"Beirut Wedding World Theatre Project is about the edges of contact between communities and the locus points by which we define ourselves: race, class, culture, gender, sexual-orientation, and religion. It's about how these definitions bring us together and pull us apart."
Why “Beirut Wedding”?
Our name is inspired by a 1980s Time Magazine photo of a newly wedded couple in Beirut, Lebanon. A man in a tuxedo and a woman in her wedding gown are stepping lightly across a bombed-out street in a city destroyed by a civil war. The photo caption read that the bride was Christian and the groom Muslim (**). Surprised by what we saw in this photo, we thought: Whatever this picture is showing is what we want to explore with art! This photo conveyed wonder and aspiration about the connection between people, our rituals and culture, saying that in the midst of all the ways human beings can be absolutely reprehensible, we also can be amazing. Later we learned that at the time of this photo, there was a movement by some of the young people of Lebanon to deliberately marry across religious lines in protest of the war, making the name Beirut Wedding more inspirational, more of an artistic vision to reach towards.
A wedding tells a story about two people in love, on an individual scale. It also tells a story on a larger scale, of families and maybe even an entire community uniting with their aspirations under their God. Across history, theater has been about individuals and their stories, their connections and conflicts between communities. And theater has always been closely linked with the gods of the lands in which it is performed. In some times and places an actor putting on a mask was viewed as a literal transformation, a movement from one plane to another: A god now walks the earth! In other times, horrifyingly, actors were burned at the stake, so profound were the truths they laid bare. Now, in every corner of the world, theater exists as a sacred space, where people gather in ceremony to tell stories and hear them told.
This is how we feel about our work in theater. At Beirut Wedding World Theatre Project we honor and aspire to live up to theater as a sacred heritage and awesome responsibility.
Theater is the path we walk.
(**) Photo credit: “Hope Survives” by Jay Ullal / Black Star 1983, from Time Magazine photoessay, Beirut: War and Rebirth.
We involve and support diverse communities with live theater
"Our vision is to involve and support historically disenfranchised communities in live theater. Artists join us to do their best work. Audiences come for exploration and involvement in the community."
VISION & GOALS
Provide a welcoming and stimulating environment for artists to do their best work
Actively participate in practical political and social life of our communities
Engender change, affect policy, alter mindset, and facilitate a world of diversity, exuberance and sustainability
Practice diversity and multiculturalism in the projects we choose, the staff we hire, the partnerships we cultivate, and the artists with whom we work
Develop and sustain a youth program that brings kids from at-risk and marginalized populations the experience of creating art and involvement with an expanded and enthusiastic world-view
Build an international theatrical bridge, to take pieces created for and about our American communities to the world at large and bring art from the global community back home