To create theatrical events that foster radical community-building and authentic exchange between artists and audiences.

What is The Metal Shop?

Founded in 2019, The Metal Shop is a space to experiment with intersectional, feminist ideas and methods of theatrical process and performance. In our increasingly disconnected world, The Metal Shop seeks to create authentic encounters between audience and artists through an experience of exchange and connection. The Metal Shop projects seek to transform traditional methods of community-based practice in order to generate conversations and to forge new relationships with the individual members of its audience every night.

Why the Metal Shop?

In a metal shop, recycled materials and natural elements are melted, joined, and forged with fire into new life.

Interested? Want to get in touch?

Email The Metal Shop Director Alex Mallory at alex @ the metal shop .org [remove spaces].

THE VULNERABLE YEAR: a virtual invitation in process

Created by Grace Dolezal-Ng (Performer), Alex Mallory (Director), and Maria Simpkins (Writer)
Grace Dolezal-Ng Headshot

Grace Dolezal-Ng (she/her) is an actor/director from the Bay Area in CA. She recently graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A in Communications, majoring in Theatre. Grace is passionate about building empathy in theatrical process and production. At NU, she served as the Artistic Director of Spectrum Theatre Company, a company dedicated to producing sociopolitical theatre and exploring the intersections of activism and art. As a performer and as a director, Grace has worked on a myriad of genres including: new work, musicals, contemporary and classic plays, adaptations, documentary theatre, and theatre for young audiences . Most recently, she was the Assistant Director to Vanessa Stalling for the Goodman Theatre’s production of Roe in Feb 2020. Grace is a proud recipient of the Herb Alpert Emerging Young Artist Award. www.gracedn.com

Maria Simpkins Headshot

Maria Simpkins (she/her) is a queer Black latinx movement-based theatrical artist. She defines herself as a creativist: a person who makes space for positive change. While in Detroit Maria founded Omphalos Symptom, a movement and activism based immersive theater company, and worked as the head theatrical producer for the artist commune Young Fenix Fellowship. Multidisciplinary, she has been directing for 8 years, writing for 10, acting for 17 and dancing for 18. She is trained in flamenco, ballroom, hip hop, heels and contemporary.

Alex Mallory Headshot

Alex Mallory​ (she/her) is the director of The Metal Shop Performance Lab. She rehearses authenticity and authorship in theatrical process to create productive spaces for conversations on personal and collective histories of violence. Alex facilitates healing-centered engagement through DE-CRUIT, where she is the Chicago Area Regional Coordinator. She dreams of changing philanthropy and grantmaking to focus on processes rather than outcomes. Alex holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University and a BA from Stanford University where she received the Louis Sudler Prize in Creative Arts and the Sherifa Omade Edoga Prize for work involving social issues. Associate Member, SDC. www.alexmallory.com

Inaugural Project: A WAKENING

A theatrical experiment in radical authenticity (SUSPENDED)
A WAKENING poster image

A WAKENING is a feminist reinvention of process and performance as a theatrical community event. It is a radical deconstruction of Wedekind's 1891 play Frühlings Erwachen (Spring Awakening) giving voice to the complex women characters whose stories are drowned out by those of the men. Part original translation, part game, part Boal-inspired improvisation, A WAKENING focuses on the relationship between Wendla and her mother, starting a community conversation about the generational silence and shame around the sexuality of women that are amplified in our isolated, media-saturated culture.

Rehearsals for A WAKENING began in March 2020 but were quickly disrupted by COVID-19. The team continued to meet via Zoom but postponed the project indefinitely in May.

A WAKENING team A WAKENING design research

Performers: Anna Civik, Cayla Jones, Juliet Wolfe, Owen Boardman, Tulsi McDaniels

Alex Mallory, Director; Claire Bauman, Associate Director; Audrey Ney; Stage Manager; Gabrielle Strong, Design Consultant; Rebekah Bryer, Dramaturg.
Graphic design by Anna Cohen.

Created by Gabrielle Strong

A Message About Community and Practicing Anti-Racism

The Metal Shop is committed to dismantling racist (and in particular anti-black), capitalist, and colonial power structures by putting the community at the center of our work and examining the ways these structures make their way insidiously into our work. We are committed to amplifying the voices of our BIPOC artists and inviting BIPOC artists and community members to play key roles in the direction of our work. We believe in battling systemic racism by creating opportunities for our artists and community members to engage in self-awareness, critical reflection, and taking responsibility for their feelings and actions.

We invite you, as members of the Metal Shop community, to hold us accountable to these commitments.

Website © The Metal Shop Performance Lab LLC 2020