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American Laboratory Theatre presented this powerful

International Theatre School July 29 – August 3, 2015

at the beautiful Eureka Center in Sagle, Idaho.

International performing arts directors, each renowned in their fields, used theatre as a tool, leading participants on a journey of self discovery designed to uncover the unique and captivating qualities and creativity in each individual.

American Laboratory Theatre presented this powerful International Theatre School

July 29 – August 3, 2015

at the beautiful Eureka Center in Sagle, Idaho.

International performing arts directors, each renowned in their fields, used theatre as a tool, leading participants on a journey of self discovery designed to uncover the unique and captivating qualities and creativity in each individual.

All photos by Pavel Antonov

EMERGE: Unveiling the Truth Within Us

Based upon the research, work, and principles of world-renowned directors Jerzy Grotowski, Michael Chekhov, Constantin Stanislavski, and Antonin Artaud, participants were focused in explorations of artistic transcendence, theatre anthropology, and theatre and art for social change. Concentrated studies in physical movement and conditioning, meditation, voice, song, and partnership exercises helped participants discover the essence of their being, along with their “working tools,” which include imagination, feelings, memories, and sensory skills.

"Art is a ripening, an evolution, an uplifting which enables us to emerge from darkness into a blaze of light."

-Jerzy Grotowsky

Participants were then directed by our retreat leaders in a series of individual etudes showcasing their styles and fields of expertise. Our invitation-only artist dinner offered a sneak peek performance of the week’s work before our community pop-up performances and grand-finale performance, entitled “2 to Tango,” Monday August 3, 2015 throughout Sandpoint, Idaho and concluding at the Panida Little Theater.

2015 International Theatre School Team

Visual Arts Director

Ximena Velásquez Sánchez Bogotá, Colombia

International Theatre Director

José Domingo Garzón

Bogotá, Colombia

Press Articles


Performing Arts School Moves Ahead

Instructors from Spain, Colombia and Russia Travel to Sandpoint

By David Gunter

Feature Correspondent

Bonner County Daily Bee


JULY 31, 2015, SANDPOINT, ID – It’s time for a cultural pop quiz: Name three international theater hot spots. Two obvious choices would be New York with its Broadway and London with its West End. You’re forgiven if you missed adding Sandpoint, Idaho, to that list.

For the second year in a row, Jesús Quintero, artistic director for the Hope, Idaho-based American Laboratory Theatre, is hosting artists from around the globe as part of an incremental approach to establishing Sandpoint as a Western U.S. center for the performing arts.

“These are the first steps of our dream becoming real,” said Quintero, whose involvement as an actor, director and educator has carried him to more than 10 countries on three continents. “The idea is to get the best teachers in the world to come and share their work.”

This week, those teachers are gathered with 24 participants at the Eureka Center as part of a five-day training intensive titled, “Emerge: Unveiling the Truth Within Us.” Those attending the sessions range in age from 14-65, Quintero noted, and come from a variety of artistic backgrounds.

“Some have never had any theatrical experience, all the way up to an international director who is a founding member of the national department for the arts in his country,” he said. “It’s a very big range of ages and levels.”

“At the same time, we are all equal in sharing the work,” Quintero added.

“The instructors and artists are one and the same, actually,” said Julie Berreth, producing director for American Laboratory Theatre. “It’s a huge multicultural exchange.”

One of the artist-instructors is Pavel Antonov, a Russian-American photographer whose commercial resume lists covers for Vanity Fair, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and whose celebrity portrait series includes Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Princess Caroline of Monaco. His theatrical work has placed him in the company of directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Jerzy Grotowski, and avant-garde director, Robert Wilson.

“It was my idea to make this kind of experience,” Antonov said of this week’s performing arts intensive. “To me, the idea sounded interesting because, when you get rid of your mask, you can see through you and the people you’re working with – it’s liberating.”

The photographer drew a sharp contrast between some of the contemporary theater companies plying their craft in places such as his current address in Manhattan and the “traditional” theater that he grew up with in Russia.

“On the stage you have a fake King Lear, fake chairs, a fake crown – everything is fake,” he said whipping out a smart phone to display photos he has done of international productions with spare lighting, minimal sets and small – often one-person – casts.

“It’s all inside,” Antonov said as he flipped through the images. “To me, that’s real acting. You have compassion for the person onstage. You believe their story is like yours.”

Back to his original point, he again highlighted the difference between old school staging and modern theatrical technique, arguing that the latter is rooted in a more believable presence. No matter that his camera can’t capture the lines being spoken – his photographs go beyond them to reveal the essence of the art.

“For me, theater is a visual art; the visual is more important than the words,” he said. “If you are above the reality, people will believe you. If you are mocking the reality, they will make faces and laugh.

“It’s the nature of the art – it’s a better view from up above.”

Quintero pointed out that American Laboratory Theatre’s mission is to provide that expanded view while delivering a financial shot in the arm to the community.

“Our goal is to create an economic impact,” the director said. “It happened in Ashland, Ore. They started having boxing before a Shakespeare performance, because they didn’t think anyone would come to see a Shakespeare play.”

Today the 80-year-old Oregon Shakespeare Festival attracts annual capacity crowds totaling nearly 400,000 people to Ashland during its 9-month season and generating more than $260 millsion in revenue for the state.

Antonov said he witnessed a similar transformation in New York, as the Soho District went from low-rent bohemian enclave to one of Manhattan’s toniest neighborhoods when restaurants, hotels and galleries scrambled to become part of the art scene there.

“Art moves and businesses move in behind it,” the photographer said. “I’ve seen what art brings to a community.

Quintero, whose career had included a large block of time as theatre arts director and performer with the Miami Theater Center, thinks the shift to a small town might just be the thing that makes his dream of an international performing arts school click.

The weeklong training intensive is being filmed for a documentary, which Quintero sees as a chronicle of the group’s activities and a potential catalyst for future projects.

“A lot of times, in the arts, our experiences are just experiences,” he said, adding that the documentary could serve as another step forward for growing this region’s reputation as an international meeting place for theatrical arts. “When I say we will grow, I mean in all senses – in time, in numbers and in the impact we create.”

This year, the instructors have traveled from Colombia to Spain – add Russia when you include Antonov’s home country – to take part in the Eureka Center gathering. According to Berreth, their participation adds credence to the cause.

This is our first stab at creating a performing arts school,” she said, agreeing that the documentary film will introduce a wider audience to the effort. “It’s wonderful to have people who see that vision and say, ‘I can see that here.’ It’s a huge undertaking, but I think we can do it.”

Along with the daily training sessions, the instructors and participants will share their work with the public on Monday, August 3. After visiting retirement homes in the early afternoon, they will offer “pop-up” performances around town beginning at 3:30pm on the Cedar Street Bridge, then lead a parade departing from City Beach that winds up at the Panida Little Theater for a series of videos, live performance pieces and a Q&A session with instructors starting at approximately 6pm. Information:


ALT Features Renowned Guest Instructors for Retreat

By Ben Olson

Sandpoint Reader

July 30, 2015


What do Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Kate Winslet, Robert Downey Jr. and American Laboratory Theatre have in common? Photographer Pavel Antonov.

     Russian-born Antonov is one of many special guests at this week’s international theatre project “Emerge: Unveiling the truth Within Us” held by American Laboratory Theatre (ALT).

     “This project is a huge stepping stone in our vision to make Sandpoint a performing arts hub in the west,” said Julie Berreth, Directing Producer for ALT.

     Berreth and ALT Artistic Director Jesús Quintero have invested a lot of passion and energy into the idea that Sandpoint can be more than just a small town in the mountains, but a theatrical epicenter of the west, increasing the cultural output of the town, as well as the economic impact.

     “I’ve seen it in SoHo, in Brooklyn,” Antonov. “These industrial areas where artists moved in, then businesses move in and it’s thriving.”

     Antonov is just one of many international guest lecturers who have taken part in ALT’s project, which takes place from July 29 - August 4 at the Eureka Center in Sagle.

     Born in Russia on the Volga River, Antonov’s parents moved to Kazakhstan because “it was easier to find food there,” he said.

Antonov began his odyssey as a photographer indirectly through the heavy metal band Black Sabbath.

     “We were not able to see the images of the bands we were listening to,” he said. “The government tired to track where you got them, how you paid for them.”

     Undaunted, Antonov picked up a camera and began photographing photographs of popular bands like the Beatles and Black Sabbath, just to be able to look at his favorite performers.

It was long before Antonov turned his camera to people. After moving to Moscow, he attended a theatrical performance that changed his life. He was so moved by the production, he began his long career as a theatrical photographer.

     “I’m into art that creates,” he said. “I don’t need to see on stage what I see in real life. I need it to touch my soul. Theater wakes me up spiritually.

     Over the years, Antonov’s humble beginnings ended up with some big assignments, such as shooting for Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ and Condé Nast. Some big names have appeared before his camera, such as Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder and Kate Winslet.

     “Kate Winslet as an interesting one,” said Antonov. “After ‘Titanic,’ she hated photographers deeply. When I met up with her, she said ‘You have three clicks for my photo,’ and I could read in her eyes that she hated my profession.

     “It’s all about demasking the people to photograph them,” continued Antonov. “You need to provoke people to get a real reaction.”

     In regards to the five-day retreat, Berreth couldn’t have said it better herself.

     “We want to strip away the mask,” she said. “To unveil the truth in everyone. There is a term called taksu, which means to transcend oneself. To strip away all the masks and find the core of you.”

     Along with Antonov, “Emerge” will have a host of guest directors and instructors, including Jesús Quintero, cinematographer José Domingo Garzón from Colombia, visual designer Ximena Velásquez Sánchez from Colombia, physical movement instructor Alejandra Guarin Gutierrez from Colombia, and director Fernando Angel Llera Rodríguez from Spain.

     Each of the participants will bring their own materials to the retreat, where Jesús and other instructors will guide their output into an emotional performance not only for the performer, but for the audience, too.

     “When you are teaching others, you are actually teaching yourself more,” said Antonov. “The more you give, the more you receive. I’m thankful to those people who taught me. I owe them. I can’t share it with them, but I can share it with others.”

     “After five days of preparation, the attendees of the retreat will emerge into Sandpoint on Monday, August 3 and hold “pop-up” performances aroudn town starting at 3:30pm at retirement homes, Jeff Jones Town Square, the City Beach, and culminating at the Little Panida Theater for a free show at 6:30pm.

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