Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Arts


David Kahn


civilians, documentary cabaret, documentary theater, organizational structure, processes

Subject Areas

Theater; Arts management


This thesis analyzes The Civilians, a New York-based theater company that creates interview-based cabaret/theater works, specifically examining the group's organizational structure and creative and administrative processes. The goal of this thesis is to provide insight into how this organization functions, and the lens of organizational structure and processes is used because, as business scholars have noted, structure and process are fundamental elements of any organization. Additionally, this study is framed using Gaétan Morency and Jane Needles's analysis of Cirque du Soleil, François Colbert's analysis of the Piccolo Teatro of Milan, and Celia Wren's article, "Dissolving the Barriers," which investigates eliminating the barricades between administrative and creative realms of theater companies.

Through interviews with associates of The Civilians and research of the group's online presence (e.g., blogs and websites), this study finds two main themes within The Civilians' organization: a strong and diverse network of collaborators, and flexibility that infuses all aspects of the organization. Individual artists and theater companies alike could use this study of The Civilians as a model for how alternative documentary theater/cabaret is produced, and artists could also use the methods described herein to create accessible, educational, and thought-provoking new works