Network of Ensemble Theatre Symposium: Call for Papers, Presentations, and Performances

Intersections: Ensembles + Universities Symposium

Network of Ensemble Theaters

Eugene Lang College + The New School for Drama

October 31-November 2, 2014

The Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET), a national coalition dedicated to the advancement of the ensemble theater form and practice, will team up with Eugene Lang College and The New School for Drama to launch a multi-year investigation of the intersections between professional ensembles and colleges/universities. This 3-day symposium on the ensemble-university connection will be comprised of keynote addresses, panel presentations, practical workshops, and performances by NET member companies and selected participants.

Among the issues to be addressed in the symposium will be ensemble pedagogy and training, the practices of ensemble creation within the university structure and time frames, and how NET might serve as a pre-professional bridge between graduates and ensembles, to build connections and strengthen and track post-graduate career progress for ensemble theater-makers.

We will explore such questions as:


  • How best to create, perform, teach and practice ensemble within the university setting?
  • What do students gain from learning ensemble practice in academia?
  • What are examples and hallmarks of successful ensemble/university collaborations?
  • How can universities/scholars and ensembles/artists work together to serve one another better and fulfill the goals of each?
  • How does or can ensemble art-making function as academic research?
  • What tools, language, and structures are required?
  • How do ensemble/collaborative practices address 21st-century questions around sustainability, alternative economic models, cross-disciplinary practice, and the intersection with community?

Across the country, NET is seeing an increase in ensemble artists working within academia, with a concomitant increase in the inclusion of ensemble practices within curriculum. In addition, universities and colleges produce many of the next generation of ensemble artists. Recognizing these already significant interrelationships, NET hopes to identify ways to

serve more intentionally as a resource and connector within and between sectors.

Lang College has a strong tradition of ensemble theater education and, as a longtime leader in ensemble pedagogy and practice, is a natural partner for this project. From Erwin Piscator’s Dramatic Workshop, which used an ensemble approach to shape a generation of transformative American theater artists – from Tennessee Williams to Marlon Brando to Judith Malina – to the 2013 devised senior work by Lang theater students, The New School has long been actively engaged in the issues of the symposium. In addition, Lang shares core values with NET, which also prioritizes community engagement and theater for social change.

Among the speakers who have already expressed interest in participating are Anne Bogart (of Columbia University, also artistic director of SITI Company), Erik Ehn (ofBrown University, also a renowned playwright), Michael Rohd (of Northwestern University and Artistic Director of Sojourn Theater) and Cristal Chanelle Truscott (of Prairie View A&M University and Progress Theatre).

Submission Information:

We are now soliciting proposals for papers, presentations, and performances that investigate the broadly construed field of Ensemble Pedagogy, including but not limited to the following areas:

· Theater for Social Change

· Devising Theater

· Applied Theater

· Physical Theater

· Theater Design

· Civic & Social Practice

Please submit the following in .doc or .docx file format.

· Project title

· 250 word abstract/proposal

· Anticipated media needs

· Presenter(s) biographical information – no more than 100 words per presenter

The Symposium organizers share a commitment to marrying theory and practice and encouraging hybrid and boundary-breaking forms of presentations. We are looking for a variety of formats and modes for presentations, including panels, lecture/demo, performance-based events, and roundtables/working sessions around conference themes, performative papers, workshops, etc.

Please email proposals by August 1, 2014 to Mark Valdez at mvaldez at ensembletheaters dot net

Selected participants will be notified August 15, 2014 to discuss subsequent planning and steps toward realization.

For more information, visit: