Theatrical Interventions: Kyoung H. Park

Posted in: Book Reviews, Events, Peace Through Art, Resources
Kyoung H. Park, founder of the peace making theater Kyoung's Pacific Beat

Photo by @andytoad

Kyoung H. Park founded Kyoung’s Pacific Beat (KPB), a peacemaking theater company, in 2011. The mission of the Brooklyn based company is to encourage a culture of peace through the production of new theater works. His most recent work is Pillowtalk, which was recently performed at The Tank in Manhattan, as part of The Exponential Festival.

Kyoung Park can be described as global citizen as he has been fortunate to view the world through the lens of several cultures and communities. Born in Chile to Korean parents, he grew up speaking Korean at home, English at the private school he attended, and Spanish “everywhere else.” After graduating from New York University, he lived in Korea from 2005 to 2009, before returning to New York to study at Columbia University.

While he was in Korea, Kyoung attended The Graduate Institute of Peace Studies at Kyung Hee University. Kyung Hee University was established in 1984 to “train potential world leaders to possess a vision of a new global civil society, who are committed to the promotion of peace and human welfare.” Their motto
is “A Civilized World” and the underlying principles of their work is to create a “global society in which humanity transcends racial, national, ethno-cultural, religious, ideological, and socio-economic barriers to peacefully coexist and prosper.”

After 9/11, Kyoung discovered his writing voice and his work is based on the question: “why write plays in times of war?” He began working on projects that developed from the idea that political change can be encouraged through non-violence. He was interested in identifying issues and writing about them as a form of non-violent protest.
In his words: “In America, it is difficult to accept that we have a violent culture. I have been influenced by the work of Gene Sharp, a great thinker of how we can couple political action with non-violence. There are great examples from the American civil rights movements that have created change without violence. We must understand how these movements work.”

Kyoung’s current work is thinking critically about the needs of queer communities of color, through the story of an interracial marriage between an African-American and Asian-American man. He’s creating role models on-stage for relationships and conversations that do not exist in our culture, while digging deeper into how marriage equality can transform the social institution of marriage through a queer lens. What is the difference between love and marriage? How can queer perspectives on sexual orientation, gender, and the intersections of sexuality and race, address systemic cultural violence? What is the human experience of these embodied politics, and the spiritual and material dimensions of love?

Kyoung Park recognizes that we will not live in a culture of peace until more leaders understand the necessity of creating dialogues within communities, within the plurality of society which requires us to find commonalities and a greater understanding of what peace means in America.

WOVEN has supported the work of Kyoung Park.




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