A cultural envoy with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
“The most important part for me, though, is the sharing; exchanging of ideas and artistic concepts; and breaking down the walls that can separate cultures and countries.”
– Allen Nause, former Artists Rep Artistic Director
What is the RA Project?
History: A message from Allen Nause
I have been very fortunate in my career to have been a part of several theater tours that were funded by the U.S. Dept. of State. I had previously done some touring in the off season for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland in the mid ‘80s. Touring small shows to places that had never experienced live theater proved to be very rewarding and powerful! Bringing live performances and workshops to communities opened doors and promoted cooperation and communication.
I was so energized by the power of theater to connect and bring people together that I decided to start my own theater company which was booked all over the west coast and around the country. I was very soon introduced to someone from a U.S. State Dept. of Cultural Affairs who was looking for small troupes to tour internationally. This led to my first international theater tour to East and West Africa and Bangladesh.
That tour proved very successful and in the early ‘90s I was again contacted to do another touring program to India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. I had just recently become artistic director of a tiny theater on the third floor of the YWCA and Artists Repertory Theater booked its first international tour! It was followed by a second tour in the mid ‘90s to many of the same countries.
The connections I made on these tours led to offers to direct plays and lead workshops in India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Russia, and Israel as well as lead symposiums and workshops in Macedonia and Hungary.
What I have loved most about these projects is that they are about sharing. I have never been asked to proselytize. The U.S. Dept. of State has never given me an agenda or talking points. They wanted me to be myself and they wanted the artists I was working with to have the experience of working with an American. I loved that concept and those tours led to many lifetime artistic friendships! A few have found their way to Artists Rep’s stage or other Portland and U.S projects. The most important part for me, though, is the sharing; exchanging of ideas and artistic concepts; and breaking down the walls that can separate cultures and countries. I know that these Portland artists taking The Fantasticks to Egypt are the perfect Arts Envoys to continue to share and connect through the power of theater on our ever shrinking planet.
– Allen Nause
A part of The Arts Envoy Program, within the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which shares the best of U.S. arts community with the world, this production was curated and produced solely to be featured at CIFCET (The Cairo International Festival of Contemporary and Experimental Theatre) in Cairo, Egypt, this September. Featuring Resident Artists Susannah Mars (co-producer), Vin Shambry, and directed by ART Emeritus Artistic Director Allen Nause, it seemed fitting for us to join forces and the ART ResidentArtist project was born. This new project will develop and shift over time, but our intention is to format and nurture space for our Resident Artists to create outside of Main Stage productions and community outreach.
Cairo, Egypt, a U.S. Arts Envoy Tour
“I am so excited that I got to be a part of the planning of this beautiful project, The Fantasticks in Egypt!” – Allen Nause