PearlDamour: Katie Pearl and Lisa D’Amour
We are an Obie-Award winning collaborative team who create performance both inside and outside traditional theater spaces. We are known for large-scale performances that mix theater and installation — such as How to Build a Forest, an 8-hour performance in which we assemble and disassemble a simulated forest on an empty stage over 8 hours – and intimate performances designed for small audiences — such as Bird Eye Blue Print, created for a set of small vacant offices in the World Financial Center in Manhattan. Over our 15-year history of making work together, we have devised a body of work that is attentive to the performer / audience relationship, and searches for new approaches to narrative through the accumulation of text, image, physicality and architectural elements. We want our audiences to feel like they are inside of an experience, rather than watching something happen “over there.” When we make a show we create room for the audience to feel like they have slipped into the private headspace of a performer they are watching: an intimate, associative, surprising place.
Our work is intensely interdisciplinary – crafted by extensive collaborations with artists of other fields, including visual artists Krista Kelley Walsh, Charles Goldman and Shawn Hall; video artist Jim Findlay; choreographer Emily Johnson, set designer Mimi Lien; and composers Brendan Connelly, Sxip Shirey, Joel Pickard and Tom McDermott. Other past collaborators include ArtSpot Productions’ Artistic Director Kathy Randels who co-created and co-performed in our OBIE-winning Nita & Zita in 2003.
In the past we have been commissioned by organizations like PS122, The Kitchen and the Whitney Museum of Art to create new pieces. Our work as a team has been funded by MAP Fund, Creative Capital, NYSCA, the Jerome Foundation, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, the Puffin Foundation, the Irving Linn Charitable Trust, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and The Moore Family Fund for the Arts of the Minneapolis Foundation, among others. We have developed our work at The Playwrights Center , New Dramatists, Voice and Vision, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, The Mitchell Center for the Arts in Houston and Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. We’ve published writing about our work in Theater Magazine (“Imperfectly Harmful Theater,” with Melissa Kievman and Melissa James Gibson) and Play: Journal of Plays (Always/Never Her Trilogy). Local Critical Acclaim includes “Best Site Specific Performance of 2007” (for Bird Eye Blue Print, Gothmaist, NYC, 2007), “Best Public Art” (for LandMARK, City Pages, Minneapolis, 2005), “Best Touring Show” (for SLABBER and Nita & Zita, The Austin Chroncle, 2000 and 2001), and the David Mark Cohen New Play Award (for Anna Bella Eema, from the Austin Critics Table, 2001).
Currently, Katie lives in Brooklyn and Lisa lives in New Orleans. We consider New Orleans, Austin, Minneapolis and New York our artistic homes – much of our work grew up and premiered in those (awesome) cities.
Creative Capital Award How to Build a Forest, 2009
Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) & Creative Capital Grant How to Build a Forest, with the Contemporary arts Center (CAC) of New Orleans, 2015
4 Multi-Arts Production Fund Awards (MAP) Landmark ’05; Terrible Things ’08 /’09; Milton ’12
Lee Reynolds Award from the League of Professional Theater Women, given annually to a woman or women whose work in the medium of theatre has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural, or political change, 2011
NET Exchange Grant from Network of Ensemble Theaters awarded with the Haymaker Theatre (Durham, NC) to support exploring ways theater can make meaningful contact with its audiences, 2013
NEA Outstanding New American Play Award Finalist The Wrestling Patient, with Lynn/Gottlieb, 2008
OBIE Award Nita&Zita, co-creation and performance, 2003
ATHE Featured Presenter: American Theater in Higher Education Conference, “Making MILTON”, 2013
Voice and Vision Artist Residency Terrible Things, with Lisa D’Amour /Emily Johnson 2008
Best Site-Specific Performance in NYC The Gothamist, for Bird Eye Blue Print, 2007
How to Build a Forest (Duke University; Brown University)
How to Build a Forest (NYC: The Kitchen)
Bird Eye Blue Print (NYC: Arts < WFC)
3 Mutants: Plays About Girls (Ithaca, NY)
Both together and individually, Lisa and Katie have taught short workshops or semester-long courses in creative collaboration, site-specificity, solo performance, and new play development at such institutions as Brandeis University, the University of Texas at Austin, the Iowa Playwright’s Workshop, Whitman College, Brown University and The Playwrights’ Center. They have also developed their work using student actors and assistants at the University of Iowa, the University of Houston, American Conservatory Theater, Appalachian State University, Brown University and Ithaca College.
If you are interested in a PearlDamour workshop for your group, please contact Katie: Katie-at-pearldamour-dot-com.