LOST/FOUND: Finding Refuge in Pittsburgh is the work of Jana Svobodová, artistic director of the Archa Theatre, along with director Phillippe Schenker, based on stories gathered from within Pittsburgh’s refugee communities. Original music is by Michael Romanyshyn and the Allstar Refugee Band. Members of Pittsburgh’s refugee communities, as well as actors, musicians, and performers from the wider community, will also participate in the event.
The project is part of the collective’s Community-based Artist Residency at City of Asylum, a program that embeds international artists, writers, and musicians in the community to create an original project that tells the community’s story in a unique way. A number of residencies are planned for 2014 and 2015. The program is underwritten by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, ARTPlace America, and The Trust for Mutual Understanding.
The LOST/FOUND project commenced in February with a two-week story-gathering phase in which Svoboda, Schenker, and Romanyshyn worked directly with individuals from war-torn areas such as Iraq, Congo, and Bhutan, identified with the assistance of area resettlement agencies. During the month of June, the full 10-member collective is in residency, rehearsing and refining the production. As part of the residency, the Allstar Refugee Band will appear at the annual U.N. World Refugee Day celebration, to be held on Friday, June 20 at Pittsburgh’s Market Square.
About Archa Theatre/Allstar Refugee Band
A collective of musicians and actors from Prague, a number of whom are refugees from Kurdistan, China, and other countries, Archa Theatre and the Allstar Refugee Band explore ways to resolve social problems through music and theater. Their work in European refugee camps and minority communities includes the acclaimed “Dance through the Fence” (2008) and “Jesters, Spies, and Presidents” (2010). This is their first appearance in the U.S.A.
“With this project Archa Theatre has crossed the boundary of pure artistic theatre towards social and documentary drama. It is a worthwhile and important theatrical enterprise.”—Vladimír Hulec, Reflex/exonline
“The likeable purpose of the authors was to give freedom to disparate actingAbout City of Asylum
temperaments and talents, which created a chemical ‘supra-theatrical’ fusion, which at times crackles and sizzles in fascinating ways.” — Jiří Peňás, Lidové noviny
Founded in 2004, City of Asylum is a model for arts-based community development, bringing writers, readers and neighbors together through global literature and cultural exchange. Located on Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh’s Northside, City of Asylum’s campus of redeveloped houses serve both as homes for exiled writers and as public artworks. It has presented more than 250 authors and musicians from 42 countries in free readings and concerts. Sampsonia Way, the publishing arm of City of Asylum, specializes in banned books in translation and anthologies of contemporary writing from countries where free speech is under threat; sampsoniaway.org, its online journal of free speech, literature, and justice provides a virtual home for persecuted writers and serves a growing global audience online.
A full schedule of events is online at cityofasylumpittsburgh.org/events.