14. Rachel Bowditch

When we last put the spotlight on 100 creative forces in Phoenix, it was no secret there were more than 100 individuals who were making waves in the local arts community. So in celebration of our Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome (back) to 100 Creatives.

14. Rachel Bowditch
Photograph by Aaron Wester

Rachel Bowditch is a theatre director, performance studies scholar, and an assistant professor in the School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

Bowditch says she has a unique international background -- she was born in Rome, lived in Italy for 5 years, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for 2 1/2 years, Jakarta, Indonesia for six months, Singapore for eight years, Tel Aviv, Israel for 2 years, London for six months, Paris, France for one year, upstate New York for 3 years, New York City for seven years and she's been in Phoenix since 2006.

As the artistic director of Vessel, she says her work is experimental in nature, exploring the intersection between physical theatre, ritual, avant-garde performance, and innovative digital technology.

14. Rachel Bowditch
Transfix by Vessel. Directed by Rachel Bowditch. Bisbee and Sedona Arizona. Photo of Sedona by Bruce Bowditch. Photo of Bisbee by Adam Cooper-Téran.

With Vessel she has produced and directed more than 30 original theatrical productions and site-specific performances at a variety of prestigious experimental theatre venues and festivals in New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Arras, France such as HERE Performing Arts Center, the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, La Mama Annex, the New York International Independent Film Festival at Madison Square Garden, the Kitchen, the Museum of Art in Arras, France, the Mesa Center for Contemporary Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Modern Art, Scottsdale Public Art, Taliesin West, and Tempe Center for the Arts to name a few.

Her work has been featured in American Theatre, Theatre Journal, Live Design, and the New York Times. Her books include On the Edge of Utopia: Performance and Ritual at Burning Man (Seagull Books/University of Chicago Press 2010) and Festive Performance: Staging Community and Utopia in the Americas (expected publication 2013). (To see more work visit: and

I came to Phoenix with ... a trailer full of my belongings that included lots of books, boxes of white costumes, 20 red binders of dissertation research, masks, stacks visual research binders, piles of journals, art supplies: watercolors and color pencils, photo albums, and lots of other stuff.

I make art because ... I need to -- it is a necessity, a way of life.

I'm most productive when ... I am juggling five projects: directing a show while writing a book, while conceptualizing another show, while creating a site specific performance while presenting at a conference, while being a mother to a 3 year old. This is my life.

14. Rachel Bowditch
The Sun Serpent by José Cruz Gonzålez. World premiere at Childsplay, 2011. Tempe Center for the Arts.

My inspiration wall is full of ... images, journals filled with drawings, poems, writing, ideas for future projects etc..., an altar filled with stones collected from around the world, feathers from New Zealand, photographs of those I love, those I have lost, weathered sea glass, a candle, my head map, memories of all the places I have lived and all the people I have loved and continue to love. I am inspired by the work of Arianne Mnouchkine (Theatre du Soleil), Robert Lepage, Robert Wilson, Liz Lecompte (Wooster Group), Anne Bogart (SITI Co), Oskar Schlemmer (Bauhaus), Bill Viola, Theatre Complicite, Punch Drunk and oh so many more...

I've learned the most from ... my mother, who taught art internationally for 35 years and my grandmother Mimi who was a watercolor artist and lived to be 96--they are the two strongest women I know. My mentors Kevin Burns (my high school theatre teacher in Singapore), Gautam Dasgupta (former editor of the Performing Arts Journal) and Phil Soltanoff (Director of Mad Dog Theatre Company) my mentors at Skidmore College, RoseLee Goldberg (founder of Performa and author of Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present) and Richard Schechner--my mentors at NYU.

14. Rachel Bowditch
The House of the Spirits (an adaptation of Isabel Allende's novel) by Caridad Svich. Arizona State University 2012.

Good work should always ... be rigorous whether it be physically, intellectually, visually, emotionally, viscerally etc...I want to be transformed not transported. Good work stays with you forever, it never lets you go. You can't ever forget it even if you try. It is imprinted in your mind and memory so that you can recall the smallest detail years later. You are no longer the same person--it changes you forever.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more ... pedestrian civic space for people to gather--more alternative coffee houses, more funding for the arts, more networking opportunities and more incubator programs for emerging artist so that younger artists STAY HERE IN PHOENIX and don't migrate to New York, Chicago and LA. Phoenix NEEDS YOU!! DON'T MOVE. Find a way to support younger artists NOW!!!

The Creatives, so far ... (And while you're here, check out 100 Tastemakers on Chow Bella.)

100:Lara Plecas 99. Isaac Caruso 98. Brandon Gore 97. Kelsey Dake 96. Hector Ruiz 95. Caroline Battle 94: Jennifer Campbell 93. Jeff Chabot 92. Tiffiney Yazzie 91. Daniel Germani 90. Irma Sanchez 89. Daniel m. Davis 88. Kirstin Van Cleef 87. Emmett Potter 86. Sarah Hurwitz 85. Christine Cassano 84. Fred Tieken 83. Lindsay Kinkade 82. Ruben Galicia 81. Robert Uribe 80. Heidi Abrahamson 79. Josephine Davis 78. Travis Ladue 77. Taz Loomans 76. Mikey Jackson 75. Alex Empty 74. Joe Ray 73. Carol Roque 72. Daniel Funkhouser 71. Carla Chavarria 70. Hugo Medina 69. Cavin Costello 68. Claire Carter 67. Lindsay Tingstrom 66. Catherine Ruane 65. Christopher Crosby 64. Aaron Johnson 63. Brenda Eden 62. Colton Brock 61. Ernesto Moncada 60. Benjamin Phillips 59. Brad Armstrong 58. Angela Hardison 57. Tyler Quinn 56. Andrew James Benson 55. Charles Anthony Darr 54: Tiffe Fermaint 53. Eric Cox 52. Victor Vasquez 51. John Randall Nelson 50. Lauren Lee 49. Kyle Jordre 48. Julie C. Kent 47. Sean Deckert 46. Niba DelCastillo 45. Joseph Benesh 44. Ashley Harder 43. Dan Vermillion 42. Daniel Shepherd 41. James B. Hunt 40. Lori Fenn 39. Seth Gideon Fainkujen 38. Wayne Rainey 37. Christian Filardo 36. Melissa Cody 35. Jason Rudolph Peña 34. Cindy Iverson 33. Ryan Gentry 32. Sebastien Millon 31. Andrea Beesley 30. Chris Pruitt 29. Robert Diehl 28. Rachel Malloy 27. Jonathan Simon 26. Ann Morton 25. Kim Moody 24. Kevin Flanagan 23. Such and Champ Styles 22. Julia Fournier 21. Rebecca Green 20. Jules Demetrius 19. Averian Chee 18. Sara Cochran 17. Daniel Mills 16. Nina Miller 15. Robert Brandan Martinez

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