TCG was founded in 1961 to provide connectivity and peer-to-peer learning opportunities for a handful of fledging theatres across the U.S. Now, as TCG approaches its 55th Anniversary, those connections are increasingly global. In 1999, the U.S. Center for the International Theatre Institute (ITI-U.S.) merged with TCG; and in 2016, TCG shared leadership of ITI-U.S. with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (the Lab) as part of the Global Theater Initiative.
Today, TCG’s international activities strengthen, nurture, and promote global citizenship and international collaboration through:
Co-leadership of the Global Theater Initiative:
• connecting practitioners with resources, knowledge, and partnerships to strengthen their work;
• promoting cultural collaboration as essential for international peace and mutual understandings; and
• innovating new strategies to maximize the global theatre field’s opportunities and impact.
Creating cross border learning opportunities by:
• providing travel grants like Global Connections for artists to form international relationships; and
• encouraging international attendance at the TCG National Conference.
Representing the diversity of U.S. artistry and the global artistic community by:
• serving as co-leaders of U.S. Center of ITI;
• connecting theatre professionals internationally; and
• publishing extensive coverage of international work in American Theatre.
Advocating for cultural exchange and artists’ rights worldwide by:
• issuing peer consultation letters for international visa petitions;
• partnering with cultural organizations and government agencies;
• playing an active role within the Performing Arts Alliance and providing TCG members with tools to be advocates for their work.
Examples of TCG’s global reach in support of the field include:
In 1990, Peter Zeisler, former executive director of TCG, brought together Anne Bogart and Tadashi Suzuki which led to the creation of the SITI Company, actor training and rich cultural exchange between Japanese and U.S.-based artists;
As a co-founder of the Performing Arts Alliance, TCG plays a vital role in advocating for policies to improve the visa process for international guest artists including the creation of the Arts Require Timely Service Act (HR 1312) which has won strong bipartisan support and was re-introduced in 2009 by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT);
In 2007, TCG produced Global Tapas—a presentation of new international works in translation at the TCG National Conference in Minneapolis. Mexican playwright, Javier Malpica’s Our Dad Is In Atlantis received considerable attention and has been published in American Theatre magazine and produced by several TCG member theatres;
TCG/ITI-US has hosted several convenings and conversations with the field regarding international exchange including the ACTivate Change: Bridging Cultural Exchange and Creativity Pre-Conference (June 2009) and the 2016 Finding Home: Migration, Exile, and Belonging Pre-Conference in Washington DC. This historic gathering united 115 international artists, representatives from theatres, government agencies, labor unions and cultural ministries;
In January, 2010, TCG/ITI-US organized a delegation of U.S. theatre practitioners to represent the United States for the first time at the Fujairah International Monodrama Festival. The delegation contributed through performance, dialogue and the signing of a cultural and artistic cooperation agreement with the Fujairah Culture and Media Authority and ITI-Fujairah as one more step in ratifying the importance of cultural diplomacy.
From 2011 until now, TCG brought multiple delegations of theatre-makers to festivals in Cuba, Sudan, China, Chile, Fujairah, and more.
In 2016, TCG launched the Global Theater Initiative with the Lab.