“A no-pressure environment where you could move at your own pace… allowed us to create our own movement recipe, a great lesson in composition.” – Bushwick Daily News

Educational Offerings


Third Rail Projects offers workshops that share the tools and methods employed in our creative process, emphasizing the skills we have been developing while making our contemporary dance, site-specific, and immersive works. Capturing the spirit of collaboration that is the foundation of our work, our courses bringing artists of all backgrounds and mediums together to explore topics through experimentation and discourse.

For more information about our educational offerings or to schedule a workshop, contact Third Rail Projects at


2016 Workshops

Summer Workshops

Immersive Performance Skills:
Developing Presence and Clarity as a Performer
(a three-part series)

Led by Tara O’Con, a long-standing member, collaborator, and teaching artist of Third Rail Projects, this 3-part workshop series focuses on tools that deepen the connection between performer and audience member in immersive settings. Participants will experiment with ways to develop a keen awareness of surrounding space, as well as ways to unlock a heightened awareness of one’s physical “presence” in performance and how it relates to audience interaction and the environment. Tara draws on her background as an experiential theater performer, choreographer, and user experience designer to explore an intuitive approach to guiding and responding to viewer perception. Each workshop will allow time for students to experience perspectives as both performers and audience members. Open to all skill levels. A dance or theater background is not required, but a willingness to move and explore is a requisite.*Each workshop is three hours. We highly recommend signing up for all sessions, as each one focuses on individual elements that make up a holistic approach to performance. However drop-ins are welcome.

Part 1: Creating a Cinematic Movement Practice
Monday July 11, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
at The Kingsland Ward
3 Hours for $40

Participants will practice making various physical and qualitative choices in performance, examining how these choices capture the viewer’s eye and impact how movement is perceived.

Part 2: Engaging and Connecting to Your Audience
Monday July 18, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
at The Kingsland Ward
3 Hours for $40

How do we draw people in, maintain their curiosity, and respond to their energy? This workshop focuses on different tactics, mindsets, and sensibilities that can be used to deepen audience experience.

Part 3: Active Presence and Discovery
Monday July 25, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
at The Kingsland Ward
3 Hours for $40

Participants will explore how to fully embody the present moment, a key skill behind performing in theatrical formats that remove the fourth wall. How can we truly be “present” and able to respond, in the moment, to the audience at all times?

Using Your Voice
Wednesday August 3, 12pm – 4pm
at The Kingsland Ward
4 Hours for $55

The ability to control your voice when speaking in different environments is an important skill for both performance and everyday life. Led by Marissa Nielsen-Pincus, Associate Artistic Director of Third Rail Projects and Body-Mind Centering® practitioner, this workshop looks at vocalization from a somatic perspective, looking at breath, sound, and speech through anatomy, physiology and movement. Sharing the work she has done with Third Rail Projects performers, Marissa helps participants find ease, flexibility, and confidence in vocal expression. This workshop is open to everyone and all skill levels.

Past Projects:

Primary Stages Workshop Creative Lab: Immersive Theater Directing February – April, 2015 Led by Jennine Willett, this 5-week, hands-on directing lab was designed to create work that engages the audience and blurs the fourth wall. This was an opportunity for directors who want to explore these new, popular forms while working on their feet in a collaborative environment.  Over the first four sessions, they learned the methods and tools developed by Third Rail Projects when making their experiential theater productions, and then applied these skills, step by step, to their own directing projects.

Photo by Joe Mazza Brave Lux

Albany Park Theater Project August 11th – 17th, 2014 Last summer, Third Rail Projects’ Co-Artistic Director Jennine Willett along with company members Marissa Nielsen-PincusEdward Rice, and Carlton Cyrus Ward visited Chicago to share the company’s immersive performing techniques with APTP’s youth ensemble. The residency culminated in a 40-minute showing that took audiences on an immersive journey into a Chicago public high school. Although the showings were only meant to be outlines of ideas, they were received with so much excitement and such an overwhelming audience response that both companies decided to continue the collaboration and use these sketches to devise a new work for APTP’s youth artists.  Now entitled Learning Curve, this collaboration between Third Rail Projects and Albany Park Theater Project will continue to develop, culminating in a full-length and fully-produced immersive performance that will premiere in the summer of 2016.

53“THIRD RAIL” THURSDAY – Materials for the Arts July 24th, 2014 Jennine Willett led a workshop at Materials for The Arts sharing the ways that MFTA has been a source of materials as well as inspiration for the environments found in many of Third Rail Projects’ projects. Using materials found in the warehouse that day, participants created mini-immersive environments and installations and used them as inspiration to build theatrical scenes.

Performance at the Center July, 2014

Performance at the Center was a two week summer institute, held at Columbia University’s Teachers College, that brought high school students and teachers together to co-create a multimedia production inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Jennine Willett (Co-Artistic Director) and Julia Kelly (Company Member) shared Third Rail Projects’ methods for generating movement material from a text, teaching participants how to use the body to enhance meaning through choreography and ways to integrate this into their performance.

Third Rail Projects in Hong Kong 2010

Watch the 2010 documentary of Third Rail Projects’ site-specific workshops and performances in Hong Kong. Led by Third Rail Projects Co-Artistic Directors Tom Pearson and Zach Morris, participants organized by Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation collaborated to create a site-specific, immersive dance theater work for the Bethanie, a former French sanatorium in the mountains of Pok Fu Lam.

Press Coverage

Dance Enthusiast - May Workshops with Third Rail Projects‏ Dance Enthusiast | May 2014 Dance MagazineFeeling the Rush By Jen Peters | Dance Magazine | March 2011 The Student Standard - Room to manoevre By Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation | The Student Standard | April 12, 2010 CUP MagazineInterview with Tom Pearson and Zach Morris CUP Magazine Issue 099 | April 2010 Florida School of the Arts’ College Connection - FloArts alumni return with seasoned advice College Connection | April 2009 South China Morning PostStudents step up to dance with the professionals  By Liz Gooch | South China Morning Post | December 8th, 2007 Hong Kong Economic JournalUrban Dance Festival Body beautiful By Gigi Lam | Hong Kong Economic Journal | December 4, 2007 South China Morning Post - Dancing in the Streets By Rebecca Tsui | South China Morning Post | November 11, 2007