THE HINTERLANDS create theatrical performances that are both highly irrational and deeply American, diving into the dark heart of American popular entertainment to unlock the cultural memories held in our bodies and collective histories. Formed in 2009 by Richard Newman and Liza Bielby, the Detroit-based company has create a range of work from psychedelic Wild West shows to immersive documentary film to sub-cultural Vaudeville evenings seen at the Shanghai Biennale, the Berlinale, Alverno Presents, Legion Arts, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Charlestown Working Theater, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit among others. The Hinterlands most recent piece, The Radicalization Process, was described in Hyperallergic by critic Rosie Sharpe as “…an absolutely original and radical performance – one that questions the structure and limits of theater as much as it brings to light the politics that have shaped and damaged modern-day society.” In addition to their own performance work, The Hinterlands are artists-in-residents and program curators of Play House, a Detroit neighborhood-based performance space that they manage in collaboration with Power House Productions, and also curated and organized The Porous Borders Festival, a two-day festival exploring the municipal and cultural borders along the Hamtramck/Detroit divide. The Hinterlands have conducted multiple international collaborations including The Breaking Bread Performance Project in Kosovo and numerous exchanges with Chinese performance artists in Chengdu, Shanghai, Zigong, and Beijing.

Liza Bielby – Co-Director, The Hinterlands – works in the space between hyper-local and global cultural expression. She worked for four years as the only non-Chinese national studying and performing chuanju (“Sichuan opera”) and has adapted the physical philosophy of the discipline to explore distinctly American expression and archetypes through her performances with The Hinterlands. In addition to translating over eight full-length xiqu (“Chinese opera”) works, Liza has led numerous performance collaborations in China and Europe, and served as the assistant to the xiqu (“Chinese opera”) curator Tian Mansha for Berlin’s House of World Cultures 2006 China: Zwischen Vergangenheit und Zukunft program.

Richard Newman – Co-director, The Hinterlands – was an ensemble member of Double Edge Theatre from 2004-2008 where he co-created numerous performances including Republic of Dreams and the UnPOSSESSED. He was an artist in residence with The Dell’Arte Company (Blue Lake, CA) and founded the Breaking Bread Project – a multi-year collaboration between artists in the U.S. and the Balkans. He has led workshops and trainings at universities and theatres around the world and has performed abroad in China, Spain, Poland, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Canada. Richard also composes electronic music.

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