14. Rachel Bowditch

Categories: Creatives 2012

When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So in celebration of our Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives.

Rachel Bowditch 550.jpg
Photograph by Aaron Wester
Rachel Bowditch is a theatre director, performance studies scholar, and an assistant professor in the School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

Bowditch says she has a unique international background -- she was born in Rome, lived in Italy for 5 years, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for 2 1/2 years, Jakarta, Indonesia for six months, Singapore for eight years, Tel Aviv, Israel for 2 years, London for six months, Paris, France for one year, upstate New York for 3 years, New York City for seven years and she's been in Phoenix since 2006.

As the artistic director of Vessel, she says her work is experimental in nature, exploring the intersection between physical theatre, ritual, avant-garde performance, and innovative digital technology.

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Transfix by Vessel. Directed by Rachel Bowditch. Bisbee and Sedona Arizona. Photo of Sedona by Bruce Bowditch. Photo of Bisbee by Adam Cooper-Téran.
With Vessel she has produced and directed more than 30 original theatrical productions and site-specific performances at a variety of prestigious experimental theatre venues and festivals in New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Arras, France such as HERE Performing Arts Center, the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, La Mama Annex, the New York International Independent Film Festival at Madison Square Garden, the Kitchen, the Museum of Art in Arras, France, the Mesa Center for Contemporary Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Modern Art, Scottsdale Public Art, Taliesin West, and Tempe Center for the Arts to name a few.

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Transfix by Vessel at SMoCA
Her work has been featured in American Theatre, Theatre Journal, Live Design, and the New York Times. Her books include On the Edge of Utopia: Performance and Ritual at Burning Man (Seagull Books/University of Chicago Press 2010) and Festive Performance: Staging Community and Utopia in the Americas (expected publication 2013). (To see more work visit: www.rachelbowditch.com and www.vesselproject.org).

I came to Phoenix with ... a trailer full of my belongings that included lots of books, boxes of white costumes, 20 red binders of dissertation research, masks, stacks visual research binders, piles of journals, art supplies: watercolors and color pencils, photo albums, and lots of other stuff.

I make art because ... I need to -- it is a necessity, a way of life.

I'm most productive when ... I am juggling five projects: directing a show while writing a book, while conceptualizing another show, while creating a site specific performance while presenting at a conference, while being a mother to a 3 year old. This is my life.

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The Sun Serpent by José Cruz Gonzålez. World premiere at Childsplay, 2011. Tempe Center for the Arts.
My inspiration wall is full of ... images, journals filled with drawings, poems, writing, ideas for future projects etc..., an altar filled with stones collected from around the world, feathers from New Zealand, photographs of those I love, those I have lost, weathered sea glass, a candle, my head map, memories of all the places I have lived and all the people I have loved and continue to love. I am inspired by the work of Arianne Mnouchkine (Theatre du Soleil), Robert Lepage, Robert Wilson, Liz Lecompte (Wooster Group), Anne Bogart (SITI Co), Oskar Schlemmer (Bauhaus), Bill Viola, Theatre Complicite, Punch Drunk and oh so many more...

I've learned the most from ... my mother, who taught art internationally for 35 years and my grandmother Mimi who was a watercolor artist and lived to be 96--they are the two strongest women I know. My mentors Kevin Burns (my high school theatre teacher in Singapore), Gautam Dasgupta (former editor of the Performing Arts Journal) and Phil Soltanoff (Director of Mad Dog Theatre Company) my mentors at Skidmore College, RoseLee Goldberg (founder of Performa and author of Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present) and Richard Schechner--my mentors at NYU.

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The House of the Spirits (an adaptation of Isabel Allende's novel) by Caridad Svich. Arizona State University 2012.
Good work should always ... be rigorous whether it be physically, intellectually, visually, emotionally, viscerally etc...I want to be transformed not transported. Good work stays with you forever, it never lets you go. You can't ever forget it even if you try. It is imprinted in your mind and memory so that you can recall the smallest detail years later. You are no longer the same person--it changes you forever.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more ... pedestrian civic space for people to gather--more alternative coffee houses, more funding for the arts, more networking opportunities and more incubator programs for emerging artist so that younger artists STAY HERE IN PHOENIX and don't migrate to New York, Chicago and LA. Phoenix NEEDS YOU!! DON'T MOVE. Find a way to support younger artists NOW!!!

The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)

100:Lara Plecas
99. Isaac Caruso
98. Brandon Gore
97. Kelsey Dake
96. Hector Ruiz
95. Caroline Battle
94: Jennifer Campbell
93. Jeff Chabot
92. Tiffiney Yazzie
91. Daniel Germani
90. Irma Sanchez
89. Daniel m. Davis
88. Kirstin Van Cleef
87. Emmett Potter
86. Sarah Hurwitz
85. Christine Cassano
84. Fred Tieken
83. Lindsay Kinkade
82. Ruben Galicia
81. Robert Uribe
80. Heidi Abrahamson
79. Josephine Davis
78. Travis Ladue
77. Taz Loomans
76. Mikey Jackson
75. Alex Empty
74. Joe Ray
73. Carol Roque
72. Daniel Funkhouser
71. Carla Chavarria
70. Hugo Medina
69. Cavin Costello
68. Claire Carter
67. Lindsay Tingstrom
66. Catherine Ruane
65. Christopher Crosby
64. Aaron Johnson
63. Brenda Eden
62. Colton Brock
61. Ernesto Moncada
60. Benjamin Phillips
59. Brad Armstrong
58. Angela Hardison
57. Tyler Quinn
56. Andrew James Benson
55. Charles Anthony Darr
54: Tiffe Fermaint
53. Eric Cox
52. Victor Vasquez
51. John Randall Nelson
50. Lauren Lee
49. Kyle Jordre
48. Julie C. Kent
47. Sean Deckert
46. Niba DelCastillo
45. Joseph Benesh
44. Ashley Harder
43. Dan Vermillion
42. Daniel Shepherd
41. James B. Hunt
40. Lori Fenn
39. Seth Gideon Fainkujen
38. Wayne Rainey
37. Christian Filardo
36. Melissa Cody
35. Jason Rudolph Peña
34. Cindy Iverson
33. Ryan Gentry
32. Sebastien Millon
31. Andrea Beesley
30. Chris Pruitt
29. Robert Diehl
28. Rachel Malloy
27. Jonathan Simon
26. Ann Morton
25. Kim Moody
24. Kevin Flanagan
23. Such and Champ Styles
22. Julia Fournier
21. Rebecca Green
20. Jules Demetrius
19. Averian Chee
18. Sara Cochran
17. Daniel Mills
16. Nina Miller
15. Robert Brandan Martinez

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