About TotP

What We Do

Since its founding in 2016, the Theatre of the Poor has presented “shoestring budget” performances of the classics and other works in found spaces throughout Casper. We create ritualistic, non-traditional theatre independent of standard theatre technology. Props, costumes, and set pieces are contrived from what we can find in basements, closets, dumpsters, garages, and thrift stores. Outdoor productions are offered free to the public although we do pass the hat after each show.

William Conte, Ph.D.

Under the artistic direction of Dr. William Conte, the Theatre of the Poor is dedicated to the cultivation of the next generation of theatre artists. We are committed to providing young theatre artists with the opportunity to find their voice, expand their skill set, explore a different approach to theatre and production, and participate in an apprenticeship model of theatre training. Dr. Conte conducts weekly classes on theatre history, theory, and philosophy as well as acting workshops. The company also produces events such as open mics, combat training classes, and soon a D&D campaign.

What We Believe

We believe that money, or the lack thereof, should not be an obstacle to the presentation of great plays and performances. We are passionate about bringing the theatre directly to the audience in new and unexpected ways, challenging everyone’s preconceptions of what theatre is or should be.

Our Models

Jerzy Grotowski
Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff

Inspired by Jerzy Grotowski’s manifesto, “Toward a Poor Theatre,” we endeavor to return the theatre to its roots in the environment, replacing purchased spectacle and artifice with the simplicity and immediacy of the found space in which we are performing. Combined with G.I. Gurdjieff’s ideas of objective art and “work on oneself,” the company produces ensemble oriented work grounded in the “Fifth Way,” an alternative approach to actor training and personal development.