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Site-specific Theatre

In this section, you’ll find content about work created for and performed outside of conventional theatre spaces. Artists describe the reasons for making such work, and the challenges that come along with it. Consider starting with Anne Hamburger’s “The Why and How of Site-Specific” or Gab Cody’s essay on writing for immersive and site-informed experiences.

The Latest

Andy Field’s Encounterism
Video
Andy Field’s Encounterism
Andy Field, Deborah Pearson, and Ira Brand Talk about Forest Fringe—an Independent, Not-for-Profit Space in the Edinburgh Festival
Monday 5 June 2023
New York City
Reza Abdoh’s Father was a Peculiar Man
Video
Reza Abdoh’s Father was a Peculiar Man
Documentary Screening With Tony Torn and Original Members of the Cast (NY)
Thursday 11 May 2023
New York City
Disability Creativity in Opera
Essay
Disability Creativity in Opera
by Marianna Mott Newirth, Gregory Moomjy
21 February 2023
event poster for Andy Field’s Encounterism.
Andy Field’s Encounterism
Video

Andy Field’s Encounterism

Andy Field, Deborah Pearson, and Ira Brand Talk about Forest Fringe—an Independent, Not-for-Profit Space in the Edinburgh Festival

Monday 5 June 2023
New York City

For over ten years, Forest Fringe has built a community of artists and playwrights. Each year they return to Edinburgh they experiment with different ways of doing things and new contexts to accommodate even the most unusual experiences. Meanwhile they’ve also started exploring beyond the festival, creating new projects across the UK and internationally, including a festival in an old cinema in the center of Bangkok, a series of performances on night buses across London, and a traveling library of audio experiences.

Stills from the film Reza Abdoh’s Father was a Peculiar Man.
Reza Abdoh’s Father was a Peculiar Man
Video

Reza Abdoh’s Father was a Peculiar Man

Documentary Screening With Tony Torn and Original Members of the Cast (NY)

Thursday 11 May 2023
New York City

Join us for a screening of Reza Abdoh’s extraordinary site-specific work Father was a Peculiar Man, an adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov staged in New York City’s Meatpacking District in the summer of 1990. Produced by Anne Hamburger’s En Garde Arts, Father was a Peculiar Man showed how brilliantly Reza applied his specific site-based approach that he developed in Los Angeles to New York City’s urban infrastructure.

A large group of people are seated in front of a brick wall, facing the camera.
Disability Creativity in Opera
Essay

Disability Creativity in Opera

21 February 2023

Gregory Moomjy and Marianna Mott Newirth share their approach to creating disability-affirmative opera productions in which disability artistry flourishes.

Five children in a dark room surrounded by cots.
Nothing About Us Without Us
Essay

Nothing About Us Without Us

How Theatre and Performance Art Can Help Migrants and Refugees in Situations of Uncertainty

27 October 2022

Theatremaker Viktor Vilisov examines the important role theatre can play in supporting migrants and refugees.

PUHA Podcast Teaser.
Climate Crisis
Podcast

Climate Crisis

21 October 2022

In this episode, co-hosts Bíborka and Zsófi are joined by visual and performance artist and environmental activist, Éva Bubla; dancer, choreographer, researcher, and founder of the performance research group SVUNG, Kinga Szemessy; and culture manager, event organizer, curator, founder of the PLACCC Festival, and the Hungarian liaison for the IN SITU Network, Fanni Nánay. Drawing from their individual experiences, they discuss the current climate crisis and how different artists engage with this complex issue.

Five people on the beach gesturing towards the setting sun.
We Are All Kin to the Cove Brings Climate-Engaged Community Performance to Queens, New York
Essay

We Are All Kin to the Cove Brings Climate-Engaged Community Performance to Queens, New York

22 September 2022

Talia Rodriguez details the generative process for We Are Kin to the Cove, a site-specific, community-engaged performance exploring the historical and contemporary relationships water and humanity at a cove on New York’s East River.

event poster for out of the frame convening with shoshin theatre.
Out of the Frame
Video

Out of the Frame

International Theatre Forum Hosted by Shoshin Theatre Association in Cluj, Romania

Saturday 17 September 2022
Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Shoshin Theatre Association in Cluj, Romania presented Out of the Frame International Theatre Forum livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Saturday 17 September at 7 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 11 a.m. UTC / 2 p.m. EEST (Cluj, UTC +3).

PUHA Podcast Teaser.
Public Space
Podcast

Public Space

7 September 2022

In the first episode of PUHA (Performative Unity in the Hungarian Arts) podcast, co-hosts Zsófi and Bíborka, along with their guests, search for the meaning of the notion of “public space.” Through the experiences and experiments of interdisciplinary sound artist Dávid Somló; choreographer Flóra Eszter Sarlós; dancer and choreographer Gyula Cserepes; and theatremaker and performer Sarah Günther, this episode will take you on a tour of spaces, from Budapest to Denmark to London and more!

Creating a Space for Black Theatre Audiences
Podcast

Creating a Space for Black Theatre Audiences

With Addae Moon

29 June 2022

This episode is an interview with Addae Moon, the associate artistic director at Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta, Georgia. We discuss his journey as a theatre artist; his playwright development lab, Hush Harbor Lab; and his own artistry and creativity.

Kunafa and Shay Teaser Image.
Multihyphenate Artists
Podcast

Multihyphenate Artists

With Denmo Ibrahim and Sarah Fahmy

25 May 2022

Artistic identities can be complicated, and many theatremakers work equally within two or more disciplines simultaneously. The most interesting work is rarely created in a vacuum. These multidisciplinary artists create diverse projects in all senses of the word, broadening our idea of what theatre can and should be. Today, two such multihyphenate artists, Denmo Ibrahim and Sarah Fahmy, converse about their multiple identities, how they reconcile and manage their myriad expertise, and the role of multihyphenate artists in today’s theatre landscape.

A person standing amongst city approved homeless deterrent pegs on a bench.
Humanizing Homelessness: An Interview with Lisa Hoelscher of Gathering Ground Theatre
Essay

Humanizing Homelessness: An Interview with Lisa Hoelscher of Gathering Ground Theatre

19 May 2022

Gathering Ground Theatre—an Austin, Texas collective comprised of people with lived experiences of homelessness and allies—creates performances that aim to influence public opinion and local legislation. Anna Rogelio Joaquin sits down with Lisa Hoelscher to discuss Lisa’s experience as a co-creator and performer of works that expose issues like hostile architecture and camping bans, as well as the company’s current work on a memorial performance.

Kunafa and Shay Teaser Image.
Site-Specific and Devised Theatre in Lebanon
Podcast

Site-Specific and Devised Theatre in Lebanon

With Sahar Assaf & Zeina Daccache

20 April 2022

Site-specific performances have the possibility to truly make all the world a stage. To produce site-specific and devised theatre performances in the United States and abroad, artists must engage with the questions of the politics of any space, what communities inhabit or use it, and who is invited into it. Sahar Assaf, a Lebanese theatremaker and the new artistic director of Golden Thread Productions, and Zeina Daccache, an actor, director, and the founder of Catharsis: Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy come together to talk about site-specific and devised theatre pieces in Lebanon, the rest of the MENA world, and the United States.

A shirtless man holds up a book.
Learning from Sources: Performance and Climate Crisis in Four Brazilian Works
Essay

Learning from Sources: Performance and Climate Crisis in Four Brazilian Works

20 April 2022

In Martin Domecq’s contribution to the Climate Emergency series, he puts four Brazillian performance art pieces in conversation to draw upon the poetic, political, and civic lessons they offer. These performances—which range from installations to solo and group performances—model possible paradigms that work against ecological crisis.

A parade of men women and children carrying a flag.
Side-yard: On the Commons, the Neighborhood, Grief, and Not Making Theatre While Still Making Theatre
Essay

Side-yard: On the Commons, the Neighborhood, Grief, and Not Making Theatre While Still Making Theatre

15 March 2022

Play House is a collectively stewarded performance space near the border of Detroit and Hamtramck that has become a place of convening and creation for the neighborhood. Richard Newman, a co-manager of the space and co-director of The Hinterlands ensemble, traces connections between creative practice, community, grief, and an outdoor ramp at Play House.

Actors holding various bright-colored plants in the middle of a park with an audience circled around them.
Island Hopping in New York City for Theatre: How Live, In-Person Theatre Is Being Reimagined as it Reemerges
Essay

Island Hopping in New York City for Theatre: How Live, In-Person Theatre Is Being Reimagined as it Reemerges

2 August 2021

Jonathan Mandell reflects on a number of live, in-person productions that have taken place in New York City over the course of summer 2021.

A blue thing surrounded by indoor palm trees.
Pandemic Dreams
Essay

Pandemic Dreams

8 June 2021

Jonathan Mandell reflects on his experience of A Dozen Dreams, an art installation that began when twelve New York City-based women playwrights were asked: “What are you dreaming about right now?”

four actors posing for a photo
Beneath the Shadow of the Freeway
Essay

Beneath the Shadow of the Freeway

Virginia Grise’s Stage Adaptation of Helena Maria Viramontes’s Their Dogs Came with Them

17 March 2021

Manuel Muñoz reflects on Virginia Grise’s adaptation of Their Dogs Came with Them, which took place in fall 2019 under the colossal concrete freeway ramps of the I-10 freeway that dissect South Tucson from the edge of the Sonoran Desert.

an actor kneeling onstage
A Summer on Fire, a Harvest Moon
Essay

A Summer on Fire, a Harvest Moon

8 February 2021

Caroline Sprague reflects on Shey Rivera Ríos’s recent piece, Fire Flowers and a Time Machine, transformative justice, the nonprofit industrial complex, and more.

a person standing behind a table with multiple handheld two-way radios
Fire Season
Essay

Fire Season

Making Site-Specific Theatre About Climate Change that Could Be Threatened by Climate Change

17 December 2020

Playwright and environmentalist Alice Stanley Jr. shares her experience of Capital W’s newest immersive theatre piece, Fire Season—a play about climate change that took place in the Santa Monica Mountains during this year’s wildfires.

exterior of a theatre space
Participatory Theatre
Essay

Participatory Theatre

Europe’s Game Changer

4 August 2019

verity healey does a deep-dive into the Our Stage – 4th European Bürgerbühne Festival, which took place in Dresden, Germany, in May 2019.

a group of people with their hands raised
Hearing Each Other Over the Gun Fire
Essay

Hearing Each Other Over the Gun Fire

24 June 2019

Several months after Pittsburgh’s Quantam Theatre programmed The Gun Show, there was a mass shooting at a synagogue in the city. TJ Parker discusses how the company responded to the crisis, both through the play and through community engagement.

three panelists
Shifting Sands of Russian Theatre
Essay

Shifting Sands of Russian Theatre

Reporting from Moscow’s Golden Mask Festival

8 May 2019

Howard Shalwitz, Karen Houppert, and Yury Urnov reflect on the productions they saw at this year’s Golden Mask Theatre Festival in Moscow, Russia.

actors onstage
The Why and How of Site-Specific
Essay

The Why and How of Site-Specific

From Then to Now

2 May 2019

Anne Hamburger, founder of En Garde Arts, talks about the beginnings of her company, and, with it, the beginnings of site-specific theatre in New York City.

performer in white dress sits in the fiction section of the library
Making Theatre in Non-Traditional Venues
Essay

Making Theatre in Non-Traditional Venues

10 December 2018

Theatremaker Callie Nestleroth discusses devising a show for a library space and shares the process she developed when approaching new site-specific projects.

a set piece with cutouts of people on it
Teatro Línea de Sombra Connects with Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
Essay

Teatro Línea de Sombra Connects with Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest

5 August 2018

Georgina Young-Ellis looks at the history of the innovative Mexican theatre company Teatro Línea de Sombra, its connection to Portland, Oregon, and two of their projects: Amarillo and Rebuilding Small Territories.