Global Play Initiative is our play commissioning program.

We have a successful history in the development of original work, creating innovative plays that continue to expand the idea of a cross-cultural theatrical experience. GLOBAL PLAY INITIATIVE is designed to embrace playwrights and connect them with communities abroad by embedding each as a teaching artist and collaborator within one of our many unique projects. Each play developed is the result of talent literally meeting inspiration head on. Each play begins it's creation out on the field, is given workshop opportunities, and is presented as a reading. Many of these plays will go on to full productions.



A Girl without Wings

In 2009 we commissioned resident playwright, Jason Williamson, to develop a new play inspired by his travels through Ecuador -- paying special attention to post-colonial issues of alienation, cultural isolation, and poverty. This resulted in A Girl without Wings, a play Williamson refers to as "Andean myth meets an indie love story."


In the early 1970's, Julio Toaquiza, an indigenous Ecuadorian painter from the small Andean village of Tigua, began transferring primarily oral folktales to stretched sheepskin. These popular "Tigua Paintings" are marked by their typically small size, bright colors, vivid details, tendency to personify nature and in general, by their vibrant depictions of communal rural life featuring landscapes, festivals, and traditions. Inspired by many Tigua paintings depicting various versions of a love story between a condor and a girl, Williamson’s A Girl without Wings strings together the stills in a poetic and colorful “Tigua painting for the stage.” His contemporary retelling specifically focuses on the complex character of the condor—a lonely, fairly insecure messenger who carries prayers and dwells within the vast space that separates humans from their gods. It is important to note that the Condor, a rare vulture with a wingspan that can reach up to three meters, is considered the most sacred animal within the Kichwan community. Hence, the human characters’ simultaneous repulsion and attraction to a bird that “eats dead things” while also providing life and transformation via rebirth. 

-- Christen Madrazo, Education Director & Project Dramaturg

Julio Toaquiza & Jason Williamson    

Julio Toaquiza & Jason Williamson



2009 - Resident playwright, Jason Williamson, is commissioned to write a play and travels to Ecuador.
2010 - Jason Williamson returns to Ecuador to further the play's development, the play is written and receives it's initial reading at the Kennedy Center under the working title Prayer of the Condor (directed by associate artistic director, Kathleen Amshoff).
2011 - Prayer of the Condor receives an exclusive staged reading as part of Dramatic Adventure Theatre's 5 Year Anniversary Celebration (directed by Kathleen Amshoff).
2012 - The title Prayer of the Condor is officially changed to A Girl without Wings. The play received its final developmental staged reading and workshop at Abingdon Theatre.
2013 - A Girl without Wings receives a grant from the Jim Henson Foundation.  The play is co-produced with IATI Theater, running for a full month and receiving rave reviews from the NYTimes and other notable sources (directed by Kathleen Amshoff).

The Rebel Bird

In 2012 we announced our second commission, for Jason Williamson to develop a new play inspired by his travels through Slovakia -- paying special attention to issues of racism, cultural isolation, and poverty for the Roma community. 

The resulting play, The Rebel Bird, explores issues of prejudice, poverty, and human trafficking on the Roma people. The play features Yeva, a Roma woman imprisoned in the seediest of Prague brothels. Her only comfort is singing the songs of her childhood with her brothers, who appear from her memory. When the intuitive henchman of an NYC millionaire hears Yeva’s voice, he buys her for his boss, who is obsessed with owning his own version of opera’s most infamous “Gypsy”: Bizet’s Carmen. And so, in a posh Manhattan penthouse, Yeva is dragged into a battle for survival that may erase her—body and soul. Colliding the music of Bizet with that of a live Roma band, this lyrical thriller exposes the scars of prejudice, poverty, and human trafficking on the disenfranchised and enfranchised alike.

Our aim is that this play will bring Slovak, Roma, and American artists and audience members together to discuss a play that tackles issues affecting each of our unique communities and cultures. By shedding light on complicated issues of discrimination, cultural identity, and human trafficking, it is our hope that productions of this play will foster dialogue, awareness, and understanding about each of our unique perspectives.



2012 - Resident playwright, Jason Williamson, is commissioned to write a play and travels to Slovakia for research.
2013 - Jason Williamson returns to Slovakia to continue researching.
2014 - Jason Williamson returns to Slovakia to further the play's development.  The first draft is written.
2015 - The play receives a grant from the US Embassy in Slovakia for an initial workshop reading at Divadlo Andreja Bagara in Nitra, Slovakia (directed by Kathleen Amshoff)



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