Roanna Mitchell is a lecturer, performance-maker and movement person, and course leader of the MA Physical Acting at the University of Kent. Her work explores performance in the intersection between acting and dance. She has directed/created/movement-directed performance internationally, often working site-responsively and including collaborations with Richard Schechner (Imagining O, UK/US/India), Platform 7 (Resting Place, Ramsgate /Charing Cross Station / Folkestone seafront) and Accidental Collective (Here’s Hoping, Theatre Royal Margate / Oval House London). Roanna is co-director of The Chekhov Collective UK, and a member of Michael Chekhov UK and MC Europe.
Six years after this article was first published, the thing that strikes me is what I find in the title. ‘Seen but not heard’ was my effort to create something brief and memorable for the potential reader, and in choosing it of course I was thinking about all the ways in which an actor’s body is put to work (and put at risk), in a tension between business, art and the personal which we often see but rarely discuss.
What I didn’t reflect on so much at the time was where that phrase comes from: the old saying, ‘Children should be seen and not heard’. This English proverb dates from the 15thcentury, where it was originally directed primarily at young women: ‘A mayde schuld be seen, but not herd’ (John Mirk, ca. 1403).
This opens up a couple of things for me that I don’t discuss in the article, but which I think continue to be important:
Whether you have been working with Michael Chekhov’s technique for years, or have only touched upon his work and are curious to experience more, we warmly invite you to explore our website, and join us for some of our events. Here is a little introduction to our work:
Who we are:
Dr Cass Fleming established The Chekhov Collective UK in 2013 as part of the New Pathways project to foster collaborative exchange and practice research. The Collective is co-directed by Dr Cass Fleming, Dr Roanna Mitchell and Gretchen Egolf and is made up of a group of UK-based artists and researchers from various disciplines — you can read more about us all here. We are, of course, also part of a whole constellation of Chekhov practitioners, in the UK and around the world. We have just begun to create an interactive map of this constellation, which you can see here.
What we do:
The Collective runs research projects and affordable workshops that explore both traditional and innovative applications of Chekhov technique in various contexts.