Refections for Task 1 + new Task 2

Dear Maria,

So here are my reflections on task 1. It ended up being a longer response than I intended. Below the reflections you will find task 2!

Task 1 reflections:

I stand with my feet on the wooden floor of my living room, take in the view in front of my floor to ceiling window from my flat on the fifth floor, and follow the instructions you have given me: Find space between top of the spine and base of the skull, check. This automatically lifts my skull up and I can feel the shoulder blades release and relax my shoulders. I trace sensations down my spine and reach my coccyx. I follow the ‘honey-drip-line’ down to the floor feeling the back of my calves lengthen as I gently lift up through my legs. My awareness has reached my feet. I observe their connection with the floor and allow them to become wide for a while and at some point, my weight starts to shift from left to right to left to right. For a long time, I simply observe the different sensations of my feet spreading out on the floor, notice the metatarsals of my right foot are tighter and won’t soften down when I shift my weight to the right. It’s a wonderful sensation of tuning in to this subtle awareness and practice not judging or trying to change but simply letting my body find its own way, by giving it time. I envy the tree across the road that stands tall and secure with its big trunk rooted firmly into the ground. The outer branches and leaves sway and bend in the wind, creating a dance that follow the laws of nature, without wondering whether it’s doing it right or not. I guess it doesn’t get to sit down and drink a nice cup of coffee in a minute. There are some perks to being a human being! And then my head drops forward, my spine curves, and as I roll towards the floor my breath suddenly comes in. How could I have forgotten my breath? I let out a sigh and the breath brings movement to the torso, I roll back up and my arms float up into a little dance with my feet still in the same position.

Afterthoughts

As I begin the first task of our collaboration I realise how much I have pre-empted my response to it. Before beginning the task, I have already half written my reflections to you. I have done this task many times before: standing with my feet on the ground, paying attention to sensations of weight, of contact surfaces with the floor and of the skull rising up from the spine. This is in no way a criticism of the task, on the contrary, it makes it more interesting to encounter my own expectations to how I will carry out the instructions. The use of vocabulary is deeply embedded in my own teaching and perhaps for that reason I find it difficult to distract myself from the familiarity with the exercise.

I decide to embrace the comfort of the exercise but then something happens. As I carry out the task a few times, my experience of embodying the task, blends with other thinking processes that are present to me. I am currently thinking about how we as bodies and entities define the edges of our form. Is it the skin that defines the edge of me and the bark that defines the edge of the tree? I have a brief moment –as I stand in front of the window looking out on the giant tree across the street– where the tree and I only exist in the space-time between us. It is only a momentary sensation but I realise, that the metaphor of the tree and I as one and the same –standing, grounded into the earth, moving up and out of the top of our ‘branches’– means that we only exist in our relation to each other. I have been doing this exercise of standing and noticing weight etc. many times, but never has it occurred to me that the tree and I each take form in the interaction with the other.

Task 2

Please read the following instructions in the image below. The task comes from the book The Place of Dance by Andrea Olsen, on the chapter Dance and Yoga, page 219.

Enjoy…

Reference

Olsen, A. with McHose, C. (2014) The Place of Dance. Middletown CT: Wesleyan University Press

Reflections on the open panel of the Performer Training Working Group – ‘Training and Other Disciplines/Practices’ – 1st September 2017

In the whirlwind of PhD study, teaching, and the endlessness of admin tasks associated with these activities one can forget that there is very exciting research happening within the performer training world. It is only when you have the opportunity to attend a conference with the diversity of program that is included in the TaPRA ‘Performer Training’ working group, which took place at the University of Salford August 30th-September 1st, that you fully understand that there are others thinking and working fruitfully on this topic in research terms. Continue reading

TaPRA Conference 2017 — Performer Training Working Group — Training Comedy and Transgression

 

This session began Day Two of TaPRA. The three papers in the sessions all drew upon the personal experiences of the presenters as artists and performers. The papers questioned and reconsidered traditional paradigms of performer training for comedy and theatre. Continue reading

On Modes of Sharing: Blog Report on Training and the Ensemble/Training Beyond Training Session at TaPRA Conference 2017

The Training and the Ensemble/Training Beyond Training session of the Performer Training Working Group at TaPRA Annual Conference 2017, included three different modes of sharing new knowledge and new practice. The session started with the group’s reflective discussion about the blog “Tuning: Preparing to Perform Gaudete with OBRA Theatre Co.”, compiled and edited by Eilon Morris with contributions from Kate Papi, Oliviero Papi and Fabian Wixe. The session continued with the presentation of Jane Turner’s and Patrick Campbell’s paper “The End(s) of Training: Three Case Studies from the Third Theatre”. The session ended with the workshop “The Ends of Your Training Revisited—A Timeline Experience”, designed and delivered by Ysabel Clare.

After two long days of paper presentations, attending a session that involved three different modes of sharing findings, brings attention not only to the overall theme of how specific actor-training practices affect the individual/ensemble but also about the complications and challenges of the sharing mode itself.

Eilon Morris, Kate Papi, Oliviero Papi and Fabian Wixe are all members of an ensemble that creates work under the direction of the core members of OBRA Theatre Co., Kate Papi and Oliviero Papi. Inspired by Peter Brook’s use of the term ‘tuning’ for ensemble work, OBRA Theatre Co. members give an insight into specific exercises that they use for the purpose of pre-performance preparation.  The three exercises of this first sharing mode— ‘Bouncing’, ‘Balls’ and ‘Tuning’—are described in the Theatre, Dance and Performance Blog in a ‘workbook’ format. The sharing structure of each exercise includes basic description, how each exercise was deposited to the training capital of the performer who introduced the exercise to the group and the main objectives of the exercise.

Carlos Simioni, Mia Theil Have and Carolina Pizarro are three actors who have a training relationship with Eugenio Barba’s Odin Theatre. Turner and Campbell share the actors’ training experiences, through a critical analytical account of the actors’ testimonies. Turner and Campbell’s critical analysis is driven by Barba’s writings, but they also draw on Gilles Deleuze’s and Félix Guattari’s philosophical concepts in order to elucidate their investigation. This second sharing mode uses a ‘case studies’ format: the three actors’ testimonies are used as a basis for offering different perspectives in which a specific practice may affect different individuals who embody different cultural and actor-training backgrounds.

The last sharing mode of the session was a practical workshop, which, under Clare’s facilitation, invited the participants to revisit memories of their own training life. The participants were invited to explore how this new embodied experience resonates through their prior training capital. The practical process inspired each participant to generate their own findings about how their past and future training work with and against each other.

Closing my report for the Training and the Ensemble/Training Beyond Training session, I would observe how the challenge of ‘curating’ innovative sharing modes in academic conferences speaks to contemporary challenges not only of participatory performance but also of practice research. I will summarise my point in a series of broader and more focused questions:

How much interaction is enough to keep a participant interested?

When does interaction distract from the new knowledge?

What is the most appropriate way of disseminating specific forms of new knowledge?

What are the expectations of specific audiences?

What is a ‘taster’/brief description of a practice and how can it be framed differently for academic and other environments?

How do different modes of sharing new knowledge to actor trainers reveal common assumptions about how an actor trainer should behave, like willingness to actively participate (thou shalt not refuse peers’ invitations to participate) and ability to use technology (thou shalt not live anymore without blogging and microblogging)?

Evi Stamatiou is an actor, director and writer who works across stage and screen with 14 years of international experience. She is currently finishing a PhD in Actor Training and Direction at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She trains actors in conservatoires and universities and is currently the Programme Coordinator for the BA (Hons) Acting at the University of Chichester. She specialises in comedy and in using a variety of text-based and devising practices that tackle under-representation and misrepresentation issues in the acting industry. Parts of her academic work are in preparation or have been published by Intellect Books, Routledge, Bloomsbury Methuen Drama and McFarland & Co. She also specialises in the development of new work, having workshopped new writing for various platforms, including Lincoln Centre Theatre Directors Lab. She is an Associate Artist to New Theatre Royal. She is represented by RD Casting in all aspects of her creative work. You can see more about her work at www.evistamatiou.com.

 

A Climber Prepares

A Climber Prepares/Acting Craft: exploring connection points between climbing and performance training

 

Introduction

In recent years a critical turn in performer training has been widely acknowledged, much of it associated with research emerging from the Performer Training Working Group of TaPRA and associated bodies such as the International Platform for Performer Training founded in Helsinki 5 years ago. The Routledge Performance Practitioner series of books, edited by Franc Chamberlain and launched in 2003, is being reissued and will complement a brand-new series of critical interventions into training edited by Rebecca Loukes and Maria Kapsali. Articles and special issues of the journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training continue to advance the field which now draws readily on historiography, gender studies, cultural materialism, intercultural and postcolonial theory, political theory and philosophy, as well as on many other approaches. Performer Training research is critically self-reflexive, mobile and interdisciplinary, revisiting terms established early in its life – neutrality, energy, truth – with the doubt born of a mature and established discipline.

Whilst it emerged as a field of literature at very much the same time as some of the first reflections on theatre training – in the early C20th – Mountain Training research cannot claim an equivalent turn to criticality, either historically or in the last few years.   Indeed, recent publications in the field of climbing training reflect the same pragmatic approach taken by the first classics – Abraham’s The Complete Mountaineer (Abraham, 1907), Winthrop Young’s Mountain Craft (Young, 1920) or Raeburn’s Mountaineering Art  (Raeburn, 1920) – even if they do reveal new emphases in the sport – on indoor training walls, for instance (White, 2013) and speed climbing for the ‘new alpinism’ (House & Johnston, 2014).  Mountain studies is a very complex and fertile field of interdisciplinary research, which draws together ideas from the STEM areas of geology, physical geography, ecology, and health studies, right through to anthropology, sport and leisure studies, and cultural studies, including a rich seam of creative literature. But the subset of mountain studies dedicated to writing on training is strangely removed from this bigger field of critical inter-disciplinarity, and seems still to prioritise instruction over critical reflection.

Continue reading

Artist Award announcement, and a new milestone of readership

We are delighted to share that the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training blog has now surpassed 20,000 views. Whilst this is only one measure we hope this is indicative of the many fine posts and comments being contributed to our site and we thank all the contributors who have made content for us so far.

To add to our growing community we have been supporting a handful of contributors through our Artist Awards. This week sees a new post by The Wardrobe Ensemble, our first Artist Awards recipient and the first post by Asha Jennings-Grant, who received the third Award.

The Artist Awards were conceived to highlight and support the most innovative creative practice in the field of performance training. Accordingly, we are excited to share Wardrobe’s reflections on the work that Complicite say, ‘fills us with joy and reminds us of why we love working in theatre.’

The two posts from The Wardrobe Ensemble trace two weeks in the development of their most recent show, Education, Education, Education, and the way training informs their remarkable ensemble dynamic.

Our second Blog Artist Award takes us to a territory that has remained relatively uncharted in the field of performer training. Please join dance artist Marie Andersen on a series of posts on Motherhood in/as training exploring a number of perspectives, including female artistic identity and embodiment, training beyond disciplinary boundaries, and training when there is no time.

Marie has currently posted two of a series of three posts that combine creative video and reflective writing in an innovative approach to this neglected topic.  The two posts published have already elicited stream of comment and discussion.

Finally, Asha, in her first post introduced the work she is developing on movement training for Motion Capture and will continue to post in the next coming months on the workshops she will be leading.

Visit the TDPT blog to follow this and other engaging threads, join the conversation by commenting on any of the posts, or even submit your own piece of writing to the blog to share your own practice.

Also look out for a series of reviews of the meeting of the Performer Training Working Group at the TaPRA Conference (Theatre and Performance Research Association) in Salford in September 2017.

The TDPT blog was launched in November 2015 to encourage a growing community of artists, academics, practitioners and researchers to share practice and debate issues that are currently alive within the disciplines of theatre, dance and performance training. One of our aims was to engage a new audience for the TDPT journal while also creating an online space that encourages spontaneous and productive conversation and debate.  With one milestone reached, these aims are becoming a reality and we hope that the TDPT blog is achieving its aim of offering a vibrant and engaging hub for discussion of the leading edge of theatre, dance and performance training.

Movement Training for Motion Capture Performance

The title “Motion Capture” suggests there’s importance placed on the motion of the performing body. 

Let’s investigate!

In the beginning…

This post discusses my initial interest in Motion Capture leading to the creation of a series of workshops that I have called – Embodying Your Mocap. 

My interest in “mocap” began to take form whilst studying at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama for a Masters in Movement: Directing and Teaching (previously Movement Studies). I had initially expressed this interest to my fellow classmates and tutors and in time I had come across a past student’s dissertation on the subject surrounding the actor’s preparation for work with mocap technology. At this point it was evident that there was awareness, however small it was, that actors had to enter this particular field with a slightly different approach than when working in film or theatre and that movement training could be beneficial to mocap performance.

Andy Serkis was, and still is in some respects, the face of motion and performance capture and although his performances are fascinating, I was hoping to find examples of a deeper analysis of his physical work. Looking on YouTube, I found that many clips of motion capture performances featured scenes from Avatar and Lord of the Rings discussing the relationship between performance and animation but not an in depth examination of the aspects of the performance from a physical perspective. There was no real acknowledgement that there might be a different approach to working with mocap, that actors would need to consider how their performance was being perceived or “captured” and how this would affect them creatively. The title – Motion Capture – suggests that there is significance placed in the actor’s movements (motion) and the process of how this data is collected (capture). However, I felt that there was more emphasis on the capturing of the actor’s motion rather than the actual performance itself. I had discovered that during a typical shoot for a video game, it was most likely that any suggestions on the performance would come from the animator/supervisor who would be commenting from a technical perspective. Furthermore, there definitely was not a movement director present in the studio. This was something I had to investigate further and over the next few years I took part in various workshops and intensive courses that allowed me to get a deeper insight into the actor’s performance and what would be required due to the nature of this very unique industry.

Developing the Workshops

The inspiration behind the Embodying Your Mocap workshop series came from the need to create a regular movement training opportunity that concentrated on motion capture performance. Solely the physical performance. With this specific focus, there would be a natural separation from the specialized skills that are usually associated with motion capture in film and video games such as martial arts, stage combat, sword fighting and animal work. I wanted to delve deeper into the aspects of the actor’s physical work regarding the moving, performing body and how this could be utilized to create characters and enhance the general performance. Much like the way I’d approach a regular movement class, I wanted to explore the similarities between actor movement for theatre and motion capture performance. I also wanted to discover if the specific demands of the technology would make an impact on the performance.

As well as researching the more technical side and working procedures of a typical mocap shoot, I began a line of enquiry by sending out a questionnaire to whom I identified as my “mocap contacts”. This consisted mainly of actors who had either experienced a professional shoot or those who were aspiring to enter this industry. The questions were based around the level of experience, what training they were currently doing to prepare themselves for work and the reasons why they felt movement sessions could benefit their on-going training. The response I received was very insightful. The more experienced actors noted the importance of the creative aspects of their work such as the creating of characters, imagining environments and ultimately their physical acting performance skills as a whole. Generally, I learnt that actors wanted specificity regarding the technical requirements of the movements that were captured. They craved opportunities that would allow them to engage in created environments with various characterisations that encouraged full immersion into virtual world scenarios physically and psychologically. Some actors also wanted opportunities that would prepare them for working with physical obstacles such as suits/markers, camera angle awareness, props etc.

On the basis of these responses, I decided that multiple workshops could be more beneficial than trying to squeeze all the material in one session. Only 3-4 sessions, mind you, but nevertheless each one covering a particular area in a fruitful and productive way. These would include exploring movement components such as weight, space and body shape in performance, character types and imagining virtual environments. Thenceforth the Embodying Your Mocap workshop series was created with the taster workshop being launched on 21st May 2017. Within the taster, I wanted to create movement exercises that were influenced and informed by particular mocap procedures so that the material had noticeable reference points. For example, I used the process of ROMs* to create the basis of the warm up, highlighting areas of the body (mobilising joints/strengthening muscles) that would be in use within the work that we’d continue to explore. For instance, lubricating the ankle joint and engaging with the soles of the feet informed the movement seen in the picture below where the participant is jumping during a travelling exercise. The main aim was to release the body, opening the ‘backspace’ and using the floor for take off and landing.

I had also used the T-Pose** (as seen in the picture below), as a way of connecting the participants with the sensations of their movement and drawing attention to the surfaces and core structure of their body.

The overall content of the workshop was based on movement components that I felt were the main factors of a well executed motion capture performance. This included the awareness of the space surrounding the body and performing 3-dimensional organic movement. Using an analytical approach in these explorations, I wanted to provide a space for the participants to investigate their own natural movement to understand how this can be applied to performance and character work in Motion Capture.

Reflections and Future endeavours

The Motion Capture industry is not as accessible as other art forms and because of this, artists and performers are intrigued to know ‘how does it work?’ and specifically ‘how does it work in relation to my work?’ My intention is to develop an accessible approach to motion capture performance and thus, by giving a little insight into the world of mocap, allow performers to stretch their physical performance skills to a new dimension.

My ultimate aim with the Embodying Your Mocap series is to provide a seamless merging of technical knowledge with movement exploration and self-discovery. This then allows the participants to inform their performance through a clear understanding of what the technology requires of their physical work. Furthermore, I am using these workshops as a way to formalise a method to approach motion capture performance that considers significant technical factors which could have an impact on the performance quality. The next workshop I will be running will be looking at using some of the tools introduced in the first session to explore virtual environments and creating in-game content and procedures linked to video games. The blog post will be another sharing of my reflections on the workshop and its outcome. Overall I hope to use these blogs as a platform to start a dialogue with others interested in Motion Capture, actor performance and movement training.


Photo credit: Chloe Knott

Workshop Venue: Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company

* ROM stands for Range Of Motion where the actor moves each body part for the animator to track the markers on the body and see how they move in relation to the rest of the body.

** A T-Pose is the position the actor stands in for the animator to locate the markers on the body in order to create a digital skeleton.

Now available: Volume 8.2 – Training the Popular Performer

We are delighted to announce that the latest special issue for TDPT has just been published online: Training the Popular Performer.

TDPT 8.2 offers a fantastic line up of essays curated by Adam Ainsworth, Oliver Double & Louise Peacock, with Training Grounds materials edited by Kate Craddock.

You can read the editorial here for free and find the whole issue online here.

We hope you like it!

Call for Sources: Embodied archives – capturing the work of our teachers and our teachers’ teachers

Further to the very successful Practice, Reflect and Share day at Rose Bruford, TDPT would like to offer a bespoke call for practitioner-researchers interested in capturing the work of significant practitioners and teachers who have had a demonstrable influence both personally and in the training sector. The urgency to record some of this work we think might profitably be met by considering the section we call Sources in the TDPT journal:

In its Sources section TDPT provides an outlet for the documentation and analysis of primary materials of performer training, whilst the Articles section allows for discursive contributions in a range of critical and creative formats, including visual essays.

Sources are normally between 5500 and 6500 words and are treated in the same way as discursive article with full peer view by two experts. Our full submission directions are here:

http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/rtdp (click on the ‘submit an article’):

Submissions are through our peer review portal, Scholar 1:

http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rtdp

You may also of course want to consider publishing to this blog space for the journal  – either in association with a Source or separately. We also offer a platform for video materials on this blog if you have appropriate materials:

http://theatredanceperformancetraining.org

Help and support in the development of these papers is available and we are keen to offer a mentoring service for those new to academic publishing. For further details please contact David Shirley (D.G.Shirley@mmu.ac.uk) or speak to any of us below.

We hope to hear from you soon.

Jonathan Pitches, Libby Worth, David Shirley  and Paul Allain

 

An Update on Future Plans at the DUENDE School

duende-logo-red-no-address-copy

There are still places available to attend the School in Athens THIS YEAR. Ten weeks of intensive professional training in one of the world’s great cities!

We will NOT be running the DUENDE School in Europe in 2018. We are exploring the possibility of running outside Europe next year, and if that does not prove possible, we will take a year off!

We hope to bring the School back to Europe in 2019. A full update on plans for 2018 will be available in the Autumn.

This means that if you want to attend the School in Greece, you should consider applying for one of this year’s remaining places.

John Britton (Director): john@duende-ensemble.com

Eva Tsourou (Administrator): administration@duende-ensemble.com

Upcoming Workshop Dates:
June 27th – July 11th: Residential Workshop, Lesvos, Greece.
September 18th – November 24th: The DUENDE School of Ensemble Physical Theatre, Athens, Greece

Further Information:
DUENDE & The DUENDE School: www.duende-ensemble.com

New Publication and Book Launch: Stanislavsky in the World

I am delighted to announce that, after five years of work,  Stanislavsky in the World: The System and its Transformation across Continents, has just been published, co-edited with Dr Stefan Aquilina of the University of Malta.

 

More information can be found by following this link: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/stanislavsky-in-the-world-9781472587886

The book maps the movement of Stanislavsky’s system across five continents, revealing undiscovered paths of transmission and examining wider questions of embodied history and tradition building. To make its point, it focuses on practices beyond Russia and the US – for too long accepted blindly as the two most-developed seats of Stanislavskian practice – and introduces readers and practitioners to new routes in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and South (Latin) America. We were joined by an internationally broad network of 18 scholars and practitioners to take on some knotty and current questions – of transformation, translation, appropriation and resistance. The book will undoubtedly make a significant contribution to Stanislavsky studies but recent research on theatre and interculturalism, globalisation, and postcolonialism will also be boosted by these findings.

 

Contributions include:

  • Marie-ChristineAutant-Mathieu’s discussion of selected affinities between Stanislavsky and the French Theatre Tradition;
  • Franco Ruffini’s detailed account of the 1960 court case in Bari that questioned the reach of Elizabeth Reynolds’ copyright claims on Stanislavsky’s books;
  • Stefan Aquilina’s exposition of how the System was processed in the amateur theatre context of Malta;
  • Ina Pukelytė’s discussion on a heavily institutionalised reading of Stanislavsky in Lithuania;
  • Maria Gaitanidi’s elaboration of Stanislavsky’s impact on both modern theatre and contemporary actor training in Greece;
  • Siyuan Liu’s analysis of Stanislavsky’s impact on a Chinese School of Performance and Directing;
  • Raúl Serrano’s teacher-perspective on current Stanislavskian teaching at the Escuela de Teatro de Buenos Aires inArgentina;
  • Kene Igweonu’s exposition on Stanislavsky’s interaction with the Nigerian cultural environment as a series of convergences and counterpoints;
  • Hilary Halba’s account on the System experienced through the Maori World in New Zealand;
  • Syed Jamil Ahmed’s articulation of the System as postcolonial appropriation and assimilation in Bangladesh.

The book’s official launch will be held as follows:

Date:                5th June 2017

Time:               17:00

Venue:             Alec Clegg Studio, stage@leeds building, University of Leeds

For more information please contact us on j.pitches@leeds.ac.uk or stefan.aquilina@um.edu.mt

 

Edward Braun Obituary

Remembering Edward Braun

(1936-2017)

Terence Mann

Whilst at Drama School in 1994, during rehearsals for Nikolai Erdman’s The Suicide, I read Meyerhold on Theatre. At that point in time I had never heard of Vsevelod Meyerhold or Theatrical Biomechanics but that book was to be the start of a fascination with Russian Theatre, Meyerhold and in particular his actor training system Biomechanics, which has continued to this day. Little did I know back then, that some 20 years later I would be delivering a workshop and a paper on Meyerhold’s Biomechanics at Hull University in the presence of the book’s author Edward Braun.

I was a little nervous when I heard that Edward Braun would be there. After the presentation I was introduced to Edward (Ted) and much to my relief, he had some very kind things to say about the workshop. He talked about the time he spent in Russia in the 1960’s and how he had met Meyerhold’s daughter. Some weeks later we were hosting a series of workshops at the University of Central Lancashire with the world’s leading exponent in Theatrical Biomechanics, Gennady Bogdanov. I asked Ted if he would like to meet Gennady and he accepted the invitation.

Ted sat for several hours totally absorbed in the work. As he watched, I was acutely aware it was highly likely that he had seen Meyerhold’s daughter perform the same exercises some forty years earlier. We spent the evening in an Italian restaurant talking about Russia, Communism, Meyerhold, Biomechanics and….life. So, for a brief moment in our lives serendipity had brought us together; Gennady my teacher, his interpreter Svetlana, Edward Braun and I. I felt very privileged and quite humbled just being there. As the evening drew to a close and we walked Ted back to his hotel, I was struck by the fact that, had it not been for him, the four of us would never have met and I for one would certainly not be doing what I do today.

On hearing the sad news that Ted had died, I recalled the time I had spent in his company in 2015. He was extremely generous, courteous, erudite, enthusiastic, warm, and witty.

Listening to Jonathan Pitches last interview with Ted, as he talked about Biomechanics, I was quite surprised and rather moved to hear Ted talk about “being in Preston with Terence and Gennady.” It was as if he had known us for years and in a way, via Mr. Meyerhold……. I suppose he had. Although I only met Ted briefly; I will always remember him. RIP Ted.

 

Terence Mann (Chapman) is Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for BA Acting at UCLAN.  He has worked with some of the most innovative theatre companies and directors in Europe and is regarded as one of the country’s leading practitioners in Meyerhold’s Theatrical Biomechanics.

Extended deadline for TaPRA Performer Training WG Event

Dear all,

We’ve extended the deadline to Friday 7 April for proposals for the TaPRA Performer Training Working Group Interim Event. Please send your abstract through if this area is of interest to your research. You are also very welcome to attend, without presenting a paper. The event is free, but you need to be a TaPRA member.

TaPRA Performer Training Working Group

Interim Event

Monday 22 May 2017, 11am – 6pm

University of York

Performer Training and Media Ecologies

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Call for Contributions for Special Issue: Digital Training

Please find all the details of this exciting call for TDPT Vol 10.2 (2019) as a PDF in the link below

Digital Training cfp

Guest coedited by Professor Paul Allain (University of Kent), Stacie Lee Bennett (University of Kent and freelance film-maker) and Professor Frank Camilleri (University of Malta) with blog and Training Grounds editor James McLaughlin.

To signal your interest and intention to make a contribution to this special issue please contact Paul Allain for an initial exchange of ideas/thoughts or email an abstract or proposal (max 300 words) to Paul Allain: paa@kent.ac.uk. Questions about purely digital propositions can be sent to Stacie Lee Bennett: slb73@kent.ac.uk. Ideas for the blog and/or Training Grounds can be sent to James McLaughlin: jimmyacademy@gmail.com.  Firm proposals across all areas must be received by Paul Allain by 30 November 2017 at the latest.

Interview with Edward Braun

Below is a transcription and the audio files of the interview I conducted with Edward Braun in March 2015 at his home, as the new edition of the enormously influential Meyerhold on Theatre was being prepared.  Ted died a few days ago and this is posted with his wife Sarah’s blessing, to celebrate his brilliance as an academic and his generosity as a human being.

Below is the pdf of the transcribed interview and the audio files. Please share this widely and feel free to use any of the material if it is of use to your research.

Ted_Braun_Edited_Interview_4-3-15 corrected

 

Part 1: How was Meyerhold on Theatre conceived and put together?

 

Part 2: What binds the writings of Meyerhold on Theatre together?

 

Part 3: What are  Edward Braun’s favourite, or most significant, sections?

 

Thanks for listening

Jonathan Pitches

 

Tools and Material(itie)s Research Seminar, University of Leeds, March 7th 5-7pm

You are warmly invited to the next School of Performance and Cultural Industries research seminar –

Tools and Material(itie)s      
Dr Scott McLaughlin (School of Music), Dr Maria Kapsali (School of PCI), Dr Joslin Mckinney (School of PCI)

Tuesday 7th March 5pm-7pm
Lecture Theatre 2, School of Music, University of Leeds
Please book a place with Linda Watson l.m.watson@leeds.ac.uk – All Welcome

The three papers in this seminar aim at highlighting the way in which theories and discourses on tools and material(itie)s inform practice and thinking in music, somatic work and scenography. Apart from positioning the overall enquiry in relation to specific disciplines, this research seminar also aims to put forward a set of questions that deal with wider, cross-disciplinary themes: In what ways do theories of materiality shed light on artistic processes?  What is the relationship between tool and tool user? How does a non-anthropocentric view inform understanding of experience and perception?

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Journal of Embodied Research launch talks

These following talks were given on 8 February 2017 to launch the new Journal of Embodied Research. The transcript has been edited for clarity. To hear the audio recording, please visit the original post.

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Embodied Research events

Readers of this blog are warmly invited to submit proposals and/or participate in the following upcoming events, both of which seek to develop a new territory of embodied research that overlaps significantly with theatre, dance and performance training.

Call for Proposals: 5 February 2017 (extended deadline)
Embodied Research Working Group

International Federation for Theatre Research
Annual conference in São Paulo, 10-14 July 2017
more details | WG info | abstract submission

Journal Launch Event: 8 February 2017
Journal of Embodied Research

Open Library of Humanities
Birkbeck College of Arts, London
JER | OLH | event registration

Hoping to see you there!

Call for Contributions Special Issue Training Places: Dartington College of Arts

CfP for Dartington Special Issue

We are very pleased to announce the following call for contributions for a special issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, focusing on Dartington College of Arts.

Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT) 

Special issue on Training Places: Dartington College of Arts to be published October 2018. Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors.

Guest editors: Dr Bryan Brown, University of Exeter, Dr Libby Worth, Royal Holloway, University of London, and Editorial Consultant Professor Ric Allsopp, Joint Editor Performance Research

The Training Grounds section of the issue (see below) will be guest edited by Dr Simon Murray, University of Glasgow and Dr Dick McCaw, Royal Holloway, University of London

Background and context

This will be the ninth Special Issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT) following issues on sport, Michael Chekhov, politics, Feldenkrais, showing/writing training, interculturalism, popular performance and immersive, interactive and participatory performance. TDPT is an international journal devoted to all aspects of ‘training’ (broadly defined) within the performing arts. The journal was founded in 2010 and launched its own blog in 2015. Our target readership is both academic and the many varieties of professional performers, makers, choreographers, directors, dramaturgs and composers working in theatre, dance and live art who have an interest in and curiosity for reflecting on their practices and their training. TDPT’s co-editors are Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds) and Libby Worth (Royal Holloway, University of London).

Dartington College of Arts: pedagogies, contexts, people, performances and experimentations.

This is the first time that a place of performance training has been taken as the subject of a TDPT special issue and although it and other centres of performance training have been addressed in specific articles, this singular focus for a whole issue calls for some explanation.

Why Dartington and why now?

Over the near 5 decades of its history, Dartington College of Arts, established an international reputation for innovation in performance making, spawning new directions in dance, theatre, devising, music and visual performance that continue to influence current artists and scholars. Based on an 800-acre estate on the River Dart near Totnes in rural Devon, its staff and students explored ways of working that emphasised learning through doing and questioning, working across arts disciplines, paying attention to the social impact and context of their artistic output and encouraging robust and engaging international contacts and exchanges.

The publication date for this special issue (2018), marks ten years since the college merged with Falmouth University, resulting eventually in a controversial move from the Dartington Hall estate to a purpose built complex at what was then University College Falmouth in 2010. This, perhaps, is a good time therefore to re-examine Dartington’s ecology, its people, its sites and its continuing influence within the arts world. In the current national and international climate with political uncertainties, the rise of nationalism and the new right, and the steady undermining of the arts in UK educational curriculum, it could be the appropriate moment to re-assess what Dartington College offered and its legacy continues to offer. Those who participated in the life of Dartington College of Arts are active internationally and continue to develop new working practices inspired and influenced by the “Dartington ethos”. Articulating how places inform training (pedagogy, practice, conversations, ways of being) through the fostering of a complex ecology and ethos is what this special issue aims to attempt.

Echoing Dartington’s fluid approach to training that positively encouraged experimentation in form/structure to better reflect artistic concepts and practices, this issue welcomes a variety of ways of responding to the call and actively encourages co-authoring, embedding of images, diagrams, drawings within critical articles. These could include offering additional visual/audio media on the TDPT blog or directly linked to an article. The issue aims to include writing/images representative of all the College’s training disciplines (theatre, dance/choreography, music, performance writing and visual performance) and of its different eras.

We are particularly interested in (but not limited by) responses to the following set of questions:

  • How did the social/political context of each of the College’s eras contribute to the training ethos?
  • In what ways did the college ascribe to a form of ‘un-training’ or ‘de-training’ and how was this structured? What did it generate?
  • How might have the environment of diverse buildings and countryside influenced the type of training that happened at Dartington College of Arts? And how did this geographically isolated experience sit with student international placements and commitment to international artists’ residencies?
  • What were significant strands in Dartington Hall’s history that contributed to the philosophy and practical components of the College programmes?
  • What was left out in the training offered at the College and why?
  • What remains important of the mystiques, fantasies, hauntings and residues triggered over the life of the college?
  • What was shared within the training processes but not articulated?
  • What has gone missing that matters outside of this community?
  • If Dartington College is seen as an ecology and not merely a place, how is this still growing?
  • What roles did Dartington College take in nurturing innovative practices – New Dance for instance?
  • What sources from the college’s history might be timely to reprint in order to generate contemporary responses?
  • What were the cultural, economic, pedagogical, political and psychological circumstances of the College’s closure in Devon and the merger with University College Falmouth in Cornwall?
  • What are the legacies and implications of the DCA educational experience for other performance training ecologies?

We welcome submissions from potential contributors, both inside and outside academic institutions, who may have been students, academic and non-academic staff, and visiting artists/tutors at the College over its 50 year history in Devon. Equally, we welcome potential contributions from anyone associated with Dartington or who has been influenced by its history in one way or another.

To signal your interest and intention to make a contribution to this special issue in any one of the ways identified above please contact Bryan and Libby for an initial exchange of ideas/thoughts, or email an abstract (max 250 words) to: Bryan Brown at b.brown@exeter.ac.uk and Libby Worth at libby.worth@rhul.ac.uk Our first deadline for these is 20th April 2017.

 

Training Grounds sections for Dartington College of Arts special issue.

Training Grounds (TG) is, and has always been, an alternative space within the journal to encourage contributors to use the kind of languages and forms that seem most appropriate to their own practice. It is a space for shorter contributions which may experiment with different writing registers, and be passionate, provocative, poetic or rhetorical. A space for lists, for saying awkward things and offering up difficult and perhaps unfashionable ideas. A place, nonetheless, for generosity and big-heartedness. TG editors for this special issue are Simon Murray (Simon.Murray@glasgow.ac.uk) and Dick McCaw (Dick.McCaw@rhul.ac.uk).

For this special issue we are looking for contributions to cover all the Dartington fields (Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, Performance Writing, Choreography/Dance, and Cultural Management) within each of the following categories:

1/ POSTCARDS 1: A description of a startling/challenging/rewarding moment of teaching or learning from your Dartington experience. Possibly, a Eureka type moment, or one of clarity, astonishment, insight or understanding. A sense perhaps of the feelings generated by the experience. 125 words or image/graphics to fit into a postcard size space.

2/ POSTCARDS 2: A contribution which succinctly describes (without comment, analysis or evaluation) a particular teaching exercise you used or experienced. 125 words or image/graphics to fit into a postcard size space.

3/ ANSWER THE QUESTION (ATQ): For this area we are suggesting either of two (inter-related) questions.

Question 1 (for ex-Dartington teachers and other staff):  What was Dartington training or educating for?

Question 2: (for ex-students of Dartington): What in retrospect do you feel the Dartington experience trained you for and what did it leave out?

With these two ATQs we would aim to carry 4 or 5 examples for each question and as far as possible these would reflect the different subject areas and timelines over the College’s history. You could either send us a draft of your response to one of these questions, or arrange for a conversation with either Dick McCaw or Simon Murray. This might be in person or via Skype or phone. We would transcribe and edit your responses and agree any text with you before publishing. Responses to ATQs should be between 500 and 750 words (max).

4/ IMAGES: We are planning to carry at least one photo-essay and will be commissioning this for Training Grounds. However, we would welcome other photo images, sketches, paintings and drawings from contributors. In the first instance please contact either Simon or Dick, briefly describing the image(s) you are proposing. If you have enough to constitute an interesting and revealing photo essay please do write to us and we will have a conversation with you. All images must be at the appropriate resolution: 1200 dpi for line art, 600 dpi for grayscale and 300 dpi for colour.

Please contact Simon Murray (Simon.Murray@glasgow.ac.uk) and Dick McCaw (Dick.McCaw@rhul.ac.uk) if you wish to contribute to this section or have other ideas and suggestions. Either of us will then discuss your possible contribution as we begin to curate Training Grounds. The final deadline for this initial conversation is August 30th 2017, but let’s start the exchange going as soon as possible please. Some materials and contributions may be more appropriate for the TDPT blog and we will encourage these to be developed for the lead up to the special issue as well. The deadline for final delivery of all TG materials is January 31 2018.

Approximate timelines for this issue

January 2017: Call for papers published

20th April 2017: Abstracts and proposals sent to Bryan Brown and Libby Worth

End June 2017: Response from editor and, if successful, invitation to submit contribution

July to mid December 2017: writing/preparation period for writers, artists etc.

August 30th 2017 – deadline for discussing TG contributions with Dick and Simon

Early December to Early Feb 2017: peer review period

January 31 2018 – deadline for submission of all TG material to Simon and Dick

Mid Feb  –  end April 2018: author revisions post peer review

End April to June 2018: All main articles into production with Routledge

Early July 2018: Training Grounds articles into production

July to September 2018: typesetting, proofing, revises, editorial etc.

October 2018: publication as Issue 9.3.

 

We look forward to hearing from you.

Ric Allsopp, Bryan Brown, Dick McCaw, Simon Murray & Libby Worth

 

 

‘Showing and Writing Training’ (Special Issue of TDPT 7.2) Audio recordings from Symposium, 30th November 2016 Run by Mary Paterson and Libby Worth with Dick McCaw

Symposium: On Showing and Writing Training                                       

London, 30th November 2016, 2 – 5 pm

This blog post captures in a series of audio files the symposium that launched the special issue  ‘On Showing and Writing Training’ of the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Journal. It brought together writing, improvisation, experimentation and images to explore how performance is made manifest, represented and reproduced through training.

Image: from ‘I Set My Foot Upon the Air’ by Elke Mark

Next to each of the contributors names in the programme below you can click on the audio file to hear their talk. The talks are mainly around ten minutes, while the introductory responses to the journal special issue by artist Karen Christopher and writer John Hall a little longer. Under each contributor’s name there is also a link to the abstract of the essay they contributed to the special issue.

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Feedback requested for new online digital performer training resource

A pilot has been launched by Profs Paul Allain and Frank Camilleri which promises to be a rich resource of training with a nice balance of student, teacher, trainee voices. To feedback on its development go to:

https://thedigitalperformer.co.uk/2016/10/04/test/

Their full message is below:

Our Leverhulme-funded project for Methuen Drama Bloomsbury is well underway. We are now seeking your input ahead of our second stage of filming in early January.
Please go to this website https://thedigitalperformer.co.uk and click on the Physical Actor Training section to view our films and provide your responses. All feedback will be anonymous. Do please share this as widely as possible.
The digitalperformer website will be developed further over the course of 2017 to house our research material and encourage dialogue.
Many thanks in advance for your contribution, which will make a vital difference to our resource.
Best wishes,
the A-Z team
Paul Allain, Stacie Lee Bennett, Frank Camilleri, Peter Hulton

 

 

Predictive Texts

A ‘provocation’ presented at the Future of Performer Arts Training symposium, Coventry University, UK, 4-5 November 2016.

Paul Kleiman is Senior Consultant (Higher Education) at Ciel Associates, and Visiting Professor at the School of Media and Performing Arts, Middlesex University and Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.

In the process of thinking about this and putting it together, it appeared increasingly like one of those fiendish jigsaws, in which there are not only loads of pieces, but there are several possibilities, it’s not even certain if all the pieces fit together, as some are located in the past, some in the present and some in the future. In the end I gave up trying to weave a compelling linear narrative and accepted the fractured, uncertain nature of what I was confronting….what we are confronting.

So, what I have are just three of the pieces, which I’ll present in the form of three different narratives: two short ones – one from the past and one from the present – and a longer one from the future, in the hope that some connections and sense might be made.

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What will happen to actors in the digital world?

Preparing for the Future of Performer Training symposium, I stumbled across this fascinating glimpse into the creation of ‘digital humans’.

The question: “What will happen to actors?” is posed and answered at 9.44 minutes in.

Register for the TDPT Symposium: On Showing and Writing Training

 

 

Please join us for an afternoon of discussions and ideas to celebrate the launch of a special issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training ‘On Showing and Writing Training’.

  • What is the difference between what you do and how you talk about what you do?
  • What remains unsaid? What remains undone? What gets undone?
  • What is impossible to explain?
  • Who do you think you’re talking to?

The issue brings together writing, improvisation, experimentation and images to explore how performance is made, represented and reproduced through training. In doing so, it addresses wider questions about pedagogy, the live and the remembered in relation to the practices of art.

This symposium will feature an artist’s response from the performer Karen Christopher, as well as talks and provocations from contributors Katrina Brown, Paola Crespi, Franc Chamberlain, Emma Cocker, Ysabel Clare, Joa Hug, Ben Spatz and John Hall.

‘On Showing and Writing Training’ was edited by Dick McCaw and guest-editor Mary Paterson.

 

Wednesday 30th November, 2 to 5 pm

Room 261

University of London, Senate House,
 Malet Street
, London, 
WC1E 7HU

Directions:  http://www.london.ac.uk/map.html

Tickets are free. Reserve them via  ShowingWritingTraining.eventbrite.co.uk

 

Any queries please contact: Libby.Worth@rhul.ac.uk

 

Issue 7.3: Training and Interculturalism is now available

The editors of TDPT and of this special issue on intercultural training (7.3) are delighted to announce that it is now available online. Check it out here:

http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rtdp20/current

If you don’t have institutional access the articles by Electa Behrens and Tara McAlister-Viel will be free-to-access very soon. In the meantime, the editorial by Phillip Zarrilli, T Sasitharan and Anuradha Kapur and the Training Grounds editorial by Royona Mitra are free-to-access permanently.

Please do let us know what you think.

The New Thing (Third Manifesto), A Minor Gesture

[Editors Note: Initially believed to be evidence of an attack on the TDPT website by Russian hackers, it was later translated from the original German, subjected to an electronic jigglebath, and identified as an assemblage of texts and precepts developed in Los Angeles and North Carolina (US) for training in the creation of and performance in devised theatre.  The many hyperlinks take the reader to the “Borrowed Things” of texts, videos, songs, and non-sequiturs.]

 

The New Thing (Third Manifesto)[1]

a Minor Gesture[2]

Tony Perucci

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern (Durham, NC)

The Performance Collective (Chapel Hill, NC)

www.tonyperucci.com

perucci@unc.edu

 For Carlo

In principle, I am against manifestos.

                                                Tristan Tzara

There’s no reason. There’s no reason why you couldn’t.

                                                            Amelia Gray

As a way to try to name an ethic of making work, a mode of collaboration, an animating spirit of contestation, etc., the term The New Thing is borrowed from Free Jazz musicians who knew that jazz had become what Ornette Coleman called a conventional thing, ruined in no small part by white critics. The New Thing names some of Free Jazz’s key characteristics: horizontality of organization (of the ensemble), challenging the primacy of melody, the veneration of improvisation, the valuing of chance and composition, the potentiality of performance as a means of creation not just exhibition, and putting all of these artistic practices in the service of challenging white supremacy and capitalist exploitation.  Just as white folks attempted to, as Amiri Baraka said, change swing from a verb to a noun, The New Thing enacts a continual return from noun to verb.

The New Thing is constituted by (and through) attending to these practices:

  1. BRACKETING OF MEANING
  2. DISTILLATION OF EXPERIENCE
  3. RUPTURE
  4. DREAM LOGIC
  5. FORM AS CONTENT
  6. CONTENT AS FORM

The New Thing is generated by and dependent upon paradoxical principles:

  1. It is alternately minimalist (in its commitment to the phenomenal encounter with materiality) and maximalist (in its production of an excess of things).
  2. Or, another way to put this is that The New Thing is material substance that could not be any other way, even as it haunted and taunted by the many other ways is could be.
  3. It contends that
    1. Performance is most itself when it is completely fake—characterized by theatrical artifice, make-believe, amusing hats.
    2. Performance is most itself when it is really real – characterized by the accident, the error, chance and the unknown.
  4. Real and Fake are categories that are hopelessly (and hopefully) saturated by each other.
  5. The presence of presence must be enacted even as we have no access to anything like pure presence.
  6. The New Thing is beautiful when it is ugly and ugly when it is beautiful.
  7. The New Thing is urgent as it enacts rupture and does the unnecessary.
    1. Ruptural Performances are interruptive, becoming-events, confrontational, confounding, becoming-a-problem, and give rise to the virtuosic multitude.
    2. Doing the Unnecessary is the task of interfering with ordinary, automatic actions.
  8. Doing The New Thing is almost invariably a bad idea. It is goaded into being by Imp of the Perverse.

  • The New Thing asks the audience, “What’s the matter?” because it is the matter of performance (time, space, bodies, etc.) that matters.

  • Working with and being worked on by matter that matters invests in the somatic and the haptic, not just the good idea. In fact, when bad ideas produce a failure, the reveling in (im)possibility that failure as a failure is the matter that matters.

  • Ideas alone are not worth the paper their written on. Including this one. Confronted with The New Thing, Manuscripts (don’t) Burn.  Not satisfied with an ideational concept of the new that emerges from brainstorming with those burning texts, The New Thing requires the corporealizing of sharing and colliding texts through BodyStorming.  The ecology of The New Thing tells us that proliferation and increasingly destructiveness of BodyStorms is attributable to the (revolt against) climate change produced by industrial capitalism.

What is this?

What is it now?

Can you help me construct a better question?

Will you?

  • Even still, in the context of injustice fomented by capital and other practices of exploitation and violence, we may confront the audience with a list of demands. The New Thing presents itself to the public to allow itself to be seen.  But it always and necessarily demands to be reckoned with.

  • The New Thing chases down the frenzied disappearing really really Real real. And it fails every goddamn time.

  • The New Thing is impossible. And we do it anyway.

[1] Long thought to be an elaborate hoax, some contend that the 1st Manifesto and 2nd Manifesto of The New Thing disappeared alongside Scene 4 of Frederico García Lorca’s work of impossible theatre, El Publico. Like that play, the initial versions of the The New Thing Manifesto were partly written on hotel stationary under fascist rule while attempting to produce a Theatre Beneath the Sand.

[2] Larry Grossberg, Branislav Jakovljevic, D. Soyini Madison, Mary Overlie, and Hong-An Truong graciously read versions of this text and told me what I had right and wrong.  Any errors of fact, conceptualization, and/or attribution, however, are entirely theirs, not mine.

Stanislavsky symposium – booking and call for papers

Dear Colleagues,
A brief update on information about The S Word event in Prague (24th to 26th March 2017).
The deadline for receiving proposals for papers, practical sessions or panels is 30th November 2016.
Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words.
Papers should be of a maximum 20 minutes, practical sessions 45 minutes, and panels with a minimum of 3 presenters, 60 minutes.
Proposals should be sent to me at this address (paul.fryer@bruford.ac.uk).
Online booking is available now.
There is an early-bird booking rate of £140 (representing a 30% reduction on the full rate) available up to 2nd January.
Please visit:

http://store.bruford.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=1&deptid=10&catid=115&prodvarid=229

Information on accommodation will be available at the end of November.
I shall look forward to seeing some of you in Prague.
Regards,
Paul.

Professor Paul Fryer FRSA, FHEA.

Associate Director of Research

Head of The Stanislavski Centre

Research Degrees Coordinator

Editor in Chief, Stanislavski Studies (Routledge/Taylor & Francis)

Michael Chekhov Survey on behalf of MICHA

Please consider filing in this survey, designed to track the impact of Michael Chekhov and Chekhov training.
When MICHA formed in 1999 there were comparatively few places to practically engage the Chekhov technique. As our Association approaches our 20th anniversary we decided we want to understand more about how and where the work is adapting and thriving around the world. Toward this end we have created the ‘Michael Chekhov Survey’; and I am writing to invite you, as one of the leaders in the Chekhov community, to share the link to our survey with your community.
We will be gathering responses to our survey through October 31 and hope you can help us to reach out to all the corners of the Chekhov world. While some of the questions in the survey relate to MICHA directly, many do not and the individuals taking the survey can choose to answer only the questions that are relevant to their experiences. We hope to hear from performers, teachers, directors, scholars, art activists, art therapists and any others who are engaging the Michael Chekhov work in meaningful ways.

Thanks to those of you who have already answered the survey personally – and if you haven’t yet completed the survey, please do!
Here is the link to forward to your community so that they can connect with the survey:  https://www.cvent.com/d/yfqh6p
We look forward to sharing the outcome of the survey with the Chekhov community in the coming year.
Sincerely,
Jessica & Joanna
—-
Jessica Cerullo
MICHA, the Michael Chekhov Association, Managing Director

 

Joanna Merlin
MICHA, the Michael Chekhov Association, President

A constant and continuous interaction: some personal reflections on the performer training working group session at TaPRA 2016

…the unique speech experience of each individual is shaped and developed in continuous and constant interaction with others’ individual utterances. This experience can be characterized to some degree as the process of assimilation–more or less creative–of others’ words (and not the words of a language). Our speech, that is, all our utterances (including our creative works), is filled with others’ words, varying degrees of otherness or varying degrees of “our-own-ness” ….These words of others carry with them their own expression, their own evaluative tone, which we assimilate, rework, and re-accentuate.

I love this quote.

It comes from an essay by the Russian philosopher, Mikhail Bakhtin whose ideas and concepts formed the foundation for Julia Kristeva’s intertextual theory. At the 2016 annual TaPRA conference, I was addressing Kristeva and Bakhtin’s ideas concerning intertextuality and endeavouring to demonstrate how the theory can be used to deepen our understanding of the ways in which artists intersect with each other, with audiences, with the world, with the past.

I am particularly interested in artistic domains and performance territories. In my research I am exploring how performances act as sites that enable intersections of audience and artists asking: what do these intersections yield? I am looking at the performing artist as a kind of curator who, in creating or participating in a performance, chooses to reveal certain aspects of her individual history, experience, skills, and knowledge to enable dynamic and engaging intersections with audiences. Continue reading

Yoga as/in Performance: A Research Lab hosted by the Centre for Psychophysical Performance Research at the University of Huddersfield

With Dr Deborah Middleton (Huddersfield), Dr Maria Kapsali (Leeds) and Dr Bernadette Cronin (Cork)

Saturday 22nd October 2016, 0915 — 1715

 There are a few places still available for this one-day event in which Bernadette Cronin, Maria Kapsali, and Deborah Middleton will each share their research into Yoga and its relationship with performance. The day will involve short positions statements, a workshop led by each practitioner, and time for sharing and discussion (and resting).

Contact: f.chamberlain@hud.ac.uk for further details

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Post-conference reflection on disseminating praxical research in actor training

 

I am an actress (Diploma GNT Drama School, MA East 15 Acting School) [1]

I am an actress, somatic movement educator (Cert IBMT, RSME)[2]

I am an actress, somatic acting-movement educator and researcher (PaR PhD, RCSSD)[3]

I am an actress, somatic acting-movement educator and researcher currently working within three major London-based actor-training institutions (East 15, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, RCSSD)

 

Praxical research in conservatoire actor training

The above schematic identification of my professional background and identity reflects the underlying structure of my short introduction to the brief workshop I gave for the TaPRA Performer Training Working Group on the seventh of September 2016 at University of Bristol.[4] The development of the aforementioned phrases does not aim only at summarizing a personal ongoing journey but also a contemporary phenomenon within modern UK actor-training conservatoire institutions. This phenomenon is the current increasing interest in the dynamic dialogue between academia and practice-based critical engagement, combined with the understanding of how the interrelation between various disciplines informs the shaping of contemporary actor-training pedagogies. In this brief reflection on my participation in TaPRA 2016 conference on the theme ‘Speech and Text in Performer Training’, I intend to communicate aspects of my present understanding of the dynamic integration between theory and practice in actor training through my own praxical research.[5]

I started my engagement with praxis through a practice-as-research (PaR) doctorate thesis on my process of becoming an actor-trainer based on my experience as a conservatoire trained actress and my simultaneous development as somatic movement educator. I grounded my critical awareness as emerging trainer-witness upon the shaping of an original somatic actor-training and creative methodology inspired by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s developmental process of embodiment. I modified Cohen’s Body-Mind Centering® (BMC®) inetsrubjective narrative and principles as I practised them through Linda Hartley’s Integrative Bodywork & Movement Therapy (IBMT) training.[6] The objective of my PhD research was a modern response towards scientifically-informed problematic binaries in actor-training discourses (including mind-body, inner-outer, self-other/s) as well as a common description of actors’ multiple embodied individualities as a single, universal and unchanged existence.[7] I identified dualism and universalism in actor training within the general philosophical problem of logocentrism.

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