BIRDHOUSE creates physical performance works aiming to uncover the essence of humanity within us. We break down performance from its classical format of audience watching “other” into something much simpler: Humans being humans with each other.
We are made up of nine artists, each with unique identities and histories. We strive to perform as our vulnerable and complicated selves in order to allow people to truly see each other as human.
Our works deal intimately with the human body, the implications of the body on identity, and the many ways in which we see and are seen, erase and are erased. BIRDHOUSE functions as a community that works collaboratively on all creations with one or several artists taking the directorial role. We work from a place of improvisation and communication so that we are always ourselves before we are something else, using our community as a microcosm to investigate the realities of the human condition.
BIRDHOUSE creates and performs in galleries, theaters [TheaterLab, Art House NJ, excerpt in La Mama], public forums [The World Trade Center Oculus], and non-traditional spaces like cafés [Little Skips] and apartments, always with the intent of bringing ourselves and others into a deeper place of empathy and understanding of each other’s experiences.
We are expanding our projects now to include workshops, open rehearsals, and classes. To move forward with our mission of bringing people together, we are beginning to incorporate pay-what-you-can artistic sessions, including our summer improvisation program, AVIARY.
Two Women Who Made BIRDHOUSE Happen
Raven Taisce White met Susan Marshall as a sophomore at Princeton University, where Susan is the director of the Dance Department. Susan offered Raven a job as a creative assistant that summer when Raven was only 20 years old. Raven had never taken a class with Susan or even interacted with her more than a passing conversation here and there. When Susan hired Raven, Susan took quite a leap of trust. This leap irreversibly changed Raven’s future by leading her to feel that she could and would follow the path of an artist.
Over the next two years, Susan continually supported Raven, acting as Raven’s advisor and mentor through what were some of the most difficult years of Raven’s life. Upon graduating, Susan offered Raven the opportunity to create and perform with her company Susan Marshall & Co., even creating a solo for Raven that was performed at NYLA. (Just writing about this makes Raven’s mouth drop open.) In 2018, after the founding of BIRDHOUSE, Susan invited Raven and three other BIRDHOUSE members (Bryn Hlava, Tiffany Ogburn, and Mitchell Christie) to create for and be a part of her show Prototypes in La Mama. She continues to work with Bryn, Tiffany, and Mitchell on various creative projects.
Perhaps the most powerful thing Susan has brought to Raven and BIRDHOUSE is mentorship and a community of other artists and people (like her son, Nick) who have become the foundations of inspiration and support for BIRDHOUSE.