Massachusetts
Profile Type: Cultural Nonprofit
Cultural Nonprofit
The Ritual Theatre

The Ritual Theatre creates original, courageously raw, multidisciplinary and site-specific theatrical experiences for inter-generational audiences.  Our place-based performances offer spaces for the growth of authentic community, and seek to restore our much-needed connection with ritual, and with the dark, the light, and the inspired potential within each of us. We desire to encourage all who collaborate in the work and all who watch, to deeply celebrate the cycles of love, loss & renewal that make us precariously and preciously human.

The Ritual Theatre was born in the Spring of 2012 while producing "Isis-Chernobyl: A Tale of Uncertain Fruit". I believe that the work of transformation - of becoming oneself - is more easily enabled within the container of community, and that true art helps shape the evolutionary edge of a culture. Each offering - whether a site-specific installation, a group play, or a solo performance - is created through an organic and intimate process of exploration, and in direct relationship with a specific place/ space. Larger pieces are collaboratively devised, and directed by myself. 

​My roots and deepest inspiration in performance draw from my native Kerala, India where dozens of ancient ritual drama and dance traditions continue to enliven and sustain local communities today despite the overwhelming presence of globalized necolonial commodification. I find myself creating theatre for a world in the US for fractured people who no longer possess a language for ritual or for initiation. I also feel that be alive as an artist, especially at this time, requires me speak to the connect between the personal and poltical, while still retaining my soulfulness. I do this by sourcing myself from within my ancestral roots as well as relationships with people and this palce I call home - The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.

Our current project is called "Rites of Passage 20/20 Vision", a live installation-performance honoring the lives of women of color in America. 20/20 Vision is set to take place at The Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield MA, August 13th-16th 2021, and will showcase the modern experiences and ancestral stories of 90 local women and women from all over the US. The event will take place over four consecutive days, with two 3-hour performances each day, in a house exhibiting 24 rooms of interactive art, installation and performance. As a "living museum", each room will represent a contemporary interpretation of a rite of passage in a woman’s life, for example: birth, puberty, motherhood, and aging. The production will address a broad spectrum of intersectional social-political issues such as: intergenerational health and healing, immigrant justice, race politics, women's reproductive issues, the #metoo movement, queer & trans rights, and cultural & ecological regeneration. Learn more here:https://www.ritesofpassageproject.org/artists2020

 

With gratitude, Pooja Prema

Founder & Artistic Director​​​

Additional Links: 
a project of mine and The Ritual Theatre

I Have Worked With

  • June 2015 to July 2015

    Blue Q is a major business in Western Massachusetts. Their warehouse was the site for the 2015 production of "The Lift" for which we used their industrial freight elevator as our stage on three different floors. https://www.blueq.com/

  • September 2014

    Gedney Farm is a music venue and historic farm. Its also a venue for large weddings. We created a site-specific performance called "The Promenade" here in the summer and fall of 2014 where the audience toured their epic grounds with performances embedded in the landscape. https://gedneyfarm.com/ 

  • June 2013

    The Whitney Center for the Arts was the venue for the "Rites of Passage" production in 2013 in Pittsfield MA. We used the entire house for this live interactive installation-performance. https://www.thewhit.org/

  • Cultural Nonprofit

Contact Information

First Name: 
Pooja
Job Title/Position: 
Artistic Director
Mailing Address: 
PO Box 421
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Physical Address: 
80 Castle Hill Ave
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Last Name: 
Prema
Phone: 
4134291479

About

Profile Type: 
Cultural Nonprofit
Primary Discipline: 
Theater - Devised / Artist-Led
Additional Disciplines: 
Dance - General
Dance - Modern / Contemporary
Design - General
Humanities - General
Humanities - Anthropology
Humanities - Cultural Heritage
Literary Arts - Non-Fiction
Media - Film
Multi-Disciplinary
Music - General
Theater - General
Theater - Solo / One-Person Show
Theater - Storytelling
Visual/Crafts - General
Visual/Crafts - Ceramics
Visual/Crafts - Decorative Arts
Visual/Crafts - Experimental
Visual/Crafts - Illustration / Drawing
Visual/Crafts - Installation
Visual/Crafts - Mixed Media
Visual/Crafts - Photography
Visual/Crafts - Sculpture
Year Founded: 
2012
Populations Served: 
Adults
Elders
Families
General Public
Immigrant Populations
LGBTQ Populations
Nonprofits
Teens
Youth-At-Risk
Institution/Business Type: 
Performing Groups
Activities and Services: 
Arts for Social Change / Creative Activism
Community Arts
Performance / Concert / Reading
Events Per Year: 
1
Seasons Active: 
Summer
Geographic Reach: 
Town / City
County
Multi-County Region
Multi-State Region

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Education: 
BA Bard College at Simon's Rock
Awards: 
Wyomissing Foundation, 2020
V-Day International Foundation, 2020
Berkshire Bank Foundation, 2020
Puffin Foundation Grant (2013, 2016)
Tupelo Award, 2013
Martha Boschen Porter Fund Grant, 2012

Accessibility of Services

Access accommodations for people who use a wheelchair and have limited mobility
Accessible website and/or multimedia for people with sensory disabilities
For people in wheelchairs who cannot access the second floor of the upcoming Rites of Passage: 20/20 Vision" performance, we will provide video footage of the second floor performances. All of the rooms will also be documented using VR technology and will eventually be available online for free.

I am a Touring Artist

State of Residence: 
Massachusetts