Theatre Lab

Theatre Lab

THE THEATRE LAB endeavors to create a theatrical home in the sense that Konstantin Stanislavsky defined it, “…neither a theatre nor a dramatic school for beginners, but a laboratory for the experiments of more or less trained artists.” The Lab provides a forum for ongoing experimentation by professionals to challenge themselves to raise the bar artistically. The Lab enables artists to explore new work—and new ways of working—in order to forge a deeper connection between actor and audience, self and community, life and art.

Risk and genuine artistic exploration can be the catalyst for generating meaningful inquiry around life’s largest issues, and we encourage such engagement and discourse at every level. Making our work in the Lab radically accessible poses certain artistic challenges that result in the expansion of the traditional boundaries of performance and practice.

Throughout its history the Lab has taken many forms. Projects of the Lab have included investigations and productions of classic works that encouraged a richer appreciation for the works and garnered awards and accolades. The Lab has also hosted investigations and development of new works encouraging new voices and perspectives and providing our community with a safe place to push the art form forward. The Lab has expanded the horizons of the Seattle arts community by hosting collaborations between Seattle artists and internationally recognized theatre artists. It continues to meet the needs identified by our community of professional theatre artists.

Our flagship Lab program, Engaged Theatre, takes this philosophy out into the world around us as we seek to build authentic relationships through active involvement – bringing productions developed in the Lab to extraordinary audiences: prisons, trauma centers, a youth detention facility, and an active military base. These audiences demand a greater honesty from the actors and the shows resonate with them in unexpected ways.

Additionally, Engaged Theatre has developed Voices from the Edge; a theatre residency program that goes to the men’s and women’s prisons. Freehold artists facilitate the creation of an original piece from the inmates’ stories that is rehearsed and performed for fellow inmates, family, and friends.

“I was deeply moved, and that startled me. How can free people who, I imagine, live in such a comfortable world move me? [It was] more than a performance... it was an interaction between the cast and the audience and the audience and the cast... that exists on a different level than can be achieved from conversation or conveyed in a letter—or through any other medium I can think of.”
Arthur Longfellow
Audience member at Monroe Correctional Complex