ARTBARN Signature

We’ve been in the thick of our residency at the University of Puget Sound for the past ten days, but we wanted to take a moment to invite you to join us for a work-in-progress showing of the material we’ve been developing with our superb team of ARTBARN interns and affiliate artists including Zoe Levine Sporer, Alyza DelPan-Monley, Sara Keats, and Lacy Katherine Campbell.

Friday June 23 + Saturday, June 24  |  7pm
Warner Gym  |  University of Puget Sound

A work-in-progress showing of a new, site-specific, immersive piece about women – how we come together in crisis and perhaps how before that crisis we have the luxury or arrogance to be apart. In the near future, war has left us in a rogue state where lawlessness reigns. Systems of morality are absent and people have ceased to be outraged. The casualty is a history that had always been vulnerable – the legacies of women. But there is a resistance, a compassionate resistance comprised of a band of women who have created a refuge to care for each other and an archive to preserve the stories of the women who came before them. Stories as well-known as Eleanor Roosevelt and Marsha P. Johnson, and those whose stories may have gone unheard like Ching Shih, Caterina Sforza, and Frances Thompson. They learn by heart and tell these stories again and again – each woman in her own way – as a tribute, as a calling to protect our collective memory, as a resistance to a world that would forget them.


This workshop showing is the first iteration of a multi-year project that will be further developed into a full production at Fort Worden, a military base commissioned in 1902, perched over the water near Port Townsend. We took the opportunity to explore the site with our full residency team this year and here are some of our favorite shots!
Inspired by the backdrop of this traditionally masculine space, a story of women is an act of reclamation.


If you are able to join us this weekend, no need to purchase a ticket – just meet us at Warner Gym. Here are directions to campus and a map to locate the gym. We hope to see you soon!

Intern Spotlight: Courtney Seyl

courtney pic.jpg

We’re thrilled to have Courtney Seyl as an intern this summer. As a young director, dramaturg, and writer, we think this piece and process will be a great fit for Courtney’s keen eye for research, quirky point of view as a writer, and unabashed love for relationship-based scene work as a director. She brought a nuanced approach to the complex relationship dynamics in The Pillowman for her thesis and we look forward to seeing what she does with the characters in this year’s ARTBARN piece!

Three questions with Courtney:

What’s the best performance you’ve seen lately?
Lately I haven’t seen any performances outside of school, so I would have to say the best performance I saw lately was during Senior Theatre Festival. Everyone worked so hard and put in so much time, love, and passion into every role. Watching my friends acting and directing and designing was amazing and I can’t wait to see what we all do next.

What have you recently fallen in love with?
I have recently fallen in love with listening to the music I used to listen to in middle school. I recently found some playlists on my Google Play music thing and started listening to Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy and those types of bands again. Its been really nostalgic and cathartic remembering all the music I thought I wouldn’t like anymore but still do.

I have also fallen in love with trying new things. I have been trying to get more outside of my comfort zone lately because I have felt sort of stuck in the same place, so I have been trying new things. Whether it be trying new makeup looks, buying clothes I wouldn’t normally think to buy, or even just trying new foods or restaurants. It’s been a little nerve-wracking at points, but it has also helped me to get out of my room more often.

What do you hope to gain from working with ARTBARN?
I hope to work with a lot of great people and have fun creating something new and original. I’m excited to see what we are able to create together and to get to experience working on site-specific theatre for the first time. I want to gain more confidence in my ability to work with theatre-makers outside of the University and gain more experience working in non-traditional theatre settings.

Courtney is an aspiring writer, director, and dramaturg. Most recently, she directed The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh for her senior thesis. She was also the dramaturg for Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn; other work at Puget Sound includes directing short scene from This is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan; assistant stage managing RENT  by Jonathan Larson and Shakespeare’s Macbeth; and stage managing Gnit by Will Eno. She has also participated a variety of student theatre projects including directing, producing, and writing for the Town Crier Speaks Festival and directing and producing all three years of Plays Against Humanity. She is a member of the Ubiquitous They sketch comedy group, and studied theatre abroad in London in the fall of 2015.

Intern Spotlight: Molly Gregory


We’re excited to have Molly Gregory joining our intern team this summer after working with Melissa D. Brown and Deb O in Jess K Smith’s site-specific dramaturgy class last fall. Molly and her group of collaborators transformed Collins Memorial Library into a journey through a lifetime that was both funny and heartbreaking. As a recent graduate of the University of Puget Sound, Molly made a home for herself in comedy writing and performance, though her thesis and acting classes would clearly point to the fact that her skills are not limited to comedic work. In her senior year she immersed herself more in design and learned that she really enjoyed it. We can’t wait to see what she generates with us this summer!

Three questions with Molly:

What’s the best performance you’ve seen lately?
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams 2017 revival on Broadway right now is my favorite performance I’ve seen recently because it really explored the themes behind the play in new and interesting ways. It was an extraordinarily beautiful portrayal of a classic play. I experienced true catharsis during the performance and was blown away by the images conjured on the stage at the Belasco Theatre. I cried for probably 3 hours not stop.

What have you recently fallen in love with?
I’ve recently fallen in love with scene design and model making. My scene design course has awakened a passion of mine. I never realized how much I liked being able to create interesting ways to use space and how much fun it was to make scale models of full sized sets. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to design a set for a real show, but I still loved the experience of getting to pretend that I was designing for a real show during my class.

What do you hope to gain from working with ARTBARN?
I hope to gain more experience with creating immersive theatre and generating new material. I really enjoyed the dramaturgy course on site-specific theatre that I took and I’m looking forward to gaining more experience with creating instillations like we did during that course. She is also excited to learn more about her passions and abilities as an artist.

MOLLY GREGORY is a recent graduate from the University of Puget Sound. She majored in theatre and minored in Spanish. She has been a theatre maker for almost ten years, and her passion for theatre has evolved over the years from being a desperate need for extracurricular activities during her awkward teen years to a life long love of creative collaboration and spectacle. Her passion lies mostly in comedy, and she spent her four years of undergrad performing as a member of the Ubiquitous They Improv and Sketch Comedy group. She also spent the past two summers studying long form improv at iO Chicago and Second City Chicago, as well as sketch writing at Second City Chicago. While comedy is a major interest of Molly’s, she enjoys and has experience with costume and sound design, directing, stage-managing, and play writing. For her thesis, Molly acted in a dramatic role as Danielle from Steve Yockey’s Afterlife: A Ghost Story and found joy in dramatic acting as well. Molly enjoys many sides of theatre and is excited to learn more about herself as a collaborator and theatre maker during her ARTBARN internship.

Intern Spotlight: McKenna Johnson

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The entire ARTBARN team is deeply indebted to McKenna, who seemed to always land the less-than-glamorous task of delicately weaving a curtain of paper clips for the 2016 production of We Remain PreparedIt was certainly an undertaking shared by all interns last year, but McKenna seemed to always be working tirelessly at the job. Beyond her tremendous work ethic, McKenna is unspecifiedalso an imaginative artist who blew her professor (Jess K Smith) away with her theoretical concept for a site-specific production of Marisol set throughout an abandoned automotive factory in Detroit. We knew then that we had to get McKenna on an ARTBARN project. We’re thrilled to have her back for a second season and excited to collaborate in a way that brings even more of her exciting ideas into the room!

Three questions with McKenna:

What’s the best performance you’ve seen lately?
I saw Tribes by Nina Raine at ACT in Seattle. I had read the script for class last year, and seen the actor portraying Billy in Deaf West’s Spring Awakening several years back, and the entire production was stunning. I love the concept of making theatre as accessible as possible, and both an interpreting team and captioning devices were available to do so.
What have you recently fallen in love with?
I’ve recently fallen in love with my school as a community. This past year I’ve been able to become more involved on campus and step outside my social circle of freshman year, and it’s been really great to feel so much more connected to my school and the people in it!
*Fun Fact: McKenna has been loving her school so much that she made a video tour with accompanying rap to show you all about her favorite spots! Check it out HERE
What do you hope to gain from working with ARTBARN?
I hope to gain experience working with people who are passionate and knowledgeable about their art. The majority of my theatre experiences have admittedly been from the position of an enthusiastic audience member, and I’m excited about the opportunity to be involved in the work that goes into being on the other end!
McKenna is currently a sophomore at the University of Puget Sound, working towards a Psychology major and a Theatre Arts minor. While much of her time is spent representing UPS on the softball field, she also participates in Curtain Call, the musical theatre club on campus. She is excited to be back working with ARTBARN after interning last summer on their production of We Remain Prepared!

Intern Spotlight: Erin Ganley


We’re thrilled to have Erin Ganley on our team once more! Erin first worked with ARTBARN as an intern and audience docent on We Remain Prepared in 2016 and then was immediately enrolled in Jess K Smith’s site-specific dramaturgy class at the University of Puget Sound last fall during which she worked with both Deb O and Melissa D. Brown. In that class she put her skills to work in the development of an original site-specific performance piece staged throughout a maze of locker rooms in Warner Gym, where we’ll be in residence this summer. We are elated Erin hasn’t gotten sick of us yet and that we get to spend June alongside such a bright, collaborative, and imaginative young artist.

Three Questions with Erin:

What’s the best performance you’ve seen lately?

The best performance I’ve seen recently was Dangerous Liaisons by Christopher Hampton at ACT. The set was incredible and I was blown away by the performances from all the actors. I’m always in love with the things I get to see at ACT.

What have you recently fallen in love with?

I have recently fallen in love with Podcasts. I guess it isn’t really recently that I’ve fallen in love with them, I’ve been listening to them for about a year now. So I would have to say I’ve recently fallen deeper in love with them. I think I’m becoming addicted to them. I’m constantly listening to Podcasts no matter what I’m doing or where I am, my favorite ones can’t keep up with how fast I’m listening to them!

What do you hope to gain from working with ARTBARN?

I’ve worked with ARTBARN before and it was an incredible experience for me, but I felt like I placed myself in a position of observation rather than collaboration. This time around, I’m hoping to learn how to be a better collaborator and artist both by observing and being able to collaborate with my fellow interns and the ARTBARN team. Having this real world experience is invaluable, and I’m excited to see where this summer’s piece will take us.

Erin Ganley is delighted to work with ARTBARN for the second year in a row. She is a rising senior at the University of Puget Sound, studying both Theatre Arts and Spanish. During her time at Puget Sound she has performed in Looking for Normal, Recent Tragic Events, and most recently Mr. Burns, a Post-electric play. She was fortunate enough to work with Jess Smith and the ARTBARN team during the Projects in Dramaturgy class in Fall 2016. She has had the privilege to try her hand at scenic design, directing, and being the president of the Bare Bones Theatre Collective, the student theatre group on campus. Erin is heavily involved in Green Dot at UPS, a program dedicated to ending power based violence and sexual assault through bystander awareness training. She is looking forward to another summer with the wonderful ARTBARN team.


Research: The minotaur at the center of the labyrinth
Realization: The mysterious minotaur in ARTBARN’s 2014 production of This is a Ghost House

For centuries, artists and philosophers have been drawn to labyrinths for their precise structure, their scale, and their impact on those who dare to enter. They can be as simple as a puzzle to solve or represent the complex inner lives of our minds. In fact, in many historical drawings and myths, at the center of this twisting and turning maze lies a terrifying beast; part man, part bull – a minotaur. This beast lies waiting at the center of the maze, hidden from sight and buried deep within the layers.

The ARTBARN team thought about the minotaur as the truth we hide from ourselves, stowed away deep in the subconscious. So when working on This is a Ghost House, we asked ourselves what the Collyer brothers (who boarded themselves up in their Harlem brownstone, hoarding newspapers, setting boobytraps, and refusing to go outside during the day) were hiding from themselves. Structured as a memory play, This is a Ghost House moved backwards and forwards in time, but in the hiccups of logic when Homer would feel alone or realize his brother Langley was co-oMinotaur 1pting a memory that was his, a minotaur would emerge, revealing itself to Homer as a terrifying beast lurking in the dark corners of their cluttered house. It was not until Homer made the emotional realization that Langley was gone that the terrifying beast was tamed. In the final moments of the piece, the minotaur guided Homer and the audience outside to a lawn lined with lamps. There we looked back up at that huge dark house and the memories contained therein.


RESEARCH: The true history of the notorious hoarding brothers of Harlem, Homer and Langley Collyer

REALIZATION: The characters, set, and story line for ARTBARN’s 2014 production of THIS IS A GHOST HOUSE

Homer and Langley Collyer, the notorious hoarders of New York, lived in a Harlem brownstone where they kept all of their possessions. These brothers were known for their obsessive collection of books, magazines, furniture, instruments, and other items. As Homer’s health deteriorated and both brothers became increasingly paranoid about thieves taking their belongings, Langley began setting up booby traps in doorways and corridors throughout their house. Langley also developed a bit of an obsessive collection of newspapers in hopes of gathering all the stories for Homer. “I am saving newspapers for Homer, so that when he regains his sight he can catch up on the news.” With all of the possessions from both their mother and father, the brothers decided to continue collecting and eventually filled their house with over 140 tons of items.

The conclusion to the story of Homer and Langley is tragic. Homer, who had gone completely blind and whose mobility was severely limited relied on Langley to get him food. One night when Langley went out to get food for them, he was caught in one of his own booby traps where he died. Homer, remained waiting for Langley to return, not knowing that he and his brother were dying amidst all of their belongings in their own home.

Naturally, the members of ARTBARN were fascinated with the brother’s motives behind the decisions to seclude themselves from the outside world. The piece This is a Ghost House, performed summer of 2014, featured Homer and Langley along with a wall full of newspaper clippings in which Langley was collecting and mapping a paper to tell all the stories. The plot followed the decent of their trust for the outside world and the accumulation of stuff along with the imagery of a Minotaur and labyrinth to reveal the fear and paranoia that eventually led to their deaths.





RESEARCH: The designation of “Here be dragons” on old maps to indicate the unknown
A dragon dwelling in the decommissioned boiler room of the Georgetown Steam Plant in our 2016 production of WE REMAIN PREPAREDscreen-shot-2017-02-24-at-7-09-17-pm

The dragon, a mystical creature seen in literature and fairy tales, made it’s first appearance on maps in the early 1500s. This symbolized a dangerous or unknown area for travelers to avoid when on the seas. The old Latin phrase “HC SVNT DRACONES” translates to “Here be dragons” often accompanied these illustrations. While we see other creatures on maps, such s basilisks and cynocephaly, dragons were specifically used to warn sailors voyaging out into the sea. This concept of the unknown area marked by a dragon triggered the inspiration for the character of Kimmel’s relationship to the boiler room and the fears, doubts, and nightmares contained therein.

WE REMAIN PREPARED tracked the slow atrophy of a building that was once the epicenter of efficiency for the city of Seattle. Within the plant, the boiler room was the heart, but in WE REMAIN PREPARED, the boilers are cold, the doors are shut, and the hum has gone eerily silent. It begins to represent the terror of their insignificance. Kimmel, the building’s more diligent caretaker begins scrawling a dragon on his ground plans, folding them into little origami beasts, and allowing his fears to manifest as a real dragon stowing away in the room beyond that red door.  In the final scene of the play, Kimmel finally comes face to face with his fears and wakes the giant dragon, made by our exceptional collaborator, Lacy Campbell.











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.


RESEARCH: The geometry of circles
REALIZATION:  The character names of Satima, Sagitta, and Diametra from ARTBARN’s 2015 production of The Circle 

“What’s in a name?” -Juliette

A shape that has been known since the beginning of recorded history inspired three of the character names in ARTBARN’s production of The Circle: A Guidebook to Peace, Happiness and Truth Through Personal Geometry. The piece, which also took inspiration from Yeats’ prophetic poem, The Second Coming, centered around a community obsessed with circular geometry whose “center cannot hold”.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Scholars in geometry, astronomy, and calculus have long studied the circle, believing that it held something intrinsically “divine” or “perfect”. Three characters from The Circle were Sagitta, Diametra, and Satima, all three inspired by geometric aspects of a circle. A segment (Sagitta) is a region, not counting the center, bounded by a chord and an arc lying between the chord’s endpoints. The diameter (Diametra) is the measurement from one point to another point of a circle, crossing through the center point of the circle. A sector (Satima) is a region bounded by two radii and an arc lying between the radii. Didn’t think you would be getting a lesson on geometry today, did you?