The prototype for the Global Arts Corps is the original theatre production Truth in Translation. This award-winning show began as collaboration between an exceptional company of South African actors and musicians, an American director, contributing writers from both countries and a legendary South African musician/composer.
The Truth in Translation Project brought to light stories of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission as told from the point of view of the Commission’s young interpreters. Performing in South Africa and on tour to other post-conflict areas around the world, the production posed the question that Nelson Mandela asked of his own country: “Can we forgive the past to survive the future?” In every country where it played – in response to the stage production and workshops that followed – audiences expressed the desire to tell their own stories, using their own local humor and music. It is this reaction that inspired the creation of the Global Arts Corps.
After seeing a performance of Truth in Translation in Kigali, Rwanda, Lauren Embrey was so inspired that she suggested to Global Arts Corps’ founders, Michael and Jackie Lessac, that they bring the production to Dallas. While they had intended to only tour to post-conflict areas, Lauren convinced them that there was plenty of conflict in Dallas. This lead to the American premiere of the production at SMU’s Bob Hope Theatre in 2007, after which the cast and production traveled to Flint, MI, Colorado Springs, CO, Jackson Hole, WY, and Washington, D.C.