How Can I Get the Rights to Perform The Black Rider?
You’ll have to request the rights from Robert Wilson's office.
The show is retired, and the only thing that can bring it back from the dead is an offer from a theatre company or festival in an exotic locale with deep pockets.
Why is The Black Rider retired?
After 11 years of performing the show across North America we needed to move on. We are so proud of the show, but there are other mountains to climb, and we really climbed this one. When we first produced the World English Premiere in 1998 at the Edmonton Fringe we thought we would tour the world with it, but Robert Wilson toured his own large scale English version in 2004 and therefore the need wasn’t really there. We also found that non-English speaking countries had already mounted their own productions in their own native tongue. When we produced the show there had already been almost 40 different productions across Europe in 7 different languages. It just happened that ours was the first in English. So after performing the American English Premiere in 1999 in New York, we then sort of became the official Canadian production, and we were quite happy with that distinction.
Why aren’t there other productions of The Black Rider?
When we asked for the rights in 1998, it was as simple as providing information about our run and paying the deposit. In 2004 as we were preparing to launch the show again we found that Robert Wilson was launching his own production and the rights were being held onto quite closely, so we had to ask Tom Waits personally if we could be given special permission to do the show in Canada. We sent him a DVD and heard back via a phone call from his wife and collaborator Kathleen Brennan that they would not only allow us to perform the show, but that they loved our work. They wrote us a letter of recommendation that we are quite proud of.
Robert Wilson was supposed to attend our opening night in New York in 1999, but after some visa troubles delayed our entrance into the country, and thusly our opening by a couple days, he never saw it in person (although he does have the DVD).
Tom Waits was supposed to see our show in Vancouver in 2008 when he was shooting “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” but unfortunately Heath Ledger’s tragic death delayed the start of shooting for Tom, and he ended up coming to town after we had closed (although he has seen and praised our DVD).
No, we can't send you the script as we don't own the rights to it. You'll have to contact the licensee.
As for the video, we also can't release it, as it is for archival purposes only. But here is a low quality version of our production's trailer:
The only audio recording that has been officially released is Tom Waits' own album of the songs that was released by Island Records in 1993 on CD, cassette, vinyl and most streaming services.