In the 2005/06 Season, New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) launched the pilot year of Suspects Abroad, its cultural exchange initiative. This program supports distinctive opportunities for NYTW's community of artists, the Usual Suspects to travel with small groups of their colleagues to destinations around the world, providing a total immersion experience of some of the world's most vibrant contemporary theatre in a range of cultural contexts. The Suspects Abroad's pilot year 2005 began with an inaugural trip to the Theatretreffin in Berlin, Germany in May, with a group of five NYTW associates.

The Suspects Abroad program is deeply rooted in NYTW's mission of supporting the work of theatre artists and encouraging their artistic growth through engagement in a diverse range of activities. The Usual Suspects are an especially vital part of this endeavor. The Workshop relies on the multiplicity of ideas, talents, and projects generated from these activities to inform its vision, while looking to this broad network of artists to share the Workshop's philosophy as they go forth and work in other theatrical environments throughout the country and around the globe.

The Suspects Abroad program was designed to lift the activities of the Suspects to provide an infusion of new theatrical ideas and perspectives into American theatre. It seeks to open up opportunities for new, unforeseen, and enriching dimensions of artistic growth. Much in the same way that a 1995 trip to Amsterdam and Antwerp by Artistic Director James Nicola became the impetus for five critically acclaimed NYTW productions staged by Dutch director Ivo van Hove, Suspects Abroad is intended to establish a new context for artistic discovery that has the potential to profoundly impact American theatre.

In October 2005, a group of 18 took the Workshop’s second Suspects Abroad trip to the Dialog Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. In April 2006, nine NYTW associates attended the Golden Mask Festival in Moscow, Russia. In October 2006, nine Suspects traveled to Budapest, Hungary, in conjunction with the Hungarian Theater Museum and Institute. Most recently, in March 2007, nine NYTW associates traveled to the Baltic region to see works in St. Petersburg, Russia, Riga, Latvia, and Vilnius, Lithuania.

NYTW’s Suspects Abroad program creates unique and much needed opportunities for American theatre artists to engage on multiple levels with international theatre artists and companies. These experiences create a wealth of opportunities and augment the enrichment of NYTW’s artistic life and the wider American theatre community. With the urgent need for American artists and companies to reach out across cultural boundaries, there is a tremendous window of opportunity for Suspects Abroad to make a real and lasting impact. NYTW looks forward to continuing to take the lead in connecting the American theatre community with a world of new opportunities.

Special thanks to the Trust for Mutual Understanding for its support of NYTW’s Suspects Abroad program.

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