The largest festival of American arts and entertainment ever to be held in the British Isles has been scheduled next May 6-31 for London, Glasgow and Cardiff. The program, known as “The American Festival,” is planned as a return compliment to the “Britain Salutes New York” festival held last year.
Theatre will be a major component of the festival, with three American companies expected to perform. At press time, only one of the three had been selected: Chicago’s Wisdom Bridge Theatre will take its production of In the Belly of the Beast, adapted from the prison writings of Jack Abbott and directed by Robert Falls, to the Mayfest in Glasgow and to London’s Hampstead Theatre Club.
There will also be performances by major U.S. orchestras and dance companies, retrospective exhibitions of the art of Frank Stella and Milton Avery, shows of black art and Indian crafts, contemporary American painting and photography, a festival of American films, poetry readings and storytelling, and jazz, tap and street dancing.
Lord Harlech, who was British ambassador to the U.S. in the 1960s, is festival chairman. The festival is being funded primarily by corporate sponsorship and a major contribution from the British Council.
From Page to Pinter
Playwrights Harold Pinter, Derek Walcott, Arthur Kopit and Tina Howe, and actress Geraldine Page will be among the literary and performing arts figures on the platform of the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York this fall and next spring. All in all, more than 50 writers from the U.S. and abroad will take part in the Y’s 46th season of readings.
Pinter will read from his works on Oct. 1, followed by Walcott (a distinguished poet as well as a playwright) on Oct. 22. Kopit and Howe will share a program Dec. 17. Page will appear April 1 to read a favorite short story as part of a spring short story series.
Brecht is the focus of two evenings this season: the noted Brechtian actor Ekkehard Schall of the Berliner Ensemble will perform Brecht’s poetry and songs on March 4, and scholar-translator Eric Bentley will discuss his view of the playwright on Dec. 2.
Other theatre-related programs include a playwriting workshop conducted by Rod Marriott, associate artistic director of Circle Repertory Company, on eight Tuesdays in the fall or spring; and Shakespearean scholar Robert Giroux speaking Oct. 21, and in an eight-week seminar beginning Oct. 11.
Membership in the Poetry Center, which covers all 30 events in the readings series, costs $70, and nonmember tickets to individual events range from $6 to $10. For information contact the Center at the 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10128.
Forest in Philly
The City of Brotherly Love has been an important center for theatre, film, broadcasting and other forms of popular entertainment. Thanks to the Free Library of Philadelphia, it’s possible to take a walk through the history of that city’s involvement in the arts-an exhibit called “Entertaining Philadelphia” will be on view at the Library Oct. 7-Dec. 9. This photograph of the great tragedian Edwin Forrest as King Lear, along with programs, posters and other memorabilia—even a rare 1863 playbill of John Wilkes Booth’s Richard III—offer a sense of rich theatrical history. Lectures and performances are also scheduled, beginning Oct. 14 with a survey of Philly’s art history by Dr. Mary C. Henderson, curator of the Theatre Collection of the Museum of the City of New York.
More than 50 arts schools across the country have formed a Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools, headquartered in Washington, D.C. The organization will stage an annual conference—the first since its formative meeting in New Haven, Conn., last October—at the North Carolína School of the Arts in Winston-Salem on Oct. 11-13.
The network is a linking system of communication for member schools on issues ranging from funding to faculty and student exchange. Members include resident and nonresident schools of the arts, “arts-only” schools offering half-day programs, summer arts schools and one theatre—the Children’s Theatre Company and School of Minneapolis. James R. Nelson of the Alabama School of Fine Arts is president of the network.
The organization has established a monthly publication, Network News. For information contact NPVA, 35th and R Streets, N.W., Washington, DC 20007.
The riches of contemporary Latin American writing are exhibited in National Public Radio’s current series “Faces, Mirrors, Masks: 20th Century Latin The History of the Actors Studio American Fiction.” The 13-part program profiles Latin America’s most influential writers, including Nobel Prize winners Gabriel García Márquez and Miguel Angel Asturia, Mexican author and journalist Elena Poniatowska, and Carlos Fuentes, Jorge Luis Borges and others.
Each of the half-hour programs creates a portrait of the writer as storyteller, innovator and social critic. An international cast of artists, including actress Colleen Dewhurst and Pat Carroll and performance artists Meredith Monk and Charles Ludlam, interpret passages from the works in dramatic segments.
The producers traveled to eight countries in Latin America and Europe to capture the voices and tempo of music and social life for the programs. The series offers a perspective on the surge of Latin American fction from the 1930s to the present.
Freida Werdan is the series producer, and Julio Marzan is the editor. The program is funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Public radio stations throughout the country are currently airing the series.
This is the year (as everyone knows) made famous by the prophetic vision of George Orwell, and the British writer will be honored in a six-part commemorative television series this month on the Arts & Entertainment Network. The series premieres Oct. 9 with Orwell on Jura, a 90-minute dramatization of the last three years of Orwell’s life during which the novel 1984 was written. A five-part biography follows on Wednesdays from Oct. 10-Nov. 7, and the network’s “Orwell Month” is rounded out on Oct. 13 with the airing of the 1954 animated film version of the political satire Animal Farm.
The American Academy of Dramatic Arts of New York and Pasadena, Calif., is marking its 100th anniversary this year. An exhibit of Academy memorabilia opened Sept. 25 at the Museum of the City of New York, and in November an exhibit dedicated to Sarah Bernhardt will be presented at the Wildenstein Gallery. New York’s Mayor Koch will be among those officially toasting the Academy at its New York home Oct. 3.
A newly established New York firm, Proscenium Publishers, has introduced a line of paperback reprints on the performing arts under the title Limelight Editions. Among the books already reissued are Marian Seldes’ autobiography The Bright Lights and John Lahr’s Notes on a Cowardly Lion; coming up are Robert Brustein’s Making Scenes and Garson Kanin’s Hollywood. The publisher can be contacted at Proscenium, 118 East 30th St., New York, NY 10016.
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