BWW Blog: Ted Clement - Counter-Productions Theatre Company
BroadwayWorld Rhode Island readers nominated four area companies as "Rising Stars/Theaters to Watch" during the 2015 Regional BroadwayWorld Awards. Now, in a four-part series, the artistic directors from each theater join BWW RI as guest bloggers, sharing their creative vision and inspiration in their own words. Our second guest is Ted Clement, Artistic Director of Counter-Productions Theatre Company.
At Counter-Productions Theatre Company, we do theatre for the joy of it. We actively seek out a collaborative creative process. We do this because we find tremendous fulfillment in sharing the fruits of our collaboration with our audience, and we hope to learn something about ourselves in the process.
Counter-Productions began, like many small companies, as a means to provide theatrical self-determination to a group of motivated artists. Founded in Boston in 2007, we spent four years as a resident company at the now defunct Factory Theatre. We were well received as a part of a vibrant fringe theatre scene in Boston, establishing relationships that we are happy to maintain to this day.
During our residency in Boston, we were hired to tour several of our shows from the Factory to the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket. As our peers began to branch out to other groups, beginning new projects and moving on in the industry, we decided to make a permanent transition to Rhode Island. We began by producing Cabaret: The Musical at the Stadium Theatre. We then produced three plays at the Artists' Exchange in Cranston. We finally settled into our home at AS220's Blackbox at 95 Empire Street in Providence. We are currently producing our third season in the space, and we couldn't imagine a better fit. Like the Factory Theatre in Boston, AS220's Blackbox is intimate and accessible. The "artist-centered" atmosphere of AS220 allows us to pursue our passion with a focus on the work.
Counter-Productions produces a wide variety of plays, both contemporary and classic. We maintain an active policy of choosing material that allows us and our peers to stretch our wings and create art that we can be proud of. With each process we strive to create an environment of free expression while maintaining a standard of serious-minded artistic discipline. We embrace professional protocol as a foundation of effective execution of our craft while remaining open to artists of all levels of achievement. We seek to provide a level playing field for all participants who are willing to work hard for the benefit of each process. Most of all, we seek to serve the play at hand. We believe we have an obligation to honor the playwright's intent, as we understand it. We seek the opportunity to interpret the playwright's words in a collective expression of time and place for the benefit of all participants.
Over the last five years, Counter-Productions has forged friendships with fellow artists and companies in Rhode Island that we've found to be extremely fulfilling. We have seen plays performed at all levels of production, from shows with huge budgets to minimalist pieces, and are continually inspired by our colleagues' work. We have experienced a level of generosity and support from our peers that is no less than remarkable. We believe that we are in the midst of a theatre renaissance in Rhode Island and we are delighted to contribute to this wellspring of creativity.
We are currently producing our ninth season as a company. In the fall Counter-Productions produced a program of staged readings entitled Readings In Autumn: An Exploration Of New Works. With the help of a long list of Rhode Island actors, we explored these works with the intention of providing three excellent playwrights an honest look at their work in front of an engaged audience. The readings were well attended and well received. This experience was rewarding and inspiring, and definitely something we plan to repeat.
This winter we will present Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan. The play will be directed by Michael Ducharme, Director of the Nazarian Center at Rhode Island College. This political drama will be presented in the round as a ritualistic approach to storytelling, in the tribal circle fashion of our theatre ancestors. This immersive approach, we hope, will allow for a profound level of audience inclusion. The show runs from February 19th to the 28th.
In spring we will close the season with the world premiere of Kill The Virgin by local playwright, Kevin Broccoli. Blending hacker/slasher cinema with existentialist theatre results in this ingenious play. Not for the faint of heart, this bloodbath will include genuine gore, archetypal horror characters, and a compelling conversation about this cinematic genre. This production runs from May 13th to the 22nd.
As we approach ten years of existence, we are overjoyed to be a part of the Rhode Island theatrical community. We look forward to several more decades of excellent story telling. We hope you'll join us.
Pictured (left to right): Rebecca Mooney, Production Manager; Christine Fox, Executive Director; Ted Clement, Artistic Director