Toast pops-up September 11, 2014 and will premiere across DC and Maryland for 6 weeks at 7 locations from September 11-October 18. Review the calendar.



Toast is a participatory-performance-meets-science-fair that explores invention and discovery, the development of technology, and the intricate networks that weave us together. It distills ingredients for innovation and applies them in a multimedia, participatory performance that fully and transparently harnesses the audience as an integral resource for the completion of the show in performance.

A secret society of inventors invites the audience to collaboratively push the boundaries of our current technology and explore the awesome potential of group innovation.

The rolling-venue premiere in Washington, DC will have 21 performances in 7 venues and feature 18 performers and over to 1,200 audience members... meaning you will never experience the same Toast twice... ever.


Project Leaders: Rachel Grossman & Ivania Stack

Devising Ensemble: Ellys Abrams, Wyckham Avery, Colin K. Bills, Jordan Beck, Joan Cummins, Zach Dalton, Melanie Harker, Jessica Lefkow, Shannon Davies Mancus, Kerry McGee, Teresa Philipp, Lori Pitts, Elaine Yuko Qualter, Lorraine Ressegger-Slone, Jon Reynolds, Justin Schneider, Rebecca Sheir, Adelaide Waldrop

Artistic Collaborators: Kate Ahern Loveric, Jared Mezzocchi

Audience Co-Devisers: Cartland Berge, Robert Fridel, Jon Lee, Pete Miller

2013 Toast Co-Conspirators: David LaCroix, Robert Friedel, Joe Palca

2013 Toast Co-Devisers: Steve Baddour, Paulette Beete, Perry Beider, Cartland Berge, Caroline Brent, Stephanie Cecilia Cohen, Heather Carter, Jim Casteleiro, John Copenhaver, Eric Corvia, Mary Cox, Caitlin Cromblethome, Joan Cummins, Alida Decoster, Jeremy Diamond, Annalisa Dias-Mandoly, Olivia Dilworth, Shannon Duff, Jenna Duncan, Rachel Dutcher, Kelly Englert, Sasha Ernest, Miranda Fulk, Ashley Harman, Shawn Hartley, Nicole Houghton, Allie Houseworth, Sydney Jacobs, Nick Janczak, Claire Kennedy, Paulette Lee, Tony Mancus, Chris Mannino, Kerry McGee, Jon Menaster, Pete Miller, Danielle Mohlman, Mark Otto, Peter Pennington, Ronee Penoi, Teresa Philipp, Matt Philipp, Mayumi Qualter, Lenore Sack, Justin Schneider, Debra Sherrer, Eric Shimelonis, Kristy Simmons, Dan Smith, Brent Stansell, Alison Talvacchio, Matt Winterhalter, Robin Wolfson, Claire Youmans, Susan Yuk, Jonathan Zucker. As well as: Anonymous, Amanda, Dom, Elizabeth, Ira, Jeff, J. M., Laura, Mary, Tim, Victoria (send us your last name!). As of 11/19. If we have mistakenly omitted or mis-credited you, please let us know:


Workshop Production in 2013:

    • December 5-8 at Arena Stage as part of the Kogod Cradle Series
    • December 12-14 at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop

Read more about the workshop production of Toast.



Visit the archive of our first 8-months of devising online

View photos from the first 8-months of devising ("Toast Incubator Series") here.


Some of what what we read, watched, and looked at while making Toast:


Special thank you to Victor Shargai, Toast developmental sponsor.

Toast funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support from Humanities Council of Washington, DCToast activities in June 2013 at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop supported in part by Capitol Hill Community FoundationToast Incubator Series Salon at Round House Silver Spring made possible in part by Maryland Humanities Council.

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An Article from our January 2013 Newsletter:

"Before electricity, how did people make toast?
It feels a bit like a trick question every time I ask it, and I know it feels even more so when it is posed to you. When technological historian, Dr. Robert Friedel queried me, I answered tentatively, just waiting for "the catch." What followed was more awakening than stumping. Following my timid description of holding bread over fire, Dr. Friedel talked about early electric toasters and, in the process, painted a simple, yet profound picture of a unique moment in history when technology fundamentally changed "everyday life" and humans crossed a technological threshold into the era of electricity.
It is this question and the story that follows it which has inspired dog & pony dc's next project, Toast.
Well, that, and the growing desire in the ensemble to cross our own threshold--finding new expressions of Audience Integration. Think back to our last two shows. Both Beertown and A Killing Game "cast" audiences into a story or narrative. While there was ample room for individuals to grow into and "own" the roles, there were inevitable constraints put in place by the ensemble, which determined the breadth and scope of audiences' interaction. Certainly, we could continue exploring the possibilities this particular expression of Audience Integration provided us, but new shows only come once every-other year and we itched to traverse new territories; explore opportunities, in which the "balance of power" between d&pdc makers ("artists") and receivers ("audience") was tipped more equally... or even in the favor of the receivers. We also wanted to respond to your curiosity (and ours) about our methodology.
So for Toast, we seek to publicly explore and share our devising process and, while doing so, involve the audience as co-creators throughout the devising and performance of the show

Like when we started devising Beertown, we have no clear idea what Toast will look like in full production. But we do know that you will be a part of determining it. If there's one thing that's surfaced in our initial "basic research": good ideas grow from a curiosity-rich environment where "different kinds of thought [can] productively collide and recombine." Or so says Steven Johnson in Where Good Ideas Come From, one of our sources of inspiration. We'll be involving a range of scientists to poke and prod at ideas with us. Inspired by "hotbeds" of cultural and technological innovation -- literary salons of the Enlightenment era; basic and applied research methods at Bell Labs in the 20th century; current-day TED talks -- we'll be opening up our devising process.
More details will emerge in the next few weeks but if you want to get a head start, we highly recommend checking out any of these sources of inspiration listed here. If something pops up for you, whether lightly browned or seriously singed, make a note. You never know where the answer will come from."  - Rachel Grossman, Ring Leader