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CORE COMPANY at the ORCHARD PROJECT – FAQ

These are some of the frequently asked questions pertaining to the Core Company at the Orchard Project. While these answers are not definitive, they should provide information sufficient to satisfy an introductory inquiry. Certain aspects of the Core experience cannot be described in detail, as they relate so specifically to each unique Core Company ensemble and the different Resident Artists in attendance each year.  If you have a specific question that is unanswered here, please email core@exchangenyc.com. Thanks!
 
WHAT IS THE CORE COMPANY?
Core Company at the Orchard Project is a summer apprenticeship program designed for aspiring and emerging theatre artists who share one common goal: to create bold new work for the stage. Over five weeks of intense study and practical work with accomplished theatre professionals, Core Company members strengthen their performance skills, sharpen their critical minds, and gain real world experience that will help launch them into careers in theatre. Combining the rigor of a summer intensive with the idyllic conditions of an artists’ retreat, Core Company at the Orchard Project allows its participants to probe deeply into the creative process and discover for themselves what it means to “devise” theatre today. The Orchard Project serves as a master teacher to the members of Core Company, who assist the world’s most cutting edge theater artists, both behind the scenes and on stage, as they realize their latest ideas. In exchange, Resident Artists serve as mentors for Core Company projects, bringing a level of insight and expertise to the development process that can only be found in the best professional workshop environments. Outside of the studio, the professional interactions continue, as Core Company members live and eat with all of the resident artists who pass through.

The Core Company experience is individually tailored to each member of the ensemble. Upon acceptance to the program, participants begin an ongoing dialogue with Orchard Project staff to identify their artistic needs and goals. After targeting those areas for five weeks, Core Company members leave with a keen awareness of their creative selves and life-long access to a community that will help them to realize their ambitions.
 
WHO APPLIES TO THE CORE COMPANY AT THE ORCHARD PROJECT?
Typically, Core is comprised of young artists just emerging from an undergraduate training program: juniors, seniors and recent graduates. Regardless of age or real world experience, all members of the ensemble are considered innovative artists in development. The experience is best suited for artists interested in expanding their artistic toolbox, exposure to multiple artistic, collaborative and generative processes, and ongoing dialogue about their individual artistry as it intersects with the world at large. However, participants should understand that an important component of being a part of Core Company is supporting the professional artist residencies and the Orchard Project itself. 
 
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN CORE COMPANY? 
It is a very small, very select ensemble, and has been anywhere from 10-18 total students.
 
WHAT DO WE LOOK FOR IN APPLICANTS? 
We strive to have the hybridity of Core match the hybridity of the Resident Artists who join us throughout the summer. We seek qualities of curiosity, passion, creativity, willingness and reliability, as well as diversity across areas of multi-disciplinary artistic focus and interest, geography, ethnicity, gender and previous training. Ultimately, we are looking for the best individuals who, together, form the best ensemble.
 
WHAT DOES THE TUITION COST GO TO? 
Our competitive tuition rate includes five weeks of room, board and rehearsal space, and the daily opportunity to create, play, study, network, and grow in a beautiful setting. Additionally, Core Company experiences a wide variety of workshops, talkbacks, and other events with the Resident Artists. We believe in Core Company and are adamant that it remain one of the most intimate programs of its type. It's small size ensures that members of Core get unparelleled access to the artists and work at the Orchard Project, and there are two members of staff solely devoted to the needs of Core Company.
 
IS THERE FINANCIAL AID? 
Scholarships are available in very limited amounts. Specifics are not discussed in detail until a candidate has been accepted into the program.
 
HOW LONG DOES THE ADMISSION PROCESS TAKE? 
Admissions are rolling, and we strongly encourage applicants to submit their applications as early as possible during the Winter/Spring months (approximately January – March). Interviews typically begin in March, taking place until all the slots are filled.
 
HOW DO YOU DEFINE APPRENTICESHIP?
 At the Orchard Project, each person on staff is a working artist. We present the Core Company members to Resident Artists as artists in their own right, not interns or employees. This distinction often results in the artistic contributions of the apprentice becoming integral to a Resident Artist’s time with us. Apprentices support, observe and participate in the Resident Artists’ work as appropriate.
 
HOW DO THE APPRENTICESHIPS WORK? 
Each summer, the Orchard Project hosts anywhere from 15-25 Resident Artists, individuals, teams or ensembles of artists creating new and exciting work. Each Resident Artist is paired with one or two members of the Core Company, who work very closely with the Resident Artists during their time with us. Since the number of Resident Artists and the length of their stay changes each summer, the number of apprenticeships assigned to each member of Core changes each summer. Due to the intimate nature of the Orchard Project, members of Core often collaborate with artists with whom they are not apprenticing.
 
WHO COMES TO THE ORCHARD PROJECT? 
The Orchard Project prides itself on being one of the most diverse and high caliber places for artists and companies to create new work. For a complete list of past Resident Artists, please click here. A residence can last anywhere from approximately 6-10 days, depending on the size of the ensemble and the work in development.
 
HOW DO YOU PAIR ARTISTS AND COMPANIES WITH APPRENTICES?
Taking into account interests of individual Core members in juxtaposition or complement to the processes and projects of the Resident Artists, we look for where a shared presence can be mutually beneficial. We also strive to have the duration and total number of personalized apprenticeship experiences evenly distributed among members of Core throughout the summer.
 
HOW ELSE DOES CORE COMPANY INTERACT WITH RESIDENT ARTISTS? 
Each Resident Artist offers Core Company a Workshop, Q & A and/or Open Rehearsal, inviting all on site into their artistic process. Resident Artists and Core also share meals, offering ample opportunity for conversations about work, life, art and other topics.
  
WHAT ARE THE LIVING CONDITIONS AT THE ORCHARD PROJECT? 
Core, Resident Artists, and Staff all stay in rented houses or apartments. Expect shared rooms. Laundry is available on site.
 
HOW ARE THE MEALS? 
Each kitchen is stocked with breakfast items for individual preparation. Lunch and Dinner are shared each day by Core, Staff and all Resident Artists. Healthy, delicious meals prepared by a local chef are offered, always with vegetarian options. We can accommodate additional dietary restrictions with advance communication.
 
HOW DO I GET THERE? 
Once accepted, suggested travel details are shared in a Welcome packet. The town of Saratoga Springs is easily accessible by car, Amtrak, or Trailways bus, between 2.5 and 3 hours from New York City. Core Company members are responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from the Orchard Project.
 
WHAT SHOULD I BRING? 
Once accepted, a full list of suggested items to pack will be included in a Welcome packet.
 
WHAT IS THE DAILY SCHEDULE OF THE CORE COMPANY? 
The specifics of each day rarely repeat in total, due to the constant influx of Resident Artists. A Sample schedule looks like this (items in all caps rarely change):
 
830 am: DAILY CLASS
930 am: COMPANY MEETING
10am-12pm: Work as a dramaturg for Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan
12-1 pm: Q & A with Partial Comfort Artistic Director/Playwright Chad Beckim
1-2 pm: LUNCH with Resident Artists
2-5 pm: Work as collaborative performer with directors Rachel Chakvin and Michael Rohd and members of the TEAM & Sojourn Theater on the creation of a new work
5-6 pm: Mask-making workshop
6-7 pm: DINNER with Resident Artists
7-9 pm: Development time to work with fellow Core Company artists on assigned or self-guided projects
9 pm-??:  Join resident artists and companies from around the world for an informal reading of new pages followed by a bonfire
 
WHAT KINDS OF PERSONAL PROJECTS DO CORE COMPANY MEMBERS WORK ON? 
The Orchard Project is not the place to come to do what you already know how to do (complete the third draft of your play, finish a movement piece to your favorite piece of music, or compose the musical of your dreams). We encourage the self-guided personal projects explored by members of Core to allow space for surprise, discovery and experimentation, as they develop in tandem with the enormous influx of information contained in the myriad artistic processes to which Core is exposed. Because the daily schedule is often changing, time to work on these projects is fit inside many other influences and experiences.
 
The Orchard Project is also not the place to come and improve upon one skill or artistic practice. Instead, it is a place to come and address your artistry in total as it intersects with your humanity, your intellect, your passion, ideas and desires. Finally, because the Orchard Project does not include presentations for the outside world, no component of your participation or personal project exists or is presented for external purview or evaluation.
 
This is the place to come and make a joyous artistic mess, to learn, grow, engage and discover alongside many other artists doing the same.
 
For further reading on the Core Company at the Orchard Project, please click here:
 
http://howlround.com/the-chaos-and-clarity-of-the-orchard-project%E2%80%99s-core-company
 
Or watch this short video