Acting for Peace in Guatemala

Bond Street Theatre Travels to Antigua to Initiate a Theatre Program at Oasis Orphanage for Girls

New York, NY, May 18, 2012Ida's Hjelpefond, a Norwegian NGO committed to Guatemala, is partnering with Bond Street Theatre to initiate psycho-social theatre programming with Oasis Orphanage in Antigua, Guatemala May 20-June 16, 2012. The Acting for Peace project assists the Guatemalan population to create a harmonious future through the use of the performing arts. 

Three Bond Street Theatre actor-educators, Christina Pinnell, Ilanna Saltzman, and Olivia Harris, will travel to Antigua for four weeks to conduct theatrical workshops with the 70 girls at Oasis Orphanage.  The BST artists will teach physical theatre skills and prepare the young women, aged 13-17, to create original theatrical work addressing the social issues they face.

Josh teaches Stilts at KOFAVIV
Bond Street's Josh Wynter teaches stilt walking in Haiti.

The Acting for Peace program will sow the seeds for a new original theatre piece that the girls will present in July. The workshops will also train and identify future leaders of an ongoing Oasis Arts Program.

Oasis Director Corbey Dukes wants to build an arts program that can be used for the girls' healing and for outreach into the local community.  This program is the first step toward making that dream a reality, creating a safe space in which the girls can envision and work toward a new future together and reconcile with the turbulent past.

Guatemala is still recovering from a civil war that raged for 36 years until 1996. More that 200,000 indigenous people were killed and over one million people displaced.  Families today still face challenges due to deep poverty, marginalization, and unequal distribution of resources.

As much as 41% of the population is under the age of 15.  This community needs programs to assist, educate, and help heal young people as they transition into adulthood. 

Ida's Hjelpefond and Bond Street Theatre look forward to this collaboration, utilizing the skills and experience of both to build a stronger Guatemalan community.  The project is supported by the New York University Peace Project.

Ida's Hjelpefond is a Norwegian organization that provides relief and medical assistance to individuals in Guatemala.  Founder Ida Hetland met Bond Street Theatre in December 2011 and identified the theatre as an ally in her recovery work in Guatemala.  This project is the Hjelpefond's first foray into psycho-social work.  

Bond Street Theatre has a long history of creating successful theatre projects that promote community development and local capacity building.  The ensemble returned May 11 from a six-week program in Jalalabad and Kabul, Afghanistan, as part of the ongoing Theatre for Social Development project.  BST also has continuing projects with artists in Myanmar (Burma) and a group of sexual violence survivors in Haiti.  

For more information or to schedule an interview in the US or Guatemala, please contact Olivia Harris at 212-254-4614 or

Bond Street Theatre, founded in 1978, creates theatre that crosses cultural borders and initiates theatre-based projects for education, conflict resolution and healing in areas of conflict and poverty globally. The company collaborates with local artists to enjoy the benefits of artistic exchange and promotes the value of the arts in shaping a peaceful future.  Recipient of a MacArthur Award, the company has also received support from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, ArtsLink, the Theatre  Communications Group, Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Association for Performing Arts Presenters, Asian Cultural Council, US Institute for Peace, US Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs, NEA, US Embassies, and others, and performs in theatres and festivals worldwide.

Bond Street Theatre is a non-profit organization, and an NGO in association with the UN-DPI.