The Deconstructive Theatre Project is a Brooklyn-based not-for-profit ensemble performance laboratory that exists to devise and premiere new multidisciplinary work. The company is dedicated to producing performances that experiment with the relationships between theatrical vocabularies, content, and form and to providing broad community access to its process and productions.
The Deconstructive Theatre Project was founded in February 2006 by Adam J. Thompson and a collaborative of fellow undergraduate students from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. The company’s name is loosely suggested by the theories of the French post-structuralist post-modern philosopher Jacques Derrida, who once wrote: “Deconstruction is not a dismantling of…structure…, but a demonstration that it has already dismantled itself. Its apparently-solid ground is no rock, but thin air.”
The Deconstructive Theatre Project is a member of The Network of Ensemble Theatres, the Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York. The company has received local and international residencies from The Stuart Street Playhouse, Chez Bushwick, The Center for Performance Research, Middle Collegiate Church, The School of Making Thinking, Kunsthof Tangendorf, IRT Theater, and the Magic Futurebox and has performed in Boston, New York City, the Catskills, and San Francisco.
The Deconstructive Theatre Project gestates and premieres one original artistic production each year using the company’s three-stage creative model: Development of Vocabulary, Devising of Content, and Editing and Rehearsal. Artists involved in each work share their primary creative skill sets with one another over the course of the creative process. This exchanging of abilities empowers each member of the group to become a more active collaborator with a wider sense of vision and a stronger vested interest in the integrity of the work. Productions premiere in New York City each autumn and tour locally and/or nationally as opportunity allows.
The Deconstructive Theatre Project’s inaugural theatrical production was Moisés Kaufman’s Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (2006). Over five subsequent years the company has devised and premiered Brecht & Co. (2007), The Girlie Show (2007), The American Sex Project (2008), a site-specific adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard’s Lilies, or The Revival of a Romantic Drama (2009), and an original two-actor cirque adaptation of Antigone (2011). The company will premiere its most ambitious project, The Orpheus Variations, in autumn 2012.
Integrated Theatre in Education
The company’s integrated theatre in education program is rooted in the philosophy that theatre is a method through which to explore individual and collective curiosity and is not an art form that can properly exist in a vacuum. To this end, the theatrical education is integrated into existing courses of study such as language, science, and history and is presented as a tool with which to better engage with the world. The integrated theatre in education program is designed in collaboration with and executed in residence at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn.
The Deconstructive Theatre Project’s Community Engagement program is two-fold.
Community Supported Theatre events open up conceptual and formal elements of the company’s annual production, providing participants with opportunities to engage with the development of the piece in collaborative ways. Events are designed to immerse participants in the artistic life cycle of the work by regularly bringing community members together with company artists and partner organizations in social and creative ventures. Community Supported Theatre events include film screenings, lectures, visual art showings, social dinners, play and poetry readings, interdisciplinary ensemble theatre workshops, and volunteer activities.
The All Access initiative brings the company’s performance and integrated education programming to members of the Brooklyn community who might not otherwise benefit from exposure to the performing arts due to economic, geographic, or social challenges.