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Performance & Cultural Politics in Peru

August 7 - 24, 2006, Lima Peru

(download the course flyer in PDF format)

Active citizens are resourceful and creative subjects. They consider issues from several points of view and know that there is usually more than one right answer for serious challenges. In other words, citizenship is an art. Another name for this creative practice is “cultural agency”; it works within limited material and political conditions in order to stretch existing rights and resources. Our course will feature exemplary artist-agents in Lima and learn from them how performance and politics engage one another. Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, a major theatre collective known for its innovative combination of Andean and European theatrical forms, and its strong commitment to grass-roots community issues, mobilization, and advocacy, will be our primary model and trainer through intensive workshops and discussion. Studio classes with Yuyachkani focus on the use of voice, body, masks, and objects in performance composition. Readings, other workshops with distinguished anthropologists and artists, lectures and site visits will round out this extraordinary experience.

Knowledge of Spanish is desirable but not required. No previous performance experience necessary.

Peru’s most important theatre collective, Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani has been working since 1971 at the forefront of theatrical experimentation, political performance, and collective creation. “Yuyachkani” is a Quechua word that means "I am thinking, I am remembering"; under this name, the theatre group has devoted itself to the collective exploration of embodied social memory, particularly in relation to questions of ethnicity, violence, and memory in Peru. Their work has been among the most important in Latin America’s so called “New Popular Theatre,” with a strong commitment to grass-roots community issues, mobilization, and advocacy. Yuyachkani won Peru’s National Human Rights Award in 2000. Known for its creative embrace of both indigenous performance forms as well as cosmopolitan theatrical forms, Yuyachkani offers insight into Peruvian and Latin American theatre, and to broader issues of postcolonial social aesthetics.

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