Big Art Group is a New York based experimental performance ensemble founded by Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson in 1999. Big Art Group uses language and media to push formal boundaries of theatre, film and visual arts; it creates culturally transgressive works and innovative performances using original text, technology and experimental methods of communication. Big Art Group has produced 22 original works: CLEARCUT, catastrophe (1999),  The Balladeer (2000),  Shelf Life (2001),  Flicker (2002),  House of No More (2004),  Dead Set (2006-Serial Project),  The People (2007-Serial Project),  The Sleep (2007),  The Imitation (2008), SOS (2008), Cityrama (2010-Serial Project), Broke House (2012).  In these pieces founder and director Caden Manson invented the integrated spectacle ‘Real-Time Film’, a hybrid of film and theatre in which actors recombined formal ideas of performance through the use of simultaneous acting on stage and for live video using complex choreography, digital puppetry and live video framing. The company’s works exists in the contemporary stream of postdramatic performance, wherein traditional narratives and established performer-audience relationships have been opened up to create possibilities of innovative discovery. The work blends high and low technology, marginal and mainstream culture, and blunt investigation to confront complex issues about contemporary experience.

In its history, the company grew from a small New York underground performance group to an internationally prominent and critically recognized ensemble with essays in performance literature (PAJ, Theater Journal, Mouvement, Theatre Heute), grants from The Jerome Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, DNA (Andrew W. Mellon foundation and Arts International), Florence Gould Foundation, MAP Fund, étant donnés, and multiple invitations from leading festivals and presenters of contemporary performance (Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Theatre Der Welt, La Vie de Festival Rome, Desingel Antwerp, Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Szene Salzburg, Wexner Center for the Arts, REDCAT LA, Under The Radar, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Kitchen).


1999, CLEARCUT, catastrophe!
2000, The Balladeer
2001-2004, Shelf Life
2002-2005, Flicker
2004, Empty Island
2004-2006, House of No More
2006 Dead Set #2
2007-2008 Dead Set #3
2007 The People – Polverigi at Inteatro Polverigi (Polverigi, Italy)
2007 The Sleep
2008 The Imitation
2008 The People – Halle at Theater der Welt Festival (Halle, Germany)
2008 PainKiller – Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin, Germany)  Galerie Quynh(HCM, Vietnam)
2008 -2010 SOS

2008 2010 The People – Salzburg at Sommerszene Salzburg (Salzburg, Austria)
2010 Cityrama – Prospettiva Festival/ Castello di Rivoli – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (Turin, Italy)
2011 The People – San Francisco – Yerba Buena Center For The Arts (San Francisco, CA, USA)
2012 The People – Portland – Portland Institute For Contemporary Art, TBA Festival
2012 Broke House, Big Art Group, Abrons Arts Center (NYC, USA)
2014 The People – L.E.S., Big Art Group, Abrons Arts Center (NYC, USA)
2016 Body Edit, Big Art Group, Bone Festival (Bern, Switzerland)
2017 Opacity, Big Art Group, Bard Live Arts International (Bard, NY, USA)

Awards and Grants

2017 Narrative Initiative Grant, Center For Arts In Society
2017 The Berkman Pro-Seed Fund, Carnegie Mellon University
2016 The Fund for Research and Creativity, Carnegie Mellon University
2011 MacDowell Colony Fellow
2011 Headlands Center For The Arts Residency
2011 NYSCA
2010 NYSCA
2009 Rockefeller MAP Fund Grant
2009 NYSCA
2009 Mid Atlantic Arts Fellowship
2005 Trust For Mutual Understanding
2004 Francis Gould Foundation Grant
2004 Greenwall Foundation Grant
2004 National Performance Network Creation Fund
2004 Etant donnés: The French-American Fund Grant
2004 Arts International Grant
2003 Rockefeller MAP Fund Grant
2002 DNA Grant (Arts International and Doris Duke)
2002 Pew Fellowship In the Arts
2002 Arts International Grant
2001 Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellowship


Weiner Festwochen
Festival d’Automne à Paris
Theatré Gâronne
Maison de la Culture de Créteil
Hebbel am Ufer
Caserne Mirabeau
Teatro di Roma – Vie dei Festival
The Wexner Center for the Arts
P.S. 122
National Performance Network
Bard Live Art Biennial

Workshops and Teaching

“Hybrid Bodies / Simultaneous Presence” Yerba Buena Arts Center & Z Space San Francisco, USA (2011)
“Masters Teaching” Bern, Switzerland (2010)
“Theory and Practice” Hamburg, Germany (2010)
“Live Overload” Torino, Italy (2010)
“Framing the Actor” Toulouse, France (2004, 2006)
“Multimedia Workshop” Montreal, Quebec (2006, 2009)
“Real Time Film/Dance on Camera” IFA Academy, Polverigi, Italy (2004, 2005, 2006)


2012 “Being Contemporary.” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 34.1 (2012): 58-59.
2011 “After Spectacularity” in  Performing Politics: Politisch Kunst machen nach dem 20. Jahrhundert
2009 “Les Fantômes de l’Image-Amerique,” Mouvement #51, April-June 2009

2006 “Il territorio dell’indesiderabile,” Biblioteca Teatreale: Il Teatro Di Fine Millenio.
2005 “Theatre faces real-time manipulated image” Centre des Écritures Contemporaines Numeriques No. 2, April 2005

Selected Touring

Premiere Performance Space 122 (NYC) Flicker
Théâtre Garonne (Toulouse, France) Flicker
Festival d’Automne (Paris, France) Flicker
Théâtre de Lorient (Brittany, France) Flicker

The Via Festival (Maubeuge, France) Flicker
Inteatro Polverigi (Polverigi, Italy) Flicker
Zürcher Theater Spektakel (Zurich, Switzerland) Flicker
La Bâtie-Festival de Genève (Geneva, Switzerland) Flicker
De (internatonale) Keuze van de Rotterdamse Schouwburg (Rotterdam, Netherlands) Flicker
Le Vie de Festival (Rome, Italy) Flicker
SpielArt Festival (Munich, Germany) Flicker
Hebbel Theater (Berlin, Germany) Flicker
Mettre en Scène (Rennes, France) Flicker
Pan Pan Theatre Symposium (Dublin, Ireland) Shelf Life
The Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis, MN) Shelf Life
Fresh Terrain/PS122/UT (Austin, TX) Shelf Life
The Wexner Center For The Arts (Columbus, OH) Shelf Life
The Warhol Museum (Pittsburg, PA) Shelf Life
Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt, Germany) Shelf Life
Sommerszene (Salzburg, Austria) Shelf Life

New Territories Festival (Glasgow, Scotland) Flicker
Emilia Romagna Teatro (Modena, Italy) Flicker
Sommerszene Festival (Salzburg, Austria) Flicker
Kaiitheatre (Brussels, Belgium) Shelf Life
Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin, Germany) Shelf Life
Festpielhaus Hellerau (Dresden, Germany) Shelf Life
Performance Space 122 (NYC) House of No More

In Motion Festival (Barcelona, Spain) Flicker
RED/CAT (Los Angeles, CA USA) Flicker
Teatro Central (Sevilla, Spain) Flicker
VEO Festival (Valencia, Spain) Flicker
Teatro Canovas (Málaga, Spain) Flicker
Teatro Alhambra (Granada, Spain) Flicker
Teatro La Fenice (Senigallia, Italy) Flicker
Trafó (Budapest, Hungary) Flicker
STUK (Leuven, Belgium) Flicker
Dance Theater Workshop (NYC) House of No More
Hebbel Theater (Berlin, Germany) House of No More
Théâtre Garonne/TNT (Toulouse, FranceHouse of No More
Festival d’Automne à Paris (Paris, France) House of No More
Le Manege (Maubeuge, France) House of No More
Le Vie de Festival (Rome, Italy) House of No More
La Rose Des Vents (Villeneuve d’Asq, France) House of No More
Wexner Center (Columbus, OhioHouse of No More
Art Rock Festival (Saint-Brieuc, France) House of No More
Festival de Otoño (Madrid, Spain) House of No More
Teatro La Fenice (Sinigalia, Italy) House of No More
Semaines Internationales de la Marironnette (Neuchatel, Switzerland) House of No More
Theatre de Nimes (Nimes, France) House of No More

Temps d’Image at L’Usine C (Montreal, Canada) House of No More
Festival Mois Multi (Québec, Canada) House of No More
Donau Festival (Krems, Austria) House of No More
Scene Festival (Salzburg, Austria) House of No More
Hebbel Theater (Berlin Germany) Dead Set #2
La Comete (Chalons en Champagne, France) Dead Set #2
Theatre d’Angouleme (Angouleme, France) Dead Set #2
Festival d’Automne à Paris (Paris, France) Dead Set #2

The Kitchen (NYC) Dead Set #3
deSignel (Antwerp, Belgium)Dead Set #3
Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt, Germany) Dead Set #3
Donau Festival (Krems, Austria) Dead Set #3
The People – Polverigi at Inteatro Polverigi (Polverigi, Italy) The People – Polverigi

Theater der Welt Festival (Halle, Germany) The People – Halle
Wiener Festwochen (Vienna, Austria) SOS
Théâtre Garonne (Toulouse, France) SOS
Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin, Germany) Pain Killer
Theater Works (Singapore) Pain Killer

Temps d’Image Festival (Montreal, Canada) SOS
The Kitchen (NYC, USA) SOS
REDCAT (Los Angeles, USA) SOS
Yerba Buena Arts Center (San Fransisco, USA) SOS
Prospettiva 09 (Turin, Italy) SOS
Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin, Germany) The Sleep
Ljubljana – Exodos Festival (Ljubljana, Slovenia) The Sleep

Szene Festival (Salzburg, Austria) The People – Salzburg
Prospettiva 2010 (Turin, Italy) Cityrama – Turino
BernUniversity of The Arts (Bern Switzerland) Cityrama – Bern
Kampnagel (Hamburg, Germany) The Sleep 

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Z Space (San Francisco, USA) The People – San Francisco

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art TBA Festival (Portland, OR, USA) The People – Portland
Abrons Arts Center (NYC, USA) Broke House

The Kitchen (New York, NY) Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Originale
BONE 17 Performance Festival (Bern, Switzerland) Body Edit
Abrons Arts Center (New York, NY) The People – L.E.S.

Bard Live Art Biennial at Fisher Center For The Performing Arts Opacity