PRELUDE Festival 2023
Kate Valk and The Wooster Group
Saturday, October 14, 2023
Elebash Recital Hall, The Graduate Center, 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA
Kate Valk of The Wooster Group talks about the Group’s latest work, including their new production of Richard Foreman’s 1988 play Symphony of Rats.
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Kate Valk joined The Wooster Group in 1979. Since then, she has performed and/or acted as dramaturg in all of the Group’s theater and media works.
As a director, Valk has created three productions with The Wooster Group, all record album interpretations: Early Shaker Spirituals (2014); The B-Side: "Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons" (2017); and Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me (2022-23). She is currently co-directing with LeCompte the Group’s new version of Symphony of Rats, based on Richard Foreman’s 1988 play.
Valk founded the Summer Institute, a free three-week workshop for public high school students now in its 27th year.
The Wooster Group
The Wooster Group is a company of artists who make new work for theater and media. Since its formation in 1975, the Group has been led by director Elizabeth LeCompte. The Performing Garage, located at 33 Wooster Street in lower Manhattan, is the Group’s permanent home.
The Group has created over 40 theater productions, and more than 25 works for dance, radio, film and video. Its projects have pioneered new artistic practices, notably through the use of video and sound technology in live performance. The Group has developed methods of composition that incorporate non-dramatic texts, autobiography, and documentary materials along with new readings of classic dramatic works.
LeCompte's first compositions were based on Spalding Gray’s personal history (the “Three Places In Rhode Island” trilogy.) In 1980, LeCompte and Gray formally founded The Wooster Group, along with Ron Vawter, Jim Clayburgh, Willem Dafoe, Kate Valk, and Peyton Smith. Since then, the Group has sustained a full-time working company with an evolving core membership, joined by dozens of artistic associates including performers, composers, choreographers, and filmmakers who work on a project-basis.
In addition to creating and producing its own work, the company hosts visiting artists at The Performing Garage and conducts a free summer performance intensive, the Summer Institute, for New York City high school students.
This fall and winter, The Wooster Group will perform two new works at The Performing Garage: "Symphony of Rats" in November and "Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me" in January.