They Kill Things Images created by Michael W Thomas for Torn Space

Torn Space Selected to Represent the United States at the Prague Quadrennial

Torn Space creates theater. Founded by Dan Shanahan and Melissa Meola, Torn Space Theater (TST) aims to create original, aesthetically innovative performances; to introduce internationally-renowned, contemporary drama to Western New York; and to cultivate the collaboration of actors, composers, sculptors, video artists and designers within our productions. Drawing from the leading edge of the global avant-garde, TST offers both original drama and new interpretations of existing plays. Using vivid imagery that both entertains and challenges our audience’s theatrical expectations, TST fully incorporates other arts disciplines (e.g., media, music, and the visual arts) into our design aesthetic.

Torn Space and its team of designers have been selected to represent the United States at the 2019 Prague Quadrennial, which takes place June 6-16. The company’s 2015 production “They Kill Things” will be featured in the Professional/Transformation Exhibit in Prague, Czech Republic.

After reviewing nearly 300 submissions, Torn Space along with a select group of other companies has been chosen to represent the United States at the international theater design conference.

The Prague Quadrennial is the largest performance design event in the world; it is often described as the Olympics or the Venice Biennale for performance designers.  

Torn Space’s selection highlights the work the company and its team of designers have been doing within the field of site-based performance and in particular their recent work at Silo City. In a statement to Prague Quadrennial, Dan Shanahan and Melissa Meola, Co-founders of Torn Space said:

Ultimately site-based work is about giving the audience an experience that they participate with; bringing them to different spaces, providing curated vantage points, while presenting them with images that are both collective and self-enclosed. It’s about creating a collective ritual that looks to the ancients while being fixed in the present tense

The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space was established in 1967 to bring the best of design for performance, scenography, and theatre architecture to the front line of cultural activities to be experienced by professional and emerging artists as well as the general public.

The Prague Quadrennial has been a major factor in shaping the direction of world theatre and live performance for the past four decades. More info about the Prague Quadrennial can be found at

The exhibit was initially displayed at the USITT Conference & Stage Expo (Louisville, KY) in March of 2019, before traveling to Prague in June of this year.

The work on display is a testament to the highly skilled designers and artists working with Torn Space from the Buffalo arts community.