Apr 162013

Im Gespräch mit Kim Peter Kovac, Gründer des DramatikerInnen-Netzwerks WriteLocal.Play Global (WLPG), das im Rahmen des ASSITEJ International Meeting AutorInnen aus 13 Ländern präsentieren wird.

Kim, you are one of the three founders and edtiors of Write Local. Play Global (WLPG), an international playwright’s network associated with ASSITEJ. What was the idea of founding such a network?

My Kennedy Center colleague Deirdre Kelly Lavrakas and I have always been passionate about the importance of support for playwrights writing for young audiences, having co-founded the Kennedy Center’s festival dedicated to new plays for young audiences, New Visions/New Voices. In the spring of 2011, we spoke with our friend and colleague Tony Mack from Australia about creating an international network for playwrights for young audiences.  We decided it was an exciting idea, and began to build a new website and launch the network as soon as possible. We thought a web-based network was ideal – playwrights tend to be online often, their creative work can be transmitted easily around the world, directors and producers could locate writers and scripts through the site, and so on. Much to our surprise, WLPG started growing quickly almost immediately. We are now delighted to have nearly 500 members in over 60 countries.

How does WLPG work?

WLPG works to promote, support and develop writing for young audiences. It’s run by the three volunteer editors, and the term ‘editors’ gives a clue to the practical nature of WLPG. As editors, we shape the creativity of our members into content and events. We stage events such as Slams, Sparks and Shorts around the world, providing forums that give a voice to playwrights. We provide information about opportunities for playwrights, resources, interviews and listings of playwright service organizations.  We send out regular newsletters and try to link playwrights with other practitioners.  We have a presence on the internet (www.writelocalplayglobal.org), on Facebook, and on Twitter (@WLPG_TYA).

And how can playwrights from Austria join the community?

WLPG is free of charge and open to all who are interested in new work for children and young people. All people have to do is sign up on the website https://www.writelocalplayglobal.org/ Playwrights are entitled to a photo and biography and, though English is the working language of the website, we would be happy to post biographies in both German and English. Google Translate is imbedded within the site too – although the automatic translations are far from perfect, simply choose from dozens of language options and all content on every page will be translated to that language.  We would love to have more of the very exciting practitioners who live in Austria.

You are also part of the Executive Committee of ASSITEJ. From 20-30 June we will be celebrating the 2nd ASSITEJ International Meeting in collaboration with the International Theatre Festival SCHÄXPIR in Linz with a diverse program of workshops, discussions and presentations. What are your expectations? What events are you especially looking forward to?

My expectations are a terrific festival and a terrific international meeting – the International Theatre Festival SCHÄXPIR is always exciting (I attended once before) and ASSITEJ Austria is a committed and strong organization, and a great number of countries will be represented. For myself, what I’m especially looking forward to is being surprised.  At every festival or gathering I attend, I try to plan out what I want to see and participate in, and at the same time allow myself to be open enough to be surprised – by a performance, by a conversation, by a workshop.  And I KNOW I will be surprised (in a good way).

One of the big issues within ASSITEJ over the last years is „Disability Arts“ and the inclusivity of theatre. The meeting in Linz will also focus on this topic. What can you tell us about  what will happen in Linz here?

First of all, we should thank our UK colleague Vicky Ireland for helping with definitions. Disability arts is work which is about disability, and/or work for disabled audiences and/or work by disabled artists. Inclusive Theatre is a broader term, making a conscious effort to include all those who are normally excluded from accessing theatre because of circumstances such as truancy, institutionalization, anti-social behavior, family circumstances, emotional, mental and physical conditions, and such.

On 24 June, there will include an exciting group of workshops and forums with artists from Austria, Germany, Serbia, the UK and the USA  international-meeting.assitej.at. Additionally, the International Theater Festival SCHÄXPIR will present a stunning and beautiful performance called ‘Disabled Theatre’: choreographer Jerome Bel working with intellectually disabled  performers from Theatre HORA in Zürich.

Kim Peter Kovac ist Producing Director im Bereich Theater für junges Publikum am John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC (USA). Das Zentrum produziert und präsentiert darstellende Kunst für junges Publikum. Kim ist Präsident der ASSITEJ USA und Mitglied des Executive Committee der ASSITEJ International.