NET/TEN Shareback: The Performance Project and Tricklock Company - Tech Riders and Organizing a Symposium

Exchange 2016-17 Grant Recipient

The Performance Project’s First Generation Ensemble (Northhampton, MA)--comprised of youth (18-21) originating from Haiti, Burundi/Rwanda, Guinea, South Sudan and the United States--presented a workshop and performed tenderness, a multi-lingual physical theater piece at Tricklock Company’s Revolutions International Theater Festival (Albuquerque, NM). Tricklock Company members offered artistic feedback and guidance to further develop the piece and explore effective communication in intergenerational work.


Tricklock Company has been producing Revolutions International Theatre Festival since 2001.  Over the course of 17 festivals and through working with more than 150 national and international touring companies, we have worked to hone and continue to tweak our communication tools with each visiting entity.  What we have learned from multiple unexpected challenges in relation to producing dozens of traveling performances is that we must combine clarity and specificity with our tech rider questions and hospitality/information questionnaires that translate relatively easily across language and cultural differences. We decided early in our development as a company that our producing/hosting values mirrored the values of a mentor company in Poland.  Our philosophy is “Guest in house is God in house,” meaning we strive to prioritize taking good care of visiting companies and work to accommodate as much of their original production needs as possible in the context of a touring situation.  That said we have also learned that we need clear boundaries and structure regarding what we have both resources and capacity to do technically during Revolutions as it is a festival and we are producing it with extremely limited funds and modest human resources.

This is a sample email that went out to all the individuals and groups who registered for the “The Ritual of Story On Stage" Symposium in 2015. It provides helpful information, especially for people coming from out of town. It also directs people to a WUFOO questionnaire.

SYMPOSIUM WELCOME LETTER with prompt questions | .docx
A letter included in the symposium “Welcome Packets” for all symposium participants. The letter helps to frame vision and tone of the gathering and invites participants to engage on a personal level.

Individual artists and companies are asked to fill out this questionnaire in order to assess their production’s technical needs.


Julie Lichtenberg and I had several meetings around touring ideas and technical needs of the piece. It was great to have the show travel from Massachusetts to New Mexico and load into the festival specifically keeping an eye on the question, “how does this important show reach everywhere without losing its beautiful design?”

Tricklock has a long history of traveling internationally and utilizing alternative spaces. Performance Project has a long history of community engagement and performing in nontraditional theatres. In our collaborative conversations about the piece, we broke down the elements that would be needed to create the aesthetic quality of the piece thinking about all space options. How does this show work in a church? In a school cafeteria? In a conference hall? It was helpful to be able to think of these plans while being an outside producer, dealing with our technical director and staff, seeing the show install at our space. 

First Generation already had a technical rider initially created for LORT style theatres. Together with FG’s designer, we adapted it to theatres more like Tricklock, black box theatres with smaller budgets. We spoke again and created a third rider which provides a producer an idea of the whole picture, but allows plenty of flexibility. Important elements we decided on were extra time in the space to rework and adjust to lack of tech capacity. The ability for darkness is important because one thing we discovered at Tricklock was substituting flashlights for specials and spotlights. This created a wonderful effect in our small space and is one that can easily be used in similar spaces. We also adjusted set and prop piece needs, based on my experience with what is easy to find for touring companies.

These brainstorming sessions will ideally contribute to First Generation’s capacity to make easier decisions about what to ship while touring. First Gen’s Tenderness now has 3 technical riders that they can send off as they work to take this show out around the US. For Tricklock it was helpful to complete this multi-step process of reworking elements with a team so experienced in adapting their shows to various venues.

In addition to our talks about technical work and touring, Julie and I had a long conversation about the script. We talked honestly about the difficulty in working on devised pieces with young people when the story is their own story. How do we stay thoughtful dramaturgs and good directors while also taking care of emotions and vulnerable storytelling? This is an important and invaluable conversation that artists like us should continue to have. How do we care for the art and care for the young people at the same time? Julie brought her considerable years of experience leading, creating work, and presenting groups of youth and community performers to our conversations about the process of creating devised work. Having her perspective and modalities for this work has impacted the conversation about how Tricklock would like to continue developing work with youth in our community. I hope we can continue this thoughtful conversation and expand it out to others who are doing similar work.

Juli Hendren
Artistic Director and Curator
Tricklock Company and The Revolutions International Theatre Festival


FIRST GENERATION TENDERNESS TECH RIDER -Re-formatted by Juli Hendren | .docx
This rider is for traditional, well-equipped theater venues.

FIRST GENERATION’S TECH RIDER (light) Community Venue - Juli Hendren | .docx
This rider is less intimidating, for non-traditional and community performance spaces. It shows more flexibility.




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Friday, February 15, 2019

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