Several Theatre Alumni Participate in 2021 Global Forms Theater Festival

BY Nicole Saldarriaga, June 9, 2021

Several Theatre alumni are participating in various ways in the 2021 Global Forms Theater Festival. The festival is a week-long event produced by the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and the New York Theatre Salon. Meant to be a celebration of international theater artists, the festival includes work from and discussions with artists that span seven continents and 34 nationalities. This year's festival will include 36 different events over a total of nine days. 


In keeping with the festival's mission, all events are completely free and open to the public, with some in-person and some held virtually. 


School of the Arts alumni participating in the event include Directing alumni Marc Atkinson Borrull '16, and Inés Braun '17, Dramaturgy alumni Lucy Powis '17, Diana Fathi '21, Annie Jin Wang '20, and Salma S. Zohdi '16, Acting alumni Cassandra Nwokah '17, Yeena Sung '20, and Wei-Yi Lin '12, and Playwriting alumna Ruoxin Xu '19.


Atkinson Borrull's work as a director will feature in Ellis Island, an "interview-based multimedia play that examines why we leave the places we are born, why we go to the places we do, and how our sense of self is maintained in our new home." The play will also feature a performance by Zohdi and will next be presented on June 8, 2021 as a Youtube live video. 


Atkinson Borrull also taught a workshop on June 7, 2021 called Playing the Changes: Text Analysis for Theatre. Using a range of classic and contemporary plays, the hands-on workshop explored how to break down scenes and uncover their hidden secrets - searching for the practical tools that the writer gave to breathe life into the play as it is embodied on stage.


Marc Atkinson Borrull is a director from Ireland and Catalonia, based between NYC and Dublin. Recent work includes the critically-acclaimed Beginning by David Eldridge (Gate Theatre, Dublin), Little Gem starring Marsha Mason (Off-Broadway/Outer Critics' Circle Award), Hamlet starring Ruth Negga (St. Ann’s Warehouse - Associate), and many more. He is Artist-in-Residence at The Gate Theatre Dublin, where he is developing a new adaptation of Children of the Sun. His Associate/Assistant Director credits include working with Professor Anne Bogart; The Old Vic & Lincoln Center; BAM; and Ivo van Hove at Toneelgroep Amsterdam. 


Salma S. Zohdi's work was featured in several other events as well, including The Meltdown, "a pre-recorded video performance inspired by the ongoing social, political and economic breakdown taking place in Lebanon" in which she participated as Dramaturg, as well as a panel discussion, Breaking Borders: Innovations for the Online Community, in which she participated as Co-host. 


Zohdi is an Egyptian Dramaturg based in New York. Highlights of her US theater credits include: The Mecca Tales, The Yacoubian Building, Mix & Match, Operating Systems, The Conversationalists, Pilgrims Musa & Sheri in the New World, and Global Forms Theater Festival (GFTF). 


Inés Braun, Cassandra Nwokah, Annie Jin Wang, Ruoxin Xu, and Yeena Sung have all participated in putting together Roundabout: Painting a Theatrical Portrait, which will go live on June 8, 2021 at 8pm Eastern. Conceived by Braun, Roundabout is an exploration of the loneliness of pandemic life and especially how acute that experience has been for many immigrants. In response, Roundabout embraces "the possibilities of virtual theater to foster artistic collaboration and intimacy (both within and beyond the theatrical community." To do this, twelve immigrant artists came together to produce theatrical portraits of two immigrants. The piece combines interview footage with virtual theater, with Braun acting as director and Nwokah as writer for Round 1 of the piece, and Wang as dramaturg, Xu as writer, Lin as performer, and Sung as editor for Round 2. 


Braun is a stage and film director from Buenos Aires. She moved to NYC to study theater at Columbia University, and received her MFA in Directing in 2017. Since graduating, she has worked in NYC as a director and writer for both theater and film. She was selected as a finalist for Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s 2021 Breakout Award. NYC theater credits include: Classic Six (Powerstories: Voices of Truth Festival), Sing, Goddess! and Closing Night (HERE Arts Center), The Russian and the Jew (The Tank), and more. Film credits (as writer and director) include: Ocean Mother, The Silence, La Ronda, Bajo Figuras, and Melancholy. 


Nwokah is an American Nigerian theatre artist based in NYC. She is the founder of Smash the Box, an arts collective dedicated to creating space for the stories of women of color. Her written work focuses on immigrant experiences and identity and power politics as it relates to how Black girls and women, in particular, move through the world. Select performance credits: The Catastrophe Club (Sea Dog Theater), Sing, Goddess! (HERE Arts), Romeo and Juliet (Smith Street Stage), and Salty (Lyra Theatre). 


Wang is a first-generation Chinese-American dramaturg, writer, and visual artist working across the United States with a focus on decolonizing the artistic process. From new play development to revitalizing classic texts for today’s audiences, Wang’s body of work primarily investigates constructs of race, gender, and citizenship through a compassionate and critical lens. She works closely with playwrights, directors, and other generative artists to articulate their fullest vision, and encourages inquiry-based artistic processes that are healthy, fearless, and joyful. In addition to live theatre, she has facilitated development and revision processes for opera, film, television, literature, and game design. Wang currently serves as the Communications & Marketing Manager at PlayCo, the Literary Manager at Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company, and the Artistic Associate at Theater Mu. 


Xu is a bilingual playwright from Nanjing, China. She holds a BA in Dramatic Literature from Central Academy of Drama, China. Selected plays: Speaking As Then (Silk Road Rising Theatre, New China Festival, Chicago; Schapiro Theatre, Columbia University School of the Arts, 2018), Variations (Drum Tower West Theatre, Beijing, 2017), The Hat Trick (Poly Theatre, Beijing, 2015), The Great Scott (Nine Theatre, Beijing, 2014). Her film script Present and Then is a finalist of New Work Support Project of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China. 


Originally from South Korea, Yeena Sung is an actor based in NYC. Her theater credits include Twelfth Night (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Hi-Fi, Wi-Fi, Sci-Fi (LaMaMa), Campfire (Lincoln Center), The Edge of the Universe (Peoples Improv Theater), and To Pieces (Dixon Place). Film/TV credits include Younger, Happy Cleaners, Furlough, Clique Bait, and Let's Play Dead Girl


Diana Fathi participated as a dramaturg on Glimpse, "a celebration of life, joy, and new beginnings within the community through the art of storytelling music, dance, and more." The performance was held in Prospect Park on June 5th and included folklore stories from India, Iran, South Africa, and Lebanon, puppet shows and stories for young audiences, music from Colombia, the Middle East, and Jazz as well as dance and rituals from different cultures. 


Fathi is an Iranian multi-disciplinary theatre practitioner. She grew up in Tehran, where she learned that everyone has an untold story to tell. So she’s decided to be their storyteller.


Lucy Powis participated by co-hosting an international speed-networking event called Global Meet on June 4th and 6th. Hosted on a platform called Icebreaker, the meet and greet included international artists looking for collaborators and other artists hoping to connect internationally. 


Powis is a dramaturg, producer, and arts administrator from Toronto, based in New York. She is invested in interrogating the entire audience experience, from marketing material received beforehand or seen in the lobby, to the program, to any pre- or post-show discussions. How can each piece enhance an audience's experience and encourage conversation and further engagement?​ She is a Literary Coordinator at A3 (formerly Abrams) Artists Agency and has held seasonal positions in the Artistic/Literary departments of Roundabout Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She is a script reader for Roundabout Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Theatre for a New Audience, New Harmony Project, and Pipeline Theatre.