My relationship to the theatre is sacred, living in a mysterious place where my body creates constellations of memory, sensation, and meaning. Theatre is a mystifying presence, yet where I feel seen, like an old friend whose understanding of me is both comforting and confronting. Theatre is a tool of reassociation, a touchstone, and where I have learned to understand the world. Theatre began as ritual; providing a space to elicit the deep witness in a collective setting. Providing a space for communities to vulnerably speak the truth is a radical political act. I see myself as a carrier of an ancient lineage. Art can see us and understand us in ways we do not yet know ourselves.
Samantha Shay, Artistic Director
Source Material is an international company producing theatre, dance, and film works by Samantha Shay. The company’s work has been described as visually stunning, musically and physically driven, and ritualistic. Source Material is rooted in multi-cultural artistic legacy, drawing inspiration from influences all over the world. Source Material recognizes that diverse forms of storytelling not only represent the beauty of the global community, but fosters individual and collective belonging.
Much of Source Material’s theatrical work is anchored in reverence for the classical canon, often adapting literature-based performances with highly original staging. Source Material’s work has been both praised and controversial to American audiences, and has “held spectators rapt” (American Theatre Magazine). Source Material has presented work at The Grotowski Institute (Wroclaw), REDCAT (Los Angeles), and HERE Arts (NYC), as well as in Iceland, Sweden, and the UK. In 2016, Source Material’s original piece, of Light, gained international attention when it was developed under the mentorship of Marina Abramović, and praised by Björk in The Guardian. Two songs from the original score were released by Mute Records via composer KÁRYYN, with “Moving Masses” named Best New Track on Pitchfork. Awards for the company include: Best Physical Theatre Performance, The Duende Distinction, and the Encores! Producers’ Award for Source Material’s first work, Into The Fog performed at the Hollywood Fringe, and two nominations for Gríman (Icelandic Theatre Awards) for A Thousand Tongues, in the categories of Most Innovative Performance, and Best Lighting Design. In 2018, Source Material made its first music release, with Nini Julia Bang’s A Thousand Tongues, featuring original and traditional songs from around the world, stemming from Source Material’s original performance of the same title. In 2019 Source Material received their first major foundational grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. In 2020 Source Material produced the digitally-devised Zoom play In These Uncertain Times, in response to how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the arts. The New York Times described the performance, “like a lyrical essay, poetic, emotive and fluid,” and has been used as a resource by numerous academic and critical researchers as a pivotal theatrical work during the pandemic.
Source Material produced Samantha Shays’ short film,Homesick, in collaboration with Israeli Dancer/Choreographer Danielle Agami (Batsheva Dance Company, Ate9 Dance Company), as well as her film Griefscape (work in progress). Source Material has created visual content for the international music scene, including JFDR (Iceland), Jodie Landau (US), Johanna Warren (US), Sóley (Iceland), KÁRYYN (US/Syria), Kira Kira (Iceland), Nini Julia Bang (Denmark) Veronique Vaka (Iceland), ZAAR (Denmark) and Katie Gately (US). Katie Gately’sWaltz, directed by Samantha Shay and starring dancer Bobbi Jene Smith is an international success, recognized by both the music and dance scene, playing numerous film festivals: LA Music Video Awards, Experimental Dance & Music Film Festival, London Music Video Awards, San Francisco Dance Film Festival, Portland Dance Film Festival, Thessaloniki Cinedance International, ScreenDance Film Festival, Opine Dance Film Festival, Jacksonville Dance Film Festival, Utah Dance Film Festival, and BAFTA and Academy Award qualifying HollyShorts and CineQuest. Source Material’s other films have screened at: Northern Wave Film Festival (Nominated: Best Music Video), BAFTA and Academy Award qualifying Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival, CAPITOL Dance & Cinema Festival, Golden Shorts Film Festival. Press for music videos has been published in: i-D, Fact Magazine, Under the Radar, Pitchfork, and Stereogum.
Source Material’s administrative staff is a fully remote operating international company, based in the USA, Europe, and South America.
Samantha Shay, Artistic Director
Stephanie Regina, Managing Director
Halla Tryggvadottir, Creative Producer
Sunna Axels, Project Manager
FISK, Graphic Design & Branding