The Enemy of My Enemy


The Enemy of My Enemy is an iterative, hybrid digital/live performance project simultaneously linking performers and audiences in the US and our so-called “enemy” nations of China, Russia and Iran to explore nationalism, enemy-ness, and the Internet as an experiential “third space” for 21st Century performance.

Using every day technology, these bi-locational works– Detroit-Beijing, Detroit-Tehran, Detroit-Moscow – and site-specific interventions unites actors, sculptors, musicians, video artists, choreographers, performance artists and philosophers to peel back the layers of history, language, identity, and politics that divide us within the “free zone” where Internet and live performance meet.

Initial projects began in September 2017 with [] the Line, a telematic performance workshop with artists in Tehran and Detroit co-created and co-led by Ava Ansari/Poetic Societies, The Hinterlands, and Renee Willoughby, and in partnership with Pejman Foundation (Kandovan); research into technology and connectivity continued in December 2017 in Beijing with project partners choreographer Gu Jiani and Untitled Group (shikouwutuan).

Donate to The Enemy of My Enemy Through our fiscal sponsor, Allied Media Projects.


Projects include:


 [] the Line, a telematic performance workshop with artists in Tehran and Detroit co-created and co-led by Ava Ansari/Poetic Societies, The Hinterlands, and Renee Willoughby, in partnership with Pejman Foundation (Kandovan) - September 2017

Shikouwutuan exchange (Beijing), a two week research session into technology and connectivity n Beijing with project partners choreographer Gu Jiani and Untitled Group (shikouwutuan) - December 2017

uTopian Dinner, two weekends of participatory dinners on the road in the MOCAD Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead digitally connecting in to a transcontinenal brunch with TGIS (Beijing), a summertime snack with Pavel Mitenko (Russia), tea time with Lena and Oleg (Moscow)


Work on The Enemy of My Enemy is funded through the MAP Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Detroit Knight Arts Challenge 2016, the Network of Ensemble Theaters’ NET/TEN Exchange program, and Asian Cultural Council.

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Into the Hinterlands


Into the Hinterlands is a film collaboration with Julia Yezbick of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab. Through a collaborative process involving non-verbal physical training, improvisation and devising related to performance works, camerawork and soundscape, The Hinterlands have collaborated with Julia on a one-of-a-kind documentary film. Julia’s work is facilitated through the Film Study Center’s Harvard Fellowship. Directed, filmed, and edited by Julia Yezbick, featuring Liza Bielby, Richard Newman, and Barney Baggett.

For more information, upcoming film showings, or to book a showing, go to the Into the Hinterlands official film page.

Official premiere: 2015 Berlinale Forum Expanded

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Invisible Cities

2011, 2015, 2016

A series of ongoing collaborations between The Hinterlands xiqu (“Chinese opera”) artists in Sichuan, China.

The Hinterlands first traveled to Shanghai and Chengdu, China in November 2011 with the support of TCG/ITI’s Global Connections Program (In the Lab)* and Asian Cultural Council. Working with traditional xiqu artists affiliated with the Tian Mansha Xiqu Workshop (Shanghai Theatre Academy) and artists affiliated with the Sichuan Professional Arts College, Hinterlands artists and partners investigated the intersection between Chinese and American physical performance traditions. Chinese and American partners participated in daily training exchanges of performance techniques, melding these techniques through improvisation into a hybrid performance form to shared at the end of the workshop periods in Chengdu and Shanghai. With Richard Newman, Liza Bielby, Eleni Zaharopoulos, Steven DeWater, Xie Zhixiong, Liao Mei, Wen Jingzhen, Wang Shize, Li Hongxiu, Wang Qijiu

Then, Liza Bielby traveled to Chengdu in 2015 with support from the Network of Ensemble Theatre’s Travel Exchange grant program to exchange with the prolific chuanju octogenarian playwright Xu Fen around issues of translation, and enemy relations. The talks culminated in the publication of a Chinese-English two-volume set of Xu Fen’s full-length chuanju plays and a deep and lasting friendship.

The Hinterlands returned again to Chengdu and nearby Zigong with support from a US State Department Grant to further collaborations with partners from the 2011 project, along with some new friends in Chengdu, with performances and lectures held at Chufang Ke (a dinner and conversation series led by chef Xu Xiake), White Night, the Bookworm (Chengdu and Beijing), and at the Zigong Cultural Palace. With Liza Bielby, Richard Newman, Haleem “Stringz” Rasul, Dave Sanders, Xie Zhixiong, Xu Xiake, Wang Yue, and Li Yan

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Breaking Bread 2010

In October 2010, The Hinterlands mounted the second phase of The Breaking Bread Performance Project, a long-term collaboration between U.S. and Kosovar artists initiated by Hinterlands Co-Artistic Director Richard Newman, American artist Meghan Frank, and Kosovar artist Kushtrim Hoxha in 2008. Partnering with Kosovo-based Artpolis, Urban Theater, and Balkan Sunflowers, The Hinterlands conducted workshops in devising, ensemble-building, and physical comedy and created an ensemble-devised non-verbal touring performance with a group of Albanian, Serbian, Roma, and Ashkali youth between the ages of 15 – 21 in Prishtina, Kosovo – the first inter-ethnic performance project of its kind in the nation.
Breaking Bread 2010 was funded by a grant from CEC Artslink and the generous support of individual donors. Project facilitators included Richard Newman, Liza Bielby, Eleni Zaharopoulou, Kushtrim Hoxha, Kushtrim Qerimi, and Zana Krasniqi-Hoxha.