Book Wings is a three-year collaborative bi-lateral exchange and performance initiative designed to bring together writers, actors, directors, and new media professionals from the United States and partner countries in a virtual environment. Its aim is to foster cross-cultural conversation, spark new literary and dramatic ideas, and create an enduring body of work. In the long term, Book Wings also hopes to provide a blueprint for other institutions to produce innovative collaborative theatre projects that bring creative professionals—and nations—closer together.
Made possible by grant funds provided by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Book Wings is a first in the world of theatrical performance and represents a breakthrough in the leveraging of technology for the purposes of artistic cooperation, exchange, and engagement.
Here’s how it works: Book Wings commissions writers to produce new works on a common theme, translates these works, and then uses high-definition videoconferencing technologies and projectors to digitally connect sister stages at theatres thousands of miles apart, creating a single collaborative bilingual performance, open to the public and accessible to viewers around the globe via a live stream.
In 2012, a historic partnership between the International Writing Program and the Moscow Art Theatre (the home stage of Stanislavsky and Chekhov), in collaboration with the University of Iowa's Department of Theatre Arts, the Virtual Writing University, Information Technology Services, and UITV, brought us the first installment of Book Wings, which featured poetry. For 2013, Book Wings has expanded the initiative to include both Russia and China, commissioning a series of 10-minute plays for performances that will take place in March 2013. In 2014, Book Wings will focus on fiction from writers in the U.S. and Iraq. At the end of the project, all commissioned works will be published as an e-book.
This website includes details about the performances and about accessing the live stream, instructions on how to partner with IWP to host a viewing party, as well as a growing archive of information about the Book Wings initiative: videos of past performances, editorial content, biographies of participants, information about the collaboration process and the new media technologies employed, along with many other resources.
For a behind-the-scenes look at building Book Wings 2013:
Questions? Please contact Book Wings Program Coordinator: Ashley Davidson at email@example.com
Christopher MERRILL comments in Huffington Post on IWP's recent, strangely curtailed, tour in the PRC.