SITI Company was an ensemble-based theater company whose three components were the creation of new work, the training of theater artists, and a commitment to crossing boundaries. SITI, Inc. stewards the Legacy of SITI Company and its Emeritus Artists for the benefit of future ensembles. SITI, Inc.’s provides services to the field as a bridge for new generations of ensembles, and a hub for archival inquiries, training opportunities, international artistic endeavors, and SITI alumni support.
In 1992, an ensemble of pioneering artists with visionary director Anne Bogart at the helm, began a collective, revolutionary artistic journey as SITI Company. These artists created almost 50 pieces of theater that showcase the storytelling power of the performer and the theatrical vision of the ensemble; they have excavated worlds from ancient Greece to contemporary America and examined the creative compulsions of other artists—from Virginia Woolf to Robert Rauschenberg; explored disciplines as varied as opera, dance, visual art and music theater; and they have expanded the meaning of collaboration by creating work with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Ann Hamilton, Julia Wolfe and the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and Elizabeth Streb’s Extreme Action.
After the company members made the decision in 2019 to intentionally end SITI Company, a conversation about “legacy” evolved. In true SITI fashion, the artists questioned the meaning of the word legacy and why it might matter. With SITI staff, the SITI Legacy Plan that emerged addressed two things: the desire to celebrate the accomplishments of the SITI Company ensemble over the past 30 years, and the aspiration to provide valuable resources for the next generation of theatre artists and ensembles. We designed a celebratory 30th Anniversary/Finale Season that highlights the company’s unique contribution to the art form with new works and revivals and a variety of training opportunities (despite the pandemic); we created the SITI Living Archive to provide long-term, continuous access to a wealth of information about how SITI Company made work from both artistic and administrative perspectives; and we started the SITI alumni network to create a bridge to the future. We recognized that our true legacy lives in the artists who have trained with us and then taken that training into their communities, often creating ensembles of their own. SITI’s intentional sunset contributed to a necessary evolution towards a more pluralistic arts and culture sector by making way for, and facilitating the birth and growth of, new companies that represent a broader range of aesthetics, identities, perspectives, and values.
Though the ensemble disbanded at the end of 2022, SITI, Inc. remains as the legacy organization.
SITI Company was founded in 1992 by Tadashi Suzuki, Anne Bogart, and a group of like-minded artists interested in revitalizing and redefining contemporary theater in the United States through international cultural exchange, creation of new work, and the training of theater artists. Originally envisioned as the Saratoga International Theater Institute (SITI) in Saratoga Springs, NY, SITI quickly established itself in New York City and expanded to encompass a year-round season inclusive of creating new work, touring, and training programs to cultivate the next generation of independent theater artists. The Company is known nationally and internationally as a top-level artistic ensemble that generates groundbreaking theater. SITI Company members now Emeritus Artists are Akiko Aizawa, J.Ed Araiza, Anne Bogart, Will Bond, Gian-Murray Gianino, Leon Ingulsrud, Ellen Lauren, Ellen M. Lavaia, Kelly Maurer, Charles L. Mee, Barney O’Hanlon, Neil Patel, James Schuette, Brian H Scott, Samuel Stricklen, Stephen Duff Webber, and Darron L West. Former company members include Susan Hightower, Jefferson Mays, Elizabeth Moreau, Tom Nelis, KJ Sanchez, and Megan Wanlass.
SITI Company was built on the bedrock of ensemble. They believed that through the practice of collaboration, a group of artists committed to working together over time could have a significant impact on both contemporary theater and the world at large. Through performances, educational programs, and collaborations with other artists and thinkers, SITI challenged the status quo and offered new ways of seeing and of being as both artists and as global citizens.
SITI Company redefined contemporary theater in the US through innovative approaches to actor training, collaboration and cultural exchange. Mary Overlie’s Viewpoint work deeply influenced Anne Bogart and the Company taught an evolving form of Viewpoints, inspired, informed and rooted in Overlie’s work. The world renowned director Tadashi Suzuki was instrumental in the founding of SITI Company and supported SITI’s work and teaching. The direct lineage of SITI’s training with these pioneers has made Company members uniquely qualified to introduce artists to both of these essential and innovative techniques for nearly thirty years.
SITI has traveled to 27 countries on 5 continents and created more than 50 productions, which have been presented at venues across the world. Widely known for highly innovative, physical productions that have ranged from new plays to original devised pieces to reinventions of classics, SITI has expanded the meaning of collaboration by creating work with Rachel’s, the Martha Graham Dance Company, Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Ann Hamilton, Julia Wolfe and the Bang on A Can All Stars, and STREB Extreme Action.
Following a two-year planning process that began in 2017, SITI Company determined that its mission was rooted in the passions of like-minded individual artists—its ensemble members—and not a larger self-sustaining institution. In early 2019, SITI Company members, board, and staff decided that shedding the constraints of an organization, such as an administrative staff and a physical office and studio, in favor of moving towards a more flexible configuration, was the organic next step.
“The question that we asked was, are we an institution that continues on indefinitely, or are we a group of artists who circled around one another thirty years ago and then stayed together based upon a shared vision about collaborative creation?” said Anne Bogart, Co-Artistic Director of SITI Company. “After much consideration, it became clear that we are a specific group of likeminded artists moving through time and space together. And now, here we are, taking our next step, but united in our intention to help others to carry the tradition forwards, each in their own fashion.”
SITI Company has always occupied an important, boundary-pushing role in the American theatre. The Legacy Plan and the thoughtful transition of the organization is the latest and final extension of that role. The contributions that SITI has made to the industry are incalculable and deserve to be recognized and preserved for future generations, while simultaneously celebrating the historic accomplishments of this dynamic ensemble of 17 artists.
At the conclusion of the Finale 30th Anniversary Season in December 2022, SITI Company ceased to operate in its iteration as a touring, teaching, performing ensemble with an administrative staff and a studio. The business entity that remains, SITI, Inc, led by Brad Carlin, provides service to the field and functions as a bridge between the legacy of SITI and new generations of ensembles for exploration of international artistic endeavors, and as a hub for archival inquiries, training inquiries and alumni support.
We believe that, in a world so fractured, making and presenting work over time is an important way of showing how human beings can be together with greater understanding and harmony.
Question for whom, with whom, and about whom we are making our work.
Offer expansive and inclusive training programs for a wide range of artists through scholarships, outreach, and active recruitment.
Educate ourselves on how the language and images we use in our work and teaching can sometimes exclude people, and actively pursue more inclusive choices.
Experiment with art forms, technologies and new ways of expressing the issues of the world that expand expectations of what theater can be.
Identify and pass on the values and useful ways of working that we have both inherited and forged ourselves to the next generation of artists.
Value and support the many ways of making art that everyone we work with brings into the room, creating spaces where all aspects of a person’s identity are seen and uplifted.
In our ongoing anti-racism work we will:
- Be actively anti-racist in our art making and practice.
- Remember that we are all responsible for maintaining safety and equality.
- Acknowledge when harm is done and tend to it, focusing on the impact.
- Create a space where people feel they can speak up and question the status quo.
- Create a space where differences are celebrated.
- Be open to change.