Caden Manson

Caden

Undergraduate Discipline

Theatre

Graduate Program

MFA Theatre Program

Director, Theatre Program

A performance maker (Big Art Group), curator (Contemporary Performance and Special Effects Festival), and educator SLCTheatre), Manson’s performance work—through the company Big Art Group—creates radical queer narrative structures and embodiments to construct and aid transitory generative critical space for both participants and audience. Their work is dense, fast, and multilayered and traverses multiple genres and forms, often using interference, slippage, and disruption strategies. Manson’s work has been presented throughout 14 countries and more than 50 cities in Europe, Asia, and North America. Their work has been co-produced by the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Automne a Paris, Hebbel Am Ufer, Rome’s La Vie de Festival, PS122, and Wexner Center for The Arts. Manson is a Foundation For Contemporary Art fellow, Pew fellow, and a MacDowell fellow. Their writing, with Jemma Nelson, can be found in the publications PAJ, Theatre Magazine, Theatre der Zeit, and Theatre Journal. BA, MFA. SLC, 2019–

Undergraduate Courses 2023-2024

Theatre

Beyond the Proscenium: Radical Acting, Directing, and Design in the Post-Internet Age

Open, Component—Year

This class explores the histories, methods, and futures of ensemble and co-authored performance creation, with a focus on new skills and concepts of the digital and post-internet world. After an overview of historical devising companies, artists, concepts, and strategies, we will develop skill sets and frameworks for creating work in a lab setting using the formal aspects of digital and post-internet performance. Some of the frameworks included are digital time; avatars and the double event; embodied and representational strategies in the uncanny valley, staging digital tools, interfaces, and structures; aspects of connectivity, politics, and economics; post-internet materiality; and using code to generate and control performances and creation of texts.

Faculty

Graduate Courses 2023-2024

MFA Theatre

Digital Devising: Creating Theatre in a Post-Digital World

Component—Year

This class explores the histories, methods, and futures of ensemble and co-authored performance creation, with a focus on new skills and concepts of the digital and post-internet world. After an overview of historical devising companies, artists, concepts, and strategies, we will develop skill sets and frameworks for creating work in a lab setting using the formal aspects of digital and post-internet performance. Some of the frameworks included are digital time; avatars and the double event; embodied and representational strategies in the uncanny valley, staging digital tools, interfaces, and structures; aspects of connectivity, politics, and economics; post-internet materiality; and using code to generate and control performances and creation of texts.

Faculty

Embodied Thesis

Graduate Component—Year

Embodied Thesis provides a critical and supportive forum for developing new works of original theatre and performance, focusing on researching in multiple formats, including historical and artistic research, showings, improvisations, experiments, and conversation. Each of you had the opportunity to create a solo, duo, or group project. We share our research, respond to developmental prompts, keep a practice journal, loosely develop a structure/content for the projects, refine our performances through showings, and support and gave feedback to the cohort.

Embodied Thesis cultivates technical skills and nurtures a deep understanding of the integral relationship between research and embodiment in performance practice. By delving into an intentional and elongated creation process, students embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery. They leave the course equipped with an original work that authentically reflects their artistic voice and demonstrates their growth as innovative practitioners.

Faculty

Performance Lab

Graduate Component—Year

Taught by a rotating series of Sarah Lawrence faculty and guest artists, this course focuses on developing the skills needed for a wide variety of techniques for the creation and development of new work in theatre. Ensemble acting, movement, design and fabrication, playwriting, devised work, and music performance are all explored. The class is a forum for workshops, master classes, and open rehearsals, with a focus on the development of critical skills. In addition, students in Grad Lab are expected to generate a new piece of theatre to be performed each month for the Sarah Lawrence community. These performances may include graduate and undergraduate students alike. Required for all Theatre graduate students. This class meets twice a week.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Theatre

Contemporary Practice

Intermediate/Advanced, Component—Year

How do we, as artists, engage with an accelerating, fractured, technology-infused world? How do we, as creators, produce our work under current economic pressures? Contemporary Practice is a yearlong course that focuses on artists and thinkers dealing with those questions and looks at how we situate our practice in the field. During the first semester, students will investigate current and emerging practices in performing care, contemporary choreography, speculative theatre, immersive theatre, co-presence, performance cabaret, post-digital strategies, socially engaged art, and mixed reality performance. Classes will be structured around weekly readings/discussions and embodied exercises. During the second semester, students will attend and write about performances in New York City; interview artists; create individual artist statements, bios, resumes, and websites; develop pitches for new work; and learn how to engage with funders, artistic directors, and presenters. Through field research, embodied laboratories, and creative/professional development, we will build a skill set, network, and knowledge base for supporting our work and engaging with collaborators, organizations, and audiences.

Faculty

Digital Devising: Creating Theatre in a Postdigital World

Open, Component—Year

This class explores the histories, methods, and futures of ensemble and co-authored performance creation with a focus on new skills and concepts of digital and post-internet. After an overview of historical devising companies, artists, concepts, and strategies, we will develop skill sets and frameworks for creating work in a lab setting using the formal aspects of digital and post-internet performance. Some of the frameworks included are digital time; avatars and the double event; embodied and representational strategies in the uncanny valley; staging digital tools, interfaces, and structures; aspects of connectivity, politics, and economics; post-internet materiality; and using code to generate and control performances and creation of texts.

Faculty

First-Year Studies: The Creative Spark—Making Theatre and Performance Now

FYS—Year

More and more artists are multihyphenated, like actor-writer-coder, designer-director-singer, or dancer-landscape artist-filmmaker. Whether making different kinds of work or taking on various roles in the process, this course will help you find the multitude in yourself and art. The Creative Spark focuses on nurturing creativity, curiosity, and a resilient artistic practice in the expanded field of theatre and performance while also exploring the contemporary landscape of theatrical approaches to making new work. The class will survey the many roles of creating work as a director, designer, dramaturg, performer, organizer, and generator. The course will also investigate contemporary artists, embracing theatrical forms of care, devising, the choreographic, immersive, post-internet, music theatre, staging futures, performance cabaret, mixed reality, and beyond. Students will move between developing their creative practice; researching artists and companies through readings; videos; seeing live performance; and creating work through exercises, workshops, and creative prompts. Some of the artists and companies surveyed in this class include Ligia Lewis, who creates immersive, participatory, sensory environments for audiences; The Builders Association, which makes interactive, app-driven plays; Justin Vivian Bond, who produces cabarets centering on trans and queer experience; Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, who invites audiences to follow along a cross-platform celebration of Black love and power; and Big Art Group, which creates queer multimedia performance through a technique called real-time film. The Creative Spark meets once a week for two hours and will alternate individual conferences with small-group meetings/conferences that include screenings, field trips, and performances. Students will also enroll in two other theatre components of their choice to complete their Theatre Third. Students are required to attend scheduled Theatre Meetings and Think Tanks and to complete a set amount of technical support hours with student productions in the theatre program.

Faculty

Performance Research

Advanced, Component—Year

How do we, as artists, engage with an accelerating, fractured, technology-infused world? How do we, as creators, produce our work under current economic pressures? Contemporary Practice is a yearlong course that focuses on artists and thinkers dealing with these questions and looks at how we situate our practice in the field. Students will investigate current and emerging practices in performing care, contemporary choreography, speculative theatre, immersive theatre, co-presence, performance cabaret, postdigital strategies, socially-engaged art, mixed-reality performance, and more. Classes will be structured around weekly field research, readings, discussions, presentations, embodied laboratories, and creative/professional development. We will build a skill set, network, and knowledge base for articulating and supporting our work and for engaging with collaborators, organizations, and audiences. 

Faculty

MFA Theatre

Digital Devising: Creating Theatre in a Post-Digital World

Component—Year

This class explores the histories, methods, and futures of ensemble and co-authored performance creation with a focus on new skills and concepts of digital and post-Internet. After an overview of historical devising companies, artists, concepts, and strategies, we will develop skill sets and frameworks for creating work in a lab setting using the formal aspects of digital and post-Internet performance. Some of the frameworks included are digital time; avatars and the double event; embodied and representational strategies in the uncanny valley; staging digital tools, interfaces, and structures; aspects of connectivity, politics, and economics; post-Internet materiality; and using code to generate and control performances and creation of texts.

Faculty

Grad Lab

Graduate Component—Year

Taught by a rotating series of Sarah Lawrence faculty and guest artists, this course focuses on developing the skills needed for a wide variety of techniques for the creation and development of new work in theatre. Ensemble acting, movement, design and fabrication, playwriting, devised work, and music performance are all explored. The class is a forum for workshops, master classes, and open rehearsals, with a focus on the development of critical skills. In addition, students in Grad Lab are expected to generate a new piece of theatre to be performed each month for the Sarah Lawrence community. These performances may include graduate and undergraduate students alike. Required for all Theatre graduate students. This class meets once a week.

Faculty

Graduate Lab

Component—Year

Taught by a rotating series of Sarah Lawrence faculty and guest artists, this course focuses on developing the skills needed for a wide variety of techniques for the creation and development of new work in theatre and performance. Embodiment, materiality, site, sound, text, technology, light and time are all explored. The class is a forum for workshops, master classes, and open rehearsals, with a focus on the development of critical skills. Students in Grad Lab generate a new piece of theatre or performance to be performed each month for the Sarah Lawrence community. These performances may include graduate and undergraduate students alike. Required for all Theatre graduate students. This class meets once a week.

Faculty

Performance Studio

Component—Year

Developing a strong artistic practice is a foundational aspect of making work. First-year graduate students will work at least 2 hours in studio and 4 hours out of studio developing personal frameworks for research, embodiment, experimentation, and documentation. Students keep a process journal that is discussed during their advising with the Director of the program and their Thesis Advisors.

Faculty

Practice/Thesis

Component—Year

This course will provide a critical and supportive forum for the development of new works of original theatre and performance with a focus on conducting research in multiple formats, including historical and artistic research, workshops, improvisations, experiments, and conversation. Each student will focus on creating one original project— a solo—over the course of the full year. During the class, students will show works in progress. During the conference, students and faculty will meet to discuss these showings and any relevant artistic and practical problems that may arise. This class meets once a week and is required for all second-year Theatre graduate students.

Faculty