THE WOOSTER GROUP
The Wooster Group is an ensemble of artists who create, produce, present and perform new work for theater. The Group creates its work through a distinctive collaborative process with a focus on experimentation and the synthesis of multiple art forms. The Group’s theater work is known for its innovative use of lighting, sound, and video technologies. Under the direction of Elizabeth LeCompte, the Group 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. Anthony (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 Town Hall Affair (2017), The B-Side: “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons,” A Record Album Interpretation (2017), and A Pink Chair (In Place of a Fake Antique) (2018).
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. Associate 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.