dog & pony dc
- District of Columbia
A D.C.-based theatre company that makes "audience integrated" performances and is a national leader in audience engagement techniques. dog & pony dc creates ("devises") new plays and interactive experiences as a collective ("ensemble") of hearing and Deaf artists.
Our MISSION is to inspire self-discovery, forge new relationships, and champion social change. We create interactions that connect people in unexpected ways to each other, art, and the wider world. This makes us strong artists and citizens by allowing us to see what we hadn’t previously and stretches our understanding of what we know.
- The audience completes our ensemble.
- Innovation requires structure, chaos, and a leap of faith.
- Playfulness and generosity amplifies the impact of our work.
- The representation and inclusion of diverse narratives and people of different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences throughout our company is a responsibility and honor.
VISION: We seek to upend the way non-profit theatre is made and consumed, repositioning it in service to its audience and community.
Our Body of Work
dog & pony dc uses performance to tackle big questions and topics of consequence to our immediate communities, by inviting audience members to search for potential answers and solutions with us.
At their core, dog & pony dc performances are conversations. Our performances stimulate the audience experience, enticing audience to become a “doer” over the course of the show.
We do this because:
- it is possible to effect positive change through art
- theatre is a collaborative artform and the audience is key to the successful execution of a live performance
- the emotional and intellectual impact of an event is magnified when you are a participant
Our approach to creating performances over the last eight years has positioned us as experts in putting roomfuls of strangers at ease, inviting them to do just about anything—debate, dance, Tweet, invent—and they do it. In this way, we’re not simply theatre-makers; we are arts-based barrier removers, bridge builders, and community builders.
dog & pony dc advocates for the visibility and advancement of artists, audiences, and ideas.
We have a responsibility to inspire people from all backgrounds to share their cultural and personal stories, and foster others to witness. We endeavor to find the most inclusive definition of what audience is. We have a responsibility to make our work accessible to the widest possible audience base so anyone who wants to “complete our ensemble” can do so. Everyone gains in this scenario. And yet: many artists, administrators, and audiences are left out of theatre in America due to social inequities that affect the country at large. Our colleagues and neighbors continue to be undervalued, unemployed, and not included. We recognize our commitment to diversity and inclusion does not end with us; we must work internally and externally to our company.
dog & pony dc creates change in the theatre field as well as arts and humanities at large.
We have a responsibility to share the skills and knowledge we acquire with other artists, theatre companies, art and culture organizations, non-profits, etc. in order to forward the industry and artform. In dog & pony dc’s hometown and across the country, there is an abundance of theatre and associated programming; however, the work doesn’t look too different from stage to stage. The way people consume, share, and create other forms of media differs more and more from live theatre, but the way theatres expect audiences to behave remains rigid. Calls for change in industry practices are being raised, but not everyone has capacities to navigate change. As growing experts in deviating from standard practice, dog & pony wants to bring about positive change alongside our colleagues.
We've always been an “outlier” theatre company. Artists come to us to work outside the standard highly-segmented production processes (“plays-as-usual”) and our projects attract audiences who aren’t regular theatre-goers or don’t see themselves reflected in mainstream theatre-going experiences. When our “outlier” inclinations mix with our equity, diversity, and inclusion values, the programming that results is high impact, low tech social experiences that allow different people to interact with one another in unexpected ways through theatre. We are currently focused programmatically on incorporating D.C.’s vibrant and significant Deaf population. This coincides with our company’s transition from an “exclusively hearing” ensemble to a “mixed hearing and Deaf.”
dog & pony dc’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Statement:
The representation and inclusion of people of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and experiences in our ensemble, board, and audience leads to the creation of a more beautiful, joyful, and just world. The ensemble and board's commitment to this enhances our work, and therefore the DC community and dog & pony dc’s growing global audience.