A Bold Step…

September 16, 2020


The Wilma HotHouse Company in Blood Wedding

If you’ve seen shows at the Wilma in the past decade, you have gotten to know the Wilma HotHouse Company, our incredibly talented, award-winning ensemble of performers. They are at the core of the work we do as a theater company.

Beginning this 2020-21 Season, we are deepening our relationships with these artists even further.


The Wilma HotHouse was created by Co-Artistic Director Blanka Zizka in 2011 with the goal of forming a company of performers with different backgrounds and histories, but with shared artistic training and vocabulary. Prior to the pandemic, the company met most Mondays to train, workshop plays, and develop their artistry together. Our shows are typically chosen with them in mind, and most roles are cast from within the company.


Starting this season, we are more formally engaging with HotHouse company members beyond training and performance. We’re enlisting them to create new online art (such as Code Blue), and working closely with them to expand our literary, marketing, fundraising, and equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. 

We’re also changing how we pay them to give them more stability and flexibility. Previously, we paid them only when they attended training sessions, performed in shows, or taught a class. This season, if they choose, they will instead receive a regular weekly payment. Under this new model, company members will have more flexibility to select which training sessions suit their schedules, while also integrating their perspectives more deeply into the administrative work of the Wilma.

We are making this change because we believe in placing our artists at the center of what we do, while also prioritizing their physical well-being and financial stability.

“This demonstrates the Wilma’s dedication to its company and staff. That it is committed to envisioning a future with more equity and care. And adaptability – the ability to change and rethink old standards – is a way to stay vital as a theater in our current world,” says HotHouse Company member Brett Ashley Robinson (Is God Is, Describe the Night, Dance Nation, There).


Doing this now – while the Wilma’s performance space is closed, and we are not earning ticket revenue for in-person activities – is a bold move, an investment in our artists when they most need it. Nationally, it is estimated that more than 2/3rds of artists are currently unemployed.

But we need your help to make this a success! This change is not without risk, and is thanks to supporters like you. If you believe in our work and in our artists, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

Company members Justin Jain and Brett Ashley Robinson in last season’s production of Dance Nation. Photo by Johanna Austin.

“For the Wilma, this is yet again an example of acknowledging and leaning into the challenge, rather than retreating or waiting. I am ever grateful that the Wilma has carved a space for me to boldly try to respond and risk in new ways.” 
     -Company Member Justin Jain

Company members Sarah Gliko and Ross Beschler in last season’s production of Describe the Night. Photo by Johanna Austin.

“It’s one thing to SAY that investing in people is important – it’s quite another to DO it, especially once the market forces that are so entrenched in regional theatre models start pushing back. The Wilma is pushing back in the other direction.” 
     -Company Member Ross Beschler