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University of Iowa News Release


March 6, 2012

UI joins in nationwide theater fundraiser for Japanese tsunami relief

The University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will participate in Shinsai: Theaters for Japan, a continent-wide fundraiser to mark the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan. A reading of works by major Japanese and American theater artists and playwrights will be staged at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 10, in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building.

Admission will be "pay-what-you-can," with all proceeds donated to the Japan Playwrights Association to support the Japanese theater community affected by the disaster. If you are interested in volunteering for the event or are in need of more information, email Sarah Johnson at

Alan MacVey, chair of the theater department and the UI Division of Performing Arts, commented, "This is the second year theatre students have organized a fundraising event to support Japan. It's indicative of the generosity of spirit these students feel toward others. They're a special group of young artists."

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theater, reports that participation in Shinsai: Theaters for Japan has grown to more than 35 organizations, with 12 U.S. states as well as several provinces in Canada now represented.

Shinsai [SHEEN-sigh] means "great quake" in Japanese. Participating theatres will stage fundraising events featuring a menu of 10-minute plays and songs -– now available online -– donated from artists including Edward Albee, Philip Kan Gotanda, Richard Greenberg, John Guare, Oriza Hirata, Naomi Iizuka, Nen Ishihara, Shoji Kokami, Tony Kushner, Jeanine Tesori, Toshiki Okada, Yoji Sakate, Kumiko Shinohara, Toshiro Suzue, Suzan-Lori Parks, Doug Wright, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Stephen Sondheim, and John Weidman.

"The international solidarity of artists is a vital model for the international solidarity of all humanity," says Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater. "The American theater community is proud to offer support and partnership to our Japanese colleagues."

Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG, commented, "The growing participation in Shinsai: Theaters for Japan demonstrates the strength of our global theatre movement when we reach out to each other in times of need. Shinsai is a part of TCG’s efforts to help theatres in this country and across the globe become more resilient in the face of adversity and disaster."

The genesis of the event began shortly after the disaster when actor James Yaegashi, whose family is from a nearby area, called friends in the New York theater community to say, "We as a theatre community have to do something to help our fellow artists on the other side of the world."

Six months later, a consortium of more than a dozen organizations came together to catalyze a nationwide effort, including the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the Atlantic Theater, the Cooper Union, the Dramatists Guild, the Dramatists Guild Fund, the Japan Playwrights Association, the Japan Society, the Lincoln Center Theater, the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Play Company, Playwrights Horizons, the Public Theater, the Martin E. Segal Theater Center, the New York Theatre Workshop, and TCG.

In addition to the UI, the list of participating organizations now include the American Blues Theater, Crossing Jamaica Avenue, the Center for Remembering and Sharing, the University of Victoria, Georgia College & State University, Gorgeous Entertainment, Hybrid Theatre Works, the Independent Actors Theatre, Kurotama Kikaku, La Luna Productions, the Leviathan Lab, Mindbending Student Productions, Northern Arizona University, the Potomac Theatre Project at Middlebury College, ShoeString Productions, the Smith Street Stage, SUNY Adirondack, Team Japan, the Theatre Project, the Theatre Conspiracy, UglyRhino Productions, the University of Redlands, Wild Goose Creative, and York University.

Find more information at

The Department of Theatre Arts is a unit in the Division of Performing Arts of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, University Communication and Marketing,