Prolific musical and theater artist Josh Chambers (Theater MFA 06) passed away on Feb. 12, 2021. He was 45.
Described by his cousin singer-songwriter Val Haynes as an “explosion of talent,” Chambers wore many hats, including playwright, musician, composer, sound engineer, and collage artist. He began his career as a theater major and classical guitar scholar at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. There, he co-founded Fovea Floods, an experimental theater company that sought to “widen the horizon” of modern theater. Fovea Floods first drew notable attention for its 1998 production of Paul Pry, written and directed by Chambers. The play, according to Times Union, was praised by critic Michael Eck as “the most fun, most challenging pieces of theater you will see in the Capital Region this year.”
While studying in the MFA Directing Program at CalArts’ School of Theater, Chambers directed various productions, including Erik Ehn’s Book of Tink, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, an original adaptation of Hamlet titled A Toy in Blood, and his own adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts. He was known for supplying these productions with original musical compositions, as well as crafting set pieces and handmade puppets and masks.
“Josh Chambers was the embodiment of so much of what CalArts represents,” School of Theater Dean Travis Preston wrote in a remembrance for Chambers. “He breathed life and insight into numerous classical texts and incited complex reflection with his inarguably original works. He was and forever will be an artistic force that lives on through those with whom he worked, collaborated, studied, connected, and played.”