Established in 1973, The Wilma Theater presents bold, original, well-crafted productions that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and styles. In 2011, former artistic director Blanka Zizka founded the Wilma HotHouse Company as an incubator for artistic experimentation and a way to create long-term relationships and collaborations with local Philadelphia artists from diverse backgrounds. Beginning in 2020, the company established a new leadership structure with artists sharing artistic leadership in a cohort format.
The Wilma Theater will present There, an adaptation of Lebanese American poet, essayist, and painter Etel Adnan’s book-length poem There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other. Adnan described her existential 1997 poem as a “meditation on conflict.” The Wilma’s interpretation will mine the poem’s themes of personal and community identity, displacement, and political dissonance, and invite audiences to share in what Wilma artistic director Blanka Zizka describes as “a communal contemplation of our existence.” Under Zizka’s direction, the work will be devised and performed by members of the Wilma’s HotHouse Company of actors, as they explore how the body interacts with language and the interplay of meaning and sound. There will feature an elaborate visual environment designed by Berlin-based visual artist Rosa Barba, whose work has been exhibited at Tate Modern, London; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; and the Venice and Berlin Biennales; among others. The work will premiere as part of the 2019 Fringe Festival.
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.