FOSTERING COLLABORATION AND
CATALYZING TRANSFORMATION FOR THE COMMON GOOD
Both theater and ritual incorporate many of the same elements: story, music, dance. But what makes them different? Whether it's Zen Buddhist chanting, Zulu dance, Tibetan sand mandalas or Sufi poetry, art can be a vehicle for evolving consciousness. Theater that incorporates elements of ritual can be a catalyst for positive and demonstrable community transformation.
I wrote, directed and produced, The New Earth, winner of the ABE Award for Best Original Play. The New Earth was performed in 2006 at The Zoellner Arts Center. We used Greek mythology and ritual to invoke increased environmental sustainability. This play catalyzed initiatives including the creation of a green charter school that serves 400 students and the launching, in partnership with The Alliance for Sustainable Communities, Lehigh Valley, of a sustainability directory, published annually for 15 years.
One of the obstacles to the revitalization of the city of Allentown is the depth of its segregation. I was the head writer on a team of 6 and the producer of Gilgamesh, performed in 2009 at Allentown Symphony Hall and called by the Morning Call newspaper, "...an ambitious and stunning accomplishment.". Gilgamesh was an adaptation of the Sumerian epic that sought to exalt in the city's diversity. This production catalyzed the founding of a non profit arts organization who set in motion a classical after-school music program for 70 inner city youth, in partnership with the local symphony. This program continues to this day.
In January 2019, I directed high school students at Odyssey Community School in their modern adaptation of Homer's epic. Written about in Oh! Woman Magazine, this production raised over $1,000 toward service learning projects in Crete, Greece.
Sophie Mills, Classics Professor at UNCA and I were awarded a NC Humanities Grant to create this series of interactive communty dialogues. The third dialogue, "Beyond the Seduction of Violence as Virtue" is rescheduled as a virtual event on Zoom for Thurs, April 23rd at 7pm. Still free and open to the public.
I organized this parade as the culminating event of the "Baila Conmigo Festival" (Dance With Me), a festival celebrating the cultural diversity in Allentown, PA
I served for 11 years as the Producing Artistic Director of Circle of Stones Ritual Theater Ensemble. We created this festival, in partnership with The Wildlands Conservancy, during which participants planted 35 oak trees.
I wrote, directed and produced eight musicals for children in partnership with Casa Guadalupe, Allentown Public Library and Old Allentown Preservation Association, including a trilogy of hip hop operettas called "Tales of Tenacity."
If your organization can use some powerful and magical stories to inspire personal, institutional or societal transformation, let me know! I have been a guest speaker at Mission Hospital's Surgical Services Conference, a TEDx Conference at Acadia University, PechaKucha Asheville, The Sierra Club, UNC Asheville, and multiple UU Congregations and Unity churches.
For inquiries about how ritual theater can serve your community,
if you need help creating a transformational event or fundraiser,
to discuss my being a guest speaker for your event or organization,
or for more information about my books,
send me a message! I look forward to speaking with you!
Copyright © 2019 Pana Columbus - All Rights Reserved.
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