in 2022 with international performances, including at the iconic Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin. 

Daniel sings in language and is the keeper of Yolngu Manikay (songs) from North East Arnhem Land that can be traced back for over 40,000 years. His is the oldest continuously practiced music tradition in the world. Sunny sings in English and Korean, intoning gestures that invoke raw elemental forces. Together they sing of the stars, of fire, and of the cooling rain against the drone of David Wilfred’s didgeridoo and atmospheres created by trumpeter and sound artist Peter Knight and clarinetist Aviva Endean, who draw on the minimalism of Brian Eno and Jon Hassell to create a bed for these beautifully contrasting voices. 

“While many contemporary projects strive to combine ancient and modern influences, this innovative and ethereal musical alliance actually achieves that lofty goal – with the old cultural ground being respected, while the new artistic ground is broken. Hand to Earth is a truly exquisite album. “



Jersey City Theater Center presents Voices International Theatre Festival

SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 2024 AT 7:30PM - The Feminist's Handbook for Eastern Europe (Estonia). Experience the powerful storytelling of The Kaisa Ling Thing from Estonia, as they present "The Feminist's Handbook for Eastern Europe," a captivating blues cabaret that delves into themes of feminism and societal norms.

Kaisa Ling and Rene Paul, incarnate as Estonia’s best (albeit the only) feminist vaudeville blues band The Kaisa Ling Thing, present the blues cabaret "The Feminist's Handbook for Eastern Europe" – as seen at Edinburgh Fringe, Tallinn Fringe, Turku FINFRINGE, and Berlin Z-Bar – in New York June 2024!



 
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The self-proclaimed Blues Broad Kaisa Ling wishes to create a modern vaudeville cabaret experience with a political twist. In addition to matters of body image, gender and sexual discrimination, and blues, The Kaisa Ling Thing aims to revive the outrageous and creative bluntness of the songs sung by Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Alberta Hunter – among other proto-feminist heroes.

The duo’s (Ling, vocals, plus Paul, piano and vocals) show, "The Feminist's Handbook" is seven songs that help tell the story of a young woman born in independent, post-occupation Estonia. And the Soviet residue that restrains feminist progress by polluting the minds of some of her fellow countrypersons. The Kaisa Ling Thing paints a vaudevillian blues portrait of what it’s like to be a modern woman on the doorstep of Russia.

Songs include "Late to the Party," the story of a country that's plus-two GMT, yet 200 years behind when it comes to feminism, "Ragtown Boulevard," a treatise on domestic violence that still plagues much of the former Eastern Bloc, as well as "Menstruation Cessation Anticipation," an Amanda Palmer-inspired incantation to the speedy start of menopause. Not to mention "Aunty Vilma," a glorious and allegorical swing for all elderly members of the Sapphic Sisterhood.

"We will try our best to shake people’s souls and hopefully find some uncanny similarities between East and West," says Kaisa Ling of The Handbook. "The show is fabulous, hard-hitting, and 110% the real deal, as the Americans say. We Estonians are known for our chilly personalities and IT prowess but I aim to prove I have none of either. I sing the blues," she laughs.

"Those who would like to understand, sincerely and for real, what the so-called Middle-Aged White Men are blamed for, could go and see Kaisa. If you keep an open mind, in addition to experiencing a fun cultural event, you might also get "awakened"!" Mrs. Kersti Kaljulaid, Former President of Estonia



SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 2024 AT 11:00AM - International Artist Summit / Community Lunch 12:30PM.

The International Artists Summit is a premier gathering of creative minds from around the globe in Jersey City, held from June 16, 2024. This vibrant event brings together artists, performers, and visionaries from various disciplines to celebrate, collaborate, and, this year, community members. 

Engage with thought leaders and industry experts through insightful panel discussions and interactive workshops. Topics will range from the role of art in promoting social change to the challenges and opportunities of creating art in times of political turmoil. Attendees can participate in Q&A sessions, gaining deeper insights into the artistic processes and the stories behind the works and meeting each other and community members. 

Meet and interact with the artists in intimate settings designed for meaningful exchanges and collaborations. The summit provides ample networking opportunities, allowing artists and attendees to connect, share experiences, and foster future collaborations.

Jersey City Theater Center presents Voices International Theatre Festival

SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 2024 AT 4:00PM - Voices International Festival: Jumpcore / Paweł Sakowicz / Dance. Witness the expressive artistry of Paweł Sakowicz's "Jumpcore," a dynamic dance performance that explores themes of liberation and self-expression.



 
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It is not entirely clear if Fred Herko planned to finish his intimate performance with a suicide death. He took a bath, turned on Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and began to dance naked in his friend’s living room. He approached an open window several times. When Sanctus resounded, he ran and jumped out the window of the apartment on the fifth floor of New York’s Cornelia Street. Ballet dancers are said to believe they can fly. And indeed, suspended for a second in a jump, they do.



Jersey City Theater Center presents Voices International Theatre Festival

TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2024 AT 7:30PM - Voices/ MARIUPOL: DIARIES OF WAR AND THE TREE OF LIFE (Ukraine/USA). Experience the resilience of the human spirit in this poignant multi-media production capturing the impact of conflict on the city of Mariupol.

MARIUPOL: DIARIES OF WAR AND THE TREE OF LIFE captures the resilience of Ukrainians in a multi-media performance about Russia’s full-scale invasion of the city. Production created by Yara Arts Group and directed by Virlana Tkacz, features four Mariupol diaries collected by Daria Kolomiec for her “Diary of War” Project and poetry by Serhiy Zhadan, Ukraine best-known poet. Julian Kytasty created the music, Tom Lee designed the production with Waldemart Klyuzko and Andrea Minicic the costumes. Yara artists: Hanna Datsko, George Drance, Darien Fiorino, Silvana Gonzalez, Oksana Horban, Susan Hwang, Daria Kolomiec, Diana Kuzminova, and Petro Ninovskyi perform in English with some Ukrainian.

The Mariupol diaries are by Yaroslav Semenenko, a member of the Ukrainian National Paralympic swim team; Yevhenia Ivanchenko, a captain in the Mariupol Police; Olena Nikulina, from an old Mariupol family, whose husband defended Azovstal and is currently a Russian captive; and Valeria Mykhailovska, who returned to Mariupol from the Czech Republic to rescue her mother.



Jersey City Theater Center presents Voices International Theatre Festival

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2024 AT 7:30PM - Voices / HELVER’S NIGHT by Ingmar Villqist (Slovakia) / Theatre. Immerse yourself in the emotional depths of "Helver's Night," a theatrical exploration of human relationships set against the backdrop of pre-World War II Slovakia.

Immerse yourself in an emotional labyrinth with the play Helver's Night. We will transport you to the night of the secrets of two people before the Second World War. A seemingly idyllic evening turns into a night of unexpected twists and turns. He (Helver) and She (Karla) will pull you into the web of their moral dilemmas and relationships, which we face even today. Get ready for a unique experience that will entertain you, but also appeal to you more deeply and force you to think about your own emotional depths. Helver's Night is a theater play and at the same time a topical and intense look into the interior of the human soul and the truth that can change everything.

The truth, which has been hidden in Slovakia for a long time, will blossom on the stage and will not leave any audience indifferent.



Jersey City Theater Center presents Voices International Theatre Festival

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2024 AT 7:00PM - Voices / The Light Night of the Soul by Leah Guy (USA / Jersey City) Workshop Production. Join Leah Guy on a transformative journey in "The Light Night of the Soul," a poignant one-woman show that delves into themes of healing and spiritual growth.

Spiritual Teacher, Author, and Illuminator Leah Guy presents this intimate, autobiographical one-woman show, The Light Night of the Soul, a transformative and vulnerable piece on how to heal the ghosts of your past. Focused on the real-life experience of living in a 200-year-old haunted house and the simultaneous restoration of home and spirit, the fascinating journey takes you into the depths of some of life's darkest moments, with an invitation to trust the power of self and Spirit and be led toward light, healing, and freedom.



Jersey City Theater Center presents Voices International Theatre Festival

SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2024 AT 7:30PM - Voices International Festival / LOWLANDS (Romania) Theatre. Celebrate the power of storytelling with a staged reading of "Lowlands," set in Ceausescu's Romania, followed by a community conversation and musical performance.

Directors Quote: Lowlands is an Eastern-European OUR TOWN set in Ceausescu's Romania. Panaintes modular dramaturgy releases voices from our collective consciousness and creates a performative space to witness our silences morning fresh and decades old. Lowlands is both a memory play and a surrealist vision animated from a child's perspective. It is with awe and love that we call on the community to gather around this version of Herta Müller's text on the 40th anniversary of its first publication. Together with her words we will celebrate the divine resistance that girls carry in their soul the world over for all of us.

The staged reading will be followed by contrasting high-art afterlife a child-size concert inspired by the german musical tradition of Lieder as composed by Matthew Brown. We will close with a community conversation about the topics contained in the show: creators and their processes (writing, directing, composing, dramaturgy) , imprints of war and dictatorship, life in rural communities, life as a cultural/ethnic minority, collective memory, the child's view, adapting/translating contemporary works.



JCTC extends their heartfelt gratitude to our funders who make these programs possible: Creative Australia, Arts NT, Slovak Arts Council, the Polish Cultural Institute, the  Romanian Cultural Institute NYC and Jazztopad (Poland). 

The Voices International Theatre Festival is dedicated to showcasing the finest in global theatre, dance, and world music companies fostering cross-cultural dialogue, and promoting unity through the performing arts. Established in 2017, the festival brings together diverse voices and perspectives, highlighting the universal themes that connect us all.

Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) arts organization committed to inspiring conversations about important issues of our times through the arts. Co-founded by Executive Producer Olga Levina, an immigrant from Belarus, Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) produces and presents universal yet locally relevant works, emphasizing social justice and human rights.  Since 2006, JCTC has provided a platform for all artistic voices to be heard in Jersey City, with the aim of sparking meaningful cross-cultural dialogue that helps build a greater understanding, mutual respect and better communities in New Jersey.

Programming made possible by numerous supporters, including the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development, Hudson County, the City of Jersey City, and the Office of Cultural Affairs.


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