A MESSAGE FROM FAR AWAY
A 2-day festival produced by Remote Theater Project in collaboration with The Walk (Good Chance Theatre, Stephen Daldry, David Lan and Tracey Seaward in association with Handspring Puppet Company).
The 3-part event included:
A concert by Kinan Azmeh's CityBand presented by Portland Ovations
Parade with Us! A pageant of music and puppets through downtown Portland to celebrate new Mainers. Co-sponsored by Mayo Street Arts and The Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center.
LIVE with Little Amal - an interactive performance via livestream with Little Amal, the 9 year old girl represented by a giant puppet, walking from Turkey to the UK. Directed and produced by Alexandra Aron.
LIVE with Little Amal
August 5, 2021
Ocean Gateway - Portland, ME
Directed and Produced by Alexandra Aron
Associate Producer: Will Blumberg
Video Design: Alex Koch
Production Manager: Jenn London
Sound Engineer: Shaughn Flynn
Video Engineer: Seifallah Salotto-Cristobal
Bottles designed and built by Frances Hildreth
Kinan Azmeh and members of the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Pablo Alsan)
Good Chance Theater's THE WALK is a four-month Public Art spectacle following the journey of Amal, a 9-year old Syrian refugee represented by a 12-foot puppet created by world-famous HandSpring Puppet Co. Amal walked from Turkey to the U.K. from July to November, 2021.
All along the route, Amal was be welcomed by communities offering her performances and inspiration. Remote Theater Project was the only U.S cultural organization to create an "act of welcome" with The Walk.
In October of 2020, Remote Theater Project (RTP) began working with teenage refugees and asylum-seekers in Portland Maine to create monologues, "Letters to Amal." These young artists attended a writing workshop via zoom with internationally recognized playwright Mudar Alhaggi, himself a Syrian refugee, as they crafted stories to share with Little Amal.
On August 5th, 2021 our performers were joined by Little Amal (in Urla, Turkey) via a 13ft video wall, projecting her to-scale. The performance took place at Ocean Gateway, in Portland's historic Old Port.
The Pihcintu Multinational Immigrant and Refugee Girls' Chorus performed traditional Syrian music as well as an original composition-- written for Amal. The Chorus was accompanied by Kinan Azmeh's City Band in addition to musicians of the Portland Symphony Orchestra.
The project not only celebrates refugees but also Portland itself, a city that has been heroically embracing refugees from around the world, offering them sanctuary and services. RTP worked with many community partners including Creative Portland, Greater Immigrant Welcome Center, Mayo Street Arts and Portland Ovations to produce the festival.
Mudar al Haggi, Playwright
Cinderella Elbatanoni, Elizabeth Donato, Fatimah Lamloom (Liany Media)
"To those who encounter Little Amal along her journey, she is a work of profound imagination, a dramatic depiction of a longing to find not only a mother, but also a place to belong. For the young singers of Pihcintu, there is no need to imagine this longing." Yankee Magazine, READ ARTICLE
"Portland will celebrate its refugee communities and its reputation as a welcoming city with A Message from Away"
-Bob Keyes, Portland Press Herald READ ARTICLE
“The festival was conceived as an act of solidarity with displaced young children and a way to show they are not forgotten.”
-Lillian Lemu, Amjambo Africa! READ ARTICLE
The Pihcintu Multicultural Immigrant and Refugee Girls Chorus (Liany Media)
To support the refugee community of Portland, donate to a local fund for Refugee and Immigrant Artists, sponsored by the Remote Theater Project, in collaboration with Creative Portland. The purpose of the fund is for the incubation and development of artistic expression, services and initiatives by local Greater Portland immigrant artists, actors, writers, performing artists and musicians.
All donations received are tax-deductible and will be accepted and applied to the fund, activating a sub-granting and fund disbursement. The governance of the fund will be managed by Creative Portland, a 501c3, and in cooperation with a review committee represented by Creative Portland and Remote Theater Project, in response to a rolling application. Donations can be made HERE