|Chandler Williams (George) and Kevin Spacey (Richard III) in the Bridge Project production of Richard III. |
BAM 2012 Winter/Spring. Photo: Joan Marcus
BAM has long been sought out by audiences from the metropolitan area and beyond as a destination for exotic fare not likely to be seen elsewhere in New York City. In any given season, one might witness dance from Madagascar, Swedish-language drama, film from Yugoslavia, and more. However, there is an important aspect of BAM that is little known to the public, but which is changing the way BAM does business and the way in which the world views this venerable institution. Whereas BAM is well-known at home and abroad as a leading presenter of contemporary international performing arts, it has also more aggressively begun to produce theatrical and other events for its own stages and for export to venues overseas. BAM has bundled all this activity under the moniker of Global BAM to provide it with an easily understood identity that encompasses the broad nature of its potential.
Perhaps the best-known example of this new phenomenon came about in 2008 with the inaugural co-productions of the three-year Bridge Project with London’s Old Vic and Neal Street, which brought Shakespeare and classical theater to audiences not only in London and New York, but also in such far-flung locales as Paris, Beijing, Madrid, Istanbul, Moscow, and Epidaurus, Greece. In keeping with the goals of the collaboration, each of the productions contained an equal complement of American and British actors. The reader may recall the culminating production of Richard III directed by Sam Mendes and starring Kevin Spacey, which played in Brooklyn in the winter of 2012, and which in part inspired Spacey's ravenous character in House of Cards.