I hope that the people in Lithuania are not wondering why I have not contacted them – I actually have written them, I just can’t find reliable enough internet to send it off. The Rocker shared a lot of sample invitation letters with me as I’ve start contacting more and more embassies and arts organizations and this was my first chance to test them out.
To the companies we met:
I just wanted to write you a quick note to thank you for meeting with me last week before I had to return to Asia. I consider my exploratory trip to Lithuania to have been a great success as I was able to see four vastly different Lithuanian productions, visit the only municipal dance theater in Lithuania, watch a class at the Lithuanian Academy of Performing Arts, visit the site of a future center of performing arts in Vilnius, and meet with several Lithuanians who are either artists themselves or who are taking strides towards supporting the arts in their work.
I am currently developing two new projects in India and Thailand for Spring, 2007 and November/December 2008. Our show is confirmed for a small rework and tour in Asia for 2007 and a large international “Chinese New Year Tour” in Asia, Canada, and the United States for February-June 2008, and we are commissioned to create a new project for Fall 2008 at the National Theater of Taiwan where we are still in residence and serving as programming directors for their annual performing arts festival.
So far, I am trying to develop the possibility of creating a new large-budget show with Lithuanian artists in collaboration with a Lithuanian creative team to premiere in 2009, a year which promises to be an important year for Lithuania as it will be declared one of two “capital cities of culture” and will be celebrating the 1000th-year anniversary of the name.
Whether or not this is possible is yet to be seen. The model we have used in Taiwan, Korea, and now India and Thailand has been to start with a small, high-quality show in the context of a local festival to show the collaborative nature of the work. Typical development time to build up to a large-scale performance is typically 2 years.
This is why I am trying to find funding to come to Lithuania in the summer of 2007 to create a small 30-minute show through a workshop with professional Lithuanian actors/dancers (or students of professional schools). The first step in the process is to contact my embassies with official letters of invitations from organizations who would be interested in working with me this summer.
If you are still interested in such a collaboration, I would sincerely appreciate your help in this first step by writing an official letter of invitation on official stationary (I have already drafted a form letter style document as a sample letter of invitation). Since I am contacting both the USA and Canadian embassies, I must be invited through my company, New Circus Asia. Once we find out how these embassies might be able to support us in this project, we can speak concretely about the possibilities between ourselves.
To embassies who might be able to support our Lithuanian projects:
Hello! I am writing on behalf of a Canadian Circus company that specializes in international co-productions, particularly in Asia. We just finished directing the National Theater of Taiwan’s 2006 Open-Air Arts Festival for which we also directed a commissioned performance to open their event. With the generous support of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, we were able to invite eight Canadian circus artists to collaborate with local acrobats and martial artist for a performance that played to over 30,000 people and in our festival, which hosted over 250,0000 visitors over one week.
Through our network of Lithuanian contacts that we developed at Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan, we were able to visit Lithuania this last November to meet with local artists, producers and artistic companies to discuss possible collaborations in 2007 and 2008.
- Arts Printing House
- Aura Dance Theater
- Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater
This inspired us to lead up to a Canadian/Lithuanian co-production to premiere at two major Lithuanian performing arts festivals with the eventual plan of showcasing during Lithuania’s 2009 celebrations surrounding its being named a European Culture Capital and the 1000th anniversary of the name Lithuania.
We are interested to know what support is available through the Canadian embassy in Lithuania for artistic collaboration between Canadian artists and Lithuanian artists, specifically, education, creation, and/or travel grants. Our contacts at the above organizations have voiced their willingness to draft letters of invitation and to work directly with the Canadian Embassy to sponsor us if necessary.
We are very interested in developing Canadian New Circus in markets that are not able to invite such well-known companies as Cirque du Soleil or Cirque Eloize. We have seen that our model of education, collaboration, and creation works well in such markets as evidenced by our recent successes in Taiwan, Korea, and India. We are excited to have the opportunity to work for the first time with a country in the EU, especially in a country with so much interest and talent in contemporary performing arts. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any information that we or our Lithuanian partners might be able to provide.
I am attaching a document that describes our workshops which have been taught all over the world.
We are interested in finding a way to bring two artists to Lithuania for the last two months in June to teach workshops at Aura, the Arts Printing House, and at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater.
Invitation letter template for organizations who want to support our work
Having invited Canadian Composer and multi-media circus Director The Rocker and his assistant director The Travelling Acrobat (Graduate of the National Circus School of Canada) to participate as instructors in a special seminar for students of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater in 2007, we’re contacting you to ask for your support and collaboration in this exciting exchange between Lithuania and Canada.
The Rocker mentioned that due to the enormous success of Canadian Acrobatics/ Circus and his close ties with Cirque du Soleil, National Circus School, Canadian Embassies have been eager to support his projects in Europe and Asia (he is currently sponsored by the Canadian Embassies and Trade Offices in New Delhi, Bangkok, and Taiwan for special performance projects in those countries).
Please let us know if you would be interested to learn more about our invitation to begin a Commissioned work with local and Canadian Artists in Lithuania this June 2007.
So far, we have letters of interest from a professor from the academy and the Kaunas dance company that wants two-weeks of workshop that results in a 20-30 minute dance piece incorporating acrobatic elements. The idea is to lead up to a Canadian/Lithuanian co-production to premiere at two major Lithuaninan Performing Arts Festivals with the eventual plan of showcasing during Lithuania’s 2009 celebrations surrounding its being named a European Culture Capital and the 1000th anniversary of the name Lithuania.
The idea of creating a performable piece came from their observation that when they invite guest choreographers just to hold workshops, they lose the material as dancers leave the theatre. They’d prefer that we make a piece that can actually be performed which is even better for us – a joint creation that could become part of their performing repertory is in both of our interests, but creations take time and, therefore, budget. Our first step should be to contact the embassy to see what sort of support they can lend us to come to Lithuania. Once we have an understanding on that end, we can speak more about expectations, deliverables, and budget.
They’re also asking if they can perform at festivals in India or Thailand. Maybe we can make one project together in a few steps: our coming to Lithuania and then the next is for them to come to our festival. Certainly, we are excited by any cultural exchanges between Lithuania and performing groups in Asia, either through the auspices of our network of festival contacts or through the support of foreign embassies in Lithuania or Lithuanian embassies abroad. In order to talk concretely about such options, however, we will need to have a well-filmed video of a quality, acrobatic performance. So, Summer 2007 could be a first step towards having a project that could be promoted in Asia, be it India, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, or other markets. We are looking at working with Lithuanian companies to develop projects over a two-to-three-year period with the eventual goal of creating internationally tourable work. For example, earlier this month I passed the DVD of the Lithuanian director’s production “Under the Mists of the Unknown” to the director of the Arts Festival in India. He was very interested in the work but I do not think that his festival would have the budget to invite so many people to India. Everyone performing there was part of a one- or two- person company. You never know, though – interest is always a good sign.
However, things are not moving forwards as The Political Scientist and I would like them to with all of the people we have been contacting. For example, one producer we met there responded to my email saying that he “cannot be taking care of the things which are going to happen at the second part of the next year when there is so much uncertainty around this year’s events” and that “there are some other Canadian projects I am considering to develop, and right now cannot make a judgement on which one of them will be prioritized.”
I understand his point overall, but all we were asking for was a letter of interest for the workshops in June without any commitment or obligation on his side. If he is interested in developing a relationship with the Canadian embassy, then it seems to his advantage to show his desire to invite Canadian artists.