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Privacy on Stage: Announcing P3M5

Thursday, August 25, 2016   (0 Comments)
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As part of the Theatre Communications Group Conference in Washington, DC on June 25, 2016, the Goethe-Institut unveiled a new project centered on the value of privacy using the medium of theatre: the Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays (P3M5).

The project seeks to facilitate a dynamic trans-Atlantic dialogue about privacy issues through short plays commissioned by partnering theatres across Europe and in the US. The theatres have asked playwrights from their countries, “What does privacy mean to you in the digital age?” The answers, in the form of five-minute plays, will be turned into film pieces and performed live by an international network of theatres from January 2017 to June 2018, reaching diverse audiences around the world.

The impulse for P3M5 comes from a transatlantic discord over privacy and data protection. The tensions surrounding the NSA Scandal in Europe and the surprise in America about the European Union Court of Justice’s confirmation of the Right to be Forgotten have revealed that: “There is no privacy - there are only privacies.” Privacy is a fundamental human right, but when expressed as a norm in a country’s legal system, it also reflects that country’s culture and identity. Scholars have identified locational privacy, informational privacy, and decisional privacy, among others. The list is amorphous, ever-changing, and culturally-specific. Therefore, P3M5 seeks to examine the plurality of privacy and the different cultural understandings of such diverse modes of privacy.

Theatre, and the short play form in particular, is a perfect medium through which to tackle this question. Attending an evening of theatre is one of the few completely live, in-person moments one can have in our modern, plugged-in lives. Since short plays can also easily be transformed into short films, films for P3M5 will be created by each of the partnering theatres in site-specific locations. The unique settings for each film will allow audiences around the world to appreciate the cultural formation of the author in the context of their homeland and to evaluate how location and culture have influenced his or her understanding of privacy.

In addition to the partner theatres, a larger network of theatres and universities in the US, Europe, and beyond is invited to perform the group of plays. Each evening of short plays will approach privacy with many different voices and perspectives, from the light-hearted and observational to the critical and socio-political. Differing formats, dramaturgical interpretations, and artistic choices among the theatres will be encouraged. Such a diverse and Babylonian collection of plays and corresponding performances will challenge the audience’s notion of privacy and engage them in global conversation on the topic.

The partner theatres, and their corresponding playwrights, for the P3M5 project include:

New York Theatre Workshop
American Conservatory Theater
Center Stage, Baltimore Kenneth Lin Seattle Repertory Theater
Alliance Theater, Atlanta
Schauspielhaus Graz, Austria
with SPAIN arts & culture
KVS City Theater Brussels, Belgium
Théâtre de Liége, Belgium
11:55, Czech Republic
Saarlandisches Staatstheater, Germany
National Theatre Marin Sorescu, Romania
National Theater Nova Gorica, Slovenia
Unga Klara, Sweden
Birmingham Repertory Theater, UK

Martha Redbone
Phillip Kan Gotanda
Kenneth Lin
Rebecca Gilman
Sarah Gubbins
Clemens Setz
Paco Bezerra
Rachida Lamrabet
Alex Lorette
Tereza Volánková
Felicia Zeller
Mihaela Mihailov
Simona Hamer
Marioan Hosseini
David Greig

If you are interested in your theatre or university becoming involved with the project, please contact Kevin Place, P3M5 Theatre Outreach Coordinator, at

Supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany and funds from the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology In association with the embassies of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Sweden, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the British Council, Flanders House, SPAIN arts & culture, and Wallonie-Bruxelles International.

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