We are the do-ers. The shape-shifters, the great adapters, mythic storytellers and visionaries. We make the rules and break the rules. We roll up our sleeves. Take on big questions. Design the world we want to live in and then build it. We walk into the mouth of fear. We cultivate a discipline of courage.
Ragged Wing Ensemble’s mission is to catalyze a deep cultural shift where artistic action is at the center of vital social change. We aim to connect artists and audiences through the ritual of live performance, exploring universal questions that span the ancient and contemporary. We engage in the study and practice of Ensemble, collaboratively creating new, interdisciplinary works and activating the next generation of artistically engaged citizens.
Ragged Wing Ensemble is a physical, ensemble theater company that began producing original work in the East Bay in 2004. As critic Lily Janiak wrote for HowlRound, Ragged Wing “specializes in original, ensemble-created work with wildly inventive but precise physicality. It takes on unwieldy, abstract ideas and makes them dramatic through created or reinvented myth.” In the past decade, Ragged Wing has produced seventeen professional shows (most of them world premieres), established a thriving youth training program, enchanted thousands of audience members, and conceived and built a new, shared, multidisciplinary arts venue in downtown Oakland, The Flight Deck, which houses seven resident companies and several arts organizations. Ragged Wing has been honored as “Best New Theater Company in the East Bay” by the East Bay Express, with a “50/50 Applause Award” for 2012-13 from The International Centre of Women Playwrights for gender parity in producing the work of women playwrights, and The Flight Deck was named “Best New Arts Venue” by the readers of the East Bay Express in their 2014 Best Of poll as soon as it opened. “Ragged Wing is one of those local independent companies always worth seeing.” (Ken Bullock, Berkeley Daily Planet), especially in our beautiful new Oakland home.
Ragged Wing creates interdisciplinary performances, plays and art events exploring ancient questions in a contemporary world. We are committed to the development of new work and the cross-fertilization of artistic disciplines. Our stories emerge from folktales, myths and everyday occurrences to become theater, visual art, music, dance and film.
Large-scale visual design, original music, and adventurous physicality are the markers of a Ragged Wing show. With backgrounds in theater, puppetry, mask work, dance, music and visual arts, our team creates daring integrated pieces. Both site-specific and site-flexible, our work can be found in theaters, under bridges, online, and in the woods. We seek to find new ways to weave art into the fabric of community offering opportunities for a variety of audience engagement and participation.
Our process is fluid. It changes depending on the needs of the project. Sometimes one person holds the vision and leads, while other times the group develops the vision together. We train in a certain structural agility that allows us to grow our collaborative skills as both leaders and followers, taking on different roles at different times. We believe that the practice of true ensemble (collaborative art-making) is a radical act, having positive social repercussions beyond the rehearsal room.
Rigor, humor and artistic exuberance characterize our work together. We play fiercely and value our relationships as primary forces in creative collaboration. Honesty, trust and mutual respect form the foundation of our work as we strive for a healthy process. We commit to self-care, the care of our group and the care of our communities.
We currently run an annual mainstage show, a series of original, short plays, a multi-media gallery show, residencies in schools, and workshops for adults. We also manage a number of programs related to the Flight Deck, such as resident companies, memberships and salons. See The Flight Deck for more info.