The Synergic Theater...

Founded as an interdisciplinary collaboration at Duke University in 1974, the Synergic Theater went on to present original theatrical productions and creative process workshops under the direction of Suzanne White Manning and David Manning (1976) through 1994. From inception, this work explored and applied fresh possibilities and sensibilities in the use of sound, image and movement media as artistic resources. The results, in both workshops and productions, represented  ineffable, self-defining experiences. Each manifestation tended to be ephemeral in its existence with a perpetually renewing underlying nature.

Embodied as much in perception as form, the Synergic Theater is well-suited to its current location in cyberspace, where it is regenerating as an evolving archive. This web page represents a re-launching of the Synergic Theater in that phase.

As of fall 2019, the Synergic Theater archives were acquired by Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Included there are original copies of the materials on this website plus many, many additional documents, photos, creative resources, correspondence, production notes, promotion materials, proposals, and more.

charley noble pic“…a brilliant integration of live dancers and shadowplay techniques. This breathtaking technical feat allowed visual and verbal metaphors to move pungently and effectively between the real and the imaginary, from personal experience to commentary on human behavior.”
Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times

“…dance, speech, stage settings and lighting effects were so blended that one art became inseparable from another. Watching the shadows was like turning the pages of an old scrapbook kept by someone’s immigrant grandparents.”
            Jack Anderson, The New York Times

“Projections, movement, music, shadows and speech combined in a remarkably smooth way. A great deal of deft artistry has clearly gone into this ambitious production.”
Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times

“ … brilliantly conceived and faultlessly accomplished … the Mannings have perhaps extended theatre itself.”
Bert Wechsler, Attitude

”… amazing, provocative  and sometimes astounding … “
Elizabeth Lee, Durham Morning Herald

“... the ability to create magic onstage, to envelope layers of meaning in wondrous sets, sound and movements.”
Susan Broili, The Durham Sun

“Experiencing it is what makes this Synergic experiment come to life…absolutely lovely and inventive…splendidly effective. What the Mannings are doing is potentially important to the arts.”
Bernard Weiner, San Francisco Chronicle