Seattle’s Seagull Project Makes History in Uzbekistan

The Seagull Project LLC has officially received a grant from the US Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan amounting to $65,000. This grant allows the company to take its celebrated production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull overseas as part of the Festival of American Culture: Ilkhom East/West,” hosted by the Ilkhom Theatre.

The Seagull Project is a theatre company based in Seattle, WA that works to develop its own process, including long-form rehearsal periods, in which each actor is afforded the opportunity to grow into his or her role, learn new skills, and deepen work as theatre artists. The top-notch design team and celebrated director find inspiration through this work and together form a cohesive ensemble. After an extraordinarily successful run of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull at ACT Theatre (Seattle, WA) in 2013, Three Sisters will be the next production, slated to go up at ACT Theatre in February 2015 as part of the 50th anniversary season.

The Ilkhom Theatre is one of the most historically important theatres in the entire former Soviet Union.  Founded by the late Mark Weil in 1976, it was the very first Independent theatre in the Soviet Union, and has remained so to this day. The Ilkhom often brings acts from all over the world to perform in festivals in their home city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, but has never had an American company as an official guest. The Seagull Project is honored and overjoyed to not only represent Seattle while in Tashkent, but to embark on a historically significant trip as a representative for the arts and culture of the United States as a whole.

The Grant – in large part facilitated by International Liaison, Tyler Polumski – allows the Seagull Project to work in conjunction with the Ilkhom Theatre to create a festival of American Culture.  The festival will serve as a meeting place between two different cultures, of the Eastern and Western world. Therefore, it is not only as a celebration of the arts, but of peace and cultural exchange.

The Festival will include:

  • * Performances of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, performed by The Seagull Project Ensemble, and adapted specifically for the Ilkhom Theatre’s stage
  • * Performances of the Ilkhom Theatre’s productions of Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, and Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flats
  • * Three staged readings of New American Drama: one reading by the Seagull Project Ensemble in English; one reading by the ilkhom Theatre in Russian; and one reading with a combined cast in both languages
  • * A concert of American music
  • * Master classes/workshops led by the Seagull Project for students and artists of the Ilkhom theatre as well as the greater public

Seagull Project artistic personnel will also be working with young, aspiring, Central Asian directors, who will be taking part in an ongoing project of the Ilkhom Theatre, the “Laboratory for Young Directors of Central Asia.”, which is happening in parallel with the festival.

The Seagull Project will depart for Uzbekistan April 23 and will return two weeks later on May 11. While in Uzbekistan, ensemble members will be guests of the Ilkhom Theatre. The grant allows for the full company, plus director John Langs and two production personnel, to travel. The Seagull Project will have the unique opportunity to work with this world-class theatre, offering an exchange of ideas and culture that will be brought back to the United States so the culture and techniques can be shared and discussed.  It is through these vital cultural exchanges that countries, often foreign from one another, can heal, grow, and breath anew into their work.

Contact Information:

Gavin Reub: Co-Artistic Director

Julie Briskman: Co-Artistic Director

Tyler Polumsky: International Liaison