Single Carrot Theatre (SCT) was founded in 2005 by a group of students at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The ensemble theatre company takes its name from a quote by the painter Paul Cezanne: “The day is coming, when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.” In 2007, after considering 50 American cities from which to launch their revolution, Single Carrot Theatre voted to move to Baltimore, Maryland.
The troupe has been something of a pioneer of ensemble theatre in Baltimore – when the company arrived in Charm City in 2007, its organizational structure set it apart from other area theatres. At the theatre’s core is the ensemble – a governing body of artists who are actively involved in strategic decision-making, long-term planning, and new policy creation. Today, there are more than ten companies in Baltimore that, like Single Carrot, function under the ensemble model.
Over the last eight years, SCT has staged 65 productions; introduced audiences to playwrights from Russia, Bulgaria, China, Puerto Rico, and the Czech Republic; and entertained and trained more than 10,000 young people. The theatre produces at least one new play or devised work each season, in addition to pursuing socially significant material and embracing technical design that reflects a commitment to uncharted artistic territory. A review of Charles Mee’s Utopia Parkway, which the troupe is presenting through late April 2015, describes the scenic design as “a child’s graffiti-filled urban playground complete with mini skateboarding ramps…[that] doubles as a ritual circle, with incense burning center stage and chants to a dying civilization.” The production is “very much in the style of rough theatre, street theatre, agitprop — a community, if you will, performing an ancient tale for a hungry-for-answers audience” (DC Metro Theatre Arts).
Single Carrot’s work onstage is complemented by educational programming that provides children and teens with unique opportunities to enrich their academic and artistic aspirations. Offerings range from weekend workshops and a summer High School Conservatory to student matinees, in-class visits with actors and artists, and a touring assembly program. Beginning in April 2015, SCT will be in-residence at nearby Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle School to bring 45 minutes of theatre and arts instruction to all grade levels each day. As each class works toward a performance, instructors will spend considerable time building an ensemble within each class.
Single Carrot didn’t have the space to simultaneously run artistic and education programs until last year, when it moved to an impressive, custom-built facility. With a grant from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, SCT has been able to offer more programming and improved amenities without raising ticket prices or adjusting the number of scholarships it makes available. Single Carrot believes the arts should be a right, not a privilege. The Foundation is pleased to bring the company closer to making that ideal a reality.