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"A Rite," a collaboration between Anne Bogart/SITI Company and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (Photo by Paul B. Goode)

SITI Company Announces Final Season, Legacy Plan

After three decades of form-breaking work, the influential company is folding up regular business and creating a comprehensive living archive.

NEW YORK CITY: SITI Company has announced its SITI Legacy Plan, which includes plans for the company’s 30th anniversary season to be its last. After that season, which is anticipated to conclude in fall 2022, SITI Company will no longer operate as a touring, teaching, and performing ensemble with an administrative staff and studio. Some company members, including co-artistic director Anne Bogart, will continue to work on projects together and separately and also teach and license SITI Company works.

“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 30 years ago and then stayed together based upon a shared vision about collaborative creation,” said Bogart in a statement. “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.”

This decision comes after a two-year planning process that began in 2017. In 2019, SITI Company members, board, and staff decided to move away from the constraints of an organizations (like administrative staff, physical offices and studio) and toward a flexible configuration that allowed all stakeholders to move on to new projects in a healthy way. While planning for SITI’s final season has been complicated by the pandemic, the company plans to announce a national tour highlighting SITI Company’s artistry once theatres have reopened. La MaMa, Pittsburgh’s City Theatre, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts/University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance are currently committed as touring partners.

“SITI Company was rehearsing and conducting Suzuki workshops in our space in the ’90s on the floor that our founder, Ellen Stewart, installed for Tadashi Suzuki,” said Mia Yoo, artistic director of La MaMa, in a statement. “Our histories are intertwined, and in this landmark moment for the company we are honored to connect and partner again. SITI has deeply influenced and informed my own work, and on a global scale, the company has transformed contemporary theatre practice. SITI’s legacy will be felt in generations of theatremakers to come.”

For now, SITI Company is working to create a comprehensive living archive. Under the leadership of BAM director of archives Sharon Lehner, and with a lead gift from the Howard Gilman Foundation and special project grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the archives will be a resource for scholars, theatremakers, and international audiences to access in person and online.

“SITI Company is a beloved and prolific standard-bearer in the world of ensemble theatre,” said Kristy Edmunds, executive and artistic director of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, in a statement. “Their impact over 30 years has ignited theatremakers and audiences with plays that are indelibly marked through their uniqueness. Having been blessed to present a number of their productions over decades and across continents, I am honored to be a part of this next chapter.”

SITI’s 2020-21 season will move forward with online programming, including trainings, SITI Socials and Thought Center events, and an upcoming series of SITI artist talks. Additionally, SITI & STREB’s 2019 production of Falling & Loving, based on the works of Charles Mee, will broadcast to audiences across the country on Oct. 11. The stream will open PEAK HD, a partnership between PEAK Performances and WNET’s ALL ARTS that will broadcast performances produced at PEAK Performances’ home, the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University. More information on PEAK HD is available on Peak Performances’ website.

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