NYID is an ideas-based company. Productions arise from the formulation of ideas and extensive discussion concerning their value and potential application to a discrete or multi art form context. Ultimately, it is the idea that determines the medium by which it is best communicated. If we find ourselves without the skills to communicate the idea in the most appropriate medium, historically, we have committed to acquiring the skills and applying them to the idea. At the heart of our ideas is the question: what is theatre?
Over time we have built up a number of dramaturgical devices concerned with presentation, representation and mediation with which we experiment, develop and expand. These include performative forms such as direct address and monologue; spatial design 'actions' such as spectator-performer interaction and the exploitation of a venue's architecture; theatrical elements such as chorus, choreography, Brecht's concept of alienation and technological interventions such as film and interactive media.
The development practice of NYID is based on a process of accumulation and disposal. The creation of each new work lays the foundation for the next. Experiments that are successful and are considered to have potential in the making of one performance are explored more deeply in the subsequent process. Motifs, modes of work or dramaturgical strategies that are no longer considered progressive are discarded or rested. This process of layering the successes of each new work onto the next has enabled the company to thoughtfully build a new language of arts practice over time.
In the case of performance projects, they normally have a three-year gestation with a five-stage development process: Reading/Research Group, Text Assembly, Development, Rehearsal and Presentation.
The Reading Group is central to the company's process of creation and revolves around the establishment of a group of key artists for each project. In a research environment, experts related to the project's fields of interest are also invited to challenge and inform key artists' positions and understanding of the project material.
Text Assembly involves the writing of a performance text on which the project is based. It may include scenes, sound and video briefs, design rationale, and an approach to physically integrating the work into the desired performing space. In this way it resembles a composition or score. Alternatively, the text may be written in a form more closely resembling a playscript. Either way, the content is distilled from information and ideas that have arisen during and after the Reading Group. Text Assembly is undertaken by the Artistic Director.
Development involves applying the text to a free, performative environment. The approach is to use the material as a flexible template on which exploration, experimentation and innovation are played out. The performance text may change dramatically by the end of this process or it may be reinforced as the Rehearsal format.
Rehearsal involves turning the decisions of the text into an iterative document, able to be learned, repeated and improved through a performance season.
Presentation is a process that involves producing and managing the production as it evolves over all stages of development. A producing model is created that best serves the artistic enterprise of the production. This involves raising funds, production management, marketing, publicity, engagement with venue and co-presenters and partners. This process sits underneath the other four stages and is a flexible and enabling one.
In the case of visual art/installation projects, the development process shares common elements with this performance-making dramaturgy but is often more singularly driven by the Artistic Director.