History

1994 - As a result of a chance meeting at the biennial TCG Conference, a formal dialogue begins among ensemble theaters.

1996 - Philip Arnoult gathers eight ensembles for a preliminary planning process at Towson State University in Maryland, funded by TCG, identified as the TCG Ensembles Work Group. NET is officially formed by: A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble, Cornerstone Theater Company, Dell'Arte International, Independent Eye, Irondale Ensemble Project, The Road Company, and Touchstone Theater.

1998 - Department of Theater Arts at Virginia Tech hosts a gathering of community-based art-makers, including the members of NET. A Traveling Jewish Theatre partners with seven other ensembles in a two-year exchange project funded by the NEA.

1999 - NET produces its first festival and conference at Golden Gate University and the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, hosted by A Traveling Jewish Theatre. In November 1999, NET leads a gathering with seven ensemble companies in Blue Lake, CA hosted by Dell’Arte to develop short-term goals and long-term objectives that will expand NET membership and capabilities.

2000 - American Theatre magazine publishes a feature on NET. NET produces a second festival and conference in San Francisco. There are 40 members representing 20 nationally recognized organizations present at the event.

2001 - NET hosts 60 ensemble members from 22 companies during at Camp Winnebago in Fayette, ME for a weeklong conference. Consensus to become a dues-paying, nonprofit organization is achieved.

2003 - National Conference of the Network of Ensemble Theaters is held at the Ko Festival of Performance in Amherst, MA. In August 2003, the Ford Foundation awards NET a $100,000 planning grant to support a national ensemble theater festival celebrating the diversity of the ensemble movement.

2004 - The Flintridge Foundation awards NET a $30,000 grant to support the presentation of Flintridge-supported ensemble theater artists at the NET Ensemble Theater Festival.

2005 – The Flintridge Foundation and the Ford Foundation award substantial grants to the Network of Ensemble Theaters for Strategic Planning. Dell'Arte International hosts a national NET Festival.

2006 – Following seven regional meetings throughout the country to gather input from the field, NET hosts a National Gathering in Asheville, NC to ratify a strategic plan for the growth of NET.

2007 – With support from the Ford Foundation, NET hires a National Coordinator, the organization’s first full-time salaried employee.

2008 – NET membership surpasses 100 companies, representing 26 states. National Gathering is held in New Orleans, LA and is attended by over 100 members and guests.

2009 – NET convenes the National Summit of Ensemble Theaters (June 2009) in San Francisco to address crucial issues facing the ensemble field, attracting over 200 participants.

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