The Bond Street Theatre is a spectacular organization. They go into war torn countries around the world and use theatre to promote healing, reconcilation, and empowerment, especially for women. They change lives through their incredibly inspirational programs.
It's an honor to be a part of the work that the Bond Street Theatre does. This quote from a student states it all :
“You have built a palace for my dreams.” - Yusif, Azerbaijan
Bond Street is incredibly focused on its mission and is able to apply a specific expertise to issues of global significance - issues that are quickly growing in importance. Its innovative approach of bringing theatre-based programming to countries of conflict paves the way for civic engagement, community conversations, and real people-driven involvement -
all cornerstones along the path towards social justice. This leads to more recognition for the voices of the disenfranchised to be lifted up, for citizens to fight for and protect their own rights, and hopefully for leaders to recognize the community needs that should be a priority. BST's programming allows conversations that would otherwise be taboo to come out into the open, and allows individuals that would otherwise be overlooked to have a seat at the table.
I am a donor to Bond Street Theatre Coalition and have consistently been impressed with geopolitical/cultural reach of what they do and how it makes a difference in the world.
I've had the privilege of learning from Bond Street Theatre over the course of multiple years, and can say with absolute certainty that their arts-based, dialogue-centered approach to conflict resolution and peacebuilding is not only innovative, but highly effective.
Bond Street Theatre is an extraordinary and long-lived organization that helped shape my life and professional career in the 1970"s in New York and helps shape better lives around the globe where it is dearly needed. The dedication, talent , skill, commitment and courage the artists have displayed is approaching 40 years! See their work if you can, spread the word to up and coming artists to join the company and philanthropists who want to make a real impact to donate.
This organization helped shape my early years. The work they did then was life changing for me; the work they do now is only magnified by the obvious positive effects it has had on so many young and old patrons around the world. They are perhaps morphing before our eyes from a theatre company that does social good to a social services agency that uses theatre as its method. it is hard to imagine more dedicated, talented, committed diplomats and artists anywhere in the world. bravo, Bond Street for all you have accomplished under the consistent and excellent leadership of Joanna Sherman and Michael McGuigan. Excelsior!
I have had the great privilege to work and travel with Bond Street in critical regions worldwide as an artist and project manager. I have learned how to create international artistic projects between non-profits and artists interested in the same goal, but most importantly, I have been given the chance, through Bond Street, to connect with people all over the world. Through the language of theatre, Bond Street is dedicated to meaningful positive change in the world through humor, grace, and deep compassion. Working with Bond Street Theatre has changed my life, not only as theatre practitioner in the field, but also in my capacity to understand how important the arts are in connecting people across borders of language, culture, and geographical distance.
I’ve always been on the lookout for organizations that make a difference in the world. I’ve been a fan and supporter of Bond Street Theatre for more than three years. Bond Street contributes in unique, original, and powerful ways to address conditions in areas affected by war, natural disaster, and/or chronic extreme poverty.
I appreciate Bond Street’s really unique combination of talent, fearlessness, compassion, and good strategic sense. I admire their work with local in-country groups – designing, producing, and performing theatrical productions, and supporting local leaders in employing theater tools to animate communities and heal stressed people.
Bond Street’s strategy is to collaborate with committed and influential community members, and with their whole communities as well. Their use of theater and its magic helps populations to better understand and shoulder the weight of their predicaments, and ultimately encourages everyone to take action to improve conditions.
I’m especially moved by and impressed by Bond Street’s work with women’s rights groups and with unfortunate women who are in shelters and incarcerated in prisons (often for “crimes” that many of us would be hard pressed to identify as such). Bond Street has high professional standards, and it’s well managed. I take my hat off to them.
I am currently a junior at Trinity College doing a semester away through the Trinity La Mama program in New York City. Over the summer I was looking for a Theatre company that married social and enviornmental issues through Theatre, and I certainly found that in Bond Street Theatre. The work that this company does is truly amazing as they travel around the world to countries like Afganistan, Haiti, Guatemala, and Myanmar. They create six week workshops that help children and Adults alike learn how to use Theatre as a tool to create peace and increase awareness for both family and governmental problems. As far as my experience has gone, I have learned a great deal in terms of how the company operates on an administrative level as well as a international level.
Bond Street Theatre is one of the most unique and exciting organizations I've ever come across. They travel the world far and wide bringing theatre to most remote and unlikely of places, for the purposes of humanitarian outreach, social change and peace building. As a theatre practitioner seeking to deepen my understanding and experience in the work of theatre for social change, their tenacity, courage, and generosity of spirit have been a source of absolute inspiration to me and it is a joy to learn from them.
I have had the pleasure and privilege of being part of several of Bond Street Theatre’s projects and have seen first-hand the impact this work has in communities across the globe. Bond Street Theatre is not just a theatre company but a humanitarian organization that strives to use theatre as a vehicle to cross cultural borders and further mutual understanding -- to inspire, educate and empower people to improve their lives and communities in areas affected by war, disaster or extreme poverty. The company collaborates on a peer level with local groups in each country, designing a program according to the community’s needs, and helping build each group’s capacity to continue the work. When we depart, we leave behind empowered people intent on carrying on. Bond Street Theatre has been working with several local arts groups in Afghanistan to revitalize theatre as an art form after decades of suppression and to use it to bring crucial information to isolated communities, including women in shelters and prisons. In Haiti, we have worked with a women’s rights group, eager to use theatre as a way to reach out to the community and effect change. Theatre gives voice to the voiceless, and these women can attest to its healing and empowering effect. I was there to witness it in the moment and to hear them express it to me. Central to everything for me is the human, person to person connection. As a theatre artist and as a human being, I have yearned to make a difference, and I am inspired and rejuvenated by the profound human connection and contribution possible through the work of Bond Street Theatre. The impact is immediate as well as cumulative for the individual and the community.
I first met the folks from Bond Street Theatre over 10 years ago. We collaborated on a panel discussion featuring NGOs working in Afghanistan. I was so impressed with Joanna and Michael that I immediately became a supporter. Now, 10 years later, I am the president of the board - an honor and privilege for me - working to shine a light on the important, humanitarian good works of BST. More people need to know about this remarkable and passionate company.
Bond Street Theatre is unique in that most small nonprofits oversell themselves, touting small victories as major impacts on the world they seek to change. Bond Street is perhaps the most undersold, incredibly impactful small organization it has ever been my pleasure to associate with. Their work in the field of development, utilizing theatre as a tool for understanding, appreciation, and acceptance of local development has been a fantastic mechanism of change in some of the most underserved, and in some cases most dangerous places in the world. What other theatre company, or social action agency can you, the reader, name that is active in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Kashmir, and Haiti, with such a small organizational footprint? What other agency or theatre partners so well with organizations as large as USIP and Embassies worldwide and small social movements for youth, especially girls, in communities hard hit by social unrest or natural disasters? Or, can make you laugh so hard you cry, all at the same time? I am proud to have been a cofounder and artistic director of the company for a decade or so but under my former partner and current A.D., Joanna Sherman and Assistant AD Michael McGuigan, the company has reached new heights and traveled to places never dreamed by the company in its early years. Now, as a board member, I am constantly thinking about a way to ensure that Bond Street's legacy is understood and its current and future work finds support. I hope this effort and these reviews cause the reader to go to their site, learn more and support their work and growth in any way possible. In a world of theatre that is escapist, not always consistently good, an often inward looking, this is a very special flavor of modern, classical, nonverbal, and incredibly thought-provoking theatre found nowhere else. Joanna and Michael lead their young team to accomplish creative, developmental work that no other theatre company can compare with, let alone match. Bravo, Bond Street, long may you affect the cultural landscape in the world's most needy places.
Bond Street Theatre Coalition is an incredible theatre and humanitarian organization, and I am so proud to be affiliated with them. The work they do is truly extraordinary: they identify areas around the world-- often in regions that no other American artists reach, like Myanmar and Afghanistan-- that could benefit from their work. They work with partners on the ground to design thoughtful programs that include live performance in environments like refugee camps and elementary schools, collaborations with local artists, and teaching local social workers how to integrate theatre into their daily work. Bond Street's programs are unique in the world in that they really integrate high-quality theatre, performance, and art into grassroots-focused social change work on a truly global scale, all informed by a deep respect for the dignity and humanity of all people. Please consider supporting Bond Street!
I've been working as the musical director for Bond Street Theatre for the past 13 years and have traveled to many places in the world I never thought I would go. Some beautiful, some dangerous. Some poverty stricken, some affluent. I've interacted with artists of all genres and learned more about the world and myself with every outing. The main lesson I've learned through performing community building, conflict resolution oriented theater with them is that folks are folks the world over. They all want basically the same thing: to provide for their families, to enjoy their friends, to help each other out when in need, and to meet and graciously host foreigners (us). If everyone in the world could have 10% of the experiences I've had with Bond Street Theatre, the world would be a significantly better place.
I graduated college with a degree in theater and international affairs, a passion to combine those interests and help people, and total confusion about where to go next. When I first read about Bond Street Theatre's work from their website, I immediately forwarded the link to everyone I knew--I was so excited that what I wanted to do already existed, and I wanted to get involved. So I emailed Bond Street, showed up at their office for a meeting, and said I would do whatever it took to be a part of this organization. Since that initial meeting, I have learned so many skills (from video editing to stilt walking), gone on many adventures (from Long Island schools to the Guatemalan highlands), and met countless wonderful people. Bond Street's projects are incredible ways for people around the world to gain confidence, experience, and passion in a wide range of circumstances. The optimism and problem solving techniques the office staff and project teams exhibit are laudatory, professional, and inspirational.
I have been involved with the Bond Street Theatre in one capacity or another - from intern through actor though co-producer of an award winning arts colony through current Board member, since 1979. Bond Street started in 1976 using the then-popular credo “Thing Globally, Act Locally” as its point of departure. Shows filled with music, juggling, characters, stilts and puppets were performed in unexpected, outdoor locations to address current social issues of the day. Over the years, BST invited theatre artists from around the world to help broaden their artistic vocabulary, and with that came a broadened view of world issues as well. Today, I would say BST’s credo is “Think Globally, Act Globally.” As the pre-eminent humanitarian theatre company working today, Bond Street has formed true collaborative and sustained relationships with local artists in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Haiti, Guatemala, India, and the Balkans; teaching these companies theatre techniques and business strategies and learning from them as well about local customs, issues and forms of expression. Many times theater is brought to audiences who have never seen theatre or where free expression has been repressed for decades. BST’s special attention to the struggles of oppressed women and children is especially important and moving. Having moved on from acting to clinical social work about 15 years ago, my respect for the work of BST has only grown. The work BST does with their artistic collaborators and audiences help to liberate voice and body, help to move thinking from stuck to softened, all necessary for the healing of psychological trauma and chronic stress. I believe that the work of BST will reverberate for years to come, is a true expression of working from the heart together with smarts, and that is why I am proud to be a member of their Board of Directors and lifelong friend.