UB Center for the Arts to Present The Living Room Project

By Kelli Bocock-Natale

Release Date: September 4, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Center for the Arts at the University at Buffalo will present The Living Room Project, a special four-week community performing-arts project between the Center and Eager Artists Theatre Company of Durban, South Africa, to be held Sept. 10 to Oct. 6 in the Center for the Arts, as well as in homes and businesses throughout the community.

The project, funded by the largest grant the Center for the Arts has received in its history -- a $100,000 grant awarded by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters -- involves intimate community engagements during which the theater company and its audiences share a performance and informal meal together in the home of each community "host."

The purpose of the project is to facilitate a greater understanding of the performing artists and their work through high-quality, intimate experiences for participants. Eager Artists will provide more than a dozen Living Room engagements in homes and community centers in Western New York, as well as workshops for UB theater and dance students.

Community hosts will include: Ujima Theatre Company, Juneteenth Festival, African American Cultural Center, 1490 Enterprises (Senior Center), Erma Robinson, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, Enid Wright, North Jefferson Public Library, UB President William R. Greiner, YMCA of Greater Buffalo, Langston Hughes Institute, Moot Senior Center, Assemblyman Paul Tokasz and The Arts Council of Buffalo and Erie County. Each host will be responsible for providing its own audience for the engagement; a majority of the events held by invitation only. Hosts were identified during The Living Room Planning Project held in July 2000 in partnership with The Arts Council and Ujima Theatre Company.

The final engagement in The Living Room Project will be a public performance to be held at 8 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Center for the Arts Mainstage.

Eager Artists was founded in 1995 by director/playwright Jerry Pooe and offers authentic performances, classes and workshops in South African music, dance and theater that emphasizes the consequences of South Africa's Apartheid era. Many of Eager Artists' works are educationally oriented on topics such as AIDS, general health, life skills and peace.

The Living Room Project's final, public performance in Buffalo will be "Ekhaya Poppie," a musical about the involvement of black South Africans in the Anglo-Boer War at the turn of the 20th Century. A tale of pride and hope with colorful dance and moving music, it tells the story of Poppie and others who were tortured, killed, raped and imprisoned in concentration camps.

Tickets for "Ekhaya Poppie" are $18, $15 and $12 for general admission and $8 for students, and are available from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday in the Center for the Arts Box Office, and all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information, call 645-ARTS. For group sales, call 645-6771. To charge, call 852-5000.

For more information about The Living Room Project and Eager Artists, visit the CFA's Web site at http://www.arts.buffalo.edu.

The Living Room Project is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Arts Partners Program, which is underwritten by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The Association of Performing Arts Presenters is a service organization with more than 1,500 members in the United States and Canada, including performing-arts presenting organizations, colleges, universities, artist managers, artists, consultants, vendors and regional, state and local arts agencies. The Association of Performing Arts Presenters provides services to individuals and organizations engaged in bringing artists and audiences together.

The Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds seek to enrich life through support of education, communities and the arts. The goal of the Funds' arts program is to increase cultural participation by helping arts and cultural organizations develop and adopt innovative and proven practices that help them to diversity, broaden and deepen relations with their audiences.

The Arts Program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation assists performing artists by awarding grants to leadership presenting institutions at the national and regional level and funds service organizations that offer grants to a diverse constituency. DDCF supports commissioning projects, artistic collaborations, artists' residencies and community-based projects and provides matching endowment support to institutionalize artistic programs.

The mission of the foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives by protecting and restoring the environment, seeking cures for diseases and nurturing the arts.