Rachel Bowditch

DIXIE GAMMAGE HALL
TEMPE
Assoc Professor
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
2002
Assoc Professor
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
2002
Assoc Professor
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
2002

Biography

 

Dr. Rachel Bowditch, MA/Ph.D. (Associate Professor) is a theatre director, performance studies scholar, and the Head of the MFA in Performance in the School of Film, Dance, and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU. Her research and creative activity, teaching and service aims to integrate theory and praxis in all of her work from written scholarship to directing on the stage. Two main connecting research threads weave throughout all of her work: 1) research into invented ritual practices and festivals as sites for utopic social transformation and 2) investigation into experimental and avant-garde theatre, application of innovative digital technology in performance, and performance pedagogy. These research threads are intimately connected, each informing the other in important and potent ways. Her scholarly and artistic projects are trans-disciplinary in nature, integrating and expanding the fields of Theatre, Performance Studies, festival and ritual studies, devising, directing, and Theatre and Performance of the Americas.

 

Her unique international background growing up and living overseas for 18 years–Rome, Italy; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Jakarta, Indonesia, Singapore, London, and Paris during her formative years and her extensive international travels has deeply connected her to a theater far removed from American Realism. She received her Masters degree and PhD in Performance Studies from New York University in 2006. Her studies at Skidmore College (1994-1998), the British American Drama Academy in London (BADA) (1996), Suzuki and Viewpoints with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company (1996), Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre (1998), Ecole de Jacques Lecoq International School of Physical Theatre in Paris (1998-1999), and becoming a certified instructor in the rasaboxes actor training (2002-present) have helped her move toward achieving her vision of theater–theatre that is visceral, physical, visual, and dynamic dealing with challenging topics from addiction, suicide, insanity, execution, transnational relocation, and sustainably living in the desert among others.

 

Her book, On the Edge of Utopia: Performance and Ritual at Burning Man was published as part of the Enactments Series (Seagull Books/University of Chicago Press, 2010). As an Institute for Humanities Research Fellow (2009/2010) at ASU she developed her second book Festive Bodies: Performing Utopia and Resistance in the Americas, co-edited with Pegge Vissicaro and published by Seagull Books/University of Chicago Press (forth-coming). As one of the six nationally certified rasaboxes instructors, she is co-editing the Crossing the Line: Rasaboxes in Practice, Performance, and Theory with Paula Murray Cole with various contributors such as Richard Schechner, Michele Minnick and others.

 

Her work has been published in books and peer-reviewed journals including Playa Dust: Collected Stories from Burning Man (Black Dog Publishing 2014), Festive Devils of the Americas (Seagull/University of Chicago Press; forthcoming), The Drama Review (TDR), Performance Research, Ecumenica: Journal of Theatre and Performance, Journal of Religion and Theatre, Puppetry International, and the Journal of Religion and Theatre.

 

She has presented her scholarship and artistic research in the U.S. and internationally at the Hemispheric Encuentro (New York City, 2003; Argentina, 2007; Bogota, Colombia, 2009; and Montreal, Canada, 2014), Performance Studies International (University of Singapore, 2004; Brown University, 2005; New York University, 2007; and Stanford 2013), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (New Orleans, 2007; Denver, 2008; New York City, 2009; Los Angeles, 2010; Chicago, 2011; D.C., 2012; Orlando, 2013; and Scottsdale, 2014), American Society for Theatre Research (Phoenix, 2007 and Seattle, 2010), the How to Act: Conference on Theatre Pedagogy at the Central School for Speech and Drama, London, 2007, the Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Conference (Philadelphia, 2007), and the Network of Ensembles Theatre Conference (New York City 2014).

 

Directing/Creative Research

 

Since 1996, as the Artistic Director of her theatre company Vessel, her mission is to explore innovative and inventive intersections between physical theatre, dance, circus, visual arts, and multi-media technology. From the street to the stage, her aim is to create a poetry of space that brings stories to life in dynamic, poignant, and visceral forms while creating a sense of intimacy and connection to her audiences.

 

Her original, devised work has been presented at HERE Performing Arts Center (NYC), the American Living Room Festival, the Ontological-Hysteric Downstairs Series, the New York International Independent Film Festival at Madison Square Garden, the GenArt Summer Arts Festival (NYC), the HOWL Festival (NYC), the New York International Fringe Festival, The Kitchen (NYC), Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Phoenix Fringe Festival, the Mesa Contemporary Arts Center, Scottsdale Museum of Modern Art, the Phoenix Art Museum, the ASU Art Museum, the Commemorative Air Museum (Mesa), Phoenix Zoo Lights, Taliesin West, and Tempe Center for the Arts.

 

Her ‘atmospheric’ site-specific works Transfix, Spectrum and Chrome have been presented with over 60 performers in over 30 venues and site-specific locations from Times Square, Grand Central, Central Park, Tompkins Square Park, Sedona, Arizona and Imperial Dunes, California among other sites. Vessel has been commissioned by Mesa Performing Arts Center’s Festival of Creativity (March 2012) and SPARK Festival (2013 and 2015), Scottsdale Public Art for The Art of Maintenance, Fish Herding on the Scottsdale Canal (January 2010), Spectrum: A Winter Solstice Sunset Ritual and Community Waterfall for the Soleri Bridge Dedication on December 10th and 11th, 2010, Spectrum for Canal Convergence (2012), INFLUX 3: Memory Room (2013)—a store-front multimedia performance installation about women, writing, and memory (Marshall Way, Scottsdale), and INFLUX 5/ASU Emerge 2015: Abraxa—a window performance installation about ideal utopian architectural blueprints at ASU Brickyard, Mill Avenue, Tempe,   Still Life at the PHX Art Museum (2014), and the opening of the I.D.E.A. Children’s Museum in Mesa (2014). Vessel’s Spectrum was featured on the cover of the Visit Mesa visitor’s guide (2014). In 2010, her retrospective at the Monorchid Gallery in Downtown Phoenix featured photographs by Chris Loomis, a live video remix of Transfix by Adam Cooper-Terán, live sound sculpture by Glenn Weyant, a live remix of T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland by Logan Phillips, installation art by Saskia Jorda and Simon De Aguero, and the live performance of Transfix.

 

Bowditch received wide critical acclaim for her work directing Childsplay’s 2011 production of The Sun Serpent. With a $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant, she directed the world premiere of The Sun Serpent with Childsplay written by José Cruz González and composed by Daniel Valdez at the Tempe Center for the Arts in October 2011 and remounted at Mixed Blood in Minneapolis in 2014. The production was featured in American Theatre (January 2012) and TYA Today (2012).  It received 11 Arizoni Award nominations and won 6 for Best Direction, Best Costume/Masks, Best Lighting, Best Sound, Best Set, and Best Overall Professional Production in 2011.

 

At ASU she has directed Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal, Naomi Iizuka’s Anon(ymous), Deborah Stein's Bone Portraits and The House of the Spirits (Caridad Svich based on the novel by Isabel Allende) on the Galvin Mainstage. Bone Portraits was voted as one of the best shows in Phoenix for 2009 for “Innovative Design and Staging” in the Arizona Republic. Her innovative use of multi-media in Caridad Svich’s The House of the Spirits was featured in Live Design (November 2014) and Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal and her original work The Ophelia Project were featured in Live Design (October 2008) and American Theatre (January  2009). Bowditch was named one of the 100 most creative people in Phoenix by Phoenix New Times in 2012. In November 2013, she directed Asylum, an immersive site-specific performance at the historic Ice House, the first immersive performance of its kind in Phoenix. Asylum was mentioned in the Arizona Republic’s “Best of 2014” as the  “Best Arts Laboratory” in the Valley.

 

Prior to ASU, as an artistic associate of Richard Schechner’s theatre company East Coast Artists, she had a lead role in Yokastas (2003) and Yokastas Redux (2005) directed by Richard Schechner at LaMaMa Annex (reviewed by the New York Times, the Village Voice, and Time Out New York). As one of the six nationally certified rasaboxes instructors, she has studied and assisted in rasaboxes presentations and workshops with Schechner, Cole, and Minnick since 2002. As an education associate of RoseLee Goldberg’s Performa (author of Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present), she was the liaison between Performance Studies International at New York University and Performa Performance Art Biennial ‘07 in 2007 and worked with Performa for several years organizing Performa ’05 in New York City. She also has worked as an actor with award winning psychologist Paul Ekman (Author of Emotions Revealed) and was featured in his March 2005 National Geographic article on the Mind.

 

She was the founder of M.O.V.E. (Movement. Observation. Vision. Experimentation) Arizona Laboratory for Movement Research Winter Intensive at ASU in collaboration with Sara Romersberger and the Association for Theatre Movement Educators (ATME) in 2008 and 2009.

 

Her performance and directing work have been featured and reviewed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Theatre Journal, Newsweek, American Theatre, The Sun (NYC), The Village Voice, Time Out New York, Live Design, Rolling Stone, Vogue Italia, U.S. Airways Magazine, Channel 12 News, Channel 8/PBS, ABC 15 News, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis Daily Planet, Aisle Say Twin Cities, TYA Today, the Phoenix New Times and Arizona Republic among other publications. A complete profile of her artistic and scholarly work can be seen at: www.rachelbowditch.com and www.vesselproject.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Interests

Devising, directing, experimental performance, avant-garde history, ritual and festival theory, utopian theory, Rasaboxes, and Lecoq pedagogy.

Courses

Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
THF 220 Principles/Dramatic Analysis
THF 497 Senior Project
THE 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 519 Directing: Works in Progress
THP 580 Practicum
THP 590 Reading and Conference
THE 598 Special Topics
THP 598 Special Topics
THP 684 Internship
Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
THF 220 Principles/Dramatic Analysis
THE 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 505 Graduate Colloquium
THP 521 Performance I: Acting&Movement
THP 580 Practicum
THP 590 Reading and Conference
THP 592 Research
THE 598 Special Topics
THP 684 Internship
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
THF 220 Principles/Dramatic Analysis
THP 494 Special Topics
THE 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 590 Reading and Conference
THP 684 Internship
THP 693 Applied Project
Fall 2016
Course Number Course Title
THF 220 Principles/Dramatic Analysis
THE 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 580 Practicum
THP 590 Reading and Conference
THP 592 Research
THE 598 Special Topics
THP 684 Internship
THP 693 Applied Project
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
THF 220 Principles/Dramatic Analysis
THP 494 Special Topics
THE 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 590 Reading and Conference
THP 592 Research
THP 594 Conference and Workshop
THE 598 Special Topics
THP 598 Special Topics
THP 680 Practicum
Spring 2015
Course Number Course Title
THE 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 519 Directing: Works in Progress
THP 580 Practicum
THP 590 Reading and Conference
THP 594 Conference and Workshop
THP 680 Practicum
Fall 2014
Course Number Course Title
THE 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 505 Graduate Colloquium
THP 521 Performance I: Acting&Movement
THP 525 Design I: Concept & Collaborat
THP 590 Reading and Conference
THE 598 Special Topics
THP 598 Special Topics
THP 680 Practicum
THP 684 Internship
THP 693 Applied Project
Spring 2014
Course Number Course Title
THF 220 Principles/Dramatic Analysis
THP 494 Special Topics
THE 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 580 Practicum
THP 590 Reading and Conference
THP 594 Conference and Workshop
THE 598 Special Topics
THP 693 Applied Project
Fall 2013
Course Number Course Title
THF 125 Orientation to Theatre & Film
THF 220 Principles/Dramatic Analysis
THE 499 Individualized Instruction
THP 580 Practicum
THP 590 Reading and Conference
THE 598 Special Topics
THP 684 Internship
THE 791 Seminar