The Source Theatre has formed a company of 17 actors in order to "cultivate" them as artists. All but one have acted at the Source. They get paid a nominal fee (about $200 a month) and will be taking regular voice, movement and acting classes to develop their craft. The actors are free to act at other theaters, however, if nothing on the Source boards contains a role.

One of them is TJ Edwards, who is a playwright as well. His script, "Busboy," won last year's playwriting contest at the Source and is currently being presented on the Resource Stage.

Edwards moved here from Michigan four years ago, giving up his studies in economics to pursue acting. He supports himself by working part-time as a waiter; meanwhile, he has appeared in six shows at the Source, New Playwrights' Theatre and Woolly Mammoth, and has understudied several roles at Arena Stage.

"I went to three theaters when I came here, and at the Source they said they needed somebody to work in the box office. I was willing to do anything, so that's what I did. Then one night director Bart Whiteman said one of his actors had dropped out of 'The Queen and the Rebels,' and I was cast.

"I define myself as an actor, not a playwright. But I found I needed more out of the theater. Acting is tough because there is very little control over your future. I needed to branch out." His first play was "N.Y. Mets," which was also performed at the Source. "Busboy," about three misfits plotting an assassination, continues this weekend and next.