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March 1 2024 Feature Story

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For more than two decades, the San Francisco International Arts Festival has celebrated artists and performers from the Bay Area and more than 60 countries around the world, bringing the excitement of international culture to the City and County. SFIAF 2024 promises to continue in that vein to both entertain and to ignite conversation and examine matters of social justice and racial equity in America.

Driven to weave art together with a sense of purpose, the theme of SFIAF 2024 is In Diaspora: I.D. for the New Majority. This year’s festival documents an ongoing foundational shift in American demographics as the nation’s majority moves to being comprised of people of color.

As the festival brings multiple international artists back for the first time since the pandemic, the focus is on art that exposes the circumstances of people oft forgotten: migrants and minorities, the displaced and the disenfranchised.

“We want to present ideas that offer a progressive statement for the identity of the future,” said Andrew Wood, SFIAF executive director. “We are looking for projects that conduct explorations at the confluence of democracy, social, economic and environmental justice.”

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One of the stars to grace this year’s festival is Rhodessa Jones, founder and director of The Medea Project, an award-winning and internationally acclaimed performing arts program for incarcerated women. The Medea Project has been conducted around the world—as far away as South Africa—and has had such a profound and powerful impact that it led to Jones’ being named Arts Envoy for the United States Embassy in 2012 by the State Department’s Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau. Jones will be directing Maze, a theatrical performance that continues the conversation about the triumphs and struggles of women in prison through the metaphor of Greek myth -- in this instance the legends of the Cretan Minotaur.

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Also commanding the spotlight at this year’s festival is the Irish powerhouse theater company, Fishamble, with KING by Pat Kinevane. This is the latest of the Company's plays that have toured to two dozen countries globally. Fishamble’s performances bring Irish culture to the international stage and have earned the United Kingdom’s most prestigious stage honor — the Laurence Olivier Award. The show will be presented in association with Irish Culture Bay Area.

Beloved by theatre critics worldwide, Fishamble has taken on the role of champion for fresh and talented Irish writers. More than half of the Emerald Isle’s new playwrights each year are supported by the company, with productions described as courageous and groundbreaking by Ireland’s president, while the company itself has been called “an unswerving force for new writing” by the Irish Times.

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In a potent and kinetic statement on the soaring global population, and with human consumption ever on the rise, SFIAF is proud to feature a transcendent, emotional performance by Canadian phenomenon, Mykalle Bielinski, a multidisciplinary composer, singer and poet who will power the entire show with her body and her bicycle. Her performance, WARM UP, is a fearless, radical, and ritualistic statement on human interaction with nature.


All told, 50 companies will be shoehorning 100 incredible performances spanning 12 days at this year’s festival. A number of events will be world premieres, others will be debuting for the first time in the United States.

Andrew "Boots" Hardy
SFIAF Newsletter Editor

 


San Francisco International Arts Festival
Phone Number: 415-399-9554 | Email: [email protected]
1222 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

 

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