It was always a dream of mine to have an Ensemble-based company. A group of performers, designers, directors and other theatre practitioners who regularly worked together, supporting each other, learning through each other. The financial reality meant that it was impossible to have salaried ensemble members all year round; but creative ways of bringing people together resulted in a small group of “satellites” who were happy to be part of the Forbidden Ensemble.
The Ensemble-based company has become a bit of a utopia in the UK but companies continue to have their “unofficial ensembles”: groups of freelancers who regularly work together and have a shared theatrical vocabulary.
An Ensemble will have shared different rehearsals processes together and so will have grown together; ensemble members will be used to talking to each other about their craft, their ideas, their insecurities… It is this openness and understanding of each other that can speed up the rehearsal or creation process.
Having debriefed and learnt together allows performers to evolve: learning from what did and didn’t work before. It is the only way of not being afraid of taking risks: knowing that even if you fail this time, you will use your mistakes to feed your future successes.