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Armenian Performing Arts Independent Community (APAIC)
Reality, Initiative, Expectations …
The direction and emerging standards of today’s theater in Armenia lead to one outcome, that the chance of organizing independent theater in this country has diminished to a minimal. On the one hand, there are a few individuals who are trying to work outside of the officially sanctioned state theater. They do this typically by investing their own resources or securing private sponsors. On the other hand, there are those who, while remaining in the official state theater apparatus, attempt to organize alternative projects. These initiatives often merge into the authoritarian-oriented system that is our state-sponsored theater today. Thus, they become indistinguishable from the state-sponsored system, without a recognition of their conceptions and approach as being independent or alternative. As a result, the activities of these individuals create a false perception of independence and only strengthens the hegemony of official theater.
The representatives of the first group, the “super” independents, are forced to work under the conditions of extreme resource scarcity. This clearly impacts their work in terms of content, organization, and number of initiatives and performances. These gaps, however, are at times bridged by bringing to audiences topical issues of the day. So while the content or frequency may suffer, the theme or topic is actual.
While there are disparate elements of independent theater in Armenia, these elements are not interconnected and do not form an organic platform that is poised to engender a vibrant and urgently needed independent theater in Armenia. The wish to overcome this reality through a joint effort has become the main motivation for launching the initiative called the Independent Performing Arts Community in Armenia.
The main challenge of the initiative is to create a platform where performing artists, especially from theater and representatives of independent initiatives, can meet and unite. The platform to be created will allow for a dialogue on theater, identifying critical links between its theoretical and practical spheres. It will also allow for identification of opportunities for cooperation between groups and individuals either on local or international productions as well as continuous exchange of information on each other’s activities.
One overarching objective of this platform is to clearly identify and make functional an independent theater that is a distinct part of the local theater scene. Such a distinct identity is essential for the existence of independent theater.