U.S. retains seat on IATC Executive Committee

U.S. retains seat on IATC Executive Committee

Handelman and Abarbanel in front of an old theatre stage in Duan Village, a tiny rural town in Yunnan Province.

ATCA excom chair Jonathan Abarbanel reports: The United States was easily re-elected to the Executive Committee of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) at the recently-concluded 27th  IATC World Congress, held in Beijing Oct. 15-19. The American Section—which is us, ATCA—tied with Serbia for the highest vote total—approximately 90% of votes cast—the best-ever showing by the United States. The balloting elected 10 nations to  the most diverse ExCom in the IATC’s 58 year history, with Japan, India, China and Nigeria elected along with France, Finland, Great Britain and Poland, Serbia.   

Margareta Sorenson of Sweden was elected the first IATC female president, after the Congress bid an emotional farewell to outgoing president Yun-Cheol Kim of South Korea who stepped down after six years. Additionally, ATCA member Jeffrey Eric Jenkins was elected one of the IATC’s three vice-presidents for a two-year term.

In the news-you-can-use department, a half-dozen nations proposed to hold a Young Critics Seminar (YCS) in 2015 or 2016, among them Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Switzerland. The YCS programs are the single most-accessible opportunity for participation by ATCA members up to the age of 35 (occasionally stretched a year or so). Details of upcoming YCSs, and other IATC programs, always are available on the IATC website. There is a link to it on the ATCA website, or one can go directly to www.aict-iatc.org. The IATC also offers programs for established critics, often meeting in conjunction with an international theatre or arts festival. Check the IATC website for information.

Another way any ATCA member can participate is to submit an article to Critical Stages, the IATC’s global journal of theatre criticism, news and analysis, created by Yun-Cheol Kim. The American Section has played a key role in establishing this journal and in assuring its continuation. In remarks emailed to Congress delegates ahead of time, Kim extended his personal thanks to individuals important to Critical Stages, among them ATCA members Randy Gener and Jeffrey Eric Jenkins. Randy served as an editor of the journal, and as a contributor, up until he suffered grievous injuries last January (from which he continues to recover). Jeffrey, through his position at the University of Illinois, was able to secure $5,000 in funding support for Critical Stages in each of the last two years, and believes he will be able to secure similar funding in the next two years.

In the course of the five-day World Congress, American delegates Jenkins, Jay Handelman and I saw two campuses of Beijing’s Central Academy for Drama, the dazzling new National Center for the Performing Arts near Tiananmen Square (popularly called “The Egg”), the Summer Palace with its enormous courtyard theatre, a showcase of scenes from Peking Opera, a production of The Cherry Orchard in Chinese and an example of physical theatre by the small Peng Hao Theatre in a highly-gentrified old hutong neighborhood not far from the Forbidden City. Jeffrey is now back home while Jay and I are traveling briefly in China’s mountainous southwestern Yunnan Province.

— Jonathan Abarbanel

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