About 404 Strand

404 Strand (est. 2009) is an international performance collective based in Pittsburgh that creates innovative, challenging and accessible performances through integrating language, image, physicality, objects, music, space, and place as joint communicators of meaning. The company develops a dialogue with its audience by sharing work-in-progress presentations and incorporating audience feedback at several stages of a piece’s growth. Members of the group also create educational opportunities for students and theatre practitioners by running workshops that foster new approaches to making theatre. As an independent, non building-based company, 404 Strand develops and premieres its work in Pittsburgh, and forms co-production associations with regional, national and international presenting organizations.


404 Strand is dedicated to creating innovative performances that are accessible and meaningful to a broad range of audiences, and committed to a work process that is exploratory, inventive and inclusive. We question and investigate all the features of the performance experience that create meaning for an audience, seeking to create fresh, stimulating and provocative work. This approach is founded on several beliefs that challenge standard theatrical practice:

1 Each member of the ensemble is a creative artist.

In standard theatrical practice, there is an implied hierarchy of creativity. The playwright is considered to be the person that creates original material, and the director, actors, and designers are thought of as interpreters and illustrators of the text. By contrast, we believe that performance choices by actors, director, and designers communicate meaning as much as do the words of a text. In our approach, creative decisions are arrived at collectively, and  the script is one ingredient among many.

2 Experimentation is necessary.

If theatre is to continue as an art form, and not just a stylistically ossified branch of the entertainment industry, practitioners must experiment with process, form, style and content, and these experiments must be shared with the public in ways that encourage dialogue between artists and audience.

3 Integration of forms revitalizes theatre.

Forms such as DJ’ing, Punch and Judy, and clown speak to us as much as poetry, classic plays, and ‘high art’.  We relish the light that each of these forms throws on another. Performance that combines these elements revitalizes theatre and expands its potential audience, particularly amongst young people.

4 Ensemble facilitates creative collaboration.

Although theatre is a collaborative art, most shows are made by strangers who are brought together for a few weeks to work on a script. The brevity of the rehearsal period curtails collaborative  interaction and means that actors rely on techniques, skills and expressions that they already have– both of which features are  inimical to creative exploration and the development of the artists involved. It is a foundational feature of our vision that there is a constant membership of our group, stimulating creative development and growth over time. The core members of our group have already created three different shows together, share an aesthetic and a philosophy, and are developing a creative rapport that encourages bold choices in rehearsal, and intuitive collaboration in performance.

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