TDPT 11.2. Training for Performance Art and Live Art

We are delighted to announce the publication of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training 11.2, Training for Performance Art and Live Art, guest edited by Heike Roms (University of Exeter).

The view that one can only practice and not practice for performance art and live art has persisted since the emergence of time-, body-, and action-based performance artworks in the 1960s. After all, to speak of ‘training’ evokes ideas of technique, mastery or tradition, ideas that the artists engaged in performance art and live art have frequently sought to challenge or altogether abandon. However, many of the artists who have shaped the history of performance art and live art have also been committed teachers; pedagogical approaches to performance practices emerged at the same time as the practices themselves; educational institutions have frequently offered material support for the making of performance works and provided a living for artists; and artist-led, non-institutional training spaces have adopted events and publications as alternative forms of curricula. Acknowledging the importance of training not just in the formation of a performance artist but as part of their continuing practice also means to value experience, expertise and professional standing as part of the work of performance art and live art.

This special issue brings together contributions that address the theme of training for performance art and live art in reference to different histories (covering the 1960s and 1970s as well as the recent present); diverse geographies (examining developments in the UK and in Portugal); institutions and anti-institutions (covering art schools, summer schools, festivals and workshop programmes); and varied approaches to teaching and training as a performative inter-generational transaction.

Gavin Butt’s ‘Without Walls: Performance Art and Pedagogy at the “Bauhaus of the North”’ traces the impact of libertarian teaching in the 1970s at arguably the most influential teaching institutions for the history of performance art in the UK, Leeds Polytechnic. In ‘Lessons from Outside the Classroom: Performance Pedagogies in Portugal, 1970-1980’, Cláudia Madeira and Fernando Matos Oliveira recount approaches to performance training as they developed in Portugal in the wake of the 1974 revolution outside of formal institutions.

Deirdre Heddon’s ‘Professional Development for Live Artists: Doing it Yourself’ explores the history of the DIY professional development scheme as an example for how training practices are being reimagined as live art practices in themselves. In ‘Training for Live Art: Process Pedagogies and New Moves International’s Winter Schools’, Stephen Greer examines the New Moves International (NMI)’s winter school as another key example for an artist-led scheme that made productive live art’s resistant relationship to established forms of performer training.

In ‘“I’ve been as intimate with him as I have been with anybody”: Queer Approaches, Encounters and Exchanges as Live Art Performer Training’, Kieran Sellars identifies in the cross-generational performance collaboration between Sheree Rose and Martin O’Brien a form of queer embodied discipline that draws on BDSM as well as Live Art lineages. And in ‘Curious Methods–Pedagogy Through Performance’, Leslie Hill and Helen Paris document the close ways in which their training methods have reflected on and contributed to their creation of live performance work.

The Training Grounds section (edited by Bryan Brown) supplements this with a collection of shorter essais, postcards, and a book review (edited by Chris Hays). Will Dickie’s expanded essai (accompanied by videos available here on the TDPT blog) investigates the application of psychophysical actor training to live art. In the issue’s second essai, a trio of practitioners (Áine Phillips, Dominic Thorpe and Tara Carroll) offer insight into three generations of Irish live art practice by detailing transformative encounters with their teachers. The two postcards for this special issue (by Sara Zaltash and N. Eda Erçin) wrestle with the entanglements of live art practice, life and communities. And Campbell Edinborough’s review of Marina Abramović’s memoir Walk Through Walls furthers the discussion of how a live artist’s work is their life while querying the ability to turn that life into a method.

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Phillip Zarrilli — Kaite O’Reilly’s Letter

Below I have posted a letter from Kaite O’Reilly regarding the recent passing of Phillip Zarrilli. While this may not be news to some of you, I wanted to pay tribute to Phillip on this platform in the most fitting way. In the coming months, we will be posting reflections on Phillip’s work from some of his alumni, and if you would like to contribute, please feel free to comment on this post or contact me at jimmyacademy@gmail.com if you would like to write a stand-alone post from your own perspective. Rest in peace Phillip.

Kaite’s Letter:

On 9th March 2020 when Phillip received the news from his oncologist that the cancer he had been living with for fourteen years had begun to ‘seriously party’ (his words) he said to me ‘this is our last adventure together.’

I have been so fortunate, having this great mind, this gentle and generous man as my companion in so many ways – loving, working, living, travelling, thinking, writing and making performance alongside him for twenty one years, with and without The Llanarth Group. The journey may continue, but now it is in parallel, perhaps, not our accustomed hip-to-hip together.

Phillip died on 28th April 2020 at 13.52 UK time. He rode out on a breath – like so many times in his teaching he spoke of riding the breath to that moment of completion at the end of exhalation – the space in-between at the end of one cycle before the impulse of the next inhalation begins. This time came no inhalation.

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Gill Clarke Bursaries

Independent Dance and Siobhan Davies Dance are offering bursaries of between 5k – 8k to support students on the jointly delivered MA/MFA Creative Practice: Dance Professional Practice Pathway, run in partnership with Trinity Laban.  The bursaries, named after founder Gill Clarke, are supported by The Leverhulme Trust. 

This MA/MFA course, now in its tenth year, is designed to provide a flexible programme of study and an environment of rigorous creative enquiry, supporting practicing artists in their further development. Studio practice is accompanied by reflective and theoretical study; modules are devised to be conversant with one another, allowing for an interdisciplinary approach individual research. Areas of study range across perspectives, including theoretical and philosophical underpinning of arts practice,  in visual art, film making, writing and embodied practice and other disciplines. 

To be able to apply for a bursary, you must have applied and been accepted onto the MA/MFA Creative Practice: Dance Professional Practice Pathway. For all information about the bursary, please see click here.

International and UK-based students are eligible for bursary awards.

DEADLINE
Deadline for bursary applications for 2020/21: Monday 22 June, 5pm.
On time deadline for course applications to be able to apply for the Gill Clarke Bursary: 15 June 2020.
Applications to the course can be submitted after this date, but won’t be eligible for the Gill Clarke Bursary.

Other bursaries are also available from Trinity Laban. Click here to find out about more funding opportunities.

Anyone interested in applying is welcome to have an informal conversation: please email Independent Dance at info@independentdance.co.uk

AntigoneNOW: rehearsing, making and performing Antigone online

Sinéad Rushe, May 2020

24 hour streaming on 22 May, 2020
midnight (22) to midnight (23) Pacific Standard Time

I was invited as the Spring 2020 Granada Artist in Residence to the University of California Davis to direct a stage production of the Greek tragedy, Antigone, at the Wyatt theatre, in the Seamus Heaney translation. With lockdown, when it was becoming clear that I wasn’t going to be able to go, my American collaborator Margaret Kemp and I started to imagine what we could do instead. Given that we were in a world pandemic, a global crisis, it felt essential to try still to do something. How could we follow through on our collaboration, creativity and community engagement in this unprecedented moment in history? How could we create a piece that would speak to this crisis? We decided to make a performance film instead, rehearsing online, creating it online and performing it online.

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TDPT Issue 11.1 published — celebrating 10 years of the journal

We are delighted to flag up the publication of 11.1 – the open issue of TDPT and the one that marks the completion of 10 years of the journal. It was disappointing to have to postpone TDPT birthday celebrations, due to Covid-19, planned for Leeds earlier in the month. However, the flood of appreciative emails that came in marking the 10th Birthday were heart-warming and inspiration for the next decade.

When you have had a chance to look through the contents do feel free to respond in our Comeback pages of the blog. We’d love to hear reactions to this diverse and lively collection of contributions.

Volume 11 Issue, 1 March 2020

CONTENTS

Editorial
Libby Worth, Jonathan Pitches and Thomas Wilson

Articles

Student and teacher attitudes towards overtraining and recovery in vocational dance training
Peta Blevins, Shona Erskine, Gene Moyle, and Luke Hopper

From bodymind to bodyworld: the case of mask work as a training for the senses
Frank Camilleri

Essai
On horses and contact
Thomas Wilson

Articles

How might Embodied Cognition, Contact Improvisation and Meisner’s Standard Repetition Exercise together illuminate actor movement training? Tine Damborg

The first class: Harold Lang and the beginnings of Stanislavskian teaching in the British conservatoire
Vladimir Mirodan

Emotional character: the prospects for a personality-based perspective on embodied learning in dance
Edward C. Warburton

Examining the pedagogy of theatre lighting
Kelli Zezulka

Events Review
Michael Chekhov Advanced Masterclass at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance July 15th–19th 2019, led by Lisa Dalton and Janice Orlandi
Aiden Condron

Reviews

Performing Architectures: Projects, Practices, Pedagogies
Tessa Rixon

Creativity and the Performing Artist: Behind the Mask
Mark Seton

Correction
I Correction

Notes on Contributors

The Editors

Jonathan Pitches is Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Leeds in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries. He specialises in the study of performer training and has wider interests in intercultural performance, environmental performance and blended learning. He is founding co-editor of the TDPT and has published several books in this area: Vsevolod Meyerhold (2003), Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting (2006/9), Russians in Britain (2012) and, Stanislavsky in the World (with Dr Stefan Aquilina 2017). His most recent publications are: Great Stage Directors Vol 3: Komisarjevsky, Copeau, Guthrie (Sole editor, 2018) and the monograph, Performing Landscapes: Mountains (2019).

Libby Worth is Reader in Contemporary Performance Practices, Royal Holloway, University of London. She is a movement practitioner with research interests in the Feldenkrais Method, physical theatres, site-based performance and in folk/traditional and amateur dance. Performances include co-devised duets; Step Feather Stitch (2012)and dance film Passing Between Folds (2017).She is co-editor of TDPT and published texts include Anna Halprin (2004, co-authored), Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist (2012, co-edited), Jasmin Vardimon’s Dance Theatre: Movement, Memory and Metaphor (2016). Chapter contributions include on clog and sword dancing for Time and Performer Training (2019, she co-edited) and ‘Improvisation in Dance and the Movement of Everyday Life’ for the Oxford Handbook of Dance Improvisation (2019).

Training grounds editors

Aiden Condron has been an actor, performance maker and actor trainer for over twenty-five years working across the UK, Europe and the US. He is a Lecturer in Acting at The Institute of the Arts Barcelona (IAB). Aiden was founding artistic director of Nervousystem, a Dublin-based international performance laboratory from 2002–2012. Recent theatre work includes performances in a number of works by Samuel Beckett including Westward Ho, Ohio Impromptu and That Time, performed in Japan and Russia. Aiden’s current teaching and research activity investigates processes and practices of actor and performer training within the domain of presence, play and action, examining the actor’s dramaturgy as a field of autonomous creation.

Chris Hay is Lecturer in Drama in the School of Communication & Arts at the University of Queensland, Australia. Prior to this position, he held appointments at the University of New England, the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), and the University of Sydney, where he completed his PhD in Theatre & Performance Studies in 2014. He has published on Australian theatre history and creative arts pedagogy, including his book Creativity, Knowledge & Failure: a new pedagogical framework for creative arts (2016). His current research projects examine the origins of Australian government arts funding, and Australia’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Thomas J. M. Wilson is a Module/Year Coordinator for BA (Hons) European Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Initially training in Equestrian Vaulting he competed at European-level in the mid-1990s. Subsequently he has engaged in practices rooted in the intersection between dance and theatre methodologies, working as both a performer and director/choreographer in a range of contexts. Thomas served on Oxford Dance Forum’s Steering Group (2008–10) and has regularly contributed to Total Theatre Magazine since 2001. He is an Associate of Gandini Juggling working as their Archivist and Publications Author. He is the author of Juggling Trajectories: Gandini Juggling 1991–2015, which was shortlisted for The Society of Theatre Research Book Prize 2016.

The Contributors for 11.1

Dr Peta Blevins is a sessional academic at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and works as a freelance dance educator, researcher, and performance consultant specialising in dance and performance psychology, safe dance practice, and mindfulness skills for performance. Her research interests include enhancing psychological recovery in dance, mindfulness and performance, and health and wellbeing in the performing arts. Peta is a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, and is currently a National Executive Committee Member of the Australian Society of Performing Arts Healthcare.

Frank Camilleri is Associate Professor in Theatre Studies at the University of Malta where he also directs the School of Performing Arts’ research group for 21st Century Studies in Performance. He is Artistic Director and founder of Icarus Performance Project, which serves as the main platform of his practice as research (www.icarusproject.info). He has performed and given workshops since 1989, and has published various texts on performer training, theatre as a laboratory, and practice as research. He is the author of Performer Training Reconfigured: Post-psychophysical Perspectives for the Twenty-first Century (Methuen Drama 2019).

Tine Damborg (DK), graduated as a Master of Fine Arts in Movement: Teaching & Directing, from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (2016-2018). She holds the equivalent to a BA in Contemporary Dance from The Danish School of Performing Arts (1992-1995) and has worked as a freelance dancer and performer in dance shows, performances, rock-musicals, touring children’s theatre, and site specific works. In 2005 she began to develop her dance, movement and yoga -teacher practice. In 2005 she founded the Danish youth contemporary dance company, “U-kompagniet” and works as a movement specialist at The Danish School of Performing Arts, Acting department in Odense. (EDITED BY EN)

Dr Shona Erskine is a registered psychologist in private practice and an Adjunct Lecturer at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University. Dr Erskine has an expertise in delivering psychology for performing artists through professional companies, universities, and in private practice. Dr Erskine has developed curriculum in areas of mental wellbeing and creativity with an interest in disseminating best practice models to performing artist, teachers, and directors.

Dr Luke Hopper is a lecturer and Director of the Dance Research Group at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Dr Hopper has published over 20 papers in the field of performing arts health in collaboration with major ballet companies and industry partners. In the interests of disseminating of health evidence which prevents injury and illness in performing artists, Dr Hopper has served on the Board of Directors (2014-2016) of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science and as President of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare.

Vladimir Mirodan, PhD, FRSA is Emeritus Professor of Theatre, University of the Arts London.  Trained on the Directors Course at Drama Centre London, he has directed over 50 productions in the UK as well as internationally and has taught and directed in most leading drama schools in the UK.  He was Director of the School of Performance at Rose Bruford College, Vice-Principal and Director of Drama at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Principal of Drama Centre London and Director of Development and Research Leader, Drama and Performance, Central Saint Martins. He is currently the Chair of the Directors Guild of Great Britain Trust and of the Directors Charitable Foundation.

Professor Gene Moyle is a graduate from the Australian Ballet School and QUT Dance, retraining as a sport and exercise psychologist following a brief career as a professional dancer. Gene has focused upon both the application and research of performance psychology and performance enhancement, particularly within the performing arts and has significant experience in working with and leading multidisciplinary teams within high performance settings (i.e., Olympic programs). She possesses specific expertise in the area of career development and transition in both elite sport and the performing arts, and contributes regularly to the literature on the ethical considerations of sport, exercise and performance psychology practice.

Edward C. Warburton is Professor of Dance at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Warburton received early training at the (U)North Carolina School of the Arts and danced professionally with American Ballet Theater II, Houston Ballet and Boston Ballet. His interest in cognitive dance studies began when studying for a doctorate in human development and psychology at Harvard University. A widely published author, his research explores the relational practices and cognitive processes that support (or undermine) the doing, making, and viewing of dance. Warburton is the recipient of several awards including UCSC’s Excellence in Research (2012), the U.S. National Dance Education Organization’s Outstanding Dance Researcher (2016), and Teachers College’s Sachs Distinguished Lecturer at Columbia University, New York City, NY (2017).

Kelli Zezulka is a postgraduate researcher in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at University of Leeds. A practising lighting designer, she is also a non-executive director of the Association of Lighting Designers and editor of its bi-monthly magazine, Focus. Her research interests include theatre lighting education, creative collaboration, early lighting designers in the UK (1950s to 1960s), trans-languaging and code-switching, and interactional sociolinguistics.

Extended Deadline for Proposals: TDPT Special Issue: Independent Dance and Movement Training

Dear Colleagues,

Given the Covid-19 dramatic changes to life over the last weeks, we have extended the deadline for proposal submissions to the guest editors for the special issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training on ‘Independent dance and movement training to 24th April 2020.

Please would you circulate widely amongst Independent Dance and Movement academics and practitioners?

Many thanks,

                         Libby

Please see the updated Call for Proposals here:

CfP: TDPT Special issue: Performer Training in Australia

Special issue on Performer Training in Australia to be published as TDPT Vol 12.3 (September 2021)

Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors

Guest editors:
Dr Chris Hay, University of Queensland (chris.hay@uq.edu.au)
Professor David Shirley, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University (d.shirley@ecu.edu.au)
Dr Sarah Peters, Flinders University (sarah.peters@flinders.edu.au)
Training Grounds editor:
Dr Soseh Yekanians, Charles Sturt University (syekanians@csu.edu.au)

Conjoined with blood and tears, the axiomatic price of supreme rigour and achievement. Sweat (water, ammonia, salt, sugar) is deemed a noble and miraculous secretion, yet we habitually strive to disguise it. […] In the unapologetic seclusion of the training space, it becomes the proof of our proud status as grafters, as corporeal, visceral, present, working.

As described in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training’s “A Lexicon of Training Terms” (3.1), sweat is a constituent part of training — a synecdoche for the tension and effort that underpin it. Sweat is also a precondition of living and training in Australia, from our corporeal engagement with a heating continent to the metaphorical ‘she’ll be right, mate’. This no sweat, laissez-faire acceptance of the status quo finds its way into training through “a willingness to ‘have a go’; a refusal to be cowed by received authority […] a characteristically Australian suspicion of influence” (Maxwell 2017, p. 326).

The image of sweat also brings with it metaphors of fear, tension and anxiety, often drawn out or extended. This sense of determination over time pushes back against a conception of Australia as the rushed continent, whose artists seek to take short cuts to success. Hugh Hunt, the inaugural director of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, cautioned as much in a 1959 public lecture:

We sometimes expect theatre to be made too quickly. Australians are impatient people, who would like their theatre to be made as quickly as wool grows on a sheep’s back. It takes many years to make it; it takes time to train and develop actors and producers. (Hunt 1960, p. 4)

What has changed since Hunt’s proclamations? What is the labour of training in Australia, and how do we train an “impatient people”? In a country where sweat comes easily, do we mistake the by-product of hard work for the work itself? Hunt, like many others in Australian performance history, speaks only for white Australians: how do (or might?) the distinctive temporalities, collaborative modalities, and lineages of practice of First Nations training and performance inflect performer training in Australia?

Despite the diversity and range of its performance ecology and the prestige in which its major training institutions are held, Australia’s influence in and contribution to key debates has, until fairly recently, remained surprisingly marginal. While much doctoral-level work has considered training in Australia, there is no authoritative, published history of Australian performer training. The history of training is thus another iteration of what Ian Maxwell terms “Australian theatrical bricolage” (2017, p. 338), its history an assemblage of sometimes contradictory facts, uncertain pathways, and unsubstantiated anecdote. In this special issue of TDPT, we endeavour to provide an update to Meredith Rogers and Elizabeth Schafer’s special issue of Australasian Drama Studies “Lineages, Techniques, Training and Tradition” (vol. 53, 2008). We also seek to curate a companion to the roundtable discussion “Training in a Cold Climate”, published in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training 5.2, by considering training in a hot climate.

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Why does Movement Matter?

Explore the past and future of movement as a maker of meaning in theatre. Join world-leading industry professionals including performers, practitioners, directors, teachers and movement influencers for a series of workshops, presentations, discussions and observations.

This one-day symposium will explore the wide-ranging influences that movement has within today’s leading theatres and institutions and will look in more detail at the variety of practices that are now available. We will instigate conversations about the vital contribution movement practice and movement direction make to the industry. There will be open discussion, professional networking and the chance for emerging and established artists to share their work.

This event interrogates and celebrates how this powerful aspect of storytelling in theatre, film and television continues to shape developments in productions and training.

Booking

Tickets £50. Booking is made online, once you have booked your place at the event you will be sent an email requiring your choice of workshops.

https://www.rada.ac.uk/whats-on/movement-symposium/

Schedule

  • 9.15am Registration and welcome breakfast
  • 10am Keynote speaker
  • 10.30am Theatre industry panel
  • 11.45am Masterclass or two short workshops
  • 12.45pm Lunch provided
  • 1.30pm Keynote speaker
  • 2.15pm Industry practitioner panel discussion
  • 3.15pm Masterclass or two short workshops
  • 4.30pm Plenary session
  • 6pm Networking and drinks

Location: RADA Studios, 16 Chenies Street, London WC1E 7EX

Speakers, workshop leaders and panel members include:

Clare Brennan, Mike Alfreds, Vladimir Mirodan, Christina Fulcher, Ruth Anna Phillips, Ita O’Brien, Ingrid McKinnon, Lizzie Ballinger, Paul Christie, Nicola Herd, Hannah Garner, Pascale Lecoq, Jos Houben, Sue Lefton, Jane Gibson, Toby Jones, Nancy Meckler, Annabel Arden, Peta Lily, Vladimir Mirodan, Korina Biggs, Paul Christie, Niamh Dowling, Kate Flatt, Struan Leslie, Tine Damborg, Lizzie Ballinger, and Ayse Tashkiran.

Convenors: Shona Morris (Lead Movement Tutor, RADA), Mark Evans (Professor of Theatre Training, Coventry University)

The Makings of the Actor: The Actor-Dancer

International Conference, Athens 13-24 July, 2020

Hosted by Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation Alkmini Theatre  –   Cartel

Conference Venue: MCF, Alkmini Theatre, Cartel , Athens

The Makings of the Actor: The Actor-Dancer is an international conference held under the auspices of the Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama,and the Labanarium, organized by Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni.

Conference Venue: MCF, Alkmini Theatre, Cartel , Athens

The Actor-Dancer conference will be the first of a series of international events under the aegis of The Makings of the Actor. The mission of The Makings of the Actor project is to gather international practitioners and researchers, from diverse fields of performance practice and scholarship, to develop and disseminate (through conferences and workshops) an evolving performance pedagogy that addresses the needs of present and future actors.

For info and booking please visit https://mcf.gr/language/el/%CE%B5%CE%BA%CE%B4%CE%B7%CE%BB%CF%8E%CF%83%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%82/the-makings-of-the-actor-the-actor-dancer/ or email kiki.selioni@cssd.ac.uk

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Vladimir Mirodan FRSA, Emeritus Professor of Theatre

Prof. Rob Roznowski  Head of Acting & Directing, Department of Theatre, Michigan State University

Prof. Frank Camilieri Associate Professor of Theatre Studies, School of Performing Arts, University of Malta.

Juliet Chambers-Coe  Director of Labanarium; Laban tutor Rose Bruford College (FDS); Drama Studio London (FDS); PhD researcher University of Surrey  www.labanarium.com

Katia Savrami Associate Professor of Choreology at the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Patras, Greece.

Ramunė Balevičiūtė Associate Professor in Theatre Studies, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre

Dr. Evangelos Koudigelis Med. Orthopadisch-Traumatologische Darstellung in den epen homers, University Essen Germany.

Dr. Kiki Selioni Affiliate Research Fellow Royal Central School of Speech and Drama University of London.

Call for papers, teaching demonstrations and performances

Stanislavsky asserted: “[o]ur kind of theatre is fragile and if those who create it don’t take constant care of it, don’t keep moving it forward, do not develop and perfect it, it will soon die.” (qtd. in Toporkov, 2004:106). The Makings of the Actor project seeks to explore how those who create theatre can continue to move it forward and develop it, with a particular focus on the training of the actor.

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Racism and Contemporary Dance Film

Contemporary dance is anecdotally described as a white field of practice. Although there is a growing body of arts research that examines whiteness as racial privilege, there is little that investigates the phenomenon of whiteness in British contemporary dance. Contemporary Dance and Whiteness is a research project that explores how race and racism mark the cultures, institutions and aesthetics underpinning contemporary dance in the UK. 

The project’s aim is to explore racism in contemporary dance and to critique whiteness as part of a commitment to the field’s anti-racist futures. We examine whiteness as a structure of racism that exists in the relationships between personal prejudice, cultural norms, and the lived conditions of inequality and racial violence. We as a project team want to walk a fine line in understanding and critiquing the default presence of whiteness in the field of contemporary dance while centering practices of liberation and solidarity through which whiteness is to be dismantled. 

The research will be built on a number of conversations/interviews with dance artists, administrators and a wider project group of people invested in questions of race and race privilege in the dance industry. The ideas and experiences discussed in those conversations – along with reading available literature – will help develop our understanding, and we will share the research through the following outcomes: a journal article, an academic presentation, a public workshop, a public presentation, a video essay and this website.

The video essay can be viewed here:

The research team is Royona Mitra (Brunel University), Arabella Stanger (University of Sussex) and Simon Ellis (C-DaRE, Coventry University). The project partner is Independent Dance in London. 

Contemporary Dance and Whiteness is funded by the British Academy through their partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The project runs from May to December 2019.

Royona Mitra: royona.mitra@brunel.ac.uk
Arabella Stanger: a.stanger@sussex.ac.uk
Simon Ellis: simon.ellis@coventry.ac.uk

CfP: TDPT Special issue: Independent Dance and Movement Training

Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors

Guest editors:

Henrietta Hale and Nikki Tomlinson, Independent Dance, info@independentdance.co.uk; Gitta Wigro, independent, gwigro@gmail.com

Training Grounds Editor: Dr Sara Reed, Coventry University ab5421@coventry.ac.uk

Independent Dance Training (Issue 12.2)

This special issue guest edited by Henrietta Hale, Nikki Tomlinson and Gitta Wigro draws from our roles at Independent Dance, an organisation that supports and sustains independent dance artists to develop dance as an art form. The ‘independent dance artists’ that ID engages with can be many things. They may produce or perform in choreographic works in theatres, galleries, digital formats or outdoor / informal sites. They may work as facilitators or teachers with other professionals or in community settings, engaging untrained people in dance. Or they may be practitioners from other disciplines such as fine arts, architecture or science who engage in an embodied movement practice to complement and bring new knowledge to their field.

The aim of this issue is to consider and map how movement practices that have evolved from specific traditions or situations are used and re-articulated for other purposes; and show how this plays out in inter-related, international networks of practitioners.

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Individual Acting Coaching by Sinéad Rushe

To complement the publication of her book, Michael Chekhov’s Acting Technique: A Practitioner’s Guide (Bloomsbury, 2020), Sinéad Rushe, theatre director and Senior Lecturer in Acting and Movement at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London is now offering individual acting coaching sessions for professionals in north London.

These include:

  • Character development on a specific role
  • Script analysis
  • Acting technique
  • Unlocking obstructions
  • Dramaturgical development on devised ideas

Sessions cost £75/hour and are tailor-made. Skype sessions are also available.

To book, contact: sinead@sineadrushe.co.uk

Sinéad draws on the methodologies of Michael Chekhov, Stanislavsky and Vsevolod Meyerhold, as well as on her own experience as a director and devisor.

Sinéad studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the École Normale Supérieure, Paris before training as an actor at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. Her directing credits include Night Just Before the Forests (Macau Arts Festival, China 2019), Concert (The Pit, Barbican, London, Baryshnikov Arts Centre, New York & international tour; Gradam Comharcheoil TG4 2018 Award-Winner), Out of Time (The Pit, Barbican, Baryshnikov Arts Centre, New York & international tour; nominated for Olivier and Dance Critics’ Circle Award), Gogol’s Diary of a Madman with Living Pictures (Sherman Cymru, Cardiff, & international tour) and Something or Nothing with Guy Dartnell (The Place Theatre & tour), commissioned by Sadler’s Wells.

She has directed four shows with her own company, out of Inc: Loaded (The Old Rep, Birmingham, Jacksons Lane, London), Night-Light (Oval House, London, Bristol Old Vic & tour), Life in the Folds (BAC, London & tour), and An Evening with Sinéad Rushe (BAC, London), all supported by Arts Council England. www.sineadrushe.co.uk

A Meyerhold Companion: Call for Proposals

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 j.pitches@leeds.ac.uk and stefan.aquilina@um.edu.mt 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.

Why Movement Matters

Movement Symposium on Saturday 18th April 2020 at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London

RADA invites you to submit proposals for contributions to a One Day Symposium on: 

Why Movement Matters

We are holding a one day Symposium with Industry Professionals and Movement Practitioners, directors, teachers and educators, to offer opinions, experiences and ideas about “Why Movement Matters”.

The aim of the event is to raise awareness about the vital contribution movement practice and movement direction make to the industry. We intend to explore movement’s past and its future as a creative maker of meaning in the theatre and hope to create the opportunity for open discussion and professional networking. On a practical level the event will generate opportunities for emerging and established artists to share their work with the possible option to write about and to interrogate questions around practice through journals and other publication outlets.

The idea for this event came from a panel discussion at the Dorfman Studio at The National Theatre in November 2018 to discuss the legacy of Jacques Lecoq and to launch The Routledge Companion to Jacques Lecoq. What emerged from this event was how wide ranging the influence of movement is but how little is known about any of the details of its development and about the variety of practices now available. This event provides an opportunity to share, to interrogate and to celebrate this powerful aspect of how theatre is made and how it continues to shape developments in production and in training.

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Call for Proposals: Performance Research Journal – Special Issue ‘On Hybridity’

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: info@performance-research.org

Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the issue editors:
Frank Camilleri: frank.camilleri@um.edu.mt
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.

CfP: Performance Knowledges: Transmission, Composition, Praxis (University of Malta)

Annual Conference hosted by the School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta
In cooperation with the Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University, UK

11, 12, 13 March 2020

Confirmed keynotes:
Professor Bruce McConachie (University of Pittsburg)
Professor Maaike Bleeker (Utrecht University)
Professor Lynette Goddard (Royal Holloway, University of London)

The seventh Annual Conference of the School of Performing Arts (University of Malta) considers knowledge in relation to performing arts practices. More specifically, the conference aims to explore, question, and discuss the different types of ‘knowledges’ that emerge from or are involved in performing arts practices including creation, production, performance, and spectatorship.

The conference’s focus on performing arts practices—dance, theatre, and music—acknowledges an affinity with Performance Studies, which originated in American universities as a new ‘knowledge formation’ (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1999) with the aim to integrate performance into interdisciplinary scholarship and offer a counterbalance to the emphasis on texts and literature within cultural studies. The conference focus on practices is also strongly connected to developments originating around the same time for artistic research in the context of European higher education. The debates about artistic research have posited basic questions about the constitution of knowledge and its valorisation (Borgdorff 2012). The conditions and opportunities for artistic research in higher education continue to evolve, but many questions about its status and relevance, in connection to knowledge production in particular, remain.

The aim of Performance Knowledges is to offer an opportunity to refresh some of these discussions and debates through a focus on performing arts from the perspectives of transmission, composition, and praxis. This is a chance to include research cultures working at the borderline with the social and cognitive sciences, where the vantage point of the performing arts should provoke a robust discussion of embodied and relational forms of knowledge. It also encourages participants to rethink how in composition and transmission processes knowledge is diversified into different types, including tacit knowledge—with emphasis on process and experience (Polanyi 1958). This should include addressing the question of skill—which is so often overlooked in academic debates about the subject.

We are looking for presentations that engage with questions of varieties, generation, transmission, and implications of performance knowledges. We are looking for inter- and multidisciplinary approaches that might contribute to the analysis of ways of knowing in the performing arts, and to the scholarly study of collaborative encounters between directors, choreographers, composers, performers, designers, and spectators. We are particularly interested in alternative and diverse conceptualisations of practice-generating knowledges, as well as knowledge-generating practices,

Presentation topics might include, but are not limited to, issues and themes of performance knowledges in relation to practices, methodologies, and technologies. We welcome submissions across a number of areas that address the multifaceted understandings of knowledge as emergent in theatre, dance, and music, including but not limited to:

– the artist’s perspective on languaging and documenting practices
– embodied cognition and moving beyond dualism in the practice of the performing arts
– problematising hegemonic knowledges, implications for performing arts
– training processes and compositional strategies as intangible heritage
– practice turn in contemporary theory, communities and ecologies of practice
– habits, skills and contexts for tacit knowledge acquisition and transmission
– perspectives on and from diverse atypical modes and mixed abilities
– historical, analytical, and theoretical understandings of embodiment in the performing arts
– case studies of creators, performers, spectators, and other agents of performance
– technologisation and the impact of digitisation on performance practices
– translation, transformation and/ or appropriation of performance forms

Abstracts of a maximum of 300 words should be submitted in Word Doc by 16 December 2019 to the conference convenors on these addresses: Lucía Piquero (lucia.piquero -at- um.edu.mt) and Scott deLahunta (aa9576 -at- coventry.ac.uk). Acceptance will be confirmed in January 2020. If an official invitation is required earlier for research funding purposes, please contact the convenors and ensure that you submit your abstract as early as possible. Abstracts should include a brief biography (additional 125 words maximum), presentation format whether conventional 15/20-minute presentations or lecture-demonstrations (participatory elements are welcome), and any technical equipment you might require.

Important dates:
Deadline for submissions: 16 December 2019
Notification of acceptance by 20 January 2020
Dates of the conference: 11-13 March 2020
Conference website: https://www.um.edu.mt/events/performanceknowledges2020

Stanislavsky and The Media

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 – (paul@paulfryer.me.uk), 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.

Call for Proposals: Actor Training, Teaching, and Specific Learning Differences/Disabilities

(Dr Petronilla Whitfield, Arts University Bournemouth UK)

Deadline for Proposals 15 December 2019

Call outline

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 (pwhitfield@aub.ac.uk)

Feldenkrais Research Journal Volume 6 Launched

New format for journal features articles on Feldenkrais Method, arts and creative process.

The International Feldenkrais Federation is pleased to announce the publication of Volume 6 of the Feldenkrais Research Journal (FRJ). It is on the theme ofPractices of Freedom: The Feldenkrais Method and Creativity, and offers a critical forum for scholarship, articulation and evaluation of creative practices and pedagogies which are informed by the Feldenkrais Method.

This volume features eleven articles. Several explore the challenges of bringing Feldenkrais-based practices to the context of higher education in music, dance, theatre and performance generally – how to introduce professional and performance-oriented students to the potential of somatic learning. Hypothesis and theory articles explore embodied cognition in dance and math, and include text of a performed piece on a variety of theoretical constructs linked to Feldenkrais Method practice. There is also an article linking Feldenkrais theory to piano technique. Also included are reviews of a recent book on Feldenkrais for Actors, and of theatre works by choreographer Ohad Naharin. The Research in Progress section previews interactive research design investigating active sitting.

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International Platform for Performer Training (IPPT) 7th edition: 9-12 January 2020

Department of Drama and Theatre Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK



‘In the beginning was the Word…’  John 1.1


Words in, of and for Performer Training

In the Bible, Words came first. In performance practice, words probably followed movement, dance, art and sounds. Who knows….?  Exploring what comes next, this seventh edition of the International Platform for Performer Training will investigate how words function in, of and for Performer Training across three broad areas:

  1. How the denotative or nonsemantic properties of words in performance are explored through training, and how movement, voice and text can be combined to achieve an integrated mise-en-scène (or not)
  2. How trainers use words in training practice, in order to exhort, encourage, clarify or instruct as well as what they do and don’t say, to whom and when; 
  3. How words that are written about training, be it our own practices today or that of others past or present, might document or act as inspiration for practice. 
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The Practice Diaries Exchange session 1: Call For Reflections

The Practice Diaries Exchange will begin the first discussion session on the concept of training based on the question contributed by Prof. Mark Evans:

Does History Matter?

If I am training myself or undergoing training, does the history that underpins the exercises that I do matter to me or have any meaningful impact on the efficacy of the training? Training typically takes place ‘in the moment’ and the immediate experience of the exercises is often what seems to matter the most. But what about the background to those exercises, their provenance and ‘heritage’? Can exercises come with baggage – either ideological, gendered, colonial or otherwise? And if so, how do we as trainers and trainees address that baggage and deal with it?

This question reminds us of the significance of history, background, or heritage of training approaches as we often tend to focus on the immediate, perceptible experience during training. It inspires us to consider looking back to or remembering the foundational nature of training approaches that influence our training processes and the results. In our responses, let us go beyond dualistic appraisals with regards to advantages or disadvantages related to the question. Rather, as we train, it is worth pondering how we think of, and what we do with ‘heritage’ encompassed by a training practice, whilst also considering that the ‘heritage’ may have changed over time when a practice moves from one cultural realm to another.

Everyone who is interested in this topic is welcome to send reflections, responses or findings to the editor of the section, I-Ying Wu, at ginggingla@gmail.com any time before the session is closed on 31 July. The material can be in any forms such as writing, video, audio, or other creative forms that are suitable to present your ideas or arguments clearly on the blog.

Call for Papers: Against the Canon

Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT)

Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors

Guest editors: Dr Cass Fleming, Goldsmiths College, London (c.fleming@gold.ac.uk) and Professor Mark Evans, Coventry University (m.evans@coventry.ac.uk). 

Training Grounds Editor: Dr Sara Reed, Coventry University (ab5421@coventry.ac.uk

Against the Canon (Issue 11.3) 

This will be a special issue of the journal which addresses the forgotten or marginalised contributions made by various collaborative artists and practitioners to the development of performer training during the twentieth and twenty first centuries.  Many previous publications on training have tended to focus on canonical figures and the dominant historical performer-training narratives. Less attention has been paid to collaboration as an important characteristic of avant-garde performance training, and to the complex collaborations through which pedagogy and work has been developed and disseminated.  This journal issue will intentionally centralise these collaborative exchanges, thereby shifting the focus away from canonical individual figures and towards frequently overlooked or under-recognised collaborators, practitioners and pedagogues.  

We invite contributions that might challenge the manner in which traditional performer training histories often still seek to capture the ‘purity’ of established methods and also to identify individual owners of successful techniques.  This issue will seek to challenge the ways in which practitioners such as Stanislavsky, Copeau, Laban, Grotowski and Lecoq are often uncritically revered as ‘Master Teachers’ and the ways in which this obscures or negates the existence of wider networks of artists who contributed to the development of these training practices, many of whom were women. To this extent we are not looking simply to critique existing canonical figures, but to bring forward the work of those who are usually ignored.

In addition, this edition will also explore strands of performer training that emerged for artists whose needs, and/or identities, have been poorly catered for or marginalised by the dominant trainings and institutions in the twentieth century. This might cover the emergence of performer training and talent development by companies such as Talawa, Graeae, Candoco and Tamasha or organisations such as WAC Arts, The Diversity School Initiative, Identity School of Acting and The Mono Box in the UK, as well as practices elsewhere in the world that challenge and disrupt conventional and canonical processes of training.   

The special issue proposes to contest traditional linear, colonial and/or patriarchal histories by encouraging an exploration of hidden acts of non-linear cross-fertilisation in the development of training practices, recognising the alternative forms of pedagogy developed outside the mainstream, and considering related critical and ideological ideas. The re-positioning of generally marginalised or overlooked artists and their work can also be seen to follow from a larger, and older, feminist project, from the rise of the #MeToo campaign, and from the need to de-colonise the performer training canon.  Proposals may also look to Post Colonial studies, Queer studies and Disabilities Art in terms of critically considering the reasons for exclusion and omission from the mainstream and the training needs of a more diverse community of performers.  

This guest edited issue welcomes submissions using alternative forms of historiography and documentations, and diverse critical approaches, that may be better suited to explore non-linear cross-fertilisation in the development of training practices, and the emergence of new forms of training that often existed outside the dominant historical models.  

The special issue will:

  • re-position and re-examine generally marginalised or overlooked artists/pedagogues and their work. 
  • examine the ways in which gender, race, disability, sexuality, social class and economics function to marginalise practices and practitioners.
  • question how diverse collaborations and training approaches have been distorted and blocked by social, cultural and industrial forces.
  • encourage contributions that engage with the ways in which we document and acknowledge previously overlooked collaborative exchanges. 

Expressions of interest

We are particularly interested in (but are not limited to) submissions in the following areas:

  • Articles and Sources that draw critical attention to those pedagogues, practitioners and trainers whose collaborative contributions have been historically overlooked or denied. This can be groups of practitioners, or individuals.
  • Articles and Sources that question the single authoring of training methodologies and conventional notions of ‘ownership’.
  • Articles and Sources that explore the development of performer training outside of mainstream provision.
  • The role of post training professional mentoring in challenging traditional modes of training.
  • Articles using creative forms of historiography. 

We welcome submissions from authors both inside and outside academic institutions and from those who are currently undergoing training or who have experiences to tell from their training histories. To signal your interest and intention to make a contribution to this special issue in any one of the ways identified above please email an abstract (max 250 words) to Cass Fleming and Mark Evansat: c.fleming@gold.ac.ukand m.evans@coventry.ac.uk. Training Grounds proposals are to be made to Sara Reed, (ab5421@coventry.ac.uk) with copies to Mark and Cass.

Our deadline for these abstracts is 16th June 2019.

Theatre, Dance and Performance Traininghas three sections: 

  • Articles” feature contributions in a range of critical and scholarly formats (approx. 5,000-7,000 words) 
  • Sources” provide an outlet for the documentation and analysis of primary materials of performer trainingWe are particularly keen to receive material that documents the histories and contemporary practices associated with the issue’s theme.
  • Training Grounds” hosts shorter pieces, which are not peer reviewed, including essais, postcards, visual essays and book or event reviews. We welcome a wide range of different proposals for contributions including edited interviews and previously unpublished archive or source material. We also welcome suggestions for recent books on the theme to be reviewed; or for foundational texts to be re-reviewed. 

Innovative cross-over print/digital formats are possible, including the submission of audiovisual training materials, which can be housed on the online interactive Theatre, Dance and Performance Trainingjournal blog: http://theatredanceperformancetraining.org/

Issue Schedule

  • 16th June 2019:250 word proposals to be submitted to Cass Fleming andMark Evans at: c.fleming@gold.ac.ukand m.evans@coventry.ac.uk.
  • Early July 2019: Response from editors and, if successful, invitation to submit contribution.
  • Early July 2019 to end October 2019: Writing/preparation period and submission of first drafts.
  • End October-End of December 2019:Peer review period.
  • January 2020:Author revisions, post peer review.
  • September 2020: publication as Vol. 11, Issue 3.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Cumbria Youth Dance collaboration with TDPT

5 tips to make the most of a blog entry

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.

Photo: Henry Iddon

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:

  1. 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?
  2.  Be simple and natural with your writing – blogs can be informal and are often all the more engaging when they are. 
  3. 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!)
  4. Keep things short and sweet. Blogs are often read while people are doing other things – so keep the message simple.
  5. 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.

Jonathan Pitches (j.pitches@leeds.ac.uk)

(TDPT co-editor and academic at Leeds University) 

Call for Papers: The Makings of the Actor – Athens 17-26 July 2019

Towards Contemporary Acting Techniques, Practices & Methodologies    

Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Labanarium and MCF have taken the initiative to organize a Conference in Athens. The conference The Makings of the Actor aims to offer a platform to dialogue about the skills and knowledge necessary to develop the contemporary actor. The Conference will be the pilot event towards the establishment of the International Centre for Actor’s training that will officially open the next year 2020 in Athens supported by many institutions. Its mission is to gather international practitioners and researchers to discuss the needs of contemporary performance practice through conferences, performances, and workshops taking place internationally.

Contrary to the between-ness of our global realities, the vast majority of professional/conservatory-based training programmes in Europe, the UK, US, and Australia with a few exceptions have not yet embraced multi-, inter-, intra-cultural realities in their structure or pedagogical practice. Assumptions about what acting ‘is’ continue to be shaped by conventional modes, models, techniques, and structures that often resist both critical and/or creative self-examination (Zarrilli, Sasitharan and Kapur, 2016: 336).

The conference wants to address these perspectives and invites contributions addressing the following questions:

  • what constitutes outstanding acting?
  • The role of ‘talent’ in acting training
  • How to train skills and dexterity
  • How do we train and teach to reach all of the above

Our main goal is to open the discussion about this crucial issue of how to develop an actor today and to open a platform where for the first time we can as practitioners discuss our practices in order to create a community that can reach solutions.

Keynote Speakers     

Pr. Sergei Tcerkasckki Head of an Acting Studio in Russian State Institute of Performing Arts (he will also deliver an intensive week Workshop about Stanislavsky’s system) 100 years of the Stanislavsky System and Modern Actor Training

Pr. Andy Lavender in Theatre & Performance at the University of Warwick.  Head of the School of Theatre & Performance Studies and Cultural & Media Policy Studies, University of Warwick.

Dr. Tom Cornford, Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Sulian Vieira Pacheco, Assistant Professor, Department of Performing Arts, University of Brasilia 

Avra Sidiropoulou Assistant Professor at the Μ.Α. program in Theatre Studies at the Open University of Cyprus

Pr. Nikos Geladas School of Physical Education and Sports Science   National and Kapodistrian University of Athens ·

Dr. Katia Savrami  Assistant Professor of Choreology at the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Patras, Greece.

Pr. Rob Roznowski Head of Acting and Directing in the Department of Theatre. Professor Michigan State University, USA.

Ramunė Balevičiūtė Associate Professor in Theatre Studies, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre

Call for Papers, Teaching Demonstrations and Performances 17-26  July (Except Sunday 21th)

We welcome submissions from acting/voice/movement teachers, actors coaches, theatre practitioners, actors, directors, training practitioners, theatre researchers, practice and academic researchers within varying aspects of practice.  

For papers please send your abstract of 200 words for your oral presentation (20 min) in a Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address. The paper presentations will be 20 min they are followed by a 10 min discussion with the audience/participants.

Submissions of teaching demonstration must be in English and can be up to 4 pages (including references and figures) in a Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address. The first 2 pages are expected to describe your system. The third and fourth pages are expected to be used for images, references, and technical requirements. You should expect wireless network access. A number of  8-10 students will be provided for all accepted demonstrations. The Demonstration allows practitioners/researchers to demonstrate their works in teaching in a dedicated session of 60-70 min. they are followed by a 20 min discussion with the audience/participants.

Performances will take place at Michael Cacoyannis Foundation Theatre Hall. Proposals must outline the planned work accurately in 2 pages in a Word doc form and must include title, brief Cv, technical requirements, images, and video. Performances running must be 20-90 min. and they are followed by a 20 min discussion with the audience/participants.

Please send your submission until 15th May 2019 to kiki.selioni@cssd.ac.uk

If an official invitation is required earlier for research funding purposes, please contact kiki.selioni@cssd.ac.uk  and ensure that you submit your abstract as early as possible.

Submissions based on an implemented and tested system that innovative approaches related to conference’s areas of interest, (including but not limited to):

Acting techniques/systems/methodologies

Voice speaking training

Dance and movement training for actors

Martial arts, stage combat

Acting coaching on screen

Actor and musical productions

Improvisation techniques and rehearsal process

Theory and/or Practice  

Performance as Training

Psychology of the Actor

Presence and Truth on Stage

Ecstatic and Ritual Acting

Metaphysics and Physics in Actor’s presence

Acting in Education

Actors in Industry and their continuous training

Amateur/Professional Actors skills.

Skills and dexterities in Acting

Acting/Coaching Teachers and their skills.

Choreography in Acting

Participants Fees:

Papers: €150

Demonstrations: €300

Performances: €100-300

Conference Attendance Fees: €200

Student and unwaged €100

Workshop Monday 22 July to Friday 26 July 14.00-19.00

Modern Stanislavsky System in the Mirror of Chekhov’s “The Seagull”

This two-part workshop gives an experience of work according to the different phases of Stanislavsky’s System development. Starting from the intensive practical overview of different approaches to work of an actor on himself/herself it moves forward to scene work.

Rehearsal techniques (Etude technique, Method of Physical Actions, Action Analysis) are discussed and experienced. Closer examination of Treplev’s play in play reveals how Action Analysis might be applied not only for psychological drama but to the nonrealistic playwriting (here, to symbolic drama) as well.

Workshop fees:

Participants: €400 Student & unwaged: €300

Attendants: €200Student & unwaged: €100 

For info and booking please send your application and brief cv to: kiki.selioni@cssd.ac.uk

The full call is here

The Practice Diaries Exchange – Call for Proposals

The Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Blog has launched a new section, The Practice Diaries Exchange. The Exchange is a place to explore, discuss, debate and rethink the concept of training/practice in order to give weight to training/practice as a ‘deep-going’ process of cultivation that can lead to to profound understanding and realisation of embodied knowledge in performing arts. In order to create an open space where everyone may share their opinions, this section will run like a forum – calling for a question as a theme first and then collecting contributed articles for follow-up discussions. The question will serve as a stimulus to not only attract and invite various views from known or experienced knowledge but also to encourage people adopt a practice-as-research process for exploring the offered question.

To begin the first discussion session, we welcome the proposal of questions from all artists, practitioners, researchers, students and blog readers who are interested in training or practicing processes of performing arts. The questions related to training/practice could come from your experiences, something you have been contemplating, or from a sudden creative idea. If you are interested to raise a question for the first session, please send your proposal to the section editor, I-Ying Wu, at ginggingla@gmail.com before 29 April, 2019. A proposal could include a short description to expand on the question.

For more information about The Practice Diaries Exchange, please see the new page of the section.

Call for Papers: Training for Performance Art and Live Art

“Action/Ideas” workshop at Cardiff College of Art (UK) in the early 1970s; photographer unknown

This special issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT) is interested in the training of performance and live artists – its forms, histories, pedagogies, geographies, institutions and anti-institutions, and its legacies. To speak of ‘training’ in this context may seem surprising as the term evokes notions of tradition, technique and canon that performance and live art have frequently challenged or abandoned altogether. And biographies of performance and live artists often imply that their artistic formation occurred despite rather than because of the formal training they received at art colleges and universities. Yet, the making of performance and live art requires many skills and knowledges, whether embodied or conceptual, compositional or professional, and such skills and knowledges have been the subject of a multiplicity of approaches to their nurture and development.

Training for Performance Art and Live Art is interested in tracking the approaches to training in performance and live art as they have emerged both within and outside the contexts of formal education. The histories of performance art and live art are deeply imbricated with those of education and its institutions. Many artists who have shaped performance and live art have also been committed teachers and activists educators; pedagogical approaches to their teaching emerged alongside the performance practices themselves; educational institutions offered material support for the making of performance works and provided a living for its artists; and the integration of performance into their provision has led to changes to the organisational structures and procedures of art schools and universities. At the same time, performance and live artists have devised radical artist-led modelsof anti-training, created non-institutional spaces of learning and adopted events and publications as alternative forms of curricula.

This call for contributions invites textual, visual or performative submissions (see below) that examine the role that training and education have played for performance and live art. We are particularly keen to receive proposals that explore the theme from an historical perspective; and those that discuss local, translocal, national or transnational contexts for the pedagogical and training histories of performance and live art. We also encourage contributions that evaluate the legacies of these histories, and that assess their continuing relevance and potential for re-activation in the context of today’s predominantly normative, market-driven educational provision. Contributions that explore the methodological implications of documenting and researching what has gone on in the training spaces of performance and live art are also welcome.

We also welcome suggestions for recent books on the theme to be reviewed; or for foundational texts on the topic of performance and live art training to be re-reviewed. 

Innovative cross-over print/digital formats are possible, including the submission of audiovisual training materials, which can be housed on this online interactive Theatre, Dance and Performance Training blog: http://theatredanceperformancetraining.org/

Areas of interest for the Special Issue include (but are not limited to):

• distinct pedagogical approaches to the teaching of performance and live artists

• experimental and alternative modes of training in performance and live art

• models of anti-training in performance

• the role of educational institutions in the emergence of performance art and live art

• the role of anti-institutional, counter-educational or deschooling initiatives in the emergence of performance art and live art (eg. anti-universities; artist-run schools; cooperatives; workshops; laboratories)

• approaches to learning and ’unlearning’ in performance training

• models of the ‘self-taught’ performance artist

• training as continuing artistic practice

• translocal or transnational exchanges and collaborations (eg. festivals; residencies; magazines; mail art) and their impact on the pedagogies of performance and live art

• the impact of key teachers on the development of performance and live art (eg. John Cage; Joseph Beuys; Allan Kaprow; Suzanne Lacy; Alastair MacLennan; Marina Abramović; Anthony Howell; Alanna O’Kelly; Doris Stauffer; Roy Ascott; Rose Finn-Kelcey; etc)

• publications on the pedagogy and training of performance and live art (eg. Anthony Howell; Charles Garioan; Marilyn Arsem) and their impact

• artists books; charts; games or kits as alternative curriculum models for performance and live art 

• alternative spaces and models for intergenerational exchanges in the framework of teaching and learning performance and live art

• the documentation of teaching practices in the field of performance and live art

• research approaches to the histories of training in performance and live art

• the impact of the ‘pedagogization’ of performance and live art on artistic development

• institutional legacies of performance art training

• strategies for the re-activation of past pedagogies for the future ofperformance and live art

About Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT)

Special Issues of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT) are an essential part of its offer and complement the open issues in each volume. TDPTis an international academic journal devoted to all aspects of ‘training’ (broadly defined) within the performing arts. It was founded in 2010 and launched its own blog in 2015. Our target readership comprises scholars and the many varieties of professional performers, makers, choreographers, directors, dramaturgs and composers working in theatre, dance, performance and live art who have an interest in the practices of training. TDPT’s co-editors are Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds) and Libby Worth (Royal Holloway, University of London).

Submitting a proposal:

To signal your interest and intention to make a contribution to this special issue please contact Heike Roms for an initial exchange of ideas/thoughts or email a proposal (max 300 words) to Heike Roms at h.roms@exeter.ac.uk

Firm proposals for all three sections (Articles, Sources or Training Grounds) must be received by 1 May 2019 at the latest.

Please identify the intended format for your proposed contribution; and whether you would like it to be considered for the “Articles”, “Sources” or “Training Ground” section and/or the blog.

Issue Schedule:

1 May 2019: Proposals to be submitted to Heike Roms h.roms@exeter.ac.uk

31 May 2019: Response from editor and, if successful, invitation to submit contribution

June to End August 2019: Writing/preparation period 

Start Sept to end October 2019: Peer review period

November 2019 – end January 2020: Author revisions post peer review

June 2020: Publication as Issue 11.2

Stanislavsky Research Centre Launch

Please join us for the inaugural event of the Stanislavsky Research Centre based at the University of Leeds.

‘The Inner Creative State: Practical Stanislavsky for the 21st-Century Actor’

A Practical Lecture/Presentation to celebrate the launch of the Stanislavsky Research Centre, by Bella Merlin, PhD.

May 7th 2019 (5-7.30pm) Alec Clegg Studio, stage@leeds, University of Leeds

In our increasingly digitized and visual industry, actors have to adapt their skillsets constantly for different media, styles of storytelling and myriad roles. How might we develop our ‘inner creative state’ so that we can remain professionally flexible, imaginatively available and emotionally thin-skinned? 

In this practical lecture/presentation, Bella Merlin draws upon recent experience in film, theatre and actor training to share how Stanislavsky’s ‘toolkit’ provides a sound bedrock for developing our ‘inner creative state’. Using the fundamental principles of Active Analysis, along with tools including a ‘constant state of inner improvisation’, the ‘creation of the living word’ and ‘dual consciousness’, Merlin addresses how practice-as-research can take us deeper into our acting processes. 

Bella Merlin, PhD. is an actor, writer and Professor of Acting and Directing at the University California, Riverside. Her publications include The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit (NHB, 2014), Konstantin Stanislavsky (Routledge, 2018), and Facing the Fear: An Actor’s Guide to Overcoming Stage Fright (NHB, 2016).

Tickets are free but registration is essential:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/stanislavsky-research-centre-launch-a-practical-lecture-by-bella-merlin-tickets-57588750503

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception with more details about the Centre’s programme of activities.

We look forward to welcoming you to Leeds.

Paul Fryer (Director)

Jonathan Pitches (Deputy Director)

Call for Papers – TaPRA 2019, Performer Training Working Group: ‘Exercise’

University of Surrey, 4-6 September, 2019

The Performer Training Working Group

The Performer Training Working Group has been meeting for thirteen years and has produced several collaborative outputs, including a variety of contributions to the thrice-yearly journal, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT), dedicated to training in all its manifestations, and this blog.

The Context – ‘Exercise’

Performer training is often conducted through and made up of ‘exercises’. These short activities, put together in a particular structure are the substance of what the trainee undertakes in the studio.  And yet, what is an exercise?  The most obvious definition from the Oxford English Dictionary is ‘a task set to practise or test a skill.’  However, the many meanings of the word imbue it with a host of connotations including physical training, military drills, or the use of one’s rights.

Exercises to train performers are documented in the Natya Sastra (500 BCE – 500CE) and Zeami’s treatise (14th Century CE) and have proliferated around the world in the wake of Stanislavski’s systemization of acting at the start of the 20th Century.  Exercises are the core of performance training; books about performance in all its forms commonly contain catalogues of exercises; workshops and masterclasses are often structured around engagement with and critique of exercises.  And yet, possibly through the blindness of familiarity, this fundamental building block of our work usually escapes interrogation.

We are seeking contributions that add to our understanding of what exercises are, the different ways they have been used in performance training, what their limits are, and what might be beyond them.

We Invite:

We invite contributions in a variety of formats from practical demonstrations and workshops (30-60 minutes), traditional academic papers (20 minutes) and provocations (10 minutes).   Practitioners and researchers without institutional support are encouraged to apply and may contact the convenors to discuss ways that we might facilitate this.  Contributors may also wish to make use of the TDPT Blog as part of their presentation.

For full details please go to the TaPRA website:

The deadline for the submission of a 300-word proposal, plus additional information, is Monday 8th April 2019.

Embodied/Embodying Performer Training: Practices and Practicalities

TaPRA Performer Training Working Group Interim Event

24th April 2019, University of South Wales, Cardiff Campus, The ATRiuM

Call deadline: March 15th

Continue reading

Research Event at Leeds: Training for Directing


School of Performance and Cultural Industries

Alec Clegg Studio

University of Leeds

Monday February 11th, 5-7pm

Organised by the Performance Training, Preparation and Pedagogy Research Group

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Join us for an exciting evening dedicated to Directing including:

a talk by Professor Simon Shepherd (Central School of Speech and Drama) and sharing of work in progress of Phaedra I  by Persona Theatre Company and directed by Dr Avra Sidiropoulou, Open University of Cyprus, followed by a roundtable discussion with the creative team.

The event will conclude with a wine reception and the launch of the series The Great European Stage Directors edited by Simon Shepherd and Directions for Directing by Avra Sidiropoulou (2018). 

Phaedra I  ­is a solo multimedia portrayal of a modern-day Phaedra, bearing all the ambiguities of a restless, contemporary woman who oscillates between the desires of the body and the attraction to the void, suffocating in her socially imposed roles within the ruins of a decaying metropolis. The production’s use of 3-D mapping, video projections and minimalist aesthetics yields a highly poetic visual journey through Phaedra’s stations of personal and public history. Phaedra I—is being realized with the kind support of the J.F.Costopoulos Foundation.

Simon Shepherd will ask ‘What do directors direct?’, building on his previous reflections on the specific role of the director. This, will be argued, is as distinct from the activity of directing.  In answering this question, the talk shall suggest the key things directors need to be able to do, and consequently what they have to learn.

Please RSVP to Linda Watson, Linda Watson, L.M.Watson@leeds.ac.uk, by Thursday the 7th of February.