Intersection was a symposium and multi-year investigation of the connectivity between professional ensembles and colleges/universities. Between 2014 and 2018 NET partnered with colleges and universities in New York City, NY (Eugene Lang College The New School of Liberal Arts + The New School of Drama); Chicago, IL (Columbia College Chicago); Seattle, WA (University of Washington School of Drama); and Tempe, AZ (Arizona State University) to present these national symposiums at their institutions.
Across the country, NET is seeing an increase in ensemble artists working within academia, with a concomitant increase in the inclusion of ensemble practices within curriculum. In addition, universities and colleges produce many of the next generation of ensemble artists. Recognizing these already significant interrelationships, NET hopes to identify ways to serve more intentionally as a resource and connector within and between sectors.
Among the issues to be addressed in the inaugural symposium will be ensemble pedagogy and training, the practices of ensemble creation within the university structure and time frames, and how NET might serve as a pre-professional bridge between graduates and ensembles, to build connections and strengthen and track post-graduate career progress for ensemble theater-makers.
Selected questions explored:
• How do we create, perform, teach, and practice ensemble within the university setting?
• What do students gain from learning ensemble practice in academia?
• What are examples and hallmarks of successful ensemble/university collaborations?
• How can universities/scholars and ensembles/artists work together to better serve one another and fulfill the goals of each?
• How does or can ensemble artmaking function as academic research? What tools, language, and structures are required?
Intersection explored these questions and others through hands-on learning, peer-to-peer conversations, interdisciplinary workshops and performances, and community brainstorming.
What is an ensemble?
As defined by NET: An ensemble is a group of individuals dedicated to collaborative creation, committed to working together consistently over years to develop a distinctive body of work and practices.