SAM TOWER is a Philadelphia director, choreographer, producer, and arts facilitator based in Philadelphia. She works with a rotating ensemble of collaborators to create group-generated, site-inspired, dance theatre as Sam Tower + Ensemble. Tower’s work has been presented in Philadelphia as a part of the Fringe Festival, FringeArts’ Scratch Night, InHale Performance Series, 5×7 Space, Nice & Fresh, SoLow Festival, Collage Festival, 4 Weeks in January, PhillyMag’s ThinkFest, Dilworth Park’s LiveAtLunch, Almanac’s Harvest, and at Redwood Studios in Brooklyn for Exquisite Corpse Company. From 2012-2015, she worked as a company member of Obie-Award winning devised theatre company, New Paradise Laboratories (Assistant Director / Programs Manager / Assoc. Producer), training with Whit MacLaughlin in NPL’s distinctive athletic style of physical theatre. She is an Associated Artist with Applied Mechanics, an immersive, devised theatre company. Tower has worked with Arden Theatre Company, Plant Me Here, Almanac Dance Circus Theater, and various others. She serves as the Showcase and Membership Coordinator for International Performing Arts for Youth. She has participated in Professional Artist Residencies at University of the Arts, University of Washington, and University of North Carolina Wilmington. BFA UArts 2010. Headlong Performance Institute 2009.
1) What excites you most about participating in Directors JAM?
I am really excited to see what source material Pirronne provides us with! As of now, that element of the project has remained a total mystery, and I am anxious to see what juicy directions her source material takes. Diversifying and broadening your source base can really help shake things up creatively, and I am really looking forward to developing brand new prompts based off of what we receive. I’m also looking forward to the concentrated time in which to experiment alongside some really badass directors!
2) How do you personally understand the director’s role in a devising process?
The director/choreographer is both a facilitator and a sculptor. It is their responsibility to create evocative prompts and assignments that will inspire their collaborators. It is also their responsibility to refine, organize and sculpt the material that the ensemble creates.
As the movement, words, story, and metaphor are all created through collaborative modes of generating, and we work together to shape them into a whole expression, the director serves as the facilitator. It is their role to create containers for the ensemble’s work to exist in, so that it reflects and refracts in a meaningful way.
The prompts I begin with personally are always influenced by directly by the source material, and the results are inherently unique to each creator. Their work is an illustration of their personal experience of the world, and it is my responsibility to enhance the language of their bodies and hearts in the way I shape their initial proposals.
3) What do you hope to get out of your JAM experience?
It is my goal to come away with either new tools from my fellow directors, a new understanding of how to shape material made from scratch, or new ways of envisioning source material from Pirronne. I hope to gain insight from how my collaborators interpret my familiar prompts in new directions. The immediacy of the process-to-product timeline will be challenging for me as a facilitator, and I hope to learn from that experience and strengthen my ability to respond rapidly and intuitively to newly generated material.