Prize of Hope 2018

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