A Note from Quinn Bauriedel, School Director

Fall 2020

Dear performing artist,

This is a time of impossible problems. Even the greatest scout on earth might struggle to untie the knot we, in the performing arts community, are in right now. And yet, with impossible problems comes innovations, artistic shape-shifting, and new pathways toward performance creation. Through this pandemic, we grieve what is lost. We remember the pleasure of gathering in person and breathing the same air as our audience. We remember the spark when a character enters a theatrical space or when there is deep resonance between what is happening inside the studio with what is happening in the world outside. But within the UArts/Pig Iron Devised Performance Program, we gather together restless individuals who cannot sit still, even when our normal modes of creation are closed off.  

Our desire to instigate, to respond, to heal, to make artistic mischief, and to awaken an audience only increases when faced with what looks like an insurmountable challenge. Devising is a tool but also a deep philosophical approach. Devising opens up doors that seem permanently locked. Devising enables an artist to put their own fingerprints all over their work, creating original performances that are made, by hand, with what you have not with what you wish you had. Though we can conquer new technologies and must adapt to the times we live in, at its root our medium is about imagination. This fall, and every fall, we are guided by the desire to create new worlds and shine a mirror on our present one. We are dreamers and provocateurs, poets and crackerjack performers, magicians with tricks up our sleeves and citizens with a duty to make the world a more carefully observed and thoughtful place.

As we look toward this fall and beyond, we know that theatre-making will survive. But we also know that we must reinvent this form from the ground up, enabling new voices, new audiences, new processes to guide us so our field doesn’t fall into old traps having to do with rigid hierarchies, racism, sexism, gender bias and all manner of oppression and suppression that disempower radical change. To the contrary! We look forward to the immense opportunities ahead.  We will uncover new spaces, new modes of collaboration, and new vocabularies that will lead the field out of this period of re-imagining and isolation.  

What does this look like? It might lead us toward dance films like this. Or an intimate auto teatro project for two individuals like this. Or a sly international cell phone performance encounter like this. And we will continue to form a daily devising practice where we explore and sharpen our vital instrument: our body, voice, imagination, as well as the connective tissue between one person and another through rich and meaningful collaborations.  

Keep track of the projects that emerge this fall.  Get in touch should you want to talk further about the program, the first year cohort that will start the program in January 2021 or the next cohort that will start in the fall 2021. 

Quinn Bauriedel
School Director