October 1st, 2012
To Whom It May Concern:
It is with great pleasure that I recommend Greg Allen, Founding Director of the Neo- Futurists, to your organization or institution. DirectorsLabChicago, an offshoot of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab in New York, is an annual developmental program for emerging and established stage directors from around the country and around the world. In August of 2012, we invited Mr. Allen to present a lecture and workshop to our Lab directors who were exploring the theme: Left Brain | Right Brain – Examining New Models for Working and Living in the Theatre.
From posing essential, thought provoking questions (What makes theatre different from any other art form? How do we effectively engage our audience? What was your most successful failure?) to immersing the directors in physical exercises which challenged perceptions and inspired new ways of working with actors, Greg Allen’s session became a true highlight within our week-long Lab. Further, in evaluations by our participating directors, Mr. Allen was consistently rated as one of the most exciting and interesting guest artists in the Lab.
I highly recommend Greg Allen for your program. His approach to contemporary theatre and film is relevant and unique, and his ability to communicate his ideas is beyond compare. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely, Elizabeth Margolius
Co-Founder | Artistic Director DirectorsLabChicago | directorslabchicago.com
Greg Allen is a theater guru, master teacher, acclaimed director, creator of an exciting new theater method, and a delightful person to work with. He is one of the most inspiring teachers I know.
Greg is Artistic Director of The Neo-Futurists in Chicago, and his work has been so popular that it spawned a sister company, The New York Neo-Futurists. His method of Neo-Futurism strikes a deep chord with students, performers, directors, writers and audiences because it strives to create a highly theatrical “fusion of sport, poetry, and living-newspaper.” I am sure that in ten or twenty year’s time Neo-Futurism will be an integral part of theater departments and training across the country.
Greg has taught twice at NTI during the past year. He taught a two-day master-class this past summer during our Theatermakers Intensive; and he taught a five-day master-class this spring. Each time, the students have left his workshops energized and empowered to create their own work. He is a brilliant teacher because he is so clearly passionate about what the students create: about their creativity, their voices and their vision.
As proof of how exciting and inspiring his workshops are, my current NTI students are still talking about and drawing upon the lessons they learned in his five day master-class – from twelve weeks ago! For these twenty-one students, that five-day master-class with Greg was one of the most formative and eye-opening experiences during their entire semester here at NTI. For many, even for the most informed theater-goers among them, it widened their perspective of what theater and performance could be – and it encouraged them to draw upon their own life, own stories, and own experiences for their work. It also pushed all of them to find a more powerful truth and presence on stage. When I watched their final presentation at the end of the five days I was viscerally struck by how courageous, raw, honest, bold, present and powerful all of the students were. And this was at the beginning of the semester, when all twenty-one students had only known each other for a few days. Greg’s training not only helped them bond as an ensemble, it also emboldened them to make stronger choices and push their own artistic boundaries.
Having observed Greg’s workshops I’ve seen firsthand the transformative effect his work has on our students. I marvel at his boundless energy and deep commitment to the work. His notes to the students are detailed, precise and clear. He demands rigor and hard work while also fostering a playful spirit of creativity and freedom in the room.
The National Theater Institute (NTI) – the 40 year-old training program of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut – is a unique and demanding program. Undergraduates come from liberal arts colleges from all over the country to have an intensive immersion in theater for one semester. NTI has a strong national reputation because of outstanding teachers like Greg, who are working professionally at the highest level in their field and who are also extraordinary mentors in the classroom. Greg Allen is an important artist whose Neo-Futurism method is quickly becoming an influential way of working around the country. He is also an utterly warm, generous and uplifting person.
Sincerely, Jeff Janisheski
Artistic Director, National Theater Institute