NET/TEN Shareback: Touchstone Theatre - Takeaways for Multifaceted International Partnerships

Spring 2015 Travel Grant Recipient

Touchstone Theatre (Bethlehem, PA) hosted Teatro Potlach (Fara Sabina, Italy) for a week-long intensive of pedagogical exchange and process sharing. Topics explored included actor training, modern approaches to Grotowski’s teachings, and comparative analysis of each theatre’s community-based work. Touchstone and Potlach began laying the groundwork for a future international collaboration.


Touchstone Theatre provided NET with a video summarizing their activities, a document offering reflection on their schedule, process and itinerary, and a list of key takeaways for international multifaceted partnerships.

Reflections on Schedule, Process, and Itinerary

Click the image to download as a PDF

Takeaways For International Multifaceted Partnerships

• When exploring VISA options, see if you qualify for the VISA Waiver Program (VWP); it may save you a ton of money. Link to more details here.

• When talking numbers with international artists, always be clear which currency you are using and write the numbers down to avoid any misunderstanding.

• Stay flexible with start times (jetlag, cultural differences, etc.) and build in soft start times and/or a communication chain for updating the group on the actual start time.

• This process of understanding the theory before going into the practice worked well for us when preparing to learn with Potlach: read the book/research, try exercises on your own, then work directly with the instructing artists.

• Approach new training openly, but resist the temptation to receive it as an absolute dogma; remain fluid and use it to hybridize your own pedagogy.

• Make sure to take time for mutual exchange, despite the possible overpowering rigor of one partner’s approach or the trainer/trainee dynamic.

• It can be taxing to host artists in your home (and your theatre at the same time), but there’s no better way to get to know a company and form an intimate bond.

• Medical issues can arise; explore, at least briefly, how you might deal with them ahead of time.

• With “home field” advantage, know that hosting may include help with translating across the board, i.e. from restaurants to the US Embassy.


The Touchstone and Teatro Potlatch companies pose together on Touchstone’s stage after the final performance of Potlatch’s “The First 100 Years of Edith Piaf”.

On the left, Nathalie Mentha (center) works with the Touchstone Ensemble and on the right, Pino Di Buduo works one-on-one with Emma Chong.


Touchstone and Potlach visit the grounds of the former Bethlehem Steel, dreaming up ways to perform in this space.


Potlach Invisible Cities:!citta-invisibili/c1hkm
Touchstone Facebook page for images:


Touchstone Theatre
321 East Fourth Street
Bethlehem, Pa 18015

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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