Call for applications

Summer Residency Program 2016

Water Mill Center, United States
Deadline: 15 January 2016

Summer Residency Program 2016

Each July and August, more than 80 artists from over 30 countries gather at Watermill’s Long Island, NY eight-acre site. Participants spend up to five weeks in an intense collaborative creative environment. The Summer Program provides a unique opportunity to observe the development and performance methodologies of Robert Wilson and his collaborators; to work with established professionals in the international performing arts world; to forge relationships with artists from a broad range of experience levels and disciplines; to develop networks of US and international professional contacts; and to investigate what it means to be a “global artist.”

Summer Program participants receive access to an extensive collection of resources central to the Watermill experience: daily meetings with Robert Wilson; lectures on subjects including theater and opera innovation, installation, design, and science led by international cultural luminaries, established artists and scientists; opportunities to propose and develop new work for public presentation during the annual Watermill Summer Benefit and Discover Watermill Day; 20,000 square feet of rehearsal/design spaces and outdoor stages; a theater production archive; an extensive physical and digital library; The Watermill Art Collection; and The Center’s landscaped grounds. Additionally, participants have an opportunity to audition for Robert Wilson’s summer staging rehearsals and to take part in workshops with his collaborators.

The Watermill Summer Experience

During the International Summer Program, every participant contributes collaboratively on site-specific events, performing arts project workshops, design project workshops as well as attending lectures and taking part in landscaping and design/construction projects. Artists apply as individuals and participate in all aspects of the programmed projects and activities.

The first part of the Summer Program builds toward one of our main public events, the Watermill Summer Benefit, which includes the creation of site specific outdoor art installations conceived by guest artists and summer participants, who work together, side by side. During the second half of the program, which includes one of our other main public offerings,
Discover Watermill Day, participants are invited to take part in table and staging workshops with Robert Wilson and collaborators from upcoming international productions.

An artist works differently in an environment that he or she has helped to create and maintain. All participants share in the responsibilities of daily life: housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining the Watermill grounds and gardens. Daily physical labor, both indoors and outdoors, including landscaping and construction of site-specific art installations, is an integral part of the Summer Program.

All participants are lodged in shared rooms either in The Center’s dormitory or in rented summerhouses. Vehicles are provided for transport to and from The Center within the Hamptons area. All participants spend the entire day (from 9am to 10pm, seven days a week) at The Center. All meals are prepared with trained chefs and provided on-site.

Robert Wilson, his collaborators, producers and specialists lead dozens of hands-on projects during the Summer Program. Throughout the entire summer, all participants share in the work, the creative and the physical, on a rigorous schedule under the direction of Robert Wilson and a professional staff.


A selection committee, which includes Robert Wilson, chooses the Summer Program participants. Participants are selected based on their artistic abilities and objectives, achievements, and creative potential, as well as how they might be served by, and contribute to, the Summer Program at Watermill. Selection is also determined based on the needs of the particular year’s workshops and activities, the need to maintain a diverse group of participants from varying disciplines, countries, and professional and artistic backgrounds, while aiming to ensure a balance between new and returning participants.

Program Costs

The Foundation spends approximately $8,000 on each artist, which covers housing, food, local transportation, materials needed for work in the program, and the operating cost of the facility. The Foundation raises these funds through sponsorships from foundations, as well as individual benefactors who support the mission of The Center by joining the Watermill Mentor Program. If you are interested in participating in the Mentor Program by sponsoring an artist please contact Elise Herget at +1 (212) 253-7484 ext. 10 or

Participants are required to pay the costs of their own travel to New York and The Watermill Center and for items for their personal use, and are encouraged to find funding individually, if needed, through scholarships, foundations, and grants.

The 2016 Watermill Center International Summer Program Application Guidelines

Application Deadline

Friday, January 15, 2016 at 5pm EST

Program Dates

The Watermill Center 2016 International Summer Program will run from July 18 to August 20, 2016.


Use this email address for any questions about the program or the application

Use this email address for any technical questions or problems with the Slideroom application

Application Requirements

Admission to the program is by selection only. The Watermill Center uses Slideroom to gather applications and work samples for its International Summer Program. All material must be submitted via the online portal through Slideroom – there are no exceptions.

The application for the 2016 International Summer Program will be available online starting November 2, 2015 at:

The online application portal will lead you through the various required questions, attachments, and media uploads (work samples). There is a $10 USD fee per proposal which covers the cost of the application portal. Payment is accepted on the Slideroom website. If you are unable to make this payment for any reason, please notify us to explain the issue.

Applications will be due January 15, 2016 by 5pm EST.

Specific application instructions are available step-by-step on the Slideroom application portal.

The sections include:

Personal Information

Qualifications, Interests, and Letter of Motivation

Special Opportunities – a chance to express interest in additional participation opportunities.

References: 2 references are required – the panel will contact references if they need additional information (letters are NOT required, only contact information at this time)

Attachment: Resume / CV

Media uploads: images, videos, pdfs, and audio files can be uploaded or linked to.  Specific instructions and requirements are found in the MEDIA section of the Slideroom application portal

All technical questions or issues pertaining to work sample uploads, payment issues, or login problems should be directed Any other questions regarding the program may be addressed

If you have work samples that are not electronic that you would like to include, please write to determine if the items are appropriate for the application process.

Application Notification

You can expect to hear from the committee by mid-May via email. We know that everyone is eager to make plans, so please know that we do our best to review materials in a timely fashion. Applicants may be contacted for additional information after they have submitted their application. If you have any further questions that are not explained in the application materials, please contact

Frequently Asked Questions, 2015

If you are looking for answers to help you complete the application to the 2015 International Summer Program please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions. If you don’t find your answer there, feel free to write to us and we will be happy to help.

About the Watermill Center

The Watermill Center is an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities completed in 2006 on the Long Island, NY site of a former Western Union communication research facility. Founded by theatre and visual artist Robert Wilson as a place for young and emerging artists to work, learn, create, and grow with each other, Watermill integrates performing arts practice with resources from the humanities, research from the sciences, and inspiration from the visual arts. Watermill is unique within the global landscape of experimental theatrical performance, and regularly convenes the brightest minds from all disciplines to do, in Wilson’s words, “what no one else is doing.”

With the opening of its new building in 2006, The Center became a year-round performing arts laboratory for emerging artists. In addition to the International Summer Program expanded programs in the spring and fall include workshops and classes, artist residencies, conferences and lectures, and a variety of local and international educational partnership programs. Watermill has collaborated with institutions such as The Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, The Barishnikov Arts Center, Park Avenue Armory, Kampnagel Hamburg, CUNY’s Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, ArteEast, Performa, Taipei Cultural Center, Chez Bushwick, CPR – Center for Performance Research, New York Theater Workshop, Summer Play Festival, MRI – Métamatic Research Initiative and RADIALSYSTEM V in Berlin among others.

The Watermill Center is located in New York State, on the South Fork of Long Island in the town of Water Mill, approximately two hours by car from New York City.


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