Lost and Found: Finding Refuge in Pittsburgh

June 28, 2014 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Alphabet City™ Tent
318 Sampsonia Way
Pittsburgh,PA 15212
Monica Harold412-323-0278E-mailEvent website

Two FREE performances: June 28 & 29, 2014. RESERVE YOUR CHOICE

You are invited to the world premiere of Lost and Found: Finding Refuge in Pittsburgh a FUN and FREE evening on Pittsburgh’s Northside.

Lost and Found: Finding Refuge in Pittsburgh is a 4-part play with music featuring the Allstar Refugee Band and Archa Theater, from Prague, performing with local actors, refugees, singers and musicians…and many of our neighbors. It is based on the stories of refugees who found a new home in Pittsburgh when they fled war-torn countries like Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bhutan.

The evening starts at 6PM at the Alphabet City™ Tent at 318 Sampsonia Way, Northside. Gates open at 5 PM. You will be led to four nearby locations, seeing a short performance at each one. The evening continues with a parade back to the Alphabet City™ Tent at 318 Sampsonia Way and a concert by the Allstar Refugee Band at 8:30PM. The evening is appropriate for all ages!

The Allstar Refugee Band and Archa Theater’s community-based artist residency is underwritten in part thanks to generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace America.



Featured Refugee Stories

Menuka Bhattarai
Menuka is from Nepal. She fell in love with a Bhutanese man who was living in a refugee camp. After they were married she voluntarily spent 17 years with him in the camp. Even marriage didn’t help her husband and daughter to obtain Nepalese citizenship. They only recently arrived in Pittsburgh, and while Menuka doesn’t speak English, her expressiveness is remarkable.

Mazen Al Qatia
Mazen is from Iraq. His opposition to Sadam Hussein caused him to leave the country in 1996. Because he is a highly-trained mechanical engineer, he was able to find employment in many countries. In 2003, he returned to Iraq where he helped rebuild hospitals and improve water treatment facilities. After he was threatened and attacked he left Iraq for the second time.

Lina and Manuel Kateng
Lina and Manuel are Congolese. Lina’s grandparents came from Rwanda, and she was persecuted in Congo for her ethnicity. Her journey through many African countries ended in a Namibian refugee camp. Manuel, who had to flee from Angola, was a teacher in the camp’s school, where they first met.

Dahdi Ram Chhetri
Dahdi is from South Bhutan. In 1992 he hastily fled his home when police found a document proving that he supported the opposition party. He and his family ended up in a refugee camp in Nepal, where he witnessed a miracle, converted to Christianity, and became a pastor. After 20 years in the camp, Dahdi applied for resettlement to the United States.

Allstar Refugee Band and Archa Theater Performers

Jana Svobodová
Jana Svobodová is a theater director and a graduate of the puppetry department of the DAMU in Prague. In 1992 she underwent dance training under Min Tanaka in Japan. In 1988 and from 1994 -95 she worked with Peter Schumann and the Bread and Puppet Theatre. In her directorial work she focuses on projects that feature cooperation between professional artists and representatives of specific social groups. From 1997-2004 she worked with Petr Nikl and South African artists and from 2003-2007 she created performances with leading figures on the hip-hop scene: Chat (2003), SenAnderSen (2006). With Ondřej Hrab she is the creator of the concept of ‘scientific theater’: Misunderstanding ’68 (2008), Window of Opportunity (2009). Since 2004 she has created social-theater projects with immigrants and asylum seekers: At 11:20 I‘ll Leave You! (2005), The Strange Neighbour (2006), Dance Through the Fence (2008). In 2008, with musician Micheal Romanyshyn, she founded the Allstar Refjúdží Band, in which she plays the saxophone. Jana is the head of the Archa Theatre‘s training program, the Archa Lab. Her theater productions have been presented at many international festivals around the world.

Michael Romanyshyn
Michael Romanyshyn is a composer, musician, puppeteer and theater director. Much of his life has been devoted to working with students, subsistence farmers, prisoners, refugees and communities in the United States, Europe and Latin America. He was a member of the Bread and Puppet Theater from 1975 until 1992. A major organizer of the company’s Domestic Resurrection Circus, he was also a musician, puppeteer and touring company director. He has been an IREX fellow in Russia and an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Puerto Rico, New York City prisons and schools, Seeds of Peace and Alaska schools. From 1992 to 1996 he was director of the Monte Verde Cultural Exchange, working primarily in Central America with rural music groups with the organization MECATE. In 1996, he founded Los Kabayitos Puppet Theater in New York City and was director until 1999. From 2008 – 2012 He was a member of the Honk! Festival Committee and the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band in Somerville, Massachusetts. He is currently Director of the Temple Stream Theater, which he founded in 1999 in Temple, Maine, and Musical Director of the Allstar Refjudzi Band in Prague. He lives in Temple with his wife and two sons.

Jing Lu
Jing Lu was born in Wuhan, China and since 1997 has lived in Prague. Since 2001 she has appeared in projects by the Archa Theatre such as Questioning Heaven in Despair (directed by J.A. Pitínský, 2003). She has worked with Jana Svobodová as an actress and singer since 2004 performing in The KarMa Tearoom, Spiritual Horror (2004), At 11:20 I‘ll Leave You! (2005), SenAnderSen (2006), The Strange Neighbour (2006), Misunderstanding ’68 (2008), Dance Through the Fence (2008) and Jesters, Spies and Presidents (2010). She has taken part in works by Dutch dancer Frank van de Ven and performed under his supervision in the production of Cat in a Bag (2007). She is a member of the Chinorodí group (Chinese traditional play Summer Snow). As a singer she has worked with the band Autopilot, with beatboxer Cossiga and the cabaret Červená Fedma. In addition to theater activities, she also works as a translator, interpreter, Chinese language teacher and language editor of the magazine Umělec (Artist). She is also active in the area of multicultural issues. She was the face of a government campaign Together Against Racism and lectures on the topic of the lives of foreigners in the Czech Republic and Chinese culture. Writer Pavla Frýdlová wrote her life story in the 2009 book Ženy odjinud (Women from Elsewhere). Jing Lu is a singer for the Allstar Refjúdží Band.

Gugar Manukjan
Gugar Manukjan was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. In 1983 he took up piano at the Arts University in Tbilisi and in 1988 he started learning to cut hair. He enthusiastically pursues both of these activities to this day. Since the age of 17 he has also raised pigeons and later love birds and canaries. He left Georgia together with his family in January 2002. In 2004 he met director Jana Svobodová during a creative workshop by the Archa Theatre and Dutch group Dogtroep in the refugee camp in Červený Újezd. Since 2005 he has regularly worked with Jana Svobodová. The projects Putování za snem (2005, refugee camp Červený Újezd) and At 11:20 I Will Leave You! (2005, refugee camp Bělá pod Bezdězem) also featured his sons Vazgen, Eduard and Tygran. The project Strange Neighbour (2006, Danube House, Prague-Karlín) was created on the basis of Gugar’s personal story, and he played the main role. He has been a member of the Allstar Refjúdží Band since 2008 and has performed in Dance Through the Fence. He currently lives with his family in Prague-Liben. He and his family have permanent residence in the Czech Republic.

Philipp Schenker
Philipp graduated in graphic design from the Art School, Zurich. After his studies, he worked as an actor and co-creator in projects by the Kulee. V., Berlin and other student projects at the Object-Theatre School for New Dance Development and the Mime School in Amsterdam. Since 1996 he has worked with renowned Dutch companies Dogtroep, Grif-Theater, Silo- Theater and Slem. He is the co-founder of the Prague theater group Stage Code, a co-creator and actor in the project TEST.OST.ER.ON, Politoly, With You Forever and Akta Anděl. He has performed in the latest projects by Miroslav Bambušek and is the coauthor of an experimental site-specific performance with Howie Lotker. Philipp also works as a set and costume designer. At the Archa Theatre he has appeared in the productions of Leaving (directed by David Radok), Exit 89 (directed by Jiří Havelka), Dance Through the Fence and Window of Opportunity (directed by Jana Svobodová). He is a singer of the new wave-postpunk band The Ritchie Success. Philipp is a singer, lyricist and clarinetist in the Allstar Refjúdží Band.

Kryštof Verner
Krystof Verner is the trumpet player for the Allstar Refjudzi Band. He has recorded many albums with different music bands including: Freaky Art, Green Smatroll, Chewin Gun. He sings and is a guest tumpeteer with DJ Neighbour.



Lukas Micko
Lukas Micko is the guitarist for the Allstar Refjudzi Band. He graduated from the Music Conservatory in Brno and before that studied smithing and locksmithing as a Fine Art.




Adrian Sevecek
Adrian was born in Novy Jicin, Czech Republic. After many years, he moved to Prague and studied at a music school. Adrian still lives and plays in many bands in Prague. He also teaches at a basic music school.



Tomas Hendrych
Tomas was born in Prague. Originally, he was in biophysics and had a job as a scientist. He also was the co-owner of a cafe, bar and music club in Prague. Music is his hobby and he really enjoys working with the Allstar Refugee Band.



Philippe Leforestier
Phillippe was born in 1980 in Darseille, France. He moved to Prague last year. He usually plays heavy rock on the bass with “The Mistaken Sons of Alabama”, but loves the spirit and friendship in the Allstar Refugee Band. He discovered a whole new genre of music with the band.




Pittsburgh Performers

Danny Bracken
Danny Bracken is a musician and visual artist currently residing in Pittsburgh, PA. After completing a degree in visual art, Bracken joined the Chicago-based music collective Anathallo. The group toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Japan with appearances at Lollapalooza, Coachella, and other major festivals. In 2010 he participated in a unique musicians-in-residence program at The Mattress Factory. This collaborative project brought together a diverse group of artists from across Europe and America, and resulted in a performance and recording. Bracken has composed music for films and commercials, most notably for the documentary Blood Brother, which was awarded both Best US Documentary and Audience Award at Sundance in 2013. In 2014, he was an artist-in-residence at La Fragua, in Belalcazar, Spain, in preparation for an upcoming exhibition for the 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial, and a forthcoming solo exhibition in 2015. He currently releases solo music under the moniker, Low Lumens.

Tavia La Follette
Tavia La Follette’s work has been the subject of articles such as the Economist, Rolling Stone Magazine and the New York Times. Originally from New York City, La Follette is a director, designer, curator and performance artist. Her work has been seen at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, Arts at St. Ann’s (St. Ann’s Warehouse), the Tenement Museum, the Williamsburg Historical Society, and the Cooler in NYC. La Follette is the Artist-in-Residence at Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE Lab, based in Pittsburgh, PA where she founded and runs ArtUp. ArtUp is a border crossing space for artists and companies that are concerned with exploring the contextual inter-relationships of theater, visual arts, movement, media, and sound. La Follette and her work have toured all over the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. This fall she joins the Theatre School at De Paul University in Chicago to teach Multicultural Performance.

Allegra Elson
Allegra Elson teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) with Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council. When she’s not in the classroom, she can be found gardening, reading or riding her bike around the city.




Stephanie Brulia
Stephanie Brulia, a native of Altoona, PA., has called Pittsburgh home for over 20 years. A massage therapist based in Swissvale, she enjoys woodworking, biking, and traveling.




Mace Porac
Mace Porac is delighted to join members of Prague’s Archa Theatre in telling the stories of refugees who found a home in Pittsburgh. She lives in this Central Northside neighborhood and attends many of City of Asylum’s events throughout the year.



Sara Cole
Sara Cole is an English as a Second Language teacher who works with immigrants and refugees here in Pittsburgh. Before coming to Pittsburgh, she taught in Chicago and Antwerp, Belgium. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, eating, exploring and riding her bike. She lives in East Liberty with her cat and three lovely roommates. This is her first return to the stage since playing a nurse in a middle school play based on the X-Files.


Rebecca Jacobson
Rebecca Jacobson is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Theatre Arts Department. Some previous credits include “If the Whole Body Dies” and “City of Asylum” (Pitt Rep), “Oedipus Rex” (Throughline Theatre Co) & “Chickens” (Hatch Arts Colllective). Thank you to everyone involved in this performance for making it such a wonderful experience. Thank you to my family and friends for your endless support.


Chris Pearlberg
Born outside of Philadelphia to a musical family, Chris Pearlberg is a musician currently working in Pittsburgh, PA. He is a founding member and Business Manager of The Brass Roots, a brand new brass ensemble based in Western Pennsylvania. Since moving to Pittsburgh, Chris has performed with the Johnstown, Westmoreland, and McKeesport Symphony Orchestras. Current projects include playing sousaphone with the All Star Refjúdží Band from Prague, and he has been on faculty of the Wallingford Swarthmore School District Summer Music Program since 2013. Joining forces with fellow tuba and euphonium visionaries, Chris formed The Rhinos, which has found it’s own niche in the internet video community.

Ken Haney
Ken Haney plays saxophone and clarinet. He plays for just causes with the community based May Day Marching Band as well as a number of other ensembles performing music that spans many genres, from jazz and klezmer to the avant-guard. When he is not residing in Pittsburgh he can be found picking the banjo in the hills of Appalachia.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply