Tag Archives: featured

Lady, an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" by Andrzej Zurowski and Hanna Bondarewska

Painting by Dorota Krzymowska
Graphic Design by Anna Klamczynska

LADY, A One Woman Show based on Macbeth comes to life!

SHAKESPEARE's LADY COMES TO LIFE!

But we do need your help! 

Ambassador Theater and its artistic and technical team celebrates William Shakespeare with the upcoming production of "LADY" based on "Macbeth"


In the world of constant change and struggle between the evil forces that some believe turn our world upside down, it's time to look closely at the subject again through the eyes of today's artist inspired by the most important bard of all times, William Shakespeare.

The script is adapted by Andrzej Zurowski and Hanna Bondarewska
Music by Jerzy Satanowski

The idea is inspired by famous Polish-American Shakespearean actress, Helena Modrzejewska, who was the most toured actress of the 19th century. Her last role was the role of Lady Macbeth that she played in New York.  

In her footsteps, we are hoping to produce a hiffghly interactive show with lots of sound and visual effects and magic.  We would love to produce the show in DC and then take it on the road and present it at all places that Madame Helena Modjeska performed.

The concept was born last year and as a result of research and studying Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and also studying with Maestro Dario Fo, An Italian Nobel Prize winner, whose mentorship helped significantly to gain strength in developing a one woman show.

Currently, we are working on technical aspects of the show, visual effects and sound, as well as movement and more.
The costumes will be created by Sigridur Johannesdottir.

The cost of the show is high, we need to secure money for the space, for costumes, set, visual and sound effects!

We would greatly appreciate your help!
Any amount counts!  Donations $50 and above are tax deductible!

PLEASE DONATE ONLINE

or you may send a check written to Ambassador Theater at 205 Yoakum Pkwy, #1008, Alexandria VA 22304

As Ambassador Theater Friend, you will receive special invitation to our opening night and a reception.

We are looking forward to seeing you at our special evening of magic!

Thank you! 

AmbassadorTheater2015recognizedcropped

Looking forward, Looking Back!

Dear Ambassador Theater friends and supporters!,

We are extremley thankful for all your friendship and support in making Ambassador Theater and its programs thrive!

Our 6th season is rolling on.  Our last shows have received a lot of great " 5 Star " reviews, and just recently

The Trap by Tadeusz Rozewicz, translated by Adam Czerniawski and Smartphones, A Pocket-Size Farce by Emilio Williams were honored by the unnamed-351-300x300Best2015DCMetroTheaterArts Staff’s for Best Plays in Professional Theaters in 2015 and Best Directors, Hanna Bondarewska for The Trap and Joe Banno for Smartphones, A Pocket-Size Farce, and Best Actress, Ariana Almajan for Smartphones, A Pocket-Size Farce!

We are planning a great season ahead! 

As you may know our next stop is ITALY as we are planning to celebrate the 90th Birthday of a Nobel Price Winner, DARIO FO in partnership of the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute

International Artist Series will present

MARIO PIROVANO with his one man show, 

Johan Padan and the Discovery of America

By Dario Fo

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2016

at the Embassy of Italy

THEY DON'T PAY? WE WON'T PAY

By Dario Fo

Directed by Joe Martin

March 1 - March 26, 2016

At FLASHPOINT, 916 G SWtreet, NW

Washington DC 20001

TICKETS WILL BE ON SALE SOON!

We are also traveling to Israel!  

In Partnership of the Embassy of Israel, Ambassador Theater presents

LITERARY CAFE

WOMEN IN ARTS

March 8, 2016

At the Embassy of Israel

   FALL 2016

BALLADYNA

By Juliusz Slowacki ("Polish Shakespeare of Romantic Era")

 Directed by Kazimierz Braun and Hanna Bondarewska

Our plans are extensive and we have a great artistic team to work with but we do need your help to grow and pay the production expenses!  Please add your support to our online crowdfunding campaign and share with others.  Thanks to you and your friends, we will keep the arts and Ambassador Theater ALIVE!

Thank very much!

We wish you Happy Happy Holidays! Lots of happy moments with your family and friends, full of love and joy!

See you at our future events!,

Hanna Bondarewska and team of the Ambassador Theater 

 

HappyBirthdayDarioFo

“They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Play!” GoFundMe Campaign

Help Ambassador Theater, the Italian Embassy, and the Italian Cultural Institute in premiering Dario Fo's play "They Don't Pay? We Won't Pay!" this March.  

Thank you for your friendship and support!

celebrating_new2DarioFoupsmaller

Celebration of Dario Fo Feb 26 – March 26, 2016

Celebrating Dario Fo's 90th Birthday with They Don't Pay? We Won't Pay! at Ambassador Theater in Washington DC from aticc on Vimeo.

 

The Italian Cultural Institute and the Ambassador Theater celebrate 90th Birthday of Dario Fo, ItalyinUSItalian satirist, playwright, director, actor and composer, and Nobel Prize Winner with the following shows and events:

200x200 MarioPirovanopostdraftJOHAN PADAN AND THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA
(Johan Padan a la Descoverta de le Americhe) By Dario Fo
Featuring Mario Pirovano 
Feb 26, 2016  MORE INFO to REGISTER will come soon! Do not call please! 
at the Embassy of Italy 

MASTER CLASS with MARIO PIROVANO 

Italian actor, storyteller, translator and interpreter of Dario Fo’s monologues.

MON, FEB 29, 2016 at 7 PM at FLASHPOINT, 916 G St., NW, Washington DC

 

They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!  TheyDon'tPayphotos
By Dario Fo
Translated by Jon Laskin and Michael Aquilante
Produced By Hanna Bondarewska
Directed by Joe Martin
March 3-March 26, 2016
at FLASHPOINT, 916 G Street, NW, Washington DC 

JOIN OUR CIRCLE OF SUPPORTERS: https://www.gofundme.com/y8c72qp8
TICKETS ONLINE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dario Fo Dario Fo, an Italian actor-author, can claim to be the most frequently performed living playwright in the world. Born on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy in 1926, he made his debut in theatre in 1952 and is still writing and performing. His work has gone through various phases, always in company with his actress wife Franca Rame. His stage career began with political cabaret, moved on to one-act farces, and then to satirical comedies in his so-called ‘bourgeois phase’ in the early 1960s when he became a celebrated figure on TV and in Italy’s major theatres. In 1968, he broke with conventional theatre to set up a co operative dedicated to producing politically committed work in what were then known as ‘alternative venues’. His best known work, including Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Mistero Buffo and Trumpets and Raspberries, dates from this period. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997, and in the official citation the Swedish Royal Academy stated that he had ‘emulated the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.’

ABOUT MARIO PIROVANO

Mario Pirovano has been working closely with Dario Fo and Franca Rame from 1983 to 2013.    Dario Fo and Mario Pirovano

Actor in one man shows ‘Mistero Buffo’, ‘Johan Padan a la Descoverta de le Americhe’, ‘Lu Santo Jullare Françesco’, ‘Vorrei morire anche stasera se dovessi sapere che non è servitor a niente’, and ‘Ruzzante’ by Dario Fo ‘Le Jeu de obin et Marion’ by Adam de la Halle, and ‘Il Papa cowboy: vita, avventure, battaglie di Papa Giulio II’ by Marco Ghelardi

Performances and Workshops from 2003 to 2013 Italy, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Sweden, Norway, Australia, China, Palestine, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Canada, United States of America.

Translations by Mario Pirovano
‘Johan Padan a la Descoverta de le Americhe’ By Dario Fo:
‘Johan Padan and the Discovery of America’, ed. Tipografica Perugia
‘Lu Santo Jullare Françesco’ by Dario Fo:
‘Francis the Holy Jester’, published by Beautiful Books, London
‘Ruzzante’ by Dario Fo: ‘The Wonderful Ruzante’ (unpublished)
‘Mistero Buffo’ by Dario Fo:
‘Comic Mistery play’ (unpublished)

ABOUT JOHAN PADAN AND THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA

Let us state clearly that this is not the lamentable history of the massacres committed by the conquerors on the Indios.                            
This is not the story of the usual losers. It is rather the epos of the victory of a population of Indios.                                
There are two fundamental types of chronicles of the discovery and conquest of America. On the one hand the stories written by the scribes following the conquerors. On the other, the tales of the coprotagonists who do not count, the “lastagonists”, from the dirty ranks, who come to tell their adventures having lived very close, even often right in the middle of the conquered, as prisoners…and even slaves!
Johan Padan is one of these unlucky adventurers, a gallows-bird of the fifteenth century, who has found himself right in the middle of thee discovery of America.
Johan Padan is a real figure, maybe his name is not exactly Johan Padan, but his actions are real: indeed they come from dozens of true stories told by the very men who lived them, the extras from the rank-and-file coming from all countries of Europe. All desperate people who do not count for anything in the official history of the discovery, but who arrived in the Indies, came in contact with the local people and found that they could count for something, or even a lot!
Johan Padan, a man from the mountains, does not like to sail but is compelled in spite of himself to make the great voyage. He is kidnapped by cannibals who fatten him up with the intention of eating him. He is saved by a stroke of luck and he becomes shaman, chief-wizard, doctor and is called “son of the rising sun”. He ha also compelled to teach the stories of the Gospels to thousands of Indios. Apocryphal Gospel of course.
The simple seamen, the ranks of little worth who switched sides with the conquered were many more than we used to think. And we must be clear: they did not content themselves with surviving, but they worked as strategists and military trainers so that the Indios could resist for a period of time against the invasion of the Christians.
We know the names of some of them, the best known are: Guerrero, Altavilla, Cabeza de Vaca. Hans Staden. 
But today we offer the extraordinary chance to know in person and from his own voice the tale of the most renowned of all the renegade foot soldiers: Johan Padan, ‘son of the rising sun’. “ Dario Fo

ABOUT THEY DON'T PAY? WE WON'T PAY!

Desperate housewives take justice in their own hands in this Nobel prize winner's hilarious farce of civil disobedience. The empowering story in which direct democracy is the way to go when government fails to protect citizens' rights, was inspired by real life events of workers' uprising in 1974's Italy. Hugely popular and more relevant than ever, They don't pay? We won't pay! delivers a serious message in a ridiculous, absurdist fashion generating truckloads of laughter and delighting with its lovable and colorful characters.
Meet Antonia, who during a food riot takes supplies from a supermarket and hides them from her law abiding husband Giovanni behind a dress of her best friend Margherita. Follow the chaos, which ensues once Giovanni and his friend and Margherita's spouse Luigi are told about Margherita's miracle pregnancy and the police gets involved. Be prepared for this uproarious 'boulevard comedy' to keep you glued to your seat feeling entertained and inspired at the same time!

Though the piece has been called a “comedy of hunger,” it is also about the bigger financial farce that results if the victims of financial collapse—brought about by capitalism run-amok—are asked to pay for the disaster while the guilty parties are bailed out. This play by a master playwright and performer, is both physical comedy and a comedy of wit, sometimes in “boulevard” style. Fo has roots in Commedia dell’Arte, and the influence shows in this modern farce. In awarding him the Nobel Prize for Literature—there is no theatre category! —the Nobel committee remarked in 1997 that Dario Fo “emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.” His plays have been translated into 30 languages and performed across the world, including in US, Argentina, Chile, England, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and Yugoslavia.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATORS

Jon Laskin

Jon Laskin and Michael Aquilante are writers and theater translators who have co-translated several works of Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright Dario Fo, including “Accidental Death of an Anarchist,” “The Devil with Boobs,” and his classic political farce “They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!” Jon and Michael’s critically 

Michael Aquilante

acclaimed translations have been staged in many cities around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Anchorage, London, Dublin, Brisbane, Ottawa, and Toronto. “Anarchist” was honored with Toronto’s prestigious Dora Award, while “Boobs” received an L. A. Weekly Theater Award. 

Currently, the Laskin/Aquilante team is developing adapted translations of another Italian Nobel Prize winner, Luigi Pirandello: “The Truth About Truth,” set in today’s Washington, DC, is based on “It Is So If You Think So”; while “Willie the First” is Pirandello’s “Henry IV” in a modern Mafia context. In addition to Laskin/Aquilante’s theatrical endeavors, 2016 will see the publication of their graphic book, “Wings of Wax and Feathers,” an urban-savvy retelling of the Icarus myth.

they_dont_pay640x480 (2)

DC PREMIERE of THEY DON’T PAY? WE WON”T PAY!

Celebrating Dario Fo's 90th Birthday with They Don't Pay? We Won't Pay! at Ambassador Theater in Washington DC from aticc on Vimeo.

 

In Partnership with Italian Cultural Institute 

Ambassador Theater Presents

The Washington DC Premiere of

THEY DON’T PAY? WE WON’T PAY!
By Dario Fo

Translated by Jon Laskin and Michael Aquilante

Produced by Hanna Bondarewska

Directed by Joe Martin and Danny Rovin

Featuring: Hanna Bondarewska, Moriah Whiteman, Darren Marquardt, Mitch Irzinski and Peter Orvetti

March 3 – March 26, 2016 

Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Matinees Sundays at 3:00 pm

Mead Theatre Lab at FLASHPOINT
916 G Street NW, Washington DC

Previews (Open Dress Rehearsals) March 1, 2 at 7:30 pm; 

March 3 at 7:30 pm, VIP Opening & Reception follows

Press Night: Sat, March 5, 7:30 pm; Special Q&A after the show with the Special Guest, Italian Actor, longtime collaborator of Dario Fo, Mario Pirovano, director, Joe Martin, and actors

TICKETS ONLINE

JOIN OUR CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN

ABOUT

Ambassador Theater is thrilled to celebrate 90th Birthday of Dario Fo, Italian satirist, playwright, director, actor and composer, and present a DC Premiere of They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!  

Desperate housewives take justice in their own hands in this Nobel prize winner's hilarious farce of civil disobedience. The empowering story in which direct democracy is the way to go when government fails to protect citizens' rights, was inspired by real life events of workers' uprising in 1974's Italy. Hugely popular and more relevant than ever, They don't pay? We won't pay! delivers a serious message in a ridiculous, absurdist fashion generating truckloads of laughter and delighting with its lovable and colorful characters.
Meet Antonia, who during a food riot takes supplies from a supermarket and hides them from her law abiding husband Giovanni behind a dress of her best friend Margherita. Follow the chaos, which ensues once Giovanni and his friend and Margherita's spouse Luigi are told about Margherita's miracle pregnancy and the police gets involved. Be prepared for this uproarious 'boulevard comedy' to keep you glued to your seat feeling entertained and inspired at the same time!

Though the piece has been called a “comedy of hunger,” it is also about the bigger financial farce that results if the victims of financial collapse—brought about by capitalism run-amok—are asked to pay for the disaster while the guilty parties are bailed out. This play by a master playwright and performer, is both physical comedy and a comedy of wit, sometimes in “boulevard” style. Fo has roots in Commedia dell’Arte, and the influence shows in this modern farce. In awarding him the Nobel Prize for Literature—there is no theatre category! —the Nobel committee remarked in 1997 that Dario Fo “emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.” His plays have been translated into 30 languages and performed across the world, including in US, Argentina, Chile, England, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and Yugoslavia.

ABOUT DARIO FO

DarioFoDario Fo has written over 70 plays, coauthoring some of them with his wife, the great comic actress Franca Rame.  Among his most popular plays are Morte accidentale di un anarchico (1974; Accidental Death of an Anarchist) and Non si paga, non si paga! (Originally titled in English We Can’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!). As a performer, Fo is best known for his solo tour de force Mistero Buffo (1973; “Comic Mystery”), which he toured world-wide, based on medieval mystery plays and jongleur performance pieces: in the spirit of the medieval jongleurs the shows changed with each audience, always remaining fresh and relevant. At age 90 he has published the novel, The Pope’s Daughter: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia.

 

CAST:
Antonia—Hanna Bondarewska
Giovanni–Darren Marquardt
Margherita—Moriah Whiteman
Luigi— Mitch Irzinski
Policeman/Federal Agent/Undertaker/Giovanni's Father—Peter Orvetti

PRODUCTION: 
Director-Joe Martin and Danny Rovin
Assistant Director – Xandra Weaver
Music/Sound – Noor Che'Ree
Set Designer – Rachael Knoblauch
Set/Artist Painter – Julia Tasheva
Ligthing Designer – E-hui Woo
Costume Designer – Sigridur Johannesdottir
Literary Director – Eliza Anna Falk
Stage Manager – Xandra Weaver
House Box Office Manager – Anders Hilton da Silva and Mari Davis

CAST & CREW

Previous

LearnShareChallengeGrow_andAmbassadorTheater_1038x576_featured

Our Mission

ATICC's mission is to build international cultural awareness, provide a high standard of repertoire based on close relations with the diplomatic and cultural representatives of different countries in the United States, and develop interactive educational programs for the youth of the District of Columbia, DC Metro area, and around the US.

Ambassador Theater is committed to raising cultural awareness and opening a cultural dialogue on the international level.  "I was at a loss at how to make it a reality, however.  A tying together of people from all across the world is no easy task. After all, there are over six billion people in the world today.  But as I learned, sometimes all you need is one. Standing at about three feet high was my impetus for ATICC: my four year old student, Thomas. One day, following an acting lesson, Thomas overheard me discuss my dreams with his parents, and began fiddling with his pockets. Pulling at the side of my skirt, he looked up at me and said, “I want you to start a theater,” and held out a single, crumpled one dollar bill in the palm of his hand. Thomas became our first official supporter, but it was not that dollar that meant so much, it was something much more profound and timeless that this young boy demonstrated that day:  passion.” Hanna Bondarewska

Ambassador Theater  International Cultural Center (ATICC) was founded in December 2007 by Hanna Bondarewska, a Polish-American actress and director and it was incorporated January 22, 2008 in Washington DC as a non-profit organization 501 (c) 3 to serve the DC Metro community as international cultural center divided into two major components: Ambassador Theater with all its theater productions, staged readings and bare-bone productions and International Cultural Center with all educational programs, lectures, play-reading workshops and special events.

ATICC  aims to create stimulating center that inspires dialogue between individuals and cultures. We feel that living in one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country gives us a unique resource and opportunity to explore theater from around the world.  We want to create theater that reflects this multicultural richness, giving voice to people who have not traditionally been represented on the American stage.  We feel that producing work from across the globe makes for richer, more interesting art and makes those involved – whether as artists or audience members – richer citizens of the world, as well.

A bit of a look at historical facts:

ATICC's first endeavor was to create the Ambassadors of International Culture program, which provides in-school, curriculum-based drama instruction to elementary school students. With the partnership of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Embassy Adoption Program and DC Public Schools, Ambassador Theater taught students at Anne Beers Elementary School in Washington D.C. about Polish history and culture using a variety of performing and visual arts techniques.

The program culminated in the creation and performance of an original play based on the material the students had learned called “Poland the Beautiful: An Imaginary Flight.”  This play was performed by students at their school, at the Embassy of Poland, and at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw and Krakow during a twelve-day trip to Poland.

2009 was a year of exciting expansion for Ambassador Theater. The company launched both its Main Stage and Bare-Bones series. Full productions included “Out at Sea” by Sławomir Mrożek, directed and designed by Hanna Bondarewska and “Hopa Tropa!” conceived and directed by Lilia Slavova.  “Hopa Tropa! was selected to be performed as part of the 2009 Kids Euro Festival at the Kennedy Performing Arts Center, the Shakespeare Theater, the Embassy of France and Arc Theater in Washington DC. Our Bare-Bones productions included Forefathers, Part II by the “Bard of the Polish stage,” Adam Mickiewicz, and “Farewell to Arden: Last Toast of Madame Helena,” an adaptation of Émigré Queen by Kazimierz Braun.

Ambassador Theater kicked off 2010 by inaugurating our New Work in Development series with “Not My Label: A Journey of Discovery” by the writer known as Rula.  This one-woman show not only gave Ambassador Theater the opportunity to support the creation of a new work, but also to share the perspective of an Arabian women, a perspective that is not frequently heard in American theater. Our first Main Stage show of 2010, Summer at Nohant” focused on the tumultuous relationship between French writer Georges Sand and Frederic Chopin, in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the Polish composer’s birth. This production was said to have demonstrated Ambassador Theater’s “skill and enthusiasm” by DC Theater Scene.  Two Bare-Bones shows followed: “The Country House by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the famous Polish playwright’s birth and An Evening with Maurice Maeterlinck: The Death of Tintagiles and The Miracle of Saint Anthony”. Our last show of the year, “The Little Prince was enthusiastically received by critics and audience members alike.

In January 2011, we opened a production “Under the Shadow of Wings, which was a double bill” “The Death of Tintagiles” by Maurice Maeterlinck from Belgium and “Karna and Kunti by Rabindranath Tagore from India.  This production brought a lot of attention from the media and opened up and developed our partnerships with the Embassy of Belgium and Embassy of India as well with the cultural representatives and scholars—specialists in Indian and Belgian theater.  In addition to the show, we celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore’s Birth at the Embassy of India. The Embassy of Belgium hosted our Opening reception celebrating 100th Anniversary of Nobel Prize Winner, Maurice Maeterlinck.

In March, ATICC opened The Literary Café at the Kosciuszko Foundation. Our first meeting of the cafe celebrated International Women’s Day with an Evening of Poetry and Music, "A Woman's Sigh." The Literary Café was a great success and subsequent meetings in May and June were “Love Explained all to me” as well as Miłosz and His Life Travels, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Nobel Prize Winner, Czesław Miłosz.

As part of our New Work Series, we produced a special stage reading of a new musical, Called Up To Lifeby local writer, Art Levine, blending the sounds of klezmer and Yiddish theatre with Hasidic storytelling.

This summer we offered two youth theater camps as part of our program, Ambassadors of International Culture. In July, we explored the Ancient Culture of Egypt at Source. The kids participated in all aspects of theatre production, from acting games to creating costumes, and the camp ended with a wonderful performance of “The Life of Hatshepsut” on Source’s main stage. The second camp was in the Dupont Circle Historic District at the Kosciuszko Foundation exploring the Polish Culture through poetry and art. The kids’ final presentation included the poems and songs performed for their families.

Development of the ATICC structure

Another way in which Ambassador has been making strides is in the development of its infrastructure.  In addition to the partnerships and friendships with the embassies of Poland, Bulgaria, France, Belgium, Egypt, India and China, the theater has established new partnerships with the Kosciuszko Foundation, Cultural Development Corporation, Institute for Education, Gallery Beau SeJour, Hoffman Boston Elementary School and Alliance Française of Washington, D.C.   We have increased a number of our Honorary Board and Literary Advisory Board to help us to rich out to broader audience and gain more ATICC's supporters.  We have opened up a Literary Cafe at the Kosciuszko Foundation with the evenings of poetry and music, staged readings, lectures and cabaret shows.

Ambassador launched its Dream Maker Campaign in response to receiving a challenge grant from Mercator XXI.  Finally,  Ambassador received notice this year that it will become Helen Hayes Awards–eligible beginning in January 2011.  This recognizes the completion of its second year as a fully operational professional theater company serving the Washington, D.C. area.

ATICC_retrospective_featured

Celebrating Our 5th Season

AmbassadorsOfInternationalCulture_featured

Educational Programs: Ambassadors of International Culture

Ambassador Theater teaches 2nd graders about Ancient China and Egypt

Ms. Hanna Bondarewska teaches students about Ancient China

Ambassador Theater teaches 1st graders about American symbols

Ms. Lilia Slavova leads the students through various theater games and exercises to teach them about American symbols

Ambassador Theater: International Cultural Center

Ambassador Theater International Cultural Center

ATICC's mission is to build international cultural awareness, provide a high standard of repertoire based on close relations with the diplomatic and cultural representatives of different countries in the United States, and develop interactive educational programs for the youth of the District of Columbia, DC Metro area, and around the US.

Summer-at-Nohant-for-Featured-thumbnailAmbassador Theater is committed to raising cultural awareness and opening a cultural dialogue on the international level.  "I was at a loss at how to make it a reality, however.  A tying together of people from all across the world is no easy task. After all, there are over six billion people in the world today.  But as I learned, sometimes all you need is one. Standing at about three feet high was my impetus for ATICC: my four year old student, Thomas. One day, following an acting lesson, Thomas overheard me discuss my dreams with his parents, and began fiddling with his pockets. Pulling at the side of my skirt, he looked up at me and said, “I want you to start a theater,” and held out a single, crumpled one dollar bill in the palm of his hand. Thomas became our first official supporter, but it was not that dollar that meant so much, it was something much more profound and timeless that this young boy demonstrated that day:  passion.” Hanna Bondarewska

Ambassador Theater  International Cultural Center (ATICC) was founded in December 2007 by Hanna Bondarewska, a Polish-American actress and director and it was incorporated January 22, 2008 in Washington DC as a non-profit organization 501 (c) 3 to serve the DC Metro community as international cultural center divided into two major components: Ambassador Theater with all its theater productions, staged readings and bare-bone productions and International Cultural Center with all educational programs, lectures, play-reading workshops and special events.

ATICC  aims to create stimulating center that inspires dialogue between individuals and cultures. We feel that living in one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country gives us a unique resource and opportunity to explore theater from around the world.  We want to create theater that reflects this multicultural richness, giving voice to people who have not traditionally been represented on the American stage.  We feel that producing work from across the globe makes for richer, more interesting art and makes those involved – whether as artists or audience members – richer citizens of the world, as well.

A bit of a look at historical facts:

ATICC's first endeavor was to create the Ambassadors of International Culture program, which provides in-school, curriculum-based drama instruction to elementary school students. With the partnership of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Embassy Adoption Program and DC Public Schools, Ambassador Theater taught students at Anne Beers Elementary School in Washington D.C. about Polish history and culture using a variety of performing and visual arts techniques.

The program culminated in the creation and performance of an original play based on the material the students had learned called “Poland the Beautiful: An Imaginary Flight.”  This play was performed by students at their school, at the Embassy of Poland, and at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw and Krakow during a twelve-day trip to Poland.

2009 was a year of exciting expansion for Ambassador Theater. The company launched both its Main Stage and Bare-Bones series. Full productions included “Out at Sea” by Sławomir Mrożek, directed and designed by Hanna Bondarewska and “Hopa Tropa!” conceived and directed by Lilia Slavova.  “Hopa Tropa! was selected to be performed as part of the 2009 Kids Euro Festival at the Kennedy Performing Arts Center, the Shakespeare Theater, the Embassy of France and Arc Theater in Washington DC. Our Bare-Bones productions included Forefathers, Part II by the “Bard of the Polish stage,” Adam Mickiewicz, and “Farewell to Arden: Last Toast of Madame Helena,” an adaptation of Émigré Queen by Kazimierz Braun.

Ambassador Theater kicked off 2010 by inaugurating our New Work in Development series with “Not My Label: A Journey of Discovery” by the writer known as Rula.  This one-woman show not only gave Ambassador Theater the opportunity to support the creation of a new work, but also to share the perspective of an Arabian women, a perspective that is not frequently heard in American theater. Our first Main Stage show of 2010, Summer at Nohant” focused on the tumultuous relationship between French writer Georges Sand and Frederic Chopin, in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the Polish composer’s birth. This production was said to have demonstrated Ambassador Theater’s “skill and enthusiasm” by DC Theater Scene.  Two Bare-Bones shows followed: “The Country House by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the famous Polish playwright’s birth and An Evening with Maurice Maeterlinck: The Death of Tintagiles and The Miracle of Saint Anthony”. Our last show of the year, “The Little Prince was enthusiastically received by critics and audience members alike.

In January 2011, we opened a production “Under the Shadow of Wings, which was a double bill” “The Death of Tintagiles” by Maurice Maeterlinck from Belgium and “Karna and Kunti by Rabindranath Tagore from India.  This production brought a lot of attention from the media and opened up and developed our partnerships with the Embassy of Belgium and Embassy of India as well with the cultural representatives and scholars—specialists in Indian and Belgian theater.  In addition to the show, we celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore’s Birth at the Embassy of India. The Embassy of Belgium hosted our Opening reception celebrating 100th Anniversary of Nobel Prize Winner, Maurice Maeterlinck.

In March, ATICC opened The Literary Café at the Kosciuszko Foundation. Our first meeting of the cafe celebrated International Women’s Day with an Evening of Poetry and Music, "A Woman's Sigh." The Literary Café was a great success and subsequent meetings in May and June were “Love Explained all to me” as well as Miłosz and His Life Travels, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Nobel Prize Winner, Czesław Miłosz.

As part of our New Work Series, we produced a special stage reading of a new musical, Called Up To Lifeby local writer, Art Levine, blending the sounds of klezmer and Yiddish theatre with Hasidic storytelling.

This summer we offered two youth theater camps as part of our program, Ambassadors of International Culture. In July, we explored the Ancient Culture of Egypt at Source. The kids participated in all aspects of theatre production, from acting games to creating costumes, and the camp ended with a wonderful performance of “The Life of Hatshepsut” on Source’s main stage. The second camp was in the Dupont Circle Historic District at the Kosciuszko Foundation exploring the Polish Culture through poetry and art. The kids’ final presentation included the poems and songs performed for their families.

Development of the ATICC structure

Another way in which Ambassador has been making strides is in the development of its infrastructure.  In addition to the partnerships and friendships with the embassies of Poland, Bulgaria, France, Belgium, Egypt, India and China, the theater has established new partnerships with the Kosciuszko Foundation, Cultural Development Corporation, Institute for Education, Gallery Beau SeJour, Hoffman Boston Elementary School and Alliance Française of Washington, D.C.   We have increased a number of our Honorary Board and Literary Advisory Board to help us to reach out to broader audience and gain more ATICC's supporters.  We have opened up a Literary Cafe at the Kosciuszko Foundation with the evenings of poetry and music, staged readings, lectures and cabaret shows.

Ambassador launched its Dream Maker Campaign in response to receiving a challenge grant from Mercator XXI.  Finally,  Ambassador received notice this year that it will become Helen Hayes Awards–eligible beginning in January 2011.  This recognizes the completion of its second year as a fully operational professional theater company serving the Washington, D.C. area.