Of All The People In All The World: RiverRun Festival

The Kennedy Center, Washington DC

Image shows a long horizontal window on the side of a building looking from the outside. Inside are the piles of rice which make up the installation. An audience member is looking at one secition

4 – 16 April 2023

We first presented Of All The People In All The World at the Kennedy Center in 2010 in the Hall of Nations – a long and very grand foyer linking the various spaces within this huge arts center. This time we were in a new building, constructed since our first visit – a beautiful space shaped like a wave sited next to the Potomac River.

This time the show was part of the River Run festival, which with a mix of performances, installations, films and talks celebrated the world’s rivers, the people who live on or by them and the moments that have happened alongside.

It is often difficult to find human statistics related to the natural world, the environment and climate but here the constraint of being part of a river festival proved to be an interesting and fruitful challenge. Rivers have always been places where people have lived and consequently many important events have happened along their courses. Statistics we presented here included – tightrope walks across Niagara Falls, people involved in river clean ups, battles, protests about pollution, people displaced by flooding, populations of floating villages, and the 40 million people who rely on a shrinking Colorado River for their water. This particular rice pile was a surprise for many visitors as was the pile representing the 1.6 million people living in the USA who do not have running water or plumbing in their homes.

We couldn’t resist a few references to local politics including the storming of the Capitol building and it was great to be able to welcome former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice back to the show.


Version conceived by:
Craig Stephens
James Yarker

Performed by:
Sadio Alao
Tariq O
Tayland C. Ratliff
Carolina Tomasi

Lucy Bird
Michelle Smith
Nick Sweeting
Original Concept:
James Yarker

With Thanks To:
Everyone at the Kennedy Center

Astonishing communication of lives around the world.

Audience Member

I loved this exhibit! Wonderful stuff. Thought provoking vignettes and choices.

Audience Member

Absolutely amazing. So beautiful as well as informative. A work of art and education.

Audience Member