The following audiovisual documentation was taken during the ACT International Voice and Performance Residency in Centro Anidra, Italy (10-27 September 2018), directed by Anna-Helena McLean. Designed as a complement and integral partner to the essai ‘The act of listening: Gardzienice’s mutuality practice and The ACTing Voice,’ this multi-modal publication is an experiment, working within the form afforded by the TDPT special issue 10:3 ‘What is new in voice training?’ to seek new approaches to practice-based research.
You are invited to witness a series of brief encounters, spanning exercises in progress, actors in rehearsal and interviews with international workshop participants as well as McLean. The films on their own offer practice-based insights, and together with the essai gain epistemological contextualisation from McLean’s experiential standpoint as a musician, actor and researcher. The enquiry is centred around the way McLean has been evolving the practice she discovered as a principal member in Gardzienice (2000-2007). Now director of her own approach to music theatre and devising, called the ACT (Actor – Chorus – Text) Ensemble Practice, McLean’s text and film trace the development of the practice and its relevance to voice work, embodied voice and vocal extension through a ‘physiovocal’ approach (see Thomaidis 2014), based on McLean’s re-imagining of the core Gardzienice principles of mutuality and musicality. The films allude to new physiovocal exercises including the musicality of the spine, harmonics, interval modulation, body resonators and the physiovocal alphabet in the director’s drive to ‘listen to’, navigate and address the actors’ process in order to extend vocal possibilities and enable more nuance and sensitivity to text.
Clip 1 (Leading with) Mutuality
Clip 2 The act of listening
Clip 3 Extending the voice
Clip 4 Physiovocality
Clip 5 Body resonators
Clip 6 The acting voice
Clip 7 Physiovocal scoring
Research advisor/support: Demetris Zavros
Film: Federico Torre
Media editors: Jesse Embury and Sid Sawant
Collaborating actors and participants: Robert Schein Bogdanovic, Rosie Clark, Eleanor Debreu, Kaeridwyn Eftelya, Andrea Foa, Ola Forman, Caroline Gatt, Amelia Gibbs, Emily Jane Grant, Wanning Jen, Louise Parr, Dylan-Donovan Sebaoun, Susanna Wilson.
Location: Centro Anidra, Borzonasca, Genova, Italy.
Thomaidis, K. 2014 Singing from stones: physiovocality and Gardzienice’s theatre of musicality. In: D. Symonds and M. Taylor, eds. Gestures of music theater: the performativity of song and dance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 242-258.
Join co-editors Libby Worth and Jonathan Pitches for the joint celebration of TDPT’s 10th birthday and our newly awarded quarterly status. We will spend time reflecting on the high points of the last ten years, with guest speakers, an open mike and a characteristic sense of fun and mischief. We will also have a session taking ideas from the floor about potential developments for TDPT, Special Issue suggestions, future articles and shorter formats.
Come and meet the journal team, including our publishers Routledge, the editors and those who work behind the scenes on our blog. Hear about our past and help us strategise into the future. And don’t forget to have some free nibbles and drinks as well!
Prof. Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds) and Dr Stefan Aquilina (University of Malta) are delighted to invite proposals for a planned companion volume to the work, interpretation, and heritage of Vsevolod Meyerhold (1874-1940). The volume has already been discussed with Ben Piggott of Routledge who has expressed a strong interest in the project.
The volume seeks to determine the current state of Meyerhold studies and practice. While past scholarship has done much to place Meyerhold’s name as a hallmark of modernism, there still remains a plethora of material waiting to be discovered and analysed. With this in mind, and even at this early stage, the volume is promising a marked expansion of our knowledge of Meyerhold as it is seen today. It will be structured in four parts. Part 1 (Histories and Contexts) will enhance understanding of Meyerhold’s many histories, expanding beyond conventional subjects like the grotesque and biomechanics, to contexts which have been overlooked within scholarship on Meyerhold (his work in the provinces for instance, and with female collaborators). Part 2 (Sources) will equally engage with previously untapped material in Meyerhold’s oeuvre, this time by reproducing and contextualising previously untranslated primary and secondary sources on his work. Part 3 (International Transmission) will radically extend geographical understandings of Meyerhold’s practice by mapping routes of migration across continents, with planned contributions including entries on South Asia and the Middle East. Part 4 (Applications) will look into ways in which Meyerhold’s work is being applied in a number of contemporary scenarios, in health, in education and/or technology, for example. Practice Research investigations are particularly encouraged for this Part.
The editors are therefore particularly interested in an expansion of these themes through topics that include but are not limited to the following:
• Meyerhold and his overlooked contemporaries;
• Meyerhold as interdisciplinarian;
• Meyerhold and amateur practice;
• Meyerhold in the provinces;
• Meyerhold and opera;
• Meyerhold’s studios after the Revolution;
• Meyerhold’s migratory practices (beyond Russia);
• New sources on Meyerhold;
• Meyerhold and technology;
• Novel applications of Biomechanics today.
Prospective contributors are invited to join the core group of writers and scholars who have already expressed interest in submitting an essay to the project. These are:
• Dassia N. Posner (Northwestern University)
• Marie-Christine Autant-Mathieu (Sorbonne University)
• Donatella Gavrilovich (Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”)
• Min Tian (University of Iowa)
• Bryan Brown and Olya Petrakova (University of Exeter)
• Rachel Hann (University of Surrey)
• Amy Skinner (University of Hull)
• Anna Kovalova (National Research University, Moscow)
• Teemu Paavolainen (Tampere University, Finland)
• Robert Leach (Retired Independent Researcher)
Abstracts of about 300 words should reach the two editors on firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by not later than 1 March 2020. Kindly include a short bionote. A full book proposal will be submitted in May to Routledge, while a tentative deadline for writers to submit the essays is July 2021.
The issue, guest edited by Konstantinos Thomaidis, proposes a timely re-examination of voice in performer training. The literature on voice, theatre and pedagogy is, of course, vast. In the case of singing, it is largely dominated by paradigms appropriate for operatic and musical theatre performance. In the case of speech training, areas that have been systematically explored include the pedagogies developed by an influential generation of mid-twentieth-century, UK- and US-based speech trainers – and, to a lesser extent, the voice practices pertaining to (post)Grotowskian lineages or the integration of first-wave somatics into voice work. While drawing impetus from these significant insights, the purpose of this special issue has been to lend an attentive ear to the transformations such established pedagogies are currently undergoing as well as to less widely circulated and emergent methodologies.
In other words,
the issue asks: What is new in voice training?
Contributors to the issue shared their practice and research in a variety of formats (peer-reviewed articles, essais, visual essays, postcards, ATQs, blogs, reviews) and engaged with topics and sets of questions such as:
Renewing voice training: How are existing systems, exercises and practices reconfigured in new settings? How can we re-evaluate the foundational premises of voice training through recent discoveries in physiology and advances in critical theory? In what ways are such methods adapted, hybridised, repurposed, recycled, rethought?
New practices: Which are the new approaches to voice, speech and singing training currently in the making? How do they depart from or extend current conceptualisations of voicing? What performance contexts are they designed for? How are they taught, recorded, written about and transmitted?
New documents: Which practices of voice training have not been systematically documented and disseminated? Which practices have received less critical attention and how can new archives engage us in dialogue with them? What is the place of the ‘document’ in practice-as-research approaches to voice pedagogy?
The new voice coach: Which are the new exigencies placed on coaches today? What challenges do they face? Which methodologies have been developed in response? How is voice training conducted beyond the conservatoire studio?
New contexts: How is voice training taking into consideration gender, class and ethnic diversity? How is the pedagogy of speech and song responding to neurodiverse trainees? How are interdisciplinary performers trained in voice work? How is training originally developed for artistic performance adapted in other contexts and circumstances?
New criticalities: Which emergent critical methodologies can we deploy to critique voice training or to generate new approaches? How can voice training embrace ecocritical or new materialist strategies? What is the place of the expanding corpus of vocal philosophy in the studio?
New histories, new lineages: What does new archival research reveal about the lineages and historic practices of voice training? How is the history of voice training rewritten? How are premodern forms of voice training revitalised in contemporary performer training?
Emma Meehan: As a dance researcher, I have felt quite protective of somatic work and dance research methods. In health-led studies on somatics in chronic pain, often a practitioner has been brought in to deliver movement material rather than shape the research. This has left me wondering how to integrate dance and somatic researchers into the design of the study so it is collaboratively created. I have also queried why static measurements are taken of a complex movement process and what information is missing from this. However, being part of the network has made me see that health researchers face the same frustrations of wanting to do person-centred research, responding to traditional criteria and formats for credibility and ultimately to ensure that their findings get embedded in health institutions in the long term. I have learned the value of thinking through in a step by step manner some of the restrictions inherent within health settings and the need to make a clearer case for the work to be taken on board.
It has been much easier to engage dance artists and researchers in the network. Healthcare professionals can have last-minute work emergencies which means it can be difficult to commit. Somatic work can be hard to explain, so for those unfamiliar with it, it might seem like an unnecessary addition to an already full workload. At the same time, we have had a stable core group of health researchers and professionals, who are already curious or committed to the area. How do we bring in people who might be sceptical and challenge us? This has meant going into the healthcare setting, and adapting the material to time slots available, such as offering a pre-work morning session for staff at the Walton Centre Pain Management Programme in Liverpool. While there was interest, I realised that there is a need to match the somatic principles to the clinical needs in order for the approach to be better understood. The lived experience of people with pain is another important facet of the work but there are ethical issues when doing health research which need to be considered, such as the potential to do harm and expectations for recovery. We are developing ways to reach people living with pain for their viewpoints through a consultation process.
The main challenge of working across disciplines for me has been in describing and conveying the value of somatic practices to people who have not experienced it before. We have spent a lot of time with network members trying to define these practices, with some comments as follows:
An attempt to open up a conversation with a body (dancer)
Somatic Practices: Easy word + easy word = confusing phrase (writer)
Listening to and working with the whole person – being empathetic, giving time (dance artist)
A form of mindful movement that requires the person to focus on the movement and have an awareness of their body & the movement within the environment (nurse)
Allowing the body to move whilst experiencing the sensation of movement (physio)
Reinforcing the ‘wonderment’ of the body (physio)
Another concern for me is how this network can feed back to and support dance artists, whether they are working in health settings or supporting their own health. It became apparent during the course of the network workshops that chronic pain was a daily experience for many dance practitioners, and I hope the network has something to offer back to them.
Bernie Carter: Despite being published over 50 years ago, many healthcare professionals are familiar with McCaffery’s (1968) statement that “pain is whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever the experiencing person says it does.” However, familiarity with this person-centred statement does not mean that people living with chronic pain are universally believed. Outside of specialist centres or teams with expertise in chronic pain, there also remains a tendency towards a focus on the physical aspects of pain (intensity, duration, sensation). This network tries to bring in physical, emotional and social aspects of pain through dance and health approaches.
My engagement with the network has been a real journey of discovery; it’s been liberating, exciting, confusing, challenging and wonderful. When Emma first spoke to me about being a co-applicant, I was gently sinking under the workload associated with existing research and I was tentative about committing to anything else but I’m so glad I did. Emma has been a good teacher, guiding my early and still developing understanding of somatic practice and laying the foundations for me to learn from the other somatic practitioners I’ve engaged with during the workshops.
My initial reserve about being a non-dancer undertaking movement activities with dancers was overcome by their warmth and absolutely non-judgemental response to how I moved within the activities. My concern about whether I would be doing something right, perhaps reflects a very health-oriented concern. The people I have ‘moved with’ have always been more interested in that ‘we were moving’ and that ‘we were being and experiencing movement together’. It’s a beautiful and liberating thing to experience, and learning about attending to your body has been intriguing. I’ve become more curious about somatic practice and dance and how it can help people with pain. Like Emma, I would love to have had more health professionals attending the workshops but those who have attended have reflected on their practice and have shared their aspirations for enhancing how they care for and support people living with pain.
The physical environment we are in and the props we use shape the way we think and act. Reflecting on this has led me to explore the way in which movement is approached within health and somatic practice/dance. Within health settings, movement activities for pain are often led by physiotherapists who wear uniform and whose environment is typically something like a gym – a place to work out – whereas the somatic practitioners wear looser, less formal clothing and the studios we have used for our activities have been made comfortable with mats, cushions, and blankets with instructions to be comfortable. The difference is palpable.
Although I perhaps expected that tensions in thinking might arise between the two main ‘tribes’ (dancers and health professionals) it’s been fascinating to see the differences in thinking within the tribes (say between nursing and physiotherapy) and between members of these tribes (different somatic practitioners). Some physiotherapists’ focus may be solely on improving mobility and function in a specific part of the body, using a validated, structured and objective intervention for that ‘part’ of the body. Nurses may take a wider more person-centred approach acknowledging the person’s aspirations, goals and the challenges of pain and consider a broader way of working with the person. In terms of somatic practices, people work with a range of distinct methods and individual styles and can describe their work differently.
We would like to ask blog readers to respond through the ‘Comments’ below, describing their work across disciplines of performing arts and health: What have you learned and what has been difficult? How do you describe your work with dance and performer training techniques in health contexts? Finally, as a performing arts professional, have you experienced persistent pain and if so, have you worked with your theatre and dance training techniques to manage it?
Call for Proposals Vol. 25, No. 6 Performance Research Journal: ‘On Hybridity’ (September/October 2020) Issue Editors: Frank Camilleri (University of Malta) and Maria Kapsali (University of Leeds)
Proposal Deadline: 8 November
This issue of Performance Research considers hybridity in relation to performance, in particular the making, reception and study of performance as practices that emerge from heterogeneous sources, as well as the performative operation of hybridity in historical, cultural and political contexts.
The term emerged from roots in agriculture and horticulture (for example, grafting) and is related to animal husbandry (cross-breeding) and to applications in metallurgy (alloys). It took on pseudo-scientific biological overtones when it overlapped with the history of imperialism and slavery, in the process generating a racialized discourse. In the second half of the twentieth century, hybridity became more broadly associated with questions of ‘subjectivity’ and ‘identity’, eventually leading to notions of ‘cultural hybridity’. Homi Bhabha’s reading of the term in the context of colonialism marks the interstitial and the liminal, for example in processes like those of mimicry, which reproduce the dominant culture in an ‘alien’ indigenous/colonized setting. Such perspectives resonate with others that emerge when two (or more) cultural worlds collide, including creolization in language, as well as Mikhail Bhaktin’s heteroglossia (the ‘hybrid utterance’) and the carnivalesque (satire/critique through imitation). In the twenty-first century, hybridity has taken a more pronounced tinge in light of technology, where to be human entails an ever-increasing reliance on and entanglement with non-human materiality. In addition to discourses about post-colonialism, multiculturalism, and identity, therefore, hybridity is now invoked in the contexts of globalization, technologization and the Anthropocene.
In discussions on contemporary performance, hybridity is often used loosely to capture the synthesis and co-mingling of different sources, practices and methodologies that
arguably underpin it. More specifically, the term has been employed in discussions of cultural and racial performance, as well as in relation to the emergence of new theatrical practices in colonial contexts. Responding to the complex connection between hybridity and performance, this special issue is grounded in the following points: 1) a reconsideration of the concept is timely; and 2) performance, in reflecting and influencing human activity and life, is strategically placed to conduct such a reappraisal specifically via its practices of preparation and presentation. Accordingly, this issue of Performance Research investigates the intersections between hybridity and performance as the coming together of performer and environment, materials and practitioners, performance and reception, event and analysis. Hybridity is, therefore, understood as at once a formative, trans-formative and per-formative encounter that shapes performance and culture on many levels:
• as pedagogical process
• as compositional and production strategy
• as ensemble and assembly (human and non-human)
• as inter- and intradisciplinary endeavour
• as a professional strategy
• as inter- and intracultural phenomenon.
Topics may include but are in no way limited to:
• issues and themes of hybridity in terms of technology, spaces/sites and fluid identities (for example, cyborgs, cultures, migrations) in performance
• the hybridization of physical and digital elements in performance (intermediality, multimedia, mixed media)
• intercultural/multicultural performance
• interdisciplinarity and intradisciplinarity in performance
• the multisource development and multichannel transmission of training exercises (including massive open online courses (MOOCs), mobile apps)
• compositional strategies like devising, choreography and ensemble work
• improvisation and relational performance processes
• applied performance as hybrid adaptive practice
• comedy, satire and the carnivalesque in performance
• issues related to genre, including performance art, ‘total theatre’, opera and other forms like music theatre, mime and dance that can be conceived in hybrid terms
• analysis of historical performances from the lens of hybridity
• practice as research case studies as hybrid methodologies and practices
• the post-human, the post-modern and the post-dramatic as hybrid paradigms
• conceptual frameworks related to hybridity that have a performative element (for example, grafting, fusion, merger, assemblage, otherness)
• historiography and ethnography as hybrid and evolving practices that involve diverse methodologies and technologies from various sources
• human and non-human relationalities and issues of agency in performance (objects, clothes, technology, design, architecture, plants, animals).
Schedule: Proposals: 8 November 2019 First drafts: February 2020 Final drafts: May 2020 Publication: October 2020
Issue contacts: All proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to Performance Research at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the issue editors: Frank Camilleri: email@example.com Maria Kapsali: M.Kapsali@leeds.ac.uk
General Guidelines for Submissions: • Before submitting a proposal, we encourage you to visit our website (www.performance-research.org ) and familiarize yourself with the journal. • Proposals will be accepted by email (Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (RTF)). Proposals should not exceed one A4 side. • Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send. • Please include the issue title and issue number in the subject line of your email. • Submission of images and other visual material is welcome provided that all attachments do not exceed 5 MB, and there is a maximum of five images. • Submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere. • If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit an article in first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article you will be asked to sign an author agreement in order for your work to be published in Performance Research.
The S Word and The Centre for Digital Storymaking, London South Bank University presents
The 2020 S Word symposium: Stanislavsky and The Media
@ London South Bank University, Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th April 2020.
We aim to explore Stanislavsky’s relationship with and impact upon all aspects of the contemporary media – film, television, radio, electronic media, print and journalism, and via still and moving images, sound and music.
We now invite proposals for papers (20 minutes duration), practical workshops (40 minutes duration) and panel presentations (60 minutes duration with a minimum of three speakers). Please send a brief abstract (not more than 300 words) and a short biography to Professor Paul Fryer – (firstname.lastname@example.org), to arrive no later than Friday 29th November 2019.
Information on keynote and guest speakers, and details of booking arrangements will be published shortly.
Selected papers from this event will be published in the Spring 2021 edition of Stanislavski Studies (Taylor & Francis).
Please join us for our London 2020 event.
The S Word is an international research project that explores the relationship between Stanislavsky, his work and legacy, and all aspects of contemporary theatre and performance.
(Dr Petronilla Whitfield, Arts University Bournemouth UK)
Deadline for Proposals 15 December 2019
This is a call for expressions of interest and proposals for chapter contributors in an edited book on actor training, voice, movement, education and learning differences /disabilities, neurodiversity. Following the recent publication of my book ‘Teaching Strategies for Neurodiversity and Dyslexia in Actor Training’ (Routledge 2019), I am now seeking ideas for potential chapters from teachers/ practitioners/authors regarding the development of their teaching in the support of Acting and Performance students/individuals with Specific Learning Differences/Disabilities. In particular, dissemination of practice is sought where the teaching directions are underpinned by research, theory, and scholarly investigation. It is important that Specific Learning Differences/Disabilities are not generalised, but detailed with specificity of their characteristics. Early researchers in this field are also invited to submit a proposal, as they are potentially important contributors to emerging pedagogical discussions and approaches.
Themes could include (but are not limited to):
• Descriptions of teaching interventions, rationale, process and outcomes, where teachers have recognised a problem or challenge and have carried out research, trials and transformation of their practice to support the neurodiverse, SpLD student’s/individual’s needs. (Descriptions of perceived failures are as valuable as successes).
• Critical analysis of pedagogy in actor training environments, historical and cultural contexts of actor training, and how Specific Learning Differences and neurodiversity is situated within that context
• An in-depth analysis of the arts-based discipline involved, and how the learning difference/style/disability can impact on embedded or adapted practice in that discipline
• The ethical and political concerns regarding the labelling of an individual with a SpLD, and how this might influence your practice/approach
• The foregrounding of the student voice and experience of those with SpLD, platforming student-led methods, autonomy, research and student- led teaching practices
• If you are a teacher with SpLD, (such as being dyslexic for example) , how that might inform/affect your teaching and your understanding for the individual student with learning challenges
• Development of inclusive assessment strategies, that do not unfairly disadvantage those with SpLD/neurodiversity and differing modes of learning
• The experience of Learning Support teachers/staff who have been involved in the teaching of acting performance students with SpLD and are researching and developing new practices in their field
• The experiences of coaches/teachers working with professional actors with SpLD and a dissemination of developing methods and reflection on endeavours to support those actors
Submitting a proposal
Preliminary conversations with potential contributors will help to develop the contents of the book, to submit to the publisher for review.
To signal your interest in making a contribution please contact Petronilla Whitfield for an initial exchange of ideas/thoughts, or email a proposal of 500- 1,000 words in length. Firm proposals must be received no later than the 15 December 2019 and sent, with a brief author biography, to the book’s editor, Dr Petronilla Whitfield (email@example.com)
Topos is a year-long artistic collaboration between Cumbria Youth Dance Company and Wired Aerial Theatre, to create a suite of new work – 1 dance film & 2 performance pieces – on the theme of mountains. Exploring the relationship between Labanotation (a way of recording dance movement) and topos (a similar notation method used by climbers to record their routes), dancers will work on the Cumbrian fells and in the studio to explore the transition between vertical & horizontal, producing 3 unique pieces of choreography for sharing at Kendal Mountain Festival, in the gardens at Brantwood, Coniston during John Ruskin’s bicentenary celebrations, and at Lakes Alive festival. The first performance has already been seen on stage at The Lowry as part of U. Dance NW 2019.
Part of the project will involve the young dancers creating blog posts describing their training and explaining how they are using the inspiration of their native Cumbrian fells to create contemporary dance.
So: to celebrate this project and to kickstart the TDPT collaboration here are 5 top tips for developing a good blog entry:
Think carefully about how you combine your media. Do you have images and/or short video you can use to complement your ideas in writing?
Be simple and natural with your writing – blogs can be informal and are often all the more engaging when they are.
Think of your audience – who are you speaking to? In this example – for TDPT – it is a mix of readers from all over the world, so don’t assume everything will be understood and explain local terms or jargon (briefly though!)
Keep things short and sweet. Blogs are often read while people are doing other things – so keep the message simple.
Above all – have a clear focus, so you know what you are trying to say. For this project it could be answering a simple question: How can mountains and nature inspire a training in dance?
And remember – I’ll be around for the next few months as part of the project team to help and advise. So please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.