Big Art Group at Hungry Eyes Festival August 26-28, 2022

Broke House at La Biennale di Venezia Teatro June 26 & 27, 2022

Big Art Group’s Broke House Makes its European Premiere This Summer at La Biennale di Venezia Teatro June 26 & 27, 2022

A Performance Crisis

“True to their name, Big Art Group’s performances are big in every possible way: prismatic visuals hurtle across a panoply of screens, dazzling with flashing colors; strange conjunctions of video imagery captured live by a battery of cameras and spliced together in real time, ambush the eye; digital soundscapes thrum, groan, and roar at synesthesia-inducing volumes.”

– Jacob Gallagher-Ross, The Drama Review

On a skeletal set webbed with video cameras, a family of characters and their hangers-on try to recall their given roles as the foundations of their dreams collapse, expelling them into a desert of their futures: part comedy, part ritual, part love spell.

The performance explores a process of construction sharply interrupted by historical events and dissolved into the shapelessness of an aftermath. The processes that were “building” previous to the play’s beginning include a life, a family, architecture— or a system of beliefs, an economy of values, and the creation of the performance itself. But when events intervene— events like societal incoherence, economic upheaval, climate disaster, abandonment, forgetting, and strife— the raw materials and the players themselves become deformed into a new purposelessness and enter a transitional state of potentiality. Like the pause loop in a video game, Broke House takes place in this marginal time.

Like all of Big Art Group’s works, Broke House offers our meditation on the current states of America, which we believe have been in flux for at least as long as our ensemble has been up and running. Beyond the symptoms of housing crises, credit crises, and extremist rhetoric, we suppose that the metaphorical heart of the country has been suffering and perhaps has decided to rebuild the body that surrounds it.

Big Art Group is a New York-based experimental performance ensemble founded by Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson in 1999. The group creates innovative performances using experimental strategies with text, technology, and the body. Big Art Group has produced 22 original works. In the early 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 matrixed live video and embodied mediated performance. The company’s works exist in the contemporary stream of performance. The work blends high and low technology, marginal and mainstream culture, and blunt investigation to confront complex issues about present experience.

The 50th International Biennale Teatro will take place from 24 June to 3 July 2022, under the direction of Stefano Ricci and Gianni Forte: on the program shows and appointments with the most important protagonists of the contemporary theater scene, in addition to the productions made in the context of Biennale College Teatro, the training project dedicated to young artists. Authors and directors, Stefano Ricci and Gianni Forte trained at the Silvio d’Amico National Academy of Dramatic Art and at New York University. The ensemble of the same name was formed in 2005. Among the prizes won: Hystrio, Vallecorsi, Fondi-La Pastora, Studio 12, Oddone Cappellin, for Dramaturgy and the Gibellina / Salvo Randone Award for Theater.


Created by Caden Manson, Jemma Nelson, Big Art Group
Direction and Scenography by Caden Manson
Sound by Jemma Nelson
Assistant Director Kathleen Amshoff and Bradley Kal Hagen
Performed by
David: Edward Stresen-Reuter
Manny: David Commander
RiRi: Heather Litteer
Jerry: Matthew Nasser
Jerri: Nicholas Gorham
Olga: Willie Mullins, Matthew Nasser

Lighting Design by Hillery Makatura

Broke House is produced by Big Art Group with support from King’s Fountain and NYSCA

photo: © Ves Pitts

La Biennale Teatro

Caden Will Be Teaching Frameworks at La Biennale di Venezia Teatro June 27 – July 3, 2022

This summer, Caden will be teaching at La Biennale di Venezia Teatro June 27 – July 3, 2022 as part of the Biennale College Teatro. They will be joining other esteemed teachers Milo Rau, Carlus Padrissa (La Fura dels Baus), and more.

Dates: June 27 – July 3
Language: English
Recipients: multi-purpose theater artists. Actors / actresses, writers / writers, performers, directors, playwrights and dancers of any kind, interested in teamwork and collaboration as a whole.
Age: +18> 40
Participants: up to a maximum of 10

Frameworks is a set of live digital creation techniques and mediated strategies for contemporary performance. Includes new and expanding vocabulary that reflects and embodies our hyper-connected world; includes exercises for creators, collaborators and participants in performative works and is committed to working with contemporary technology. In FRAMEWORKS, we will explore and practice with concepts and exercises focused on “The Hybrid Body” (training the body in simultaneous presence and double event) and “Performance After The Internet” (embracing new narrative strategies in performance development and embodying the gap digital / analog).

My work develops in the red intersection between the metaverse and the internet crisis. It is a collision of flesh, blood, bone and the digital and networked doppelganger of the body. My performance strategies live in the flashing red lights of the alarm zone, where time is up. Work stirs and plays as it arms technology to vivisect and recombine history, time, place and bodies. My performances are Frankenstein’s monster, sliced ​​flesh and sutures, showing the method of his creation. What do you believe in this information battlespace? To the performers, the media or the margins? I exploit the image against itself, to interrupt and corrupt a dominant vision. I don’t celebrate technology, I contaminate our roles as consumers of images, data bodies, and identities guarded on the net.

Big Art Group in the NYTimes.

Big Art Group’s work with media is featured in an article in the New York Times about companies that have been working in and with media and their relationship with the pandemic performance practices happening today. 


In Print: Doubleness on the New York Contemporary Experimental Stage: Bodies and Technology

Big Art Group is discussed in depth in the new article, “Doubleness on the New York Contemporary Experimental Stage: Bodies and Technology” by Emeline J. Jouve. The article can be read in French or In English.

“Doubleness on the New York Contemporary Experimental Stage: Bodies and Technology” explores the representations of bodies in a corpus of plays by New York artists from the “New American Avant-Garde.” Intermediality, or the co-presence or superimposition of different artistic media, creates dual bodies: technological monsters that are half-human and half-video, grotesque minotaurs at once men and puppets. A “place for viewing,” theatre, theatron, is turned by artists into a showcase displaying post-human bodies. To what extent does the use of technology annihilate or magnify the physical presence of the actor, the traditional soul and raison d’être of the art of the theatre? To answer this question, this paper focuses on works by the pioneering Wooster Group (1975-), the eminent Big Art Group (1999-) and the new rising star of the New York experimental scene, Andrew Schneider (2015-). I develop the concept of doubleness in order to define the nature of the interactions between bodies and technology in the various shows of the artists. – extract from the Transatlantica website

You read the article at this link – >

Caden Manson Will Be Speaking At The Chaos & Method Symposium (Prague, CZ) May 28 & 29, 2018

Caden Manson will be speaking about FRAMEWORKS, a system for researching, thinking, and making Contemporary Performance created by Manson and Jemma Nelson (Big Art Group) at the The Chaos & Method Symposium at DAMU in Prague, CZ May 28 & 29, 2018.

This symposium is a gathering of pedagogues, artists and students where we share experiences about teaching the ‘unthinkable’: a place to sigh, collapse and think together. But it will also be a place of pragmatic mapping of the field: What are the existing, specific methodologies that we use in teaching contemporary performance? What are individual fields and disciplines thought at different schools? What is the proportion of theory and practice? How is the future ‘career’, possibility to build future connections, provided to students? How do we help them towards their own aesthetics? What is the form of the bachelor studies vs. master studies, what is the difference?

The symposium is organized by the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre of DAMU that has since its establishing in 1952 achieved international recognition and has since its beginnings cultivated new approaches to theatre making. It is vitally connected to the distinguished tradition of Czech ‘authorial’ theatre and puppetry, yet integrates the newest theatrical trends in the areas of object theatre, media, improvisation and visual arts.

Conveners: MgA. Sodja Zupanc Lotker MgA et Ph.D – Course Leader of the MA in Directing Devised and Object Theatre at KALD DAMU and and MgA. Lukáš Jiřička, Ph.D.

Other institutions giving talks: Tom Sellar (Yale School of Drama), Barbara Van Lindt (Das Arts, Amsterdam), Caden Manson (Carnegie Mellon University), Maya Levy (The School of Visual Theatre, Jerusalem), Steinnum Knuttsdotir (Iceland University of the Arts), Philipp Schulte (Hessian Theatre Academy, Frankfurt), Agnieszka Korytkowska-Mazur (Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw), Silvia Ferrando Luquin (ESAD, Barcelona), Florian Reichert and Sibylle Heim (HKB, Bern), Jan Hančil (AMU, Prague Rector), Ana Contreras Elvira (RESAD, Madrid), Lucia Repašská (JAMU, Brno),  Alexander Roberts (Iceland University of the Arts), Karmenlara Ely (Norwegian Theatre Academy, Østfold University College, Fredrikstad), Julika Meyer (HMDK, Stuttgart) and François Duconseille (HEAR, Strasbourg), Iga Ganczarczyk (PWST, Krakow), Zane Kreicberga (Latvian Academy of Culture, Riga), Bruce Barton (School of Creative and Performing Arts, University of Calgary).

Full schedule:

Imagined Theatres

In Print: Imagined Theatres: Writing For The Theoretical Stage

Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson are published in this anthology of hypothetical performances written by nearly one hundred leading theorists and artists of the contemporary stage.

“What Could We Build, or Is the Future Already Behind Us?: A Forum” – Big Art Group published in Yale’s Theater Magazine

Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson have been published in Yale’s Theater Magazine. They were part of “What Could We Build, or Is the Future Already Behind Us?A Forum” during Prelude15 Festival along with David LevineDavid ConisonRyan McNamaraAlexandro Segadeand Tom Sellar. Available online at Duke Journals.

“For the 2015 Prelude festival, held at New York’s Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, cocurator Antje Oegel and I wanted to think about architecture in two ways. First, we invited artistic leaders of New York’s newest theater buildings—Performance Space 122 and St. Ann’s Ware- house—to present their plans to an audience of artists and professionals. We wanted to know why these structures were going up and what the ideas were behind their designs. We talked about how they would (ostensibly) contribute to the urban ecology and what opportunities they might o er artists and audiences.

For the second part of this initiative, we invited a handful of hometown theater makers to imagine ideal architectures for future performance: anything from a building to a technol- ogy, a public assembly or any other kind of structure. They presented their projects live and in a modest exhibit—and a spirited discussion ensued. Is architecture about more than just buildings? What’s the use of utopian fantasies like this—are they essential nourishment in a city dominated by commerce, where culture easily becomes another commodity? Was the curato- rial prompt a form of entrapment for artists who prefer to work around limitations and come up with something real? What did these artists’ thought experiments reveal about the creative needs of the city when placed next to the building projects actually going up in the metropolis?” – Tom Sellar


Shout Out In The New York Times

Our friends and collaborators are featured in the NYTimes for their 7 years of working and presenting the SPANK Art Zine and Party. We’ve been collaborating with them and helping to curate performance into their art parties since day one and they gave Big Art Group a little shout out! Go read up and then join their mailing list. You might just catch us making a spectacle of ourselves at the next one.


In Print: The People in Danish Teater1 Magazine


Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson spoke with Mette Garfield, co editor of the Danish Theater Magazine Teater1, on the occasion of Big Art Group’s performances of THE PEOPLE – LES at Abrons Arts Center in New York. In the article and interview Big Art Group discusses the performance of democracy, contemporary tragedy, and Big Art Group’s use of technology in participatory live events.

“Its not high tech or low tech, its me and you tech” – Caden Manson