The Seagull Project uses the work of Anton Chekhov to challenge, refine and inspire the modern theater through intensive process, inventive productions, and international collaborations.
- Awards & Accolades—Some recognition from our peers.
- The Staff–The latest list.
- The Ensemble–The latest list.
- Volunteer with Us—Opportunities to join the flock.
A Little History
The Seagull Project was formed out of a passion for the works of Anton Chekhov, particularly his play, The Seagull. Having met and ccollaborated on Seattle Shakespeare Company’s wildly successful The Threepenny Opera, the founding producers — Julie Briskman, Brandon J. Simmons, John Bogar, Gavin Reub and Alex Tavares — set about creating a new collaboration, one formed around a long-form, actor-driven workshop of Chekhov’s play. They began assembling an ensemble in 2011 and finally completed their cast in spring of 2012. They began meeting regularly at the University of Washington and later at Seattle Children’s Theatre for weekly sessions in which they trained physically and began to revisit the fundamentals of their craft as actors. (Photo, right: Founding Producers Alexandra Tavares, Gavin Reub, Julie Briskman, John Bogar, and Brandon J. Simmons, seated center).
These sessions began with a free-form model in which ensemble members shared their personal training regimens and methodologies and made dramaturgical presentations on a wide range of topics, from transportation systems in Russia during the 19th century to the history of the great Russian estates under the czars to explorations of Russian music. Gradually and with the addition of Seattle actor and University of Washington theater professor Mark Jenkins, the sessions matured into open explorations of The Seagull itself, beginning with very slow readings of the text and progressing to scene work in which the entire ensemble offered feedback for one another. When Ilkhom Theatre (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) veteran Tyler Polumsky joined the ensemble in the spring of 2011, the final element of the workshop crystalized. Tyler’s highly physical approach to theater allowed the ensemble a rare opportunity to explore in a purely physical and kinesthetic way the world of their characters. Later, a process of creating “etudes” (inventive character sketches) deepened the work and allowed the ensemble to creatively approach off-stage moments or moments from the character’s past.
In December of 2012, the ensemble began working with its resident director, John Langs, in daily sessions in preparation for the full production of The Seagull, which opened on January 25, 2013 at ACT Theatre in Seattle. The production was met with public and critical acclaim and the company toured the show to the Ilkholm Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2014. Upon returning to the States, The Seagull Project began its lengthy process for a second time, resulting in its 2015 production of The Three Sisters, which earned the Gregory Award for Outstanding Production the same year.