Revolutions International Theatre Festival Turns 20

Tricklock — a local theatre company with an international reputation for presenting and producing original works for the stage launches the 20th Annual Revolutions International Theatre Festival, Spring 2020. Throughout the month of March, Revolutions turns the city of Albuquerque into an international destination for theater.

In celebration of their 20th year, organizers are bringing back a few favorite artists, while introducing audiences to brand new works from the world of circus, dance, performance art, bouffon, clown, punk political theater, and more.

Lineup of events

The interview that follows originally appeared in the Downtown Arts & Cultural District’s March Newsletter. Visit their website & sign up for their newsletter at this link.

This year marks Tricklock Company’s 20th for their International Theatre Festival: Revolutions. Expect new faces, returning faces and more performances and events than ever. We were able to chat with Juli Hendren, Executive Director of Tricklock and Curator of Revolutions, about the upcoming festival.

Congratulations on twenty years! Can you give us a little history as to how it got started and how it’s grown into what it is today?

We started in 2001 with three companies in the festivals (one of them us!) We were inspired by our own early touring and training which took us outside of New Mexico. We were seeing such interesting and diverse theatre, both in style and in content. We wanted to bring that work back to Albuquerque to share with our community. We adore Albuquerque and it is a huge part of who Tricklock is, the work we create. Over the past 20 years we have produced 34 countries, from South Africa to Palestine, Russia to Ireland, Thailand to Australia, Canada to Chile. 500 performances, 200 workshops, 4,000 artists featured, including 1,000 local artists both on and off stage, 50 world premieres, producing new work and new international collaborations, over 40,000 people engaged, as audience members, workshop students, and in gatherings at conferences and outreach events. This year we have 10 countries, over 50 events, and over 100 artists involved.

Photo: Ifrah Mansour (Somalia & USA)

This is a huge international festival! What goes into planning something like this? How far in advance do you begin?

This year is especially huge! I work year round on the festival and key staff works on it for about 6 months. Our full staff comes on for 2-3 months. There are so many moving parts. A huge part of my job is finding the funding, which I’ll be doing even throughout the festival!

Photo: Bert & Nasi (UK)

You’re also keeping it local with your events and some performances. How has this festival helped get the word out on New Mexico art performance? Where has it taken Tricklock outside of NM?

We have some awesome local shows this year including AirDance New Mexico and Two Worlds Theatre. We also have The Reptilian Lounge every Saturday at 10pm which features local artists. That is a favorite event for our visiting artists. They get to see the amazing talent in Albuquerque. They love it! One of the perks of being the Curator of this festival is that I get invited to other festivals around the world. I also attend and speak at several national theatre conferences around the United States every year. Most everywhere I go, theatre people have heard of Revolutions. It is sometimes the only thing they know about New Mexico (besides Breaking Bad, haha!). Last year someone heard I was from Albuquerque, but hadn’t heard my name or affiliation, and they asked if I knew Revolutions! I feel like Albuquerque is such a festival city. The Balloon Fiesta, Globalquerque, Fiery Foods- give Albuquerque folks a long party where we share culture, food, and connection and we are in!

There have been so many connections made in this festival. Visiting artists have hired our staff for other shows and festivals, people have made life long friendships across nations, local artists here learned techniques from workshops that they implement into their work. It’s more than just an arts festival. It is a festival about humanity. The vehicle for that is the performing arts, but what we are experiencing is so much more.

Photo: AirDance (New Mexico)

Do you have a performance or two that you’re particularly excited about?

That is such a hard question to answer! I know it’s cliche but I love them all. Truly. However, here are three.

And Then… by Ndere Troupe from Uganda. Ndere is a remarkable organization based in Kampala with a focus on indigenous dance and music. They are bringing these dances back to the people after years of unbelievable damage from colonization. Their mission is truly one of love and connection. I have had an ongoing relationship with them for the past 7 years and they have really changed my life. Their generosity and clarity around the human connection is powerful.

Photo: Ndere (Uganda)

Drink Rum With ExPats by Sh!t Theatre from the UK. I saw this show in August at the Edinburgh Fringe. Even though the festival was already booked and I wasn’t sure how we could bring them, I messaged them and asked them out for a beer. Becca and Louise were commissioned to make a show to be performed, just once, in a pub in Malta. However, while they were there they discovered a story about immigration, corruption, and murder. The show is a true story about that. They are hilarious, brilliant, talented, sharp young women. This show is what live, original theatre is all about. I loved this show.

An Evening with an Immigrant by Inua Ellams who is originally from Nigeria and now lives in London. Inua is an incredible poet and playwright and this is his true story of immigrating from Nigeria to the UK. Inua is funny, charming, bright, and warm and his story is inspiring and heartbreaking. This is a perfect show for people who don’t know much about immigration or refugees beyond what they see in the news. This is a first hand account of one man’s process. I learned so much from this show. It is truly riveting.

For all of the details on the festival and to purchase tickets or passports visit Tricklock’s website. As you read, Juli is looking for funding even during the festival. To support the company click the support button. Donations also help support the visiting artists traveling to Albuquerque for the festival.

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