RESEARCH: Process Charts designed by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (architects of the Georgetown Steam Plant)

Our very own process chart in the production of WE REMAIN PREPARED, ARTBARN 2016

“The Process Chart is a device for visualizing a process as a means of improving it.”
Frank and Lillian Gilbreth

Our research for WE REMAIN PREPARED began with the history of the Georgetown Steam Plant and immediately moved to Frank and Lillian Gilbreth’s models for efficiency. Frank Gilbreth, who designed the Georgetown Steam Plant as a structure of progress also developed systems for understanding and improving efficiency with his wife, Lillian Gilbreth. The Gilbreths believed that every detail of a process is more or less affected by every other detail and so tracking and organizing the most efficient sequence can make all parts of the process work better. This was applied to factories and even used in the Gilbreth home (their family of 14 was the inspiration for Cheaper by the Dozen).

Jake Bisuut working on the Process Chart

For WE REMAIN PREPARED, we included the character of Lillian Gilbreth, who introduced a new process chart to redistribute labor in the plant. This redistribution significantly impacted both the characters’ and audience’s journey through the space – relegating them predominantly to individual spaces, which eventually began to fill up with meaning. So for our production, we worked closely with our dramaturg, Sara Keats, and intern, Jake Bisuut, to develop a 16′ process chart inspired by the Gilbreth system, but made specific to the architecture of the Georgetown Steam Plant and the world of our play/characters.

ARTBARN’s Process Chart in performance

We even took it one step further and developed a chart of our development process for our programs! It was the perfect way to make our dramaturgy and process visible.