International Culture Lab and Coney Island USA (CIUSA) are soliciting butoh performers and other dancers, performance artists, actors, musicians, visual artists, etc. (incl. art-, music- & dance therapists) to join our ensemble in devising an immersive theatre production exploring the ways in which art can lead to liberation from conventions and mental/behavioral oppression.

Set in a brothel, Jean Genet's play The Balcony explores themes related to power, identity, and illusion... functioning as a metaphor for the theatrical nature of politics and the masks people wear in society. Characters assume various roles and personas, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.

Artist as "escort." (Audience as patrons, consumers, voyeurs, speculators on art$value...)

The nature of this "art brothel" will be defined through ensemble workshops. Visual artists in collaboration with performers will fabricate installation/performance/ritual sites throughout the entire CIUSA facility (sideshow stage, Freak Bar, museum, Annex), including the interior and exterior passageways between these sites.  

Artists/performers will escort the audience -- individually and collectively -- through an immersive theatre experience. Exit through the Gift Shop of Solicitations.

To inspire an ethical approach to art making, artists will choose their materials from available upcycled stock, as well as scheduled trips to Materials for the Arts.

If this collaboration is of interest, please send a short cover letter -- with links to previous work -- explaining why The Balcony Project speaks to you to info@intlculturelab.org, Subject: THE BALCONY

Application due date: December 15
You will be notified by December 22
Ensemble collaboration begin (via live workshops and zoom): January 2
Production dates: Fri-Sun, March 15, 16, & 17, 2024

For questions: info@intlculturelab.org / Subject: THE BALCONY


THE HISTORY OF CONEY ISLAND RITUAL CABARET, now in its seventh year, is informed by dancer/choreographer Tatsumi Hijikata who co-originated butoh in 1960s Japan in an effort to defy and subvert authority, including conventional notions of dance, thereby seeking transformation -- on the personal, societal and human level. Hijikata embraced the zeitgeist of Tokyo's underground and the Europe-influenced avant-garde arts scene comprised of neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, German Expressionism, Surrealism, and Existentialism. During the day, he trained his dancers by inventing body rituals towards a revolutionary dance form. At night the group then experimented with bringing their exploration into the competitive marketplace of cabaret/burlesque. Inspired by this historical reference, in 2016 ICL founded a butoh-, theatre- and performing-arts festival at Coney Island USA. After three years of directing ensemble workshops and performances for the Festival, Mexico-based Diego Piñón (of Body Ritual Movement) coined the term Ritual Cabaret for work that sought to marry ritualistic physical theater with cabaret, burlesque and sideshow on the CIUSA stage.