Festival: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, September 21-November 11, 2018 | Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Festival: Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, September 21-November 11, 2018

Media Kit:





30 Companies and Artists from over 20 Countries; 500+ Performing and Visual Arts Events
Never-Before-Seen in the Country, Continent, and World

PITTSBURGH, PA—Pittsburgh is famous for giving firsts to the world—including the first wire cable suspension bridge, the first movie theater, and hundreds of performing and visual arts premieres. Now, the world is about to give back in a big way as the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents its fourth and most diverse Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts—an expanded showcase of never-before-seen performing and visual arts attractions. The Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts is a project of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

“There is work produced in Pittsburgh by the local arts community that is truly international in caliber and scope,” said Kevin McMahon, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust President and CEO. “By bringing these incredible performances and exhibits from around the world and pairing them with outstanding Pittsburgh-produced arts, the Cultural Trust wants to put the spotlight on Pittsburgh as an international city and make sure it is recognized locally and by people around the globe.”

Over the course of eight weeks in the fall of 2018, Pittsburgh’s Cultural District will become a hub of United States, North American, and World Premieres. These works by renowned, globally-minded artists will feature a full range of arts disciplines—theater, dance, music, visual art, pieces that defy category—and take place in both traditional and unexpected spaces. From intimate experiences in galleries, to physically following a story as it unfolds in an historic church, to mind-blowing outdoor light shows, to a circus arts spectacle in the region’s largest theater, each piece will challenge, excite, entertain, question, and leave audiences seeing the world in a new way.

The companies and artists hail from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Haiti; Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom; China, South Korea, Thailand; Nigeria, South Africa; India; Israel; New Zealand; Canada; and the United States. Continuing Pittsburgh’s long-standing history of artistic, technologically innovative, creative, and groundbreaking ‘firsts,’ this year’s Festival features more locally-based premieres and collaborative works by Pittsburgh presenting arts organizations, including Quantum Theatre and Bricolage Production Company, to name a few.

The curatorial team behind the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts has traveled the globe to bring the greatest and grandest of new works to the city of Pittsburgh.

Scott Shiller, who joined the Cultural Trust in 2016, has been a driving force behind widening the Festival’s reach. He says, “Our goal with this edition of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts is to reflect the world through these unique artist’s voices, and we are honored to present their extraordinary works as part of the Cultural Trust’s breadth of programming.”

Quantum Theatre’s Artistic Director Karla Boos joins the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust team as Guest Curator for the Festival. Since founding Quantum Theatre in 1990, Karla’s work has been featured in American Theatre Magazine and has won Pittsburgh Magazine’s Harry Schwalb Excellence in the Arts Award. Karla Boos speaks to the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts’ theme by saying, “Artists all over the world are actively expressing their citizenship in a borderless ‘country’ of the mind and spirit—one that transcends national boundaries and resists xenophobia. Their works address their concerns head-on, but often in unexpected ways, expressing resistance to bleak political or social climates with startling beauty.”

Visual Arts Curator Murray Horne has been a part of all four Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. Horne notes, “Since the last Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts, our team has learned that artists in the U.S. are working with global partners on the cutting edge of the visual and performing arts, and we are excited to explore these intersections over the course of this international survey.”

Additional Festival programming team members include: Terri Bell, Vice President, Strategic Partnership and Community Engagement; Tracy L. Edmunds, Vice President, Arts Education; Pamela Komar, Director of Theater, Music, and Youth Programming; Randal Miller, Director of Dance Programming and Special Projects; Sarah Aziz, Director of Festival Management; Kelsey Ford, Programming Manager; Aaron Rodden, Programming Manager; Sarah Gilmer, Program Manager; Seth Laidlaw, Program Manager; Susan Sternberger, Theater Services Director; and Janis Burley Wilson, President and CEO of the August Wilson Center.

Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts programming highlights to date can be found at the end of this release, and TrustArts.org/Firsts will be updated as more programming is announced. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 412-456-6666, and at the Box Office at Theater Square (655 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222).

Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts is supported by the FACE Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and The Opportunity Fund.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts-lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation, and creativity.  Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.

TrustArts.org | Facebook: Cultural Trust | Instagram: CulturalTrust | Twitter: @CulturalTrust

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Programming Announced as of May 22, 2018 

VISUAL ART – Free and Open to the Public

NONOTAK | Noemi Schipfer, Takami Nakamoto | France | World & U.S. Premiere
Wood Street Galleries

Machine Culture | International Representation | World Premiere

Beyond | Playmodes Studio | Spain | U.S. Premiere
EQT Plaza (free; timed-ticketed entry)

50 Cities-50 Traces | International Art & Peace Project (2018-2020) | World Premiere
937 Liberty

Flying Girls | Peju Alatise | Nigeria | North American Premiere
August Wilson Center

Keny Marshall | United States-Pittsburgh | World Premiere
707 Penn Avenue

THEATER – Ticketed Programming 

Karoo Moose – No Fathers | Baxter Theatre Center | South Africa | U.S. Premiere
Trust Arts Education Center 

Blind Cinema | Britt Hatzius | United Kingdom, Belgium | Regional Premiere (Co-presented: 2018 Multiple Choice Events) Harris Theater 

Chatterton | Quantum Theatre | United States-Pittsburgh | World Premiere
Trinity Cathedral 

Gab Squad | from the Josh and Gab Show | United States-Pittsburgh | World Premiere
Trust Arts Education Center 

Hans Christian, You Must Be An Angel | Teatre Gruppe 38 | Denmark | Regional Premiere (Co-presented: 2018-19 EQT Bridge Theater Series)
Trust Arts Education Center, Peirce Studio

In the Tunnel | Gesher Theater | Israel | North American Premiere(Co-presented: 2018-19 Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents)
August Wilson Center 

Joan Didion’s The White Album | a project by Lars Jan / Early Morning Opera, co-commissioned by Center Theatre Group and BAM | United States | World Premiere
August Wilson Center 

Midnight Radio presents Larger Than Life: Frankenstein & Karate Man Patrick Kim Bricolage Production Company & Hanut31 Theater & Gallery | United States-Pittsburgh, Israel | World Premiere
937 Liberty Avenue 

Mrs. Krishnan’s Party | Indian Ink Theatre Company | India, New Zealand | North American Premiere
Trust Arts Education Center, 4th Floor

PHYSICAL THEATER – Ticketed Programming 

HOTEL | Cirque Éloize | Canada | World Premiere (Co-presented: 2018-19 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh)
Benedum Center

99 – La Morgue | by Ramón Griffero | Chile | American Premiere
August Wilson Center

ESPÆCE | A piece by Aurélien Bory and Compagnie 111 | France | Regional Premiere
August Wilson Center 

MUSIC – Ticketed Programming 

Eva Noblezada | United Kingdom | Regional Premiere (Co-presented: 2018-19 TRUST Cabaret Series)
Cabaret at Theater Square

Tago | Kook Soo Ho, Angella Kwon, Kim Euik Hyoen | South Korea | U.S. Premiere (Co-presented: 2018-19 Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents) Byham Theater

DANCE – Ticketed Programming

Cri des Nago | Ayikodans, founder Jeanguy Saintus | Haiti | U.S. Premiere August Wilson Center 

Cão sem Plumas | Deborah Colker Dance | Brazil | U.S. Premiere Byham Theater 

Moon Opera | Yabin | China | North American Premiere (Co-presented: 2018-19 Pittsburgh Dance Council) Byham Theater 

More events to be added. For the most current listings, visit: TrustArts.org/Firsts. 



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