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).



ethnography, performing arts, dance, circus, theatre