Blood Ensemble

Making Theatre Essential


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Blood Ensemble: End of Days

“What’s stopping you? Create the art you want to see.”

I’ll never forget sitting in a hot, stuffy, Pennsylvania university room in the heat of summer, staring at Andy Paris (originator of The Laramie Project and Tectonic Theater Project Company Member) as he said those words to me. I’ll never forget looking around the room and locking eyes with Megan Jackson, Emily Harvey, and T’ai Hartley. I’ll never forget realizing that this show, this creative baby that had been gestating inside my imagination was suddenly possible. Scratch that, more than possible: this creative baby was suddenly something I needed to do.

During Tectonic Theater Project’s Moment Work Intensive in 2010, I was given permission. We were given permission. That year, in winter of 2010/2011, T’ai Hartley, Emily Harvey, Megan Jackson and myself decided to produce this hunch. After a year plus of mining our creative depths, in summer of 2012 the hunch became “Blood/Sailing,” Blood Ensemble’s flagship show  featuring local metal band Smooth Sailing. The show was a success with a 75% sell out rate–an almost unheard of experience for a new, no name fringe company in Seattle.

Out of that success, myself, Emily Harvey, and Megan Jackson decided that BE was worth creating. We brought on company members: Samantha Cooper, Carrie Cates, Timmy Keener, Zack Hewell, Adria LaMorticella. We brought on associate artists: Jake Vice, Christina Berger, Gabrielle Schutz. We produced a show in a basement based on Edgar Allen Poe: Nevermore. A show about childhood: 30 Hours: Don’t Grow Up, It’s a Trap! A show about a slavic fairy tale: A Saga of Baba Yaga. An epic, cinematic feat of a show centered around a Barn in Marysville: Barn Show. And lastly, a show based on the works of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame for the Sam Beckett Festival: NDGM.

I wouldn’t trade the last 5 years with Blood Ensemble for anything in the entire world.

But it is time to say goodbye, to close our doors, and send everyone home.

This recounting of our past brings me a heavy heart and a boatload of wonderful memories. Most of all, it brings me pride. I’ve never been more proud of the art this ensemble of wonderful people created. I’m sad to close the door on the legacy that this resume could have resulted in. But it’s the right thing to do, we’re ready.

The last two years of production have been hard. As those of you who produce art know, it’s exhausting, rewarding, tiring, sometimes thankless, and responsible work to do.  Sometimes companies can push through the exhaustion, the late nights, the last minute call in sick days at work because you absolutely HAVE to meet with the fire chief whose threatening to shut you down because he thinks your company name is frightening, the grant writing, the fundraising, the networking, the setting up of a box office, the rehearsals where something just won’t seem to get itself together and you have to be at work in 4 hours after no sleep.

Sometimes that can be too much for a company. I think it became too much for Blood Ensemble because we were creating art from a deeply vulnerable place. I think it became too much for us because we were born out of passion. We were not built to withstand growth. We were not built with the help of someone who understands organizational structure. We were not built with a business plan designed to get us enough capital to pay our artists in a certain amount of time.

And an unfortunate fact about our current society is that art is not supported the way it should be. We are not encouraged by our governments to produce art. We are not taught how to start a business if we take too many art classes in college. We are not taught the art of grant writing for free. Our arts programs are getting cut from schools and big name theaters a closing doors due to funding issues. We are the underdogs of our society.

But we are in the secret circle of knowing, together, that what we do is important, invaluable, and underappreciated. We fight the good fight, regardless of our environment. Regardless of how we were built, or how we were born.

Blood Ensemble was born across a table from a great artist, in a blank university conference room, on a hot, sultry, 90 degree Pennsylvania night. We were born out of fervent and vicious lust for changing the face of art.

And we fucking did it.

We made it to adulthood. And we wouldn’t have been able to do that without the wonderful community that is theater in Seattle.

Seattle is HUNGRY for this kind of work. We see it cropping up today with Seattle Immersive Theater, Horse in Motion, Mirum Mirum, Cafe Nordo, Smoke Farm, and Satori Group. These groups of people are pushing forward a dream that we hope Blood Ensemble helped move a bit further down the line. It’s due to the hunger in Seattle audiences and artists for this kind of work that we were able to be any measure of a success.

And we thank you for a really incredible, energizing, heartwarming and unforgettable run.

Thank you to all the actors, designers, parents, friends, builders, and barn owners for the countless unpaid hours. For the free snacks you brought in. For not caring that we could only offer you 2 comps because there were only 40 seats per night. For showing up with homework after a grueling 14 hour work day. For being so unbelievably and wonderfully talented. For coming to our shows on opening night every time (Brett Love). For talking about our shows to your friends. For encouraging people to come. For lamenting when you couldn’t get a ticket.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

But we ask one more thing of all of you. We ask that you keep going. Keep showing up to shows. Keep auditioning for those projects that tug at your intuition. Keep offering your art to people you believe in.

Why?

Because what’s stopping you? Create the art you want to see.

 

Dayo Anderson, Blood Ensemble Artistic Director & Co-Founder


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Salon: Our Bi-monthly discussion series

Check out the Upcoming Events page for the date of our next Salon!
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” -so says Socrates. Theatre is an examination and exploration of the world around us. But since art is the product of inspiration, what happens when we aren’t inspired? It’s easy to conclude that all the great plays have been written, all the beststories have told, and all the good themes have been thoroughly investigated. And THIS is why we have a salon. We have a salon to spark our imaginations and feed off the enthusiasm of other artistically minded people. This, in turn, inspires us to examine the world with renewed incentive.
In other words, a salon is a gathering of people to discuss theatre who want to inspire each other. With a loose topic pertaining to theatre, perhaps “Halloween,” a discussion begins. It may linger for a while or move freely to another subject.  Hilarious anecdotes will be told and confusing performances will be discussed but several times throughout the night someone will exclaim something like, “Holy crap, that made me realize how awesome it would be to make a musical version of ____” A salon is also a great place to get a feedback about something you’ve had brewing in the back of your mind for a long time.
But even if you aren’t trying write the next big play, talking about theatre with a group of creative, intelligent, and of course extremely good-looking people is inspiring none the less. And everyone is invited! Whether you have seen it all or new to the theatre scene, you are equally encouraged to come! The more people we have of different experience levels, interests, age, etc, the more interesting, hilarious and experimental the conversations become! Make Socrates proud and explore your life. Make it worth living! Salons are not to be missed. No preparation necessary. Inspiration will simply come!


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UnStuck: Cultivating Collective Creation in Performance

In the spirit of collaboration and inspired by Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People’s And lose the name of action March 6 – 9, 2014, On the Boards Ambassador Team 4 has invited Seattle’s Blood Ensemble to host a workshop on developing a creative, democratic dialogue for the creation of new work for artists of different genres.

All artists and artisans who are interested in exploring performance are welcome.

Saturday, March 1 | 11am – 4pm | @ OtB | Free
RSVP: sean@ontheboards.org
Limit 20 – water and snacks provided

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
UnStuck is a workshop devoted to inspiring collective creation within artists from different mediums. Culled from Blood Ensemble’s training with Tectonic Theatre Project (Laramie Project, 33 Variations), UnStuck utilizes Moment Work, a platform where artists from all mediums can truly collaborate and facilitate a democratic dialogue in the creation of new work.

Participating artists will learn a structure for non-linear creation that begins from a non-traditional starting point and mines the collective genius of various artists in different mediums through a method of moment making using various physical, magical and emotional elements. This method encourages participants to actively engage with these elements enfranchising performing artists, writers, directors, designers, and visual artists to collaborate in compelling modes of image work and storytelling that stretches their creative capacity. This workshop will stimulate collaborators to engage in discovery through a single image that resonates with a through line pertinent to any particular project.

Participating artists should bring their own journal and wear comfortable clothes to move in – no jeans, patterns, or bulky clothing.

Blood Ensemble (BE) is an experimental theatre company based in Seattle. Previous shows include Blood/Sailing (created with local heavy metal band Smooth Sailing) and Nevermore, 30 Hours: Don’t Grow Up It’s a Trap and most recently The Saga of Baba Yaga ( for Ghost Light Theatricals Battle of the Bards). Using Moment Work in conjunction with a background in experimental forms BE strives to give audiences an experience that makes theatre essential.  We want to make this work accessible for all artists. Teaching moment work is like opening a door that most artists have walked by every day of their career and shoving them over the threshold. bloodensemble.org


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Theatre Prom: The Safari

Blood Ensemble invites you to explore your animal nature on July 12th at 8:00PM for Blood Ensemble Prom 2013: The Safari!!!  Help raise funds for the theatre company that loves you back and get wild!  Tour the dance floor (if you dare) with your guide DJ Nathan Cox, cool off at the beer and wine filled watering hole, and get up close with the animals at the photo booth.  And don’t leave home without your furs and feathers because there WILL be a costume contest!

Tickets bought online are $12 for general admission and $17 for upgraded tickets (includes coat check, a picture at the photo booth, and a beer) and will be $15 and $20 at the door.

Please join us!!!

GET TICKETS HERE


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About Us

Using exclusive Moment-Work training in conjunction with a background in experimental forms, Blood Ensemble is making a home in Seattle. Focusing on site-specific, self-generated theatre, BE’s inspirations span public radio, live local bands, comic books, and timeless classics. Blood Ensemble exists to push the limits of the medium- to illuminate new edges, corners and ceilings in jarring and sophisticated ways. Look for them at the most unexpected location.