People sometimes wonder why we are called the SITI Company. What is SITI?
When we originally came together in 1993, we called ourselves the Saratoga International Theater Institute. And the intention was that we would hold symposiums and panel discussions and talks along with performances. In our first two summers in Saratoga we did conduct these activities, but as time went on we became more and more focused on our performances.
Whenever SITI Company makes a production, we generate a great deal of research and spend a great deal of time and energy investigating and exploring the subject matter we have chosen. We work in the rehearsal studio to comb through that work and edit it down to present it to our audiences. We have often thought, “What if we were to invite the public into this research and exploration activity? What if we were to create a context where we could treat the public not as an audience, but as fellow students or even experts on the subjects we’re studying?” Over the years we have come to call this context the SITI Thought Center. It is the dream of a place where people could engage with us in a variety of formats and interact with us around the ideas we’re exploring. Twenty-three years since we started as an “institute” we’ve never lost interest in being a crossroads for ideas.
After 9/11 Anne felt that we, as citizens, needed to gather in rooms and talk. So we put together a series of events that became “Conversations with Anne”. Last year our Conservatory artists put together a series of salon-like events which they called the “Salo(o)n” in our studio, which were really stimulating. Today, we are really excited to launch SITI Thought Center.
SITI Thought Center, along with SITI Work/Space, is a reimagining of our studio as a place not only of training and rehearsal, but public exchange and sharing of ideas. It is an opening of SITI’s sphere of interests and connections to the larger world, and allows us to interact with the public in new ways. Some Thought Center events will be focused on specific topics that relate to our work, like our upcoming Cage Conversations series, focused on the work and lasting influence of composer John Cage. My Co-Artistic Director Anne Bogart has written more about these in her blog. We will also be hosting artists and other thinkers with specific experience, expertise and points of view about the world in the SITI Thought Center Perspectives series. We have two of these events upcoming, with Eugenia Tzirzilaki on March 25th and Ianthe Demos on April 25th. You can find out about all of these events, including how to buy tickets or RSVP for free events, on our Thought Center page.
In addition to these events in our studio and other venues, SITI Thought Center will also deliver videos and other media about our work and interests to you through a variety of channels; conventional publishing, social media and whatever the future holds in store.
You are a vital part of SITI Thought Center. We don’t want it to be one-way. The model for SITI Thought Center is conversation, and we see conversation as a process by which both participants are changed and affected by the other. We want SITI Thought Center to be interactive. We have things to say, but we want to listen. We want to learn. We want to change.
So in the coming months and years, look for SITI Thought Center to open up the SITI-sphere, and come join us!