Theater Grottesco was founded in 1983 in Paris, France, by John Flax and Didier Maucort, former members of Minneapolis’ Theatre de la Jeune Lune and graduates of France’s Ecole Jacques Lecoq. Joined shortly thereafter by Elizabeth Wiseman, another Lecoq graduate, the company has evolved to 15 artists comprising a tremendous range of theatrical expertise.
Together they have created 11 full-length plays and over 30 shorter pieces, performed in 7 countries, 30 states, most major U.S. cities and hundreds of smaller communities, garnering an international award for Best Production, 2 Drama Critic’s awards, a silver medal with Detroit’s Zone V Productions from the Houston Worldfest Film Festival, a Rockefeller MAP Fund Grant, 11 National Endowment for the Arts Professional Theater Awards, and one of 2 MetLife/TCG A-ha Do It grants in the programs inaugural season. In 1999, Theater Grottesco performed The Angels’ Cradle Off-Broadway at The New Victory Theater; that work is now permanently archived at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Company members have served in the acting ensemble at the Sundance Institute in Utah. Flax and Wiseman have served as guest directors and instructors of movement and the creation of original theater at theaters and in university programs across the country, in addition to 8 years each as NEA artists-in-the-schools. Theater Grottesco has been on the juried Western States, Arts Midwest and Michigan Touring Rosters. In 1985, the company moved to the United States, basing out of New York and Detroit before settling in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1996.
In 1996, Theater Grottesco moved to northern New Mexico to join an artistic community which had welcomed the company on three early U.S. tours. Grottesco is now a leader in the Santa Fe performing arts community. The company’s most intensive professional training and educational residencies are local. On-going youth, semi-professional and professional trainings along with open rehearsals displaying an intricate, deliberate and classically informed artistic process are attended by the city’s most promising and upcoming artists. They are also fertile ground for artists from other disciplines, audience members who value the exploration of creation and performance, and youth from all backgrounds.
In addition to individuals, Grottesco has worked with The Santa Fe Rape Crisis Center, Sweeney Elementary, Ortiz Middle School and the Theater Residency Project, Alameda Middle School and Agua Fria Elementary with the Santa Fe Opera, The O’Keefe Boys Program, Pojoaque Middle School, Santa Fe Community College, The College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe High, Alvord Elementary with The National Dance Institute, Santa Fe Prep, Albuquerque Prep, The New Mexico Academy, The Southwest High School Theater and Dance Festival, The New Mexico Literary Program, The United World College, Working Classroom in Albuquerque, The University of New Mexico, The Southwest Theater Association, Taos High School, Middle School and Special Education programs, The All Species Project, Santa Fe Shakespeare, Wisefool New Mexico, Santa Fe Performing Arts and the New Mexico Association of Grant Makers. In 2006, Theater Grottesco won the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.