New York's Public Theater and London's National Theatre have announced that they will partner on the community-based initiative, Public Acts, inspired by the Public's successful Public Works model of participatory theater, launched in 2013.
Public Acts is a nationwide initiative in the U.K. to create extraordinary acts of theater and community. The partnership launches with a new staging of Pericles performed on the National Theatre's Olivier stage in August 2018. Pericles will be directed by National Theatre resident director Emily Lim and will join a small cast of professional actors together with a large number of nonprofessional actors who will be cast through their connection with the National's community partner organizations.
The National has commissioned Chris Bush, a writer with extensive experience working with large community ensembles, to adapt members of London's diverse communities to take part in regular creative activity and join them in the creation of theater productions. Pericles will also feature cameo performances from a diverse range of local performance groups with Queen's Theatre Hornchurch acting as their first theater partner.
"The National Theatre is one of the greatest companies on the planet and we are honored to be working with a theater that shares so many of our values," said Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis. "Under Rufus Norris' brilliant leadership, the National is breaking new ground in making theater of, by, and for the people. Together, the National and The Public will be able to inspire each other, learn from each other, and work together to build an inclusive culture where theater belongs to everyone."
"We are excited to be announcing Public Acts today, the National Theatre's new partnership with the Public Theater in New York," added Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre. "We have admired Oskar and the brilliant projects delivered by the Public in New York for many years and we have long respected the ambitious works of participatory theater that Oskar, Lear DeBessonet, and their team brilliantly deliver. The program we are announcing today builds on our combined experience creating award-winning community projects."
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