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Wuzhen Theatre Festival Names Travis Preston To Artistic Committee

Wuzhen Theatre Festival Names Travis Preston To Artistic Committee

Valencia, Calif. (Dec. 2, 2022) – California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) School of Theater Dean and CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP) Executive Artistic Director Travis Preston has been named to the Artistic Committee of the Wuzhen Theatre Festival.

The Wuzhen Theatre Festival is an annual theater event in the ancient water town of Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, China, co-founded by Chen Xianghong, Huang Lei, Stan Lai and Meng Jinghui, and organized by Culture Wuzhen Co., Ltd. Though only in its first decade, the Festival has already become one of the premier festivals in China and Asia. This year’s festival runs Nov. 25 to Dec. 4, 2022.

“Though the Wuzhen Theatre Festival has become one of the most influential in Asia, it is still a very young festival,” said Stan Lai, Festival Director, and writer/director of CNP’s Nightwalk in the Chinese Garden. “We are truly excited that an artist with such international vision as Travis can join our esteemed Artistic Committee team, and help guide us as we continue to develop.”

Travis Preston is an internationally celebrated director of theater and opera. His groundbreaking production of King Lear inaugurated the CalArts Center for New Performance. Staged in six locations within the massive factory spaces of the Brewery Arts Complex in downtown Los Angeles, Preston’s Lear challenged traditional interpretations of the play by employing a staging area of environmental proportions, unconventional uses of technology, an all-female cast, and a gripping postmodern aesthetic. Other projects include Bell Solaris with David Rosenboom, Macbeth starring Stephen Dillane (subsequently performed at the Almeida Theatre in London and at the Sydney and Adelaide Festivals in Australia), Ah! OperaBrewsie and Willie with the Poor Dog Group, Prometheus Bound starring Ron Cephas Jones (in partnership with the Getty Villa), and Fantomas: Revenge of the Image – which had its world premiere at the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in 2017.

Directed by Preston and developed in collaboration with Tom Gunning, Fantômas: Revenge of the Image was a groundbreaking exploration of performance space, spectatorship, and the intersection of film, theater, and physical sensation. Based on the fictional phantom bandit and figure of unbounded criminality from French serial literature and film, Fantômas explored urban violence as a facet of the contemporary landscape. It was the first production to have its international world premiere at the festival and was met with sold out houses.

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CalArts Center for New Performance is the professional producing arm of California Institute of the Arts, established to provide a unique artist- and project-driven framework for the development and realization of original theater, music, dance, media and interdisciplinary projects. Extending the progressive work carried out at CalArts into a direct dialogue with professional communities at the local, national and international levels, CNP offers an alternative model to support emerging directions in the performing arts. It also enables CalArts students to work shoulder-to-shoulder with celebrated artists and acquire a level of experience that goes beyond their curriculum.

California Institute of the Arts has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines, and cultural traditions.