Other Blogs: A look at the ways of ensemble based theater
Ensemble theater has been alive and well in Philadelphia for years now and shows only signs of growing, especially as the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training keeps churning out students that are highly trained in the ways of devised theater-making and have worked with a group of peers over the course of two years. Still, creating an ensemble–particularly when serendipity isn’t on your side–is not easy. As Whit MacLaughlin of New Paradise Laboratories told me, to build an ensemble, you need people who are attracted to the work, you cannot build an ensemble by bringing in folks you want to work with–no matter how great you think they would be.
Jeffrey Mossler has written a series of articles about the making of and paying for ensemble based theater on Howlround. In his latest “Ensembles: How To Model One?” he talks to members of The TEAM, a New York City based ensemble that makes devised work, on how they have evolved over the years and what they have down to be creatively and financial sustainable as a company. The article shifts easily from issues of creative development to creative management to administrative structure to fundraising and grant writing–a valuable reminder how all this aspects must work with each other in a performing arts company.