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The Dream Project
The Dream Project
New York Theatre Director Working in SMA

by Katie McHugh

Art has a way of transcending language and bringing people together. That is what The Dream Project is about. Five years ago, I was struggling to find meaning in my work as a New York Theatre Director, when an offer to perform in the Fringe Festival of San Miguel de Allende presented itself. This was my first time in Mexico, and I found myself immediately enamored of the culture. However, most stunning was the bravery of another theatre director in the festival, Alonso Barrera. He created a piece about the brutal murder of four Mexican journalists called Iluminaciones. When I asked Alonso why he created this piece, he responded, “These subjects are not discussed in our country. This is how we talk about it.” Alonso and his company, La Fabrica, from Querétaro, create work that is visually stunning, dangerous, and significant. I went back to New York with a mission: to create a company in which artists could communicate their differences and come together to collaborate across borders. I wanted to work in Mexico, with Mexican artists to celebrate their culture, and learn the root of their passion. Five years later, after producing and directing multiple productions in San Miguel de Allende; Mexico has become my artistic home.

This year marks the maiden voyage of Yonder Window Theatre Company. We have invited a group of 15 artists from across Mexico, the United States and Canada to create a tri-lingual, immersive performance piece based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream called The Dream Project. When we arrived to San Miguel only two weeks ago, Jorge Coro of MuVarte Gallery greeted us with open arms. As we began the process of building our piece, MuVarte’s extraordinary team of international painters, sculptors and designers dove right in with us. Each artist has brought their unique set of talents and ideas to create a cohesive ensemble and innovative performance piece. Artists involved include: Victor Hugo Nunez, Luis Felipe de la Torre, Elena Gomez Toussaint, Fabian Risso, Tamara Geisler, Elke Van Dyke, Kendall Rileigh, Renata Wimer, Nicholas Aguilar, Isaac Weisselberg, Gitanjali Jain, Brett Watson, Evan Regueira, Clara Dunham, Hugo Luna, Adriana Tapia Parrilla, Camila Coro and John Morrow.

Alonso of La Fabrica and I have remained friends over the years. He has been a great inspiration for this piece. In a conversation over email a few months ago I presented my ideas for The Dream Project to him. This was his response, “The dream we live in Mexico is also a nightmare, and the nightmare is also our regular day. But we do need to be reminded that Mexico is also a vision of beauty. Mexico is a land of good working people, with millenary traditions. This country stands together, as impossible as it is. That is the nature of The Dream Project, the impossibility of it, that is why I’m thrilled and excited that you are doing it, in this particular moment when Mexico and US relationships need a deeper bond for a better understanding of each other.”

The beauty and the incredible spirit of San Miguel de Allende has been a constant source of inspiration for us. Although we have been immersed in an intense creative process and our work has been truly rewarding and joyful, recent world events have certainly not escaped us. At times we have been angry, at times deeply saddened, however we have never been afraid. Perhaps the multicultural creative bubble that we have found ourselves in these past two-weeks has served as a sort of “safe zone.” Perhaps looking across a room and seeing artists, mostly strangers, collaborating over linguistic and cultural barriers has provided us with comfort. So instead of fearing our differences, we have celebrated them, and that is what we want to share with the people of San Miguel this weekend. At a time when it seems the world wants to push us apart, to force us into our own little corners, we want to stand up and resist. I believe there will always be a ‘chink’ in every wall, and we will always be stronger together. The importance of pursuing our Dream now could not be more relevant and timely.

This is only the first phase of our project. As we gear up for the years to come, we will add more and more creative minds to our collective. It is our hope that The Dream Project will travel the world; however, our foundation will always remain in this very special town of San Miguel de Allende.

You can see The Dream Project at MuVarte, this Saturday and Sunday, February 4, 5 at 7:00pm. Tickets sold at the door, cash only please. Read more about The Dream Project and its development process at www.yonderwindow.co/. MuVarte Prol. Valle Alcocer 32, Valle del Maiz

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Katie McHugh (Director) is a New York based director, teacher and producer of theatre and film with a B.A. in Theatre from Florida State University and an MFA in directing from The New School for Drama. She is the Founding Director of the Southeastern Teen Shakespeare Company, Co-Founder of the Teen Shakespeare Conservatory at the Actors Movement Studio, and Co-Artistic Director of Les Exportables, theatre company in New York and Quebec. Katie is an award-winning director who specializes in devised and experimental theatre. Her enthusiasm for educational theatre earned her a nomination for the Champion of the Arts Award in 2006, and the Big Read Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, 2007. Selected New York directing credits include: Travis Winters by Nick Gandiello in the New York 15-Minute Play Festival (Winner of Best Play, Audience Choice Award, and Best Director), Euripides’ Medea at the New School for Drama, and The List by Jennifer Tremblay in the New York International Fringe Festival 2012 (Winner of Overall Excellence in a Solo Performance) also performed at the first Fringe Festival of San Miguel de Allende, October 2013. Katie is an Associate Member of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is also a four-time director for the Writopia World Wide Plays Festival sponsored by David Letterman, as well as a guest director with the NYU dramatic writing program. After directing her second production in Mexico in February of 2015, Katie was named an Artistic Ambassador of the Mexican Fringe Festival San Miguel. Other Mexican theatre credits include: Co-Producer of Enemy, an adaptation of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People directed by Dorothy Lyman at the San Miguel Playhouse and Where Was I by Karen Ludwig performed at the third annual Fringe Festival San Miguel. Her new theatre company, Yonder Window, is making its debut performance this weekend with a multidisciplinary, multi-cultural, bi-lingual international production based on Midsummer Night’s Dream called The Dream Project.

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