THE WOOSTER GROUP

° founded in 1975 in New York


The Wooster Group is an ensemble of artists who, since the mid-seventies, have collaborated on the development and production of theatre and media pieces. The Group’s founding members are: Jim Clayburgh, Willem Dafoe, Spalding Gray (1941-2004), Elizabeth LeCompte, Peyton Smith, Kate Valk and Ron Vawter (1948-1994), and its current associates include Ken Kobland, Frances McDormand or Steve Buscemi. The Wooster Group productions are composed by the Group under the direction of Elizabeth LeCompte. The pieces are developed and performed at the Group’s permanent home, The Performing Garage in New York City and join an ongoing repertoire which is periodically revived in conjunction with new work. The Wooster Group’s theatre work has been concerned with themes of paradox and ambiguity, of disjunction and continuity, of the collision and integration of cultures, of spiritual transformation and materialism, of repression and violence, of death and irretrievable loss, of social decay and regeneration and ultimately of the artist’s place in society. The Wooster Group has developed and refined its ideas through an idiosyncratic work process: source texts and visual images are quoted, reworked and juxtaposed with fragments of popular culture, social history and personal events. Through a continual process of editing, cutting and splicing, based on techniques of television and film language, the structure of a piece gradually emerges and the various elements fuse into a cohesive theatrical form. Crucial to the Group’s concept of acting and their approach to ’character’ are Robert Bresson’s principles on the subject collected in his ’Notes sur le cinématographe’. Bresson as restated by director Elizabeth LeCompte: ’There is no ’character’ on the stage. There is only the actor/performer. The audience makes a character from the actor’s actions and the images which simultaneously occur in the stage world. The character is an accumulation of fragments of which the performer is the initiator. The character is ’a moment in stage time’ - not an actor’s interpretation.’ website http://www.thewoostergroup.org awards 1980 : OBIE* Award for Direction of Point Judith (Elizabeth LeCompte) 1982 : OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence in Set Design (Jim Clayburgh) 1985 : BESSIE* Award for Sustained Achievement 1987 : The LA Drama Critics Award for Distinguished Achievement for L.S.D. (...Just the High Points...) 1991 : Village Voice OBIE Award for 15 Years of Sustained Excellence / National Endowment for the Arts Distinguished Artists Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement in American Theater for Elizabeth LeCompte 1993 : Edwin Booth Award for Significant Contributions to the NYC Theater 1994 : Best New Visions Video Award for Rhyme’em To Death / Golden Gate Award of the San Francisco Film Festival for Rhyme’em To Death 1995 : MacArthur Fellowship for Elizabeth Lecompte 1998 : OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence in Performance (Kate Valk) 1999 : OBIE Award for Best Production for HOUSE/LIGHTS 2002 : BESSIE for Best Production for TO YOU, THE BIRDIE! 2003 : Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts Individual Artist Award for Kate Valk 2004 : BESSIE for Best Performer (Scott Shepherd) 2005 : Showhegan Medal for Performance (Elizabeth LeCompte)

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