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
ART RA Project presents: The Fantasticks
RA Project History
A Message from Allen Nause
I am so excited that I got to be a part of the planning of this beautiful project, The Fantasticks in Egypt!
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