About The Watermill Center International Summer Program
Since 1992, The Watermill Center has hosted the International Summer Program under the direction of Founder and Artistic Director Robert Wilson. Each July and August, approximately 60-100 artists from over 30 countries gather at Watermill’s Long Island, NY site. Participants spend five to six weeks in an intense collaborative creative environment. The Summer Program provides a unique opportunity to observe the development and performance methodologies of Robert Wilson and his collaborators; to work with established professionals in the international performing arts world; to forge relationships with artists from a broad range of experience levels and disciplines; to develop networks of US and international professional contacts; and to investigate what it means to be a “global artist.”
The Summer Program participants receive access to an extensive collection of resources central to the Watermill experience: daily meetings with Robert Wilson; lectures on subjects including theater and opera innovation, installation, design, and science led by international cultural luminaries, established artists and scientists; opportunities to propose and develop new work for public presentation during The Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction and Discover Watermill Day; 20,000 square feet of rehearsal/design spaces and outdoor stages; a theater production archive; The Watermill Center Study Library; The Watermill Center Collection; and The Center’s eight-and-a-half acre landscaped grounds and sculpture gardens. Participants will also have an opportunity to audition for Robert Wilson’s summer staging rehearsals and to take part in workshops with his collaborators.
The Watermill Summer Experience
During the International Summer Program, every participant collaboratively contributes to site-specific works, performing arts project workshops, design project workshops as well as attending lectures and taking part in landscaping and design/construction projects. Artists apply as individuals and participate in all aspects of the programmed projects and activities.
The first half of the Summer Program builds toward one of our main public events, The Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction , which includes the creation of site-specific outdoor art installations conceived by guest artists and select summer participants, who work together, side-by-side. During the second half of the program, which includes one of our other main public offerings, Discover Watermill Day, all Summer Program participants are invited to take part in table and staging workshops with Robert Wilson and collaborators from upcoming international productions.
An artist works differently in an environment that he or she has helped to create and maintain. All participants share in the responsibilities of daily life, including: housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining Watermill’s grounds and gardens. Daily physical labor, both indoors and outdoors, including landscaping and construction of site-specific art installations, is an integral part of the Summer Program.
Robert Wilson, his collaborators, and producers and specialists lead dozens of hands-on projects during the Summer Program. Throughout the entire summer, all participants share in the work, both creative and physical, on a rigorous schedule under the direction of Robert Wilson and a professional staff.