This manifesto was shaped collaboratively by members of NET's early Steering Committee in a series of iterations from 2003 to 2006.

The Network of Ensemble Theaters was created by and for artists. We exist to support those who have dedicated their life’s work to creating theater through the ensemble process.

Some ensembles create original work; others work interpretively or with adaptations. Some ensembles are rooted in the community, whether that community is geographic, intellectual, aesthetic, or ethnic. Other ensembles consciously stand apart from community in order to critique and provoke. All of us create theater that is meaningful to each member and to our diverse audiences. We prize most highly the benefits that arise from artists working together over extended periods of time.

The most unique aspect of our work is that the primary decision-making power rests in the hands of the artists. Ensemble theater is the antithesis of the corporate model that dominates the theatrical landscape in America today. Our resources are dedicated to supporting artists and the artistic process.

NET is sparked by the vital and enduring international heritage of collective theater making. Our work is committed to the unique event of the living stage, where the imagination of artist and audience is linked in social communion and mutual creativity.

We see at the center of ensemble work an essential investigation and evolution of way of working that is fundamentally different in its impetus, its engagement of community, its artist driven organizations, and the collaborative manner in which creation occurs. This is the soul, the essence, of ensemble work.

By joining together in a Network of Ensemble Theaters we strive to give strength to each other; to share our resources; to create a forum for controversy and debate; to document and articulate the heritage and body of work of ensemble practice; and to maximize our ability to bring about change in the world beyond ourselves through the transformative power of collaborative theater.