Bond Street Theatre – October 24th


On Thursday, October 24, Community Voices presents Bond Street Theatre leaders who will address the New River Valley community at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg.  In their talk, Theatre in Conflict Zones, Joanna Sherman, Artistic Director and Michael McGuigan, Managing Director, will present a video-lecture exploring the impact and value of the expressive arts in areas of conflict. The lecture will show how theatre-based practices are applied in different communities, with specific focus on their work in Afghanistan. Their presentation introduces the idea of theatre as a useful tool for social improvement and bringing peace, and emphasizing why cross-cultural artistic conversations are crucial for mutual understanding.

Bond Street believes that theatre inspires, informs, entertains, and empowers.

Bond Street Theatre’s mission is to promote peace and mutual understanding through the arts.  Founded in 1976, Bond Street Theatre initiates creative programming that inspires and educates youth, addresses human rights issues, heals communities affected by poverty and conflict, and promotes the value of the arts in shaping a peaceful future.

The company responds to humanitarian crises through the uplifting powers of the arts.  The company has initiated innovative theatre and theatre-based programs in over 40 countries worldwide, and reached populations in refugee camps, schools, shelters, prisons, rural villages and urban centers.

Theatre inspires, informs, entertains, and empowers!

Bond Street Theatre initiates theatre-based approaches to conflict resolution, education, and empowerment in areas of conflict and poverty, through programs for adults and youth, training for teachers, and creative collaboration with local artists and community organizations.  The company works directly with disadvantaged communities to inspire and uplift them through the transformative world of theatre.

In addition, Bond Street Theatre creates innovative theatre work that addresses social and environmental issues, and performs in theatres and major festivals around the world. The company draws on the musical and gestural arts of many traditions and the performance styles from many cultures in creating its original theatre productions.

The company uses theatre as a means to communicate across cultural borders, promote peace and mutual understanding, and stimulate others toward these ends through artistic exchange and creative partnerships.

The company has worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Myanmar, Indonesia, China, Kosovo, Bosnia, Serbia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Palestinian territories, and elsewhere.

For additional information concerning this event or Community Voices, please contact Andy Morikawa with the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance at 540-231-6775.

Sponsors of the Community Voices Series include the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance, School of Performing Arts, the Center for the Arts, College of Architecture, Division of Student Affairs, the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA); and, ASPECT (the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical and Cultural Thought).

Thenmozhi Soundararajan – February 28th

Story: A Unit of Changethenmozhi_soundararajan_justine


On Thursday, February 28, Community Voices will present Thenmozhi Soundararajan, writer, director and singer.  Her Community Voices talk will be from 7-8 p.m. in the Historic Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg, Virginia.  Admission is free and all are welcome.

Transmedia Artist Thenmozhi Soundararajan will share an evening of digital stories from her work with communities and digital storytelling around the world. She will lead an interactive dialogue with song, digital stories, and audience participation about the purpose of story in community building and explore the links between identity, narrative, and community change. Of special focus will be her work with co-collaborator and research faculty at Virginia Tech’s Institute for Policy and Governance, Holly Larson Lesko and their emerging New River Valley Narrative Praxis Collaboration funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Thenmozhi has been engaged in digital storytelling creation and training for nearly 15 years and has worked with local youth and adult groups to build personal stories of health and community in the New River Valley over the past two years.

Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a singer and Transmedia artist who in 2003 was featured in Utne Reader as One of the Top Visionaries Under 30, and the same year was profiled in The Source as One of the Top Ten Political Forces in Hip Hop. Growing up as an Indian Untouchable, she was driven to tell the stories of marginalized communities, which led her, upon graduating from UC Berkeley, to found the international media training organization, Third World Majority, for which she taught in the U.S., France, Tunisia, Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, and India. She also spent time in residence at the MIT Center for Reflective Community Practice, writing about storytelling, diversity, and future technology, and that research inspired her transition to narrative filmmaking, and enrollment in USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Since then, Soundararajan’s work has been recognized by the Producers Guild of America Diversity Program, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Annenberg Innovation Center, Slamdance, MIT Center for New Media Studies, The Sorbonne, The National Center for the Humanities, International Children’s Festival, The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Currently, she’s directing her documentary, Touchable: The Journey from Untouchable to Dalit and its related album Broken People.

Pam McMichael – November 29th

Did Horton Hear a Who?
An Exploration of the Small and Mighty Voices of the Highlander Center Making Change for 80 Years

On Thursday, November 29, Community Voices will present Pam McMichael, Director of the Highlander Research and Education Center. Her Community Voices talk will be from 7-8 p.m. in the Historic Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg, Virginia. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Through stories spanning eight decades, McMichael’s presentation explores the power to make change through the extraordinary acts of everyday people connected to the Highlander Center. She reflects on the deep listening necessary to find, hear and amplify those community voices, and the challenges and opportunities for deep listening in our fast paced technology-filled world.

Pam McMichael first became associated with Highlander as a long-time activist and organizer in Louisville, Kentucky. For decades, McMichael’s organizing and cultural work have focused on connecting people and issues across difficult divides, with particular emphasis on helping to build a strong and racially just movement. She has co-founded local, state and regional organizations with this core strategy, including Southerners on New Ground, where she served as co-director for 8 years. She was a national fellow with a Rockefeller Foundation leadership project to address the growing crisis in U.S. democracy. Her extensive nonprofit management experience includes social change and social service organizations.

John Dreyzehner

Fall Speakers

John J. Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, Fellow, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health

October 25, 2012 //  The Lyric Theater  //  7pm  //  Free admission

Pam McMichael, non-profit Management Director of the Highlander Center, Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation, activist, organizer

November 29, 2012  //  The Lyric Theater  //  7pm  //  Free admission