Kicking Off NET’s Ensemble MacroFest USA 2020: January in New York City

NET kicked off 2020 in a big way, announcing our nationwide Ensemble MacroFest USA 2020 and launching the rolling-conference-on-tour with workshops and gatherings in New York City. The year-long event series celebrates ensemble theater and explores the “state of the art” of ensemble practice and performance in the US. Each event will feature opportunities for work, model, and resource-sharing; group learning focused on building equitable ensemble practices; and region-specific sessions based on the event's location. Scroll on for an image series telling the story of our NYC kick-off event!

On Friday January 10th, NET members and other ensemble-interested colleagues came together at La MaMa’s Great Jones Studios for a session on “Devising Equitable Ensembles” led by NET Board Co-President Claudia Alick and NET Board Member Alison De La Cruz. Alick and De La Cruz facilitated attendees’ sharing of knowledge and challenges around advancing equity in our creative and organizational practices, while former NET Board Member Lisa Mount captured the peer learning in a dynamic graphic recording.

Participants pair up to share experiences during
 the “Devising Equitable Ensembles"" session.

Graphic recording of EMFUSA2020:NYC session by Lisa Mount of Artistic Logistics.

Later that evening, NET community from across the country convened in the East Village for a lively fundraiser celebrating the beginning of EMFUSA2020. By the end of the night, a thematically appropriate $2,020 was raised to support the year’s efforts (and it’s not too late to donate -- click here!).


Fundraiser attendees at Phebe’s in the East Village (L to R): Jonathan Taylor, Jeremy Pickard, Lani Fu, and Meropi Peponides.



NET members and past/present NET Board Members at the NYC kickoff fundraiser
(L to R): Claudia Alick, Rob Neill, Alison De La Cruz, Lisa Mount, and MK Wegmann.




Partygoers enjoy snacks and
late-night conversation at Phebe’s.






Former NET Board Members
catch up over cocktails (L to R):
Nick Slie, Bruce Allardice, Sabrina Hamilton.



During the fundraiser, NET Board member Todd London addressed the group by recognizing  the tenures of a number of NET member ensembles, many of whom are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year. As an online companion component of EMFUSA2020, we’ll continue to celebrate the legacy and vibrancy of the ensemble movement throughout the year via digital and in-person shoutouts and toasts, stories and posts, to spotlight some of the significant happenings around the country #ThisYearInEnsemble.

L to R: NET Board Members Jane Jung and Todd London
 toast to a successful night with Executive Director Alisha Tonsic.

The next day, our Saturday sessions began with a presentation and roundtable discussion on  shared creative ownership in devised processes. NET Board Member and Dramatists Guild Director of Theatre Relations, Todd London, was joined by the Dramatists Guild’s Director of Business Affairs, Deborah Murad, Esq.. to discuss DGF’s Devised Theatre Resource Manual and the work the organization has done to support creative collaborations. Read more and explore sample agreements here.

L to R: NET Board Member Todd London and Deborah Murad, Esq. presenting on devised theatre resources.

L to R: Gabriel Grilli, NET Board Member Shoshana Bass,
 Cariel Klein, and Kibra Yohannes participate in Saturday’s workshop sessions.

The final session on Saturday afternoon began with an update, live demo, and introduction to NET’s newly launching Connector mobile app by Board Co-President Claudia Alick. After a conversation about the opportunities and benefits of Connector, the group transitioned to a robust closing discussion facilitated by former NET Board Member Lisa Mount about the challenges and joys of artist-to-artist touring, peer presenting, and resource sharing, including stories of long-term relationship building, unique touring experiments, alternative visions of “exchange,” and how to think of artists as “ambassadors” for our communities.


NET Board Co-President Claudia Alick and former Board Member Lisa Mount lead Saturday’s session at EMFUSA2020:NYC about NET’s new Connector mobile app and artist-to-artist touring.



Midway through the session, Mount introduced an impromptu rock-paper-scissors tournament; a rousing way to bring some energy to a Saturday afternoon break.

L to R: Steven Raider-Ginsburg, Chris Jakob, and Gigi Bolt captured mid-tournament in a high-spirited round of rock-paper-scissors.

And the winner is...Tannis Kowalchuk!

NET is particularly grateful to Ping Chong + Company and La MaMa for the use of their space during our first EMFUSA2020 event in NYC. Click here for information on upcoming MacroFest dates and locations, and join us on the road in 2020!

Participants during Saturday’s workshops at EMFUSA2020:NYC.

Photo credits: Garlia Cornelia & Alisha Tonsic

NET's Ensemble MacroFest USA 2020 series is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit