Tarell Alvin McCraney and Kwame Kwei-Armah Swap Stories on Creating Theater On Both Sides of the Pond
The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) and British Council announced today that they will present THE ARTISTS EXCHANGE on Saturday, March 8 at 12:00 p.m. with MacArthur Fellow Tarell Alvin McCraney and CenterStage’s Kwame Kwei-Armah swapping stories about creating theater on both sides of the pond. All tickets to this exciting one-on-one discussion at Joe’s Pub at The Public are free and can be reserved on-line at www.publictheater.org or by calling (212) 967-7555.
HowlRound will also live-stream the event, in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, GableStage in Maimi, and CenterStage in Baltimore, to allow people to watch live. Viewers can participate in the dialogue by sending their comments and questions via Twitter, using the hashtag #artistsexchange. To watch the live-stream, please visit http://howlround.tv.
In the spirit of international collaboration in The Public, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and GableStage’s new co-production of Antony and Cleopatra, this dynamic exchange will bring together two international artists and Public Theater favorites, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Kwame Kwei-Armah. The two artists will discuss McCraney’s creative process in directing Antony and Cleopatra, Kwei-Armah’s experience as a British artist working in the United States, and the state of transatlantic collaboration as a whole.
THE ARTISTS EXCHANGE will be 75 minutes, allowing for audience members to attend Antony and Cleopatra at 2:00 p.m. in the Anspacher Theater. Tickets for Antony and Cleopatra, starting at $65, can be purchased by calling (212) 967-7555, www.publictheater.org, or in person at the Taub Box Office at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street. The Library will also be serving brunch that day from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. with light fare from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Antony and Cleopatra began previews at The Public on Tuesday, February 18 and runs through Sunday, March 23, with an official press opening on Wednesday, March 5. This unique company is comprised of five actors from each country to make up the cast of Shakespeare’s historical play of love and politics. The actors appear with the permission of Actors' Equity Association pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity, incorporating the Variety Artistes’ Foundation.
The U.S. cast features Charise Castro Smith (Octavia, Iras); Joaquina Kalukango (Cleopatra); Ian Lassiter (Agrippa, Thyreus); Chivas Michael (Mardian, Eros, Soothsayer); and Henry Stram (Lepidus, / Messenger/Proculeius). The U.K. cast features Jonathan Cake (Mark Antony); Samuel Collings (Octavius); Ash Hunter(Pompey, Alexas, Scarus); Chukwudi Iwuji (Enobarbus); and Sarah Niles (Charmian, Menas).
KWAME KWEI-ARMAH recently directed The Public Theater’s Mobile Shakespeare Unit production of Much Ado About Nothing, and the Public Lab production of Detroit ’67. He is the Artistic Director of Baltimore Centerstage and Chancellor of the University of the Arts London. He has served as Writer in Residence for the Old Vic and BBC Radio. Amongst his many plays, Elmina’s Kitchen, Fix Up, and Statement of Regret premiered at the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, with Elmina’s Kitchen transferring to London’s West End, making him the first Black British playwright to have that honor. Kwame was awarded an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II on her Jubilee Honours List for Services to Drama. His other awards include the Olivier Award, BAFTA nominations, Evening Standard Charles Wintor Award, Screen Nation Award, 100 Black Men of Britain Public Figure Award, GPA Man of the Year, and the RECON Local Community Leadership Award. He also served as a Good Will Ambassador for Trade for Christian Aid (2003-2008). He is currently on the board of TCG and serves on the Steinberg Playwright Award Advisory Committee. Plays he has directed at Centerstage include Things of Dry Hours, The Whipping Man, Enemy of the People, and The Mountaintop. At the Tricycle Theatre, he has directed Let There be Love and Seize the Day. He also directed the opening ceremony of the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture in Dakar, Senegal.
TARELL ALVIN McCRANEY is currently directing Antony and Cleopatra at The Public, an international collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Miami’s GableStage, which he also edited. His play The Brothers Size first premiered at The Public’s Under the Radar Festival in 2006 and was followed by a Public Lab production in 2007. His complete trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays (comprised of: In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet), was produced at The Public in 2009. For the Royal Shakespeare Company, he was the RSC/CAPITAL CENTRE Warwick International Playwright in Residence in 2009-2011 and is now an artistic associate. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Tarell is an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theater Company and in residence at New Dramatist Center in New York. For the RSC he co-edited/directed the Young People's Shakespeare production of Hamlet, and wrote a new full-length play for the RSC’s acting ensemble, American Trade. His other plays include Choir Boy, Wig Out, and Head of Passes, which received its world premiere in 2013 in Chicago. McCraney was the recipient of London's Evening StandardAward for Most Promising Playwright in 2008, the inaugural New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award in 2009 and the 2009 Steinberg Award.