July 28 – August 2

SHAPE-SHIFTING YOUR STORY: Astonish yourself. Leap before you look. Suspend judgment (then apply sharp tools). Open the gates of Story.

with Elizabeth Fuller & Conrad Bishop of The Independent Eye

Ind-Eye-facesWe come from forty-five years of performance that’s beholden to no single style or discipline of theatre. We’ve probably done original work in more styles than anyone we know: realism, puppetry, masks, non-linear collage, cabaret comedy, physical theatre, story-theatre, audiodrama, song, video – but the center of it is STORY. We fish for the stories that bite and won’t let go. Then we find the language unique to each one. Most performers or ensembles focus on a particular style, often emanating from their training discipline. We’ve always gone the other way: to find the stylistic languages that best fit each story.

So in this hands-on workshop, we start with story-making, drawing from real experience, dream, myth, or the daily news. We explore how stories change with new ingredients, different plottings or cross-pollinations. We experiment with stylistic fusions. We create dramatic pieces in small groups, then revise them, revise them, revise them. Some questions explored: How does style change a story? What’s the role of “realism” in non-realistic styles? How does physical action inform vocal style, and vice versa? How do puppetry and mask work feed the realistic actor? How many ways can you tell the same story? Who’s your audience?

For solo or ensemble-oriented artists, we offer pathways for creating new work from start to finish. For playwrights, collaborating to deepen your own voice and hone text to the sharpest edge. For teachers, directors, and performers in traditional theatre, using “ensemble” technique to explore existing texts and a deeper understanding of plot, scene structure, and style.

Click HERE to visit The Independent Eye website.


About Elizabeth Fuller and Conrad Bishop of The Independent Eye:

Independent-Eye-puppets-webAfter training at Northwestern and Stanford and five years of university teaching, Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller were co-founders of Milwaukee’s Theatre X, which went on to achieve international recognition for four decades. They hived off in 1974 to form The Independent Eye, touring throughout the US with original work ranging from grim realism to story-theatre to Shakespearean puppetry. They have done master classes and residencies at hundreds of colleges and theatres, including collaborative creations with Touchstone Theatre, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Berkeley’s Shotgun Players, Boston’s Company One, and many others. Their plays have included Full Hookup and Smitty’s News at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival; Okiboji and Mine Alone at Denver Center; Long Shadow at Barter Theatre; Medea/Sacrament at CSC Repertory; Rash Acts and The Shadow Saver at Theater for the New City; Carrier and Mating Cries at Theater of the First Amendment; and many other stages. They were twice recipients of Playwriting Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Bishop has directed over 100 productions, including freelance direction for Actors Theatre of Louisville, Pittsburgh’s City Theatre, Theater of the First Amendment, Jean Cocteau Repertory, and others. Fuller is also a composer with more than 50 theatre scores to her credit and was twice recipient of Philadelphia’s Barrymore Award for theatre music and sound design. Together, they wrote, produced and hosted four public radio series heard on more than 100 stations nationwide and are three-time recipients of awards from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. During the past five years, their focus has been on adult puppetry, creating productions of The Tempest, Frankenstein, Descent of the Goddess Inanna, and many short pieces. Currently they are preparing a two-actor, thirty-puppet staging of Shakespeare’s King Lear.


“Thank you for the magic of the past two weeks. Students are still reeling.”
– Dir. Performing Arts, Genesee Cmty. College

“One of the very best workshops we have ever had.” – Dean, National Theatre Conservatory, Denver. CO

Conrad and Elizabeth have spent their lives together the way that few do: in constant creative collaboration. There is a lifetime of artistic wisdom here from artists who have followed their Muses, and each other, into the deep forest every single day of their lives. – Whit Maclaughlin, founding artistic director, New Paradise Laboratories

These guys are … words fail. After watching their work grow from them like fruit from a single tree, this is certainly the sweetest to my taste: Gifts. They have always led with language, sharp shards of cutting humor and honesty, but now more than ever, those poetic strokes have found their way into a simplicity of form, a directness of intention, a perfect expression. Still, more than the extraordinary craft and compassion they bring to this work, what it is as it unfolds in the space is the greatest gift and ultimate meaning of the experience – art that breathes and lives as human and organic, voice of the very soul of these two profoundly beautiful hearts to us, warning, calling, remembering, celebrating. A signaling from the flames that only art can carry. – William George, Co-founder, Touchstone Theatre

Conrad and Elizabeth are superb theater artists who have created a phenomenal body of original plays. I have always been inspired and delighted by their deeply moving, funny, compassionate and generous work.
– Fred Curchack, Theater Artist and Professor of Aesthetic Studies, The University of Texas at Dallas



Workshops are geared for participants of all levels of experience, whose ages have run from 18-85. Workshops will meet from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday through Saturday, in Studio II of Webster Hall on the Amherst College campus in Amherst, MA.

Driving Instructions to Amherst College

Amherst College campus map.

Workshops cost $399. There is a $50 discount for registration by May 15. NOTE: Contact us to apply for limited pool of financial aid, or for discounts for ATHE, NET (Network of Ensemble Theaters) members or staff/artists from TCG member theatres.

Optional room and board are available on the Amherst College campus for an additional fee. 2014 rates are not available yet but 2013 Workshop housing was $217, for a single with a shared bath in an Amherst College dorm. Studios, theatre, dining commons and dorms are all within walking distance. A meal ticket for the Dining Commons (healthy food, much of it local) in 2013 was $185.

Email us, if you are interested in alternative housing. There are a number of hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts in the area.


TO REGISTER: Click Workshop-Regstration-form-14 to download the registration form in MS-WORD or Workshop-Regstration-form-14 to download it as a PDF. Fill it out and mail it with your deposit to: The Ko Festival of Performance 498 South Gulf Road Belchertown, MA 01007 OR, if you go to our WEB WORKSHOP REGISTRATION page you can pay by credit card or PayPal.
Questions? For further information email us or call (413) 427-6147.