Ensembles: How to Model One

TEAM-wide-shot-NTStudio-e1398266319588The TEAM, an ensemble theater from NYC, had also been on my radar since that same TCG conference as Jerry. I clearly remember meeting a member who said some inspiring things about the state of ensemble theater amongst the tradtional theater model. After a brief conversation with founding Artistic Director Rachel Chavkin and Producing Director Manda Martin it was apparent that this was a model to keep an eye on.

Here you’ll find a final installment featuring some guidelines I’ve learned along the way within my own ensemble, and via these inspiring groups.

A bullet listed set of guidelines below…

“So what is the model? Where is the Venn Diagram? Which flowchart should I follow to start my ensemble theater? From the similarities of these three case studies I’ve attempted to generate some stepping-stones.

Find your tribe.
Play your strengths.
Develop a timeline.
Showing up is half the battle.
Produce it
Grow as you need to grow. There’s no sense in setting up all kinds of overhead without the content for it. As an ensemble, when you need an artistic director, a producer, a writer, or administrator you will know. Think of your theater company as a small boat—you have to like and need everyone in it, or else you’re going to sink.

Know how to talk about your process”

For expanded guidelines see the full article.

Ensembles: Exploring foolsFURY

Somewhere, sometime I fell onto foolsFURY’s website. I think I was looking for ensemble, clown, physical theatres…? I was going down the rabbit hole that is the Network of Ensemble Theater’s website and somewhere down there I landed on them. That and I had a friend in the Frisco area who said, “Do you know about foolsFURY? That would totally be your jam!” They were.
Getting know Ben and his process was pretty fantastic and inspiring.








The third in the series on HowlRound.com featuring an interview with Ben Yalom.

Ensembles: The Life and Times of Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble

BTE spaceI have to admit… I’ve been smitten with Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble since I met Jerry Stropnicky at Theatre Communications Group’s Brain Bank.Have I seen the group? Unfortunately not, but Jerry’s generously supplied some kernles of brilliance to apply to my position as I strove to engage 46 separate communities almost simultaneously across the country via the Plays for Presidents Festival.

Interviewing Laurie McCants was just as delightful. I found her a font of knowledge, and just when I thought I knew everything I stumbled upon another and another statement she’d made elsewhere about the ensemble process. A great way to start right off the bat.

My second HowlRound article on Ensembles: Making and Paying for the Art.

Ensembles: Making and Paying for the Art

Once again I’m writing for HowlRound.com. Hooray!

HowlRound Screen ShotI started with the idea of how does Freytag’s Pyramid relate to ensemble based work today. I realized it wasn’t quite as satisfying because you can slice something a dozen ways and Freytag’s Pyramid will still somehow relate. While I do think artists/ensembles are doing less linear work (speculation) we may still be deconstructing and rearranging it so that it fits emotionally or otherwise.

Enough about what I didn’t write — more about what I did write! Here is the first installment where I set up the case studies and introduce some of the questions I asked:

“That being said… to each group let me ask some “traditional” questions:

What is your earned versus contributed revenue?
When did you develop a board?
How do you fundraise when you don’t have the title of the play?

And some “Non-Traditional” questions:

How do you tell someone that they have a bad idea?
Who decides when the group needs another member?
Does everyone get paid?”

More to come!

Psychology of the Audience Part I

I know my blog has been fairly stagnant, but I’ve been traveling, writing and rewriting this past summer for HowlRound.com. You know. Those cool cats who are the Center of the Theater Commons newly here in Boston.

This first post sets up the metrics I used, as well as a few interviews with audience members of Sleep No More.

Wanna read? Here’s the first of my four-post series.