Workcenter Studio in Residence

Workcenter Studio in Residence February to October, 2017

Throughout the first stage of the Workcenter Studio in Residence in Italy, from March to June, 2016 (40 hours of weekly practice from Monday to Friday), the Studio was guided towards the creation of a collective performance, as well as towards the development of several solo pieces. The creative processes served as the terrain for the Studio members’ development in relation to Workcenter praxis and the craft involved therein. Following discussions upon the conclusion of this first Residence, due to the high quality of the material created, Mr. Richards decided that the creative and pedagogic process would be carried forward in the form of a second Residence. As a result, specific members of the Workcenter Studio in Residence were invited to return to Tuscany for an 8-month session to take place from February 21st to October 21st, 2017.

During this period under Mr. Richards’ direction, the Studio will further develop the performance Sin Fronteras, based on the text Beben of the Chilean author Guillermo Calderón, and a solo performance called Gravedad.

The creative process within the Workcenter Studio in Residence is unique in its kind, being the first time that Mr. Richards will direct a performance based on a dramatic text in Spanish and of a Spanish-speaking author, as well as being the first time he will investigate, over a long period, the potential that specific songs from Latin American can have as instruments aimed towards what Grotowski called “Objectivity of Ritual.”

The Workcenter Studio in Residence – 2017 has been made possible thanks to the support of the Teatro Nazionale – Fondazione Teatro della Toscana and Espacio Checoeslovaquia of Chile.

We are happy to welcome this group of artists to our home base in Pontedera / Italy for this session of the Workcenter Studio in Residence which will last until October 2017, when we project to premiere it’s performative work.


Workcenter Studio in Residence Members February – October 2017:

Jaime Alonso Abarzúa Vallejos (Chile/Sweeden)

Javier Cárcel Hidalgo-Saavedra (Spain)

Gina Gutiérrez (Colombia)

Lynda Mebtouche (France)

Juan David Salazar (Colombia)

Felipe Salazar (Colombia)

Maria Constanza Solarte (Colombia)


Workcenter Studio in Residence March – June, 2016

I am pleased to announce the creation of the Workcenter Studio in Residence. This Studio, inaugurated on March 21st will have its first session running until June 21st, 2016. This first session of the Studio in Residence is comprised of a small team of actors who will train at the Workcenter and have the potential to develop and perform new work under my direction.

Since 2008, myself and members of my team (the Focused Research Team in Art as Vehicle) have been active pedagogically in places such as the USA, Colombia, Brazil, throughout Europe, and in China, Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan. Our encounters with actors from around the world have allowed them to enter into a contact with a specific approach to voice, singing, impulse and action that has been at the heart of the Workcenter’s research for thirty years. From 2008 to the present, our pedagogical activities have been increasing and developing. These activities give to professionals and young amateurs a more direct access to the Workcenter and to the craft that is involved therein, so that they can partake in our performing arts research on two fundamental levels: the first relating to the craft of the actor and to seeing the actor as an active agent within a creative process, and the second relating to what can be called “a work on oneself,” in which performing arts can become a tool for the transformation of the artist’s perception and presence, a means of awakening subtle aspects of experience through work on structured lines of action. Due to the access to our work and our praxes that such pedagogical activities have enabled, over the years certain participants have begun to discover a road for their creative development through a continued connection with us. Certain of them have not only attended one workshop, but two and then three and four. In this spiralling pedagogical process, a creative wave has begun in which pedagogy begins to transform, becoming as well a kind of collaboration and creative process.

After our second Master Course, held in January 2016, a number of participants asked to join my team at the Workcenter. Many of these people were individuals with whom we have worked several times in workshop settings already. It was tempting, as it was done in the past in this kind of situations, to say no to these people because there is currently no space in my team, it being already full of ten artists, each well within their own individual processes of development. But it became obvious to me and my team that the time had come to recognise certain facts. One being that we had an interest to continue working with some of these individuals; and the other being the recognition that in order to continue the pedagogic necessities related to these specific individuals, continuing to do workshops with us, even a four week session such as the Master Course, would not be enough. There comes a point in the development of one’s craft and skill when you need to be confronted with a greater creative challenge which can not be touched on in a short-term pedagogical situation. On the one hand, this challenge relates to the actor in his or her struggle to develop a score – a score which truly houses the actor’s creative potentialities of the moment; and on the other, it relates to craft, which at a certain point needs to pass through the necessity of repeating that score and developing it over a longer period of time than a short-term, condensed workshop allows.

So, at the end of the Master Course, rather than saying no, I chose seven of those who had asked to join the team to enter into a new program in the Workcenter. In recent years, my team and I have been normally touring around the world for six to seven months out of the year: however, it was decided that if these individuals were able to come together, and find the necessary funding to come back when our team is at our home-base in Pontedera, myself, assisted by my team, would find the way to help them enter into a deeper process of pedagogy and creation related to Workcenter’s praxes. The people chosen for this new program accepted with determination this possibility and within the short period of a month, they found the funding needed to come back for a three month period.

This new venture is a great opportunity to explore pedagogy over an extended duration, and to witness the ways in which pedagogical processes themselves can lead to richly creative territories and discoveries. At the end of this period, my team and I will have a chance to review and analyse what has been achieved throughout the Studio, and decisions will be made regarding the next steps for the development of this particular Studio in Residence group.

I am happy to welcome this group of artists to our home base in Pontedera / Italy for three months, and I am excited that we are able to take yet another step in our pedagogical and creative practices during this, our thirtieth year of ongoing performance research.


Thomas Richards, Artistic Director

Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards

Workcenter Studio in Residence Members March  – June, 2016:

Marcia Cabrera Antia (Colombia)

Felipe Salazar Montoya (Colombia)

Lynda Mebtouche (France)

Juan David Salazar Montoya (Colombia)

Javier Cárcel Hidalgo-Saavedra (Spain)

Gina Gutiérrez Villamizar (Colombia)

Jaime Alonso Abarzúa Vallejos (Chile/Sweden)


Performance Events of the Workcenter Studio in Residence

Sin Fronteras

Sin Fronteras