The Prize of Hope 2018 to UNIVERSES

Dell’Arte International & The Institute for Popular Theater Invite you to the  Prize of Hope at  Dell’Arte in Blue Lake California on June 23, 2018 as part of Dell’Arte Mad River Festival.

The Prize of Hope will be given to a person or a theatre who has worked for human hope; daring, loving, vulgar, serious, poetic...with sparkling energy against habitual thinking, which is the gravest threat to our culture: For a world where people use their own eyes, ears and voices.

The Prize of Hope is an international award. It has been given in Denmark since 1989 and in the US since 2008. The prize is given every second year at Aasen Theatre and every other year in the US at Dell’Arte Theatre in California. The vision of The Prize of Hope is to promote a living, vital, sharp and innovative popular art.

The Prize of Hope 2018 goes to UNIVERSES Theater Company, New York. Founded by Steven Sapp & Mildred Ruiz-Sapp 1995.

As the scene illuminates the shadows of UNIVERSES’ performance, Party People at the Public Theater in New York in the fall of 2017, we see "Malik" a stout young black man with a baret on his head. He stands alone on the stage and asks questions to the audience: "What happened to those guys in Black Panthers and Young Lords?" "What happened to the ones who came after?" Fade to ...

High energy, a contagious mix of theater, poetry, jazz, blues, hip-hop, bolero and salsa sweeping over the scene. UNIVERSES tells the story of a rebel epoch in American history. 50 years ago, Black Panthers and Young Lords were young activists who provided food and health care in poor neighborhoods in Chicago and New York while at the same time trying to survive the systematic discrediting they were exposed to from the top of society and not least from the FBI. 

Malik is an actor. From the stage he expresses the pain he knows. His father served a life sentence for being in the Black Panthers. The framework of the performance is a vibrant retrospective exhibition, where the audience is guided through the story from that time in the sixties and up to now. Malik will show what happened when they rebelled, telling the truth about how much it cost for themselves and their surroundings through a long life. The audience is experiencing what really took place and takes place in the United States of America.

The expression of UNIVERSES is wildly faceted. Images and expressions change invariably. This requires extensive rehearsals. All possible elements and styles of the popular subculture's greenhouse are woven together into a throbing rhythmic theatrical, musical and dancing story telling about the growing rebellion in the United States of America. Shape and content fuse into a critical homage to the Black Panthers and Young Lords, who through their rebellion gave birth to a Latino and Black hope of real equality, regardless of race and background.

A rebellion that we now see again in American children and youth in response to the many shootings and killings at schools in the United States.

With the UNIVERSES’ "Party People" performance, one witnesses innovative performing arts and true dissemination from another United States: "The most exciting piece of theater now up! Heartbreakingly timely and intensely necessary! "- New York Times, 2017.

UNIVERSES was formed in the 90s in New York. From the start, the group was called “Universes From Bronx”, which suggested that the group's members were young poets, singers, dancers, musicians, etc. who came from the less privileged black and colored parts of the big city. Initially, they performed small performances, but soon came the urge to do something bigger, and the work began to create the group’s identity as a real theater-performance-poet-dancer ensemble. That work has already for a long time fulfilled its promise, and you are still on your way.

The recurring line in the work that UNIVERSES has created since its inception is an artistic tribute to the fight against racial injustices in the United States of America. The theater's foundation is the struggle for an equal United States. The UNIVERSES’ work contains a light, which they convey in their art on scenes throughout the United States and internationally on tour in Africa and Europe and elsewhere.

The core of UNIVERSES’ work through 25 years is an artistic processing and dissemination of the rebellion against racial inequality. They are a source of change, a continuing struggle for equality on the theater scene in the United States.

Congratulations to UNIVERSES with The Prize of Hope Award 2018

On behalf of The Institute for Public Theater & Dell`Arte International

                                         Lars Olsen             &             Birthe Rosenfeldt


Prize of Hope for a living, popular theatre.

28. UNIVERSES Theater Company 2018, New York, USA. They are a source of change, a continuing struggle for equality on the theater scene in the United States.

27. C:NTACT & Henrik Hartmann 2017. Frederiksberg, Denmark. C:NTACT creates intercultural encounters between people who otherwise would not have met: Every person carries a hope and a wish to succeed.

26. Cornerstone Theater Company 2016. Los Angeles, USA, Cornerstone Theater Company creates theater art, which brings people together regardless of race or background.

25. Théâtre du Solei & Ariane Mnouchkine 2015. “La Cartoucherie”, Paris, France. For 50 years, as an independent theatre collective, to have shared life, work and art, and together created a world class popular theatre.

24.  Clowns Without Borders 2014. Bringing joy and hope to needy children in the shadow of war.

23. Christian Lollike 2013. Dramatist. Copenhagen, Denmark. For a radical reinterpretation of popular theatre with taboo as the means and dialogue as the aim.

22. Geoff & Dan Hoyle 2012, San Francisco, USA. Individually, they are amazing performers and as father and son, they are a multi-generational force for good.  

21. Eugenio Barba and The Odin Theatre 2011, Holstebro, Denmark. They have created an important contribution to the cultural heritage of the world and have been a cornerstone in Danish and Nordic theatre for almost half a century. 

20. David Simpson, Jane Lapiner and Human Nature 2010, Petrolia, USA, received the Prize of Hope 2010. They have created original theatre pieces about significant environmental and climate change.

19. Suzanne Osten, Unga Klara 2009, Stockholm, Sweden, received the Prize of Hope 2009 because she has worked with theatre from the perspective of the child and other vulnerable groups all her life. She is part of the reason that Scandinavian children's and youth theatre is amongst the best in the world.

18. Tim Robbins and The Actors' Gang 2008, Los Angeles, USA, received the Prize of Hope 2008 for leaning into the wind with their combination of contemporary immediacy, public engagement and great theatrical craft created with a profound hope for changing the course of life for better. The event was hosted by Dell'Arte International in Blue Lake, California on June 21. 

17. Set designer Poul Fly Plejdrup 2007, Odder, Denmark, for his magical open theatre. The open theatre is the space of living theatre and the theatre of hope.

16.  Dell’ Arte International 2005, Blue Lake, USA. They have created a physical theatre school of an international standard in the far North of California's Redwood district, which attracts students from all over the world.  

15. Finn Hesselager 2004, Nørre Snede, Denmark. For his significant contribution to the development of  Danish theatre, television and film, through his teaching of an entire generation of Danish actors.

14. Bådteatret (The Boat Theatre) The Prize of Hope 2003 went to Bådteatret, with its three brave captains Tue Biering, Rolf Heim and Emil Korf-Hansen 2003 because they insist on performing. In spite of financial cuts, they continue to perform political theatre in the spirit of our era.

13. Helle Ryslinge 2002, film director, Copenhagen, Denmark. For pioneering work within Danish film, uncovering societal taboos with her microscopic attention to detail. 

12. Klaus Hoffmeyer 2001, Artistic Director at the Royal Theatre Copenhagen, Denmark. For keeping his core intact whether on the student scene or at the Royal Theatre of Denmark.

11. Åsa Simma 2000, Sámi theatre and film, Sápmi. Through her art, she awakens resources hidden in the rituals and images of the ancient mountains of Sámi culture.

10. Randi Patterson 1999, Living Movement & Nyt Dansk Danseteater, Copenhagen. Founder and pioneer of modern dance in Denmark.

9. Chris Torch 1998. Intercult, Stockholm, Sweden. Founder of Earth Circus & Shikaste. A pioneer in intercultural scenic art in Sweden, the Nordic countries and Europe.

8. Grenland Friteater 1997, Porsgrunn, Norway. For twenty years of pioneering work in group theatre in Norway - in a continuous search for identity in modern post-war Norway.

7. Hans Rønne 1996. Teatret, Odder, Danmark. For his solo performances as a distinguished landmark of Danish children's and youth theatre in the year of the cultural city.

6. Hans Hellberg 1995. Narren, Stokholm. Sweden. Founder of group theatre in the Nordic countries and its first important architect.

5. Arne Aabenhus & Asger Hulgaard 1994. Dansk Amatør Teater Samvirke. Founder and creator of Dansk Amatør Teater Samvirke (Danish Amateur Theatre Cooperation) for many years.

4. Iben Nagel Rasmussen 1992. Odin Theatre, Holstebro, Denmark. For being a pioneer of new acting in Denmark and for the performance ITSI BITSI.

3. Tage Hind 1991. Institut for Dramaturgi, Aarhus University, Denmark. For being a pioneer in the establishment of a new vision of theatre and founder of Institut for Dramaturgi at the University of Aarhus.

2. Aleksander Jochwed 1990. Theatre workshop Den Blå Hest, Aarhus, Denmark. Because the theatre breaks down barriers in the mind and between the East and the West.

1. Trevor Davies 1989. Festival of Fools, Copenhagen, Denmark, for creating a popular space for theatre and the Festival of Fools, as a cultural mediator and force to be reckoned with.

Institut for Folkeligt Teaters teater- and institutional members:
Odin Teatret, Holstebro, Aarhus Teater, Aarhus, Sort/Hvid, København, Grenland Friteater, Porsgrunn, N, Teater Nordkraft, Aalborg, Den Danske Scenekunstskole, Skuespillerskolen, Odense, Aalborg Teater, Aalborg, Vendsyssel Teater, Hjørring, Holberg Teatret, Sorø, Dansk Amatør Teater Samvirke, Rødekro, Kaospiloterne, Aarhus, BAS, Brønderslev,  Teatret, Hans Rønne, Aarhus, Danseteatret NordenFra, Hjortshøj, Teater TT, København, Dell'arte International, Californien, Brønderslev Erhverv & Turisme, Brønderslev, Det Flyvende Kuffertcirkus, Bælum, Vrå Højskole, Vrå, Kulturhus Kappelborg, Skagen, C:ontact, Frederiksberg, Musikteatergruppen Ragnarock, Espergærde,