Teaching Musical Production to People in Turkmenistan

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Turkmenistan is plagued with human rights abuses, including oppressing minorities and limiting press and religious freedoms. But what the U.S. Department of State finds important is funding a trip for Turkmen theater and choir directors to the United States for a cultural exchange on musical production.


The U.S. Mission to Turkmenistan is paying $55,000 to send six theater and choir directors to the U.S. for 7 to 10 days to “participate in musical theater production workshops with their U.S. counterparts, observe productions of musicals, view at least one live musical and engage in follow-up virtual mentorship sessions with their U.S. colleagues.”

Once the six Turkmens return to the Central Asian country, they will produce a musical based on the new techniques and methods they learned.

The goals of the grant are to give the Turkmens more access to information, educate them about American values, and build a positive image of the United States.

“Theater directors and choir conductors at Turkmenistan’s educational and cultural institutions can only study conservative genres approved by the government and demonstrated in state media,” the grant summary states. “Turkmen conductors have expressed interest in producing American style musicals with the Embassy’s support.”

The goal of this exchange program, the grant summary states, is to “increase awareness of American culture, values, and diversity, using musicals to promote freedom of artistic expression.”

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