American director Anne Bogart, born 1951, was influenced at an early age (early teens) by the power of theatre, which inevitably shaped her eventual convictions in the craft and led to her successes as a director and theatre-maker. Throughout her career, Bogart staged an eclectic mixture of theatre, including yet not limited to contemporary and modern plays, musicals, opera, as well as dance-theatre pieces and many forms of experimental/avant-garde theatre. Bogart was passionate about making theatre that would “reclaim theatre as an arena for action in which audiences are communally engaged” (Climenhaga, p. 288). She did not believe in theatre as being a sort of pre-packaged product to be ‘sold’ to audiences and easily digested. She wanted to invite her audiences to really become active receivers of the theatre, rather than be passive spectators of a pleasant show. Anne Bogart founded and became artistic director of the ensemble-based theatre company, the SITI (Saratoga International Theatre Institute), alongside Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki in 1992. Here, the two creative director’s practiced and combined their actor training methods, specifically Suzuki training and Anne Bogart’s area of expertise and system of creating theatre: the Viewpoints training. She has also co-written a book which identifies and outlines the primary Viewpoints, which acts as a practical training guide about theatre-making based on the adaptation of the Viewpoints training system by herself and co-author Tina Landau. Characteristics of her work:
Anne Bogart was highly interested in creating bold new productions using avant-garde, or the experimental/innovative theatre-making techniques, as she wanted to be able to push the boundaries of conventional theatre. Bogart really literalised the idea of ‘taking the audience on a journey’ when she would stage productions in strange locations (ie. street corners). She had a fascination with using daily life environments for theatre rather than conventional stage locations in order to give the audience a sense of real life, and yet also a strange sense of displacement while being theatrically entertained somewhere other than the theatre. She most successfully known for her work in elaborating on choreographer Mary Overlie’s ‘Viewpoints’ training. The ‘Viewpoints’ are essentially an outline of stage-movement vocabulary, which can be utilised to aid actors in connecting physically and emotionally with the theatrical space, as well as the other actors. Bogart believed that directing should be about the kinetic qualities involved in staging and even more specifically, the timing of kinetic response – she intended theatre to be about specific ‘moments’ ie. The moment a person arrives at the door or the moment when two people look at one another. Working Methods:
In their book, Bogart and Lindau identify the main Viewpoints as being related to Space and Time, as well as having included the Vocal Viewpoints – which refer to Pitch, Volume and Timbre. Scott Cummings (2006, p. 6) noted that Bogart ‘directs plays with the mind of a choreographer, scoring the motion of bodies in time and space with a keen eye towards rhythm, visual composition, and other formal principles.’ The Viewpoints of Space include: Shape, Gesture, Architecture, Spatial Relationship and Topography. The Viewpoints which relate to Time include: Tempo, Duration, Kinaesthetic Response and Repetition. Each of these Viewpoints have specific exercises which can be used either individually or collaboratively to create a dynamic environment for actors to experiment with the ever-changing aspects of theatre. Exercises in Viewpoints training can assist actors to discover new ways to establish relationships with people on stage, as well as recognise their responsibility in creating a group dynamic. She invites her actors to generate their own group devised blocking and movement through specific improvisation exercises. As an example,...
References: Works Cited
Brantley, B 1995, The Medium and the Resurgence of Expressionism, Digital Lantern San Francisco, viewed 27th March 2015,
Climenhaga, R 2010, Anne Bogart and SITI Company: Creating the Moment, Actor Training – Edited by Alison Hodge, Routledge, London and New York.
Cummings, S 2006, Remaking American Theatre: Charles Mee, Anne Bogart and the SITI Company, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Donahoe, M 1997, Reviewed Works: Anne Bogart: Viewpoints, Women Stage Directors Speak: Exploring the Influence of Gender on their work, Theatre Journal Vol. 49 No. 4, The Johns Hopkins University Press, viewed 25th March 2015,
Favorini, A 1997, Review: The Medium by Anne Bogart, Theatre Journal Vol. 49 No. 3, The Johns Hopkins University Press, viewed 22nd March 2015,
Lampe, E 1992, From the Battle to the Gift: The Directing of Anne Bogart, TDR 1988 Vol. 36 No. 1, The MIT Press, viewed 21st March 2015, < http://www.jstor.org/stable/1146178>
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