Bond Street Theatre is one of the pioneer arts groups in Noho, settling into a loft at 2 Bond Street in 1976! In its earliest days, the company performed at LaMama as its home base, and in parks around NYC with political, satirical, musical theatre productions. The company still maintains its socio-political focus but works in conflict zones globally, with projects in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Guatemala, Haiti, Lebanon, and other areas.
The company’s programming addresses human rights issues, inspires and educates youth, heals communities affected by conflict, amplifies the voices of marginalized populations, highlights women’s rights, and promotes the value of the arts in shaping a peaceful future.
BST has created innovative arts-based programs in over 40 countries worldwide, working on a peer-to-peer basis with international arts, advocacy, CSO, and government partners, and populations in refugee camps, schools, shelters, prisons, rural villages and urban centers, through workshops, trainings, and community-devised mobile theatre performances.
BST has been active in Afghanistan for over 14 years, working with children, youth, women, and other groups. The company has done much to restore the performing arts in Afghanistan, and created four all-women’s theatre troupes — a first since Talban rule — that perform solely for women. The groups continue to travel across the country, reaching women and girls who are isolated by tradition, location or incarceration. In 2013, BST partnered with the US Institute of Peace to tour voter education shows across the country, reaching over 150,000 Afghans with interactive performances and mock elections.
Recently, the company trained 400+ youth from across 25 Afghan provinces in arts-based leadership, and created a cohort of young leaders dedicated to implementing change in their communities. One participant described their experience working with BST saying, “Here we learned that it’s not always about winning and losing…if we want to bring peace, we must never think of beating the other person.” This Afghanistan, full of youth dedicated to effecting change, is certainly not the Afghanistan you see on the news!
BST also maintains active programming in Myanmar, a newly democratizing nation where legal artistic expression is still evolving. This August, BST is launching a new theatre program for refugees and migrant workers in Malaysia, a country not often in the news, but a haven to refugees from Somalia, Myanmar, Syria, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and elsewhere.
In the US, the company runs a thriving Young Audiences Program that includes acrobatic and physical theatre workshops, and original shows including, Amelia and her Paper Tigers, about Amelia Earhart that tours to schools across the city.
Visit BST online at bondst.org to learn more, feel free to sign up for their newsletters (they promise not to clog your inbox), and donate if you like what you see.