Flor is fifteen foot tall; she is from Sonora. Toby is fifteen foot tall; he is from Arizona. Flor and Toby are meeting for the first time this November in Nogales, where the US/Mexico border wall runs through the middle of town. Toby and Flor will transcend all kinds of boundaries and go whatever distance is necessary to unite. Let them guide you to see if it is possible to see ourselves reflected in our neighbors and let our humanity take us Beyond The Wall.
After the election, we were thinking a lot about how to connect our artistic work with the current political climate. The weekend after Trump’s inauguration, Jess took a young friend to the playground in Brooklyn, and ran into one of her Kindergarten classmates and his dad, a Latin American immigrant. As the kids ran off to play, one of them hopped over the fence around a tree and they began to play around and through it. Considering how the kids didn’t care about the differences between them, or their different cultural backgrounds, Jess wondered whether we could use giant puppets to recreate that same spirit of curiosity, turning the infamous “wall” into an object of play.
Ana jumped immediately on board, and suggested we involve the local community in the puppetry construction and performance. We hosted our first event in November of 2017, and in collaboration with community partners Stephanie Bermudez, Raul Leyva, Startup Unidos, Nogales Community Development, Colectivo Taco de Perro, and more, the project grew from one puppetry performance into a two-day binational festival including an art exhibition, a block party, and a concert. We were joined by the filmmakers from 24 Fotogramas who are making a documentary feature film about the project and the community.
We are so excited to help show the world the truth about life at the border, and the incredible community that comes together there.
Ana Diaz Barriga (Lead Artist, Producer) is an Mexican theatre artist focused on international collaborative performance and specialized in puppetry and improvisation. She has completed theatre studies in the UK, graduating in 2015 from an MA at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She has improvised in the UK, Italy and Mexico and was co-founder of the experimental theatre company, BARK, in London. Ana has performed in festivals including the Edinburgh Free Fringe (UK, 2011), Sprint Festival (UK, 2015), and the Prague Quadrennial (CZ, 2015), and has worked with companies including Marionetas de la Esquina (MX), FiguraT (MX), and Look Left Look Right (UK). She has trained in puppet manipulation and construction with PIP (CZ), Yael Rasooly (IL), Improbable (UK) and Gyre & Gymble (UK), among others. Currently she teaches acting and is a puppeteer in the play El Viaje de Ali in Mexico City.
Jess Kaufman (Lead Artist, Producer) is a theatre and performance artist with credits ranging from the Camden People’s Theatre in London (Sprint Festival, Camden Fringe Festival) to Off-Broadway in New York (Dear Edwina), to regional theatre (Arizona Broadway Theatre, Allenberry Playhouse) and US national tours. She is a founding member of Sub-Sublime, an international performance collective, and hosts a monthly artists’ salon in NYC. Current projects include a musical about an Orthodox Jewish sword-fighting teenaged girl, and a deaf-accessible play about for young children in collaboration with The Deaf & Hearing Ensemble (UK). Her writing about theatre has been published in ArtsPraxis and Theatre and Performance Design, and she co-edited a special issue of Connection Science on Embodied Cognition, Acting and Performance. BFA University of Miami, MA Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. www.jesskaufman.net
Raúl Humberto Leyva (Nogales, SON Event Leader) is a journalist born in Guaymas, Sonora with thirty years of experience, and has been a cultural promoter for twenty years. He is currently the coordinator of the Colectivo Cultural Taco de Perro, which has been promoting all kinds of arts, particularly music, urban art and visual exhibitions of all kinds at the border for the past 6 years. Additionally, he organizes a Tattoo Festival with tattoo artists from various cities in Sonora, Sinaloa, and other Mexican states.
“Wise Imagination: Mischief and Mirth at the Wall” Valerie Lee James, HuffPo Blogs, 1/12/2017.
"Expondrán Projyecto 'Más Allá del Muro' en Nogales" Francisco Espinosa, El Diario de Sonora, 21/11/2017.
[VIDEO] "Une a dos Paises Festival de las Fronteras" Azteca Sonora, 26/11/2017.
“Realizan Festival Mas Alla del Muro” Omar Chiquete, Nuevo Día, 27/11/2017, & "Invitan a Festival Binacional 'Mas Alla del Muro', en Nogales" Augustín Valle, Nuevo Día, 22/11/2017.
[VIDEO] "Jóvenes Neoyorquinos filman en Nogales parte del documental 'Más allá del muro'" Meganoticias, 24/11/2017.
[VIDEO] "Construyen títeres gigantes fronterizos Azteca Sonora" 21/11/2017.