Send Aaron Landsman to Sweden
I’m writing to ask your help in seeing my first international collaboration to completion. I’m trying to raise $2,000 in the next month, and just $20 from each recipient of this letter will do the trick. The Foundry Theatre has agreed to act as non-profit sponsor for me on this, so anything you contribute is tax-deductible.
Last year, my colleagues Natalia and Kolya of Free Theater Belarus asked me to be a part of a 12-country collaboration on a project called Europica. With money from the Swedish government, they commissioned me and playwrights from a dozen other countries – from Turkey to Latvia – to write a short piece for them this past spring, and brought me to Minsk to see the first reading.
Initially the project was fully funded by the Swedes, but the economic crisis has hit even their sunny Scandinavian shores; the budget cuts they are facing mean I have to raise travel funds on my own. I am trying to raise enough to cover my airfare, hotel and per diem.
Free Theater Belarus is a remarkable group; they are dissident artists who create their work under the constant threat of arrest, blacklist, expulsion from their homes by the Belarusian government (known as “Europe’s Last Dictatorship”). Despite these hardships, the company’s work grows more poignant, funny and complex by the year. As the only US artist involved in the project, it’s been humbling and exciting to work with these folks; they are funny, smart and dogged, and they have become like family to me.
Thanks to several years of work by the international theater community on behalf of Free Theater, people are paying more attention to the deplorable conditions for free expression in Belarus. The company has been able to tour their work more freely to festivals all over the world. They’ve won rave reviews, and garnered the support of prominent playwrights like Tom Stoppard and Harold PInter. And perhaps more importantly, it’s becoming possible to imagine a future in which this little, landlocked country joins the more civilized ranks of the European Union. I’m proud to be a part of that effort, and I hope you’ll help me see the project through.
Will you help me get to the Europica premiere? It’s in Lund, Sweden on February 28. Again, $20 from every recipient of this letter will do it. I’d be so grateful for your support in any amount.
To contribute, you can click here – this takes you to a Network For Good page that lets you donate via credit card. Just make sure you put my name in the field where it says DESIGNATION. Otherwise The Foundry won’t know what to do with the donation.
Of if you prefer the old-fashioned “check” method of donation, you can write one to The Foundry Theatre, write my name in the memo, and send it to me at: 110 Lenox Road, #6H, Brooklyn, NY 11226. (You send it to me because that way I know who to thank!)
To find out more about Free Theater go here: http://www.dramaturg.org/?lang=en
To hear a story on NPR’s Studio 360 about my work with them, go here: http://www.studio360.org/episodes/2008/10/10
Thank you in advance, and best of luck in the new year.