Teaching and Research



The most difficult thing about duration, is how to avoid repeating one’s self, how to avoid fabricating a machine to produce performances. Every new work puts into play our habits and certainties and questions once more our desires.

Mark Tompkins


I.D.A. Mark Tompkins is an independent company that has voluntarily chosen homemade production and a nomadic way of living and working. Even though the company is often associated with theaters and loyal to many institutions, it prefers to remain without binds. By affirming this choice, the company feels it can best respond to the questions that preoccupy and trouble it in relationship to society. Since 2002, the company’s principal working space is in Arbecey, a small village in the east of France.

Since it’s creation in 1983, the company has created more than thirty stage productions and almost as many films. Over the years, it is possible to observe several constants:
- The projects are conceived of as artistic as well as human adventures in which the process is as important as the product.
- Improvisation and real time composition impregnate the creative process and serve as the foundation and score for some performances.
- Site-specific projects form an important axis of research and creation. Making work in nontheatrical spaces is a challenge and a pleasure which then nourishes the work in the black box of the theatre, and vice versa.
- A fascination for video images in relationship to the stage attributes an important role to video in some performances.
- A heightened theatricality that plays with reality, true lies and false truths, surface value and what’s behind the mask, with a pronounced taste for cabaret, music hall, and travestism.
- A growing interest in theatrical, musical and vocal productions.

Unclassifiable, the performances are often considered as UFOs that play with and navigate between the borders of dance, theatre, music and performance. They are composed according to a process of stratification that Tompkins calls a dramaturgy of complex images in which several threads, often contradictory, are delivered simultaneously to the audience. Each spectator receives, reacts and then creates his or her own associations with the proposed images.

Quite regularly, group pieces are followed by solos, created and performed by Tompkins himself. If this stage beast has always felt the need to confront the public, alone and face-to-face, it’s because it nourishes his reflection about performance presence, allows him to avoid finding refuge in his directorial vision and helps him to understand and transmit his ideas about stage presence to his performers.

In addition to its performance activities, the company organizes international events: festivals, research labs around subjects like Real time composition, Gender issues questions, The birth and development of complex images, and conferences. Mark Tompkins directs workshops in Arbecey, in France and around the world.

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La Cie I.D.A. Mark Tompkins est subventionnée par la DRAC Ile-de-France / Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication au titre de l'Aide à la compagnie et par la Ville de Paris.

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