Ensemble in Action: Elizabeth Streb and the STREB Extreme Action Company
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This essay is intended to provide an overview and detailed investigation of a contemporary ensemble theatre company which inspires me and whose work I intend to integrate into my own practice-as-research thesis project. In this case, while technically a dance company, STREB provides an excellent portrait of what the human body is capable of achieving (a great concern for those engaged in “physical theatre”) and a unique example of how hierarchy and inquiry can be a part of an ensemble based creative process. The data collection for this project was inspired by classical ethnography. In particular, for this project I employed the methods of observing activities of interest (like rehearsal and day-to-day operations for the company over the course of one week in 2015 and two weeks in 2018), participant observation (as I undertook during their Adult PopAction classes and Kid Action Summer Camp), and semistructured interviews (which I made with over 16 current and in one case former company / staff members).