The Wooster Group, an innovative company of theater and media artists, engaged with UB Theatre students and faculty as part of its residency in the University at Buffalo’s Creative Arts Initiative (CAI).
Kate Valk, founding member of The Wooster Group and Director of "The B-Side", led a two-hour conversation with UB Theatre & Dance (T&D) faculty member Lindsay Hunter and other T&D faculty and theater students. Students had the opportunity to learn about the work of The Wooster Group as well as Valk's experiences as an actress the New Yorker dubbed "the Meryl Streep of downtown."
Additionally, students in several T&D classes were encouraged to sit in on rehearsals where they had one-on-one conversations with Valk, Elizabeth LeCompte and members of the cast and crew. T&D students were also given the opportunity for advance tickets for performances.
The Wooster Group makes original works for the theater. The company integrates visual media, sound, architectonic design, and text with live performance. Founded in 1975, it has remained at the forefront of experimental theater for decades.
The Group’s major works include: Rumstick Road (1977), Nayatt School (1978), L.S.D. (…Just The High Points…) (1984), Frank Dell’s The Temptation of St. Antony (1988), Brace Up! (1991), The Emperor Jones (1993), The Hairy Ape (1996), House/Lights (1999), To You, The Birdie! (Phèdre) (2002), Poor Theater (2004), Hamlet (2007), the 360º video installation There Is Still Time . . Brother (2007), the opera La Didone (2009), Vieux Carré (2011), Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation (2014), The Room (2016), The B-Side: “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons,” A Record Album Interpretation (2017), and A Pink Chair (In Place of a Fake Antique) (2017).
The Group’s founding members were Spalding Gray (1941-2004), Elizabeth LeCompte, Jim Clayburgh, Ron Vawter (1948-1994), Willem Dafoe, Kate Valk, and Peyton Smith. Wooster Group director Elizabeth LeCompte has received fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts Distinguished Artists Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater, as well as the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and the 2016 Dorothy & Lillian Gish Award. Director Kate Valk has received the Guggenheim and TCG/Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships, as well as the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Performing Artist Award. The Group and its members have also won nine Obie Awards, six Bessie Awards, and the National Endowment for the Arts Ongoing Ensembles Grant.
The Performing Garage in the Soho neighborhood of lower Manhattan is The Wooster Group’s permanent home and performance venue. The Group owns and operates the Garage as a shareholder in the Grand Street Artists Co-op, which was originally established as part of the Fluxus art movement. The Group regularly tours its productions throughout the United States and internationally. For more information, please visit www.TheWoosterGroup.org.
Jacob Bigelow, Zbigniew Bzymek, Enver Chakartash, Matthew Dipple, Mike Farry, Ari Fliakos, Clay Hapaz, Cynthia Hedstrom, Gareth Hobbs, Elizabeth LeCompte, Bona Lee, Erin Mullin, Michaela Murphy, Pamela Reichen, Scott Shepherd, Eric Sluyter, Kate Valk, Robert Wuss
Eric Berryman, Matthew Brown, Dennis Dermody, Jim Fletcher, Mia Fliakos, Linus Ignatius, Bruce Jackson, Modesto Flako Jimenez, Ken Kobland, Juliet Lashinsky-Revene, Andrew Maillet, Frances McDormand, Bobby McElver, Jasper McGruder, Greg Mehrten, Bebe Miller, Tommie Mitchell, Philip Moore, Matthias Neckermann, Jamie Poskin, Scott Renderer, Suzzy Roche, Kaneza Schaal, Andrew Schneider, Ryan Seelig, David Sexton, Casey Spooner, Lucy Taylor, Maura Tierney, Jennifer Tipton, Danusia Trevino, Ariana Smart Truman, Victoria Vazquez, Wladimiro Woyno, Omar Zubair