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