Thrown Stone Collaborates with Locals to Bring Creative Innovation to Ridgefield

A brand new theater company has arrived in Ridgefield! It's creatively innovative and inherently local. Enter: Thrown Stone. "We don't think of what we do as bringing great theatre to Ridgefield. We want to make it here so we can bring it to the rest of the world," Co-Artistic Directors, Jonathan Winn and Jason Peck. Meet these talented Artistic Directors and learn about their new non-profit theater company.

1.     Thrown Stone operates on six core values: Cultivation, Innovation, Place, Collaboration, Integrity, and Technology. Can you explain?

If our mission is about what we do, these values are the how we do it:

  • Cultivation is about our relationship with the audience, our artistic collaborators, and our supporters. We are growing something here, and we want everyone to take part.
  • Innovation is about doing new work and using our ingenuity to discover fresh approaches to everything we do as a company
  • Place is about how theatre is inseparable from the context in which it is created. We live in a special place and we want that reflected in the work.
  • Collaboration is our code for how we work together. It's about respect. It's about artistic autonomy. It's about cooperation with everyone we come in contact with.
  • Integrity shouldn't have to be codified as a "value," but we think it's necessary to explicitly say we follow the law, we comply with union regulations, we're committed to transparency, and we don't make artists work for free.
  • Technology: Theatre is an ancient practice, but our tools don't have to be. We use tech as a force-multiplier. It helps us get stuff done.

2.     You describe Thrown Stone as an “unconventional approach to repertoire”. What do you mean?

New work is our first priority, but if we did a "repertoire," or classical piece, we'd want to reimagine it — not just for accessibility's sake, or in a gimmicky way, but with purpose. Doing "Twelfth Night" in outer space isn't enough — there has to be a point to it. Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake" is a good example. Aaron Posner's "Stupid F*cking Bird" is another. 

3.     Part of your mission is to “Develop things here and bring them out to the world.” Can you give me an example?

We don't think of what we do as "bringing great theatre to Ridgefield." We want to make it here so we can "bring it" to the rest of the world. A great example is (the late) New Theatre. They developed "Anna in the Tropics" in Coral Gables, Florida, and it went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. Not to compare Thrown Stone to the New Theatre, which had a storied 30-year run, but we believe Ridgefield is a special place with unique cultural assets, and it deserves to have a voice in the global conversation. Developing the work here enables that.

4.     At the core of Thrown Stone is LOCAL. How do you work with the community?

We collaborate with other organizations in every endeavor. The benefits are clear: Fulfillment of shared goals, cost efficiency, sharing talent and best practices, elevated artistic quality, more programming, etc. It also happens to be a lot more fun.

Our collaborators to date include: The Chekhov International Theatre Festival,
The Ridgefield Arts Council, The Ridgefield Chorale, The Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, and The Ridgefield Library. We are working on many more.

5.     How can local artists be part of your mission and work with you?

We're very serious about cultivating our relationships with local artists. Our first production is cast entirely from the "Fairchester" area, including one very talented student from Ridgefield High. 

If an artist wants to be involved, we welcome them to contact us. Instructions for actors and playwrights can be found here

More than credentials, though, we like to get out and see our colleagues' work. We invite our colleagues to let us know what they're doing and when we can see it. If we don't have rehearsal, and if we can get a sitter, we'll probably make it!

6.     Tell me about your company name, Thrown Stone?

It's named after an allegory by the 17th-century philosopher, Benedict de Spinoza. Opposing Descartes’ conception of free will, he argued that — like thrown stones — we are set in motion by external causes, and that we are already in motion at the inception of consciousness. So much for free will. 

This idea begs a lot of questions. If we're all "thrown stones," what is our agency? What is our power to affect our trajectory? And what happens when stones inevitably collide? 

Theatre is uniquely equipped to address these questions. The recognition of our shared “thrown stone” predicament is a lever for compassion, and we like to think it finds its best expression in the live space between artist and audience.

If all this seems a little too grandiose, you could just say we thought “Thrown Stone Theatre Company” sounded cool.

7.     Tell me about the U.S premiere of MILK

Milk is a funny, provocative and challenging play about love. It’s about the need for human kindness, and how sometimes the things we need can be the very things that make us sick. It’s about three couples — in three different stages of life — who share one thing in common: the need to feel whole.

We discovered it at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and immediately performed a staged reading of the play as part of the Chekhov Festival this past September. The reading was so successful that we won the rights to present the U.S. Premiere!

Learn more about Thrown Stone here. 
Support Thrown Stone by contributing to their "Milkstarter" campaign here.
Submitted by Ridgefield, CT

Become a Local Voice in Your Community!

HamletHub invites you to contribute stories, events, and more to keep your neighbors informed and connected.

Read Next