UPDATES ON EUROPEAN MONTH OF CULTURE & ORIGIN THEATRE GALA 2020

 Dear Origin Theatre Community,

It is with immense awe and humility that we are witnessing – and, indeed participating in – one of the most consequential challenges that civil society has ever faced. The Coronavirus pandemic will be a reminder, we think, of the vulnerability of humanity, but also a measure of our interdependence and ultimately of our courage to confront adversity.

And so it is with deep concern, mixed with abiding hope that I write today to update you on the 3rd annual “European Month of Culture NYC,” produced in partnership with TheDelegation of the European Union to the United States, which we are canceling at this time.

Planning for the month-long multi-arts festival, which last year hosted some 60 individual events showcasing new works and new ideas emanating from Europe, had been underway for months. With our many partners – numerous European consulates, New York-based arts groups, companies and individuals – we were very much looking forward to May and to presenting an array of performances, screenings, readings of new plays, concerts, exhibits, roundtables, master classes and parties, many of which were to be free to the public.

Aspects of the Festival – notably the readings and events produced by Origin Theatre Company – were going to explore the impact of women’s voices on contemporary European arts, culture and society.  Events from The Netherlands, Lithuania, Spain, Greece, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia were already confirmed.

Despite this cancellation, the festival curator Erwin Maas and I pledge in the coming weeks to reach out to all of our “European Month of Culture NYC” partners to share ideas and information. It is important to us that the relationships underlying our planning continue to mature, so that we can bounce back when public gatherings will be possible again.

On a very related note, I must update you on our Origin Annual Gala, which is currently scheduled for Monday May 18. At this festive event, in which we raise a significant portion of our annual budget to introduce New York audiences to new work and ideas from Europe throughout the year, our fundraising outreach will be especially meaningful, challenging and urgent.

In the coming weeks Origin’s development and marketing teams will be tasked with developing innovative ways to support our mandate to further trans-Atlantic artistic and cultural bonds, possibly factoring in the very real possibility that we will not be able to host the gala in person.

SO PLEASE PLACE MAY 18 ON YOUR CALENDARS AND EXPECT UPDATES ON OUR PLANNING AND WHAT TO EXPECT.

Knowing how quickly Europe’s response to Coronavirus anticipated what Americans are now going through, is showing us how our mutual respect and connection can shape how we look at things, and also, in the case of Covid 19, how we respond to tragedy.  Today especially we see this relationship — one that has endured for generations since America’s earliest days – in an entirely new light.

With deep respect and appreciation for all of our many partners, funders, artists and avid audience members, I am most loyally yours,

George C. Heslin
Artistic Director