Proto-type Theater are a company of multi-disciplinary artists interested in live performance. We make original theater and media work that is diverse in scale, subject and medium. Currently, we are exploring distributed narrative, city as source/site, the relationship between technology and intimacy, the sung-through format of music theatre and the nature of love and death. Proto-type’s work is demanding and intricately crafted to create experiences for a diverse audience of intelligent, modern humans.
Proto-type are an ensemble company, based in Manchester and led by Co-Artistic Directors Gillian Lees, Rachel Baynton and Andrew Westerside. Our work has been performed throughout England and in the US, Korea, Zimbabwe, Armenia, Scotland, Russia, China and Mongolia.
We like to experiment with different media and forms, developing site and subject responsive work and have made (amongst other things) installation work in a Roman garden in Chester (UK), multi-media theatre that unravels the stereotype of American suburbia, a two-week long performative experience for pervasive technologies, a delicate two-hander that looks at the mythology surrounding two of history’s most notorious criminals and a unique sight-read performance for a revolving cast of 3 performers that has been performed hundreds of times in locations across the globe. All of our work has a focus on precise execution and in making complicated material accesible.
Rachel Baynton is Co-Artistic Director of Proto-type Theater alongside Gillian Lees and Andrew Westerside.
Recently, Rachel has worked on the national and international tours of THIRD PERSON (Redux) [2010-], VIRTUOSO (working title) , WHISPER [2007-], and collaborated on FORTNIGHT [2011-].
She graduated in Devised Theatre at Dartington College of Arts and has gone on to work as a writer, performer, producer and director of collaborative, often site-specific, theatre including: the performance pieces THE BULLIVER PROJECT : created with the support of South Hams Railway in Totnes, Devon and THE CALMER FUTURE? . Rachel also created and curated the online international writing collaboration FINISH THIS [2004/5] and undertook dramaturgical duties for AN INTERVIEW WITH DORIAN GRAY .
In addition she has worked as Artistic Director with several successful youth theatre companies in venues and festivals around the country, toured large-scale performances to English Heritage sites, designed drama and literacy packages for secondary schools and managed the Peter Scott Gallery collections at Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts (LICA).
Gillian Lees gained a First Class Honours Degree in Contemporary Theatre Practice, specialising in Performance, at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Gillian has worked as a freelance performer and devisor with some of Britain’s most well respected experimental theatre practitioners/companies, including The Pacitti Company London, Third Angel Theatre Company, Proto-type Theater, Lisa Wesley, Grace Surman, Reeling and Writhing, Benchtours and Poorboy Theatre Company. Her own practice focuses on the physical element of contemporary performance, often dealing with the process of physical exhaustion. The content informs the task based/durational form which the work takes. She has shown work as part of the National Review of Live Art 01’ and 03’, a Dark lights Commission 02’ (Tramway Glasgow) and was awarded a Commission by Stalker Theatro, Turin.
Dr. Andrew Westerside (Wes) is a performer, director, theorist and core member of Proto-type Theater. In 2011 he completed a PhD studying the field of contemporary performance aesthetics at Lancaster University [UK].
Most recently, Wes has performed and toured nationally and internationally with Proto-type Theater in: THIRD PERSON (Redux) [2010-], VIRTUOSO (working title) , WHISPER [2007-], and worked as a creative collaborator on FORTNIGHT . He has directed two performance works premiering in the UK: THE CALMER FUTURE?  and AN INTERVIEW WITH DORIAN GRAY .
Depending on the direction of the wind, his biggest influences are: Robert Wilson, Societas Raffello Sanzio, Reckless Sleepers, Rimini Protokoll, and Andrew-Graham Dixon.
He is one of the few contemporary performance makers in the UK who is openly and unashamedly passionate about football. In the past 10 years he has unsuccessfully tried to: learn the violin, speak Russian, rollerblade, hack a computer network in California and cook a poached egg. He is succeeding in learning German.
Wes is a Lecturer in Drama at the University of Lincoln.
Proto-type are proud to have worked with the following associate artists:
Alice Booth, Stacey Carlson, Mandy Caughey, Lu Chekowsky, Max Duykers, Mark Esaias, Mikeah Jennings, Nicki Hobday, Glenn Kessler, Margie Lempert, Charley Layton,
Alessandro Magania, Thomas Pilutik, Meredith Smart and Carlton Ward.
Dr. Peter S Petralia is Proto-type Theater’s Founding Artistic Director and he led the company from 1997-2012. As a producer, director, writer, curator and artistic director of Proto-type he wrote over a dozen full-length performance works that premiered in New York City, North Carolina, the United Kingdom, Romania and Amsterdam. He was the recipient of several awards, grants and residencies including the HERE Artist Residency Program (NYC), Lincoln Center Director’s Lab (NYC), Das Arts (Amsterdam), 2004 nytheatre.com Person of the Year (NYC), Artward Bound of the Field (NYC), Chashama Area Award (NYC), Mondo Cane Commission from Dixon Place (NYC), TCG/ITI Travel Grant (NYC/Russia), The Creative Lab at The Center for Contemporary Art (Glasgow), the Outside/Input Program of Richard Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater (NYC), IETM Intro Award, and Jerome Foundation Commission from PS122 (NYC). Peter has been a guest artist in Busan, South Korea, and Asheville, North Carolina and was an active advisory board member for several UK Charities and was Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre in the Department of Contemporary Arts at MMU Cheshire. He currently works in NYC.
David has a Masters in Professional Contemporary Art Practice from the Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts, and has worked in multiple continents. While in Canada, he was an Instructor and Production Manager at the University of Regina, a House Technician for Regina’s Globe Theatre, a director of two one-woman shows, a lighting designer of numerous theatre productions, and the creator and performer for two one-man shows: Proposal Project and Pushing Buttons. In the UK, David worked with companies including Drunken Chorus (And Hell Followed With Them), Duende (The Shattering Man), Cupola Bobber, Judith Adams, Angel Club North, Pen-ultimate, and Live at LICA, while also touring his third one-man show, Creating Space. Life has now taken David to Hong Kong, where he is excited to be exploring new audiences and new collaborations.
Amongst David’s fondest artistic memories are making a larger-than-life snail out of organza and plastic tubing, seeing the sunrise after a night of delivering letters, and the roadblocks and Soviet-era technology during Proto-type’s British Council-sponsored tour to Armenia.
For more information you can visit David’s website.