R & D Choreography started out in 1995 as an informal partnership between David Gregory and Richard Gilbert, when the two choreographers both arrived in Chicago and started running into each other … repeatedly. After the third time we were the only two artists bidding on a choreography gig, we decided to team up.
R & D has worked at theatres, schools, and universities around the city, the region, and the country. We teach, choreograph, and perform all sorts of staged violence. We have worked for many different theatres, from established ones to the shoestring-budget start-ups that in many ways are the personification of Chicago Theatre. It was in working with these small theatres that our mission became clarified. There are dozens of tiny theatres started up all the time in Chicago. Many of them disappear quickly, while a few become stable, and in time become the next generation of established, respected theatres.
These were frequently our favorite theatres to work for, but their budgets usually were so small that we couldn’t afford to do those shows more than once or twice a year. Still, these artists were often producing amazing work, and we couldn’t bear to see them captivate an audience with intense, outstanding acting, only to lose them with a poorly executed bit of violence that we could have fixed had we been there. Even worse were the horror stories we heard about young, talented actors who were injured by fights that were unsafe and ineffective, sometimes resulting in that actor harboring a lifelong unwillingness to fight in a show, even with skilled professionals.
We offer our services at very reasonably prices in order to make ourselves available to the small venues who stand at the forefront of Chicago Theatre. While we will continue to work with the larger theatres when our schedules permit, it is these smaller theatres that we hope to make the backbone of our clientele.