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Acting Together' Documentary Focus of Juniata Panel

(Posted April 16, 2012)

The DVD cover for "Acting Together."

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Several Juniata professors and a documentary film producer will discuss how theatrical performances and dramatic rituals can become a tool for peace and resistance in regions afflicted by violence, dislocation, poverty and oppression after screening the documentary "Acting Together on the World Stage" at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 25 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The film and panel discussion is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by the Baker Center for Peace and Conflict Studies.

"Acting Together on the World Stage" is a collaboration between the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis University and Theatre Without Borders. The film shows dynamic film footage of performances and rituals interspersed with interviews with artists and peacemakers who have used performance as a tool for peace.

Directed by Allison Lund, the film was produced by Cynthia Cohen, who is director of a Brandeis University program, Peacebuilding and the Arts at the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis.

" 'Acting Together' will shift perspectives and change lives," says Michelle LeBaron, of the University of British Columbia Law School. "It could transform the trajectory of human conflicts."

"Acting Together on the World Stage" is a collaboration between the program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis University and Theatre Without Borders. The film shows dynamic film footage of performances and rituals interspersed with interviews with artists and peacemakers who have used performance as a tool for peace.

After the film, there will be a discussion panel moderated by Celia Cook-Huffman, professor of conflict resolution at Juniata. The panelists are: Kate Clarke, assistant professor of theatre at Juniata; Polly Walker, assistant professor of peace and conflict studies at Juniata; and Cynthia Cohen, director of Brandeis' program of peacebuilding and the arts at the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

The film emerged from "Acting Together," a two-volume book highlighting different methods where theatre and ritual were used to bridge gaps, inspire resistance, and to create an atmosphere of inclusion in areas across the globe. The book will be on sale at the event. Each volume retails for $21.95

Cynthia Cohen has extensive experience in combining peace studies and the arts. She was executive director of Brandeis' Slifka Program in Intercommunal Coexistence and also directed the international fellowship program, Recasting Reconciliation Through Culture and the Arts. She is the author of "Working with Integrity: A Guidebook for Peacebuilders Asking Ethical Questions" and has facilitated coexistence efforts in the Middle East, Central America, the United States and Sri Lanka.

Polly Walker is co-editor, with Cohen, of the "Acting Together" books and is a director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Institute Australia in Queensland, Australia. She also teaches in peace and conflict studies at James Cook University and was a research fellow in the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Kate Clarke has taught theatre at Juniata for the past several years. She also directed a variety of plays at Juniata as a professor and as a member of the Gravity Partners, Juniata's professional theatre group.

Celia Cook Huffman is the Burkholder Professor of Conflict Resolution. Her area of expertise combines peace studies with specialized training and education in conflict resolution, nonviolence, gender, and mediation. The focus of her teaching is on understanding how conflict affects individuals, communities and the world system.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.