The Future of Training: Practice and Publication

The Future of Training: Practice and Publication

Wednesday 31st of October, 15:15-17:15

University of Leeds, School of Performance and Cultural Industries

Alec Clegg Studio

Jane Collins, Jonathan Pitches, Ben Spatz and Kelli Zezulka will talk about recent developments in performer and theatre training practice as well as the publications opportunities in the journals they respectively represent as editors (see below for bios and abstracts).

The event is open to all, particularly suitable for emerging scholars, early career researchers, those interested in practice-based research, and Halloween revellers.

The event is FREE, please RSVP to Linda Watson: [email protected].

Organised by the Performance Training, Preparation and Pedagogy Research Group

Jane Collins, Wimbledon College of Art: Material Training

Jane’s talk will draw on her own research and practice and make the argument for establishing closer links between performer training and design, scenography and the material practices of performance in the 21st century. As such it will call for a more holistic approach to performer training – along the lines of the planned provision at Wimbledon College of Arts.

Jane Collins is Professor of Theatre and Performance at Wimbledon College of Art. She is a writer, director and theatre-maker who has worked all over the UK and abroad.  She co-edited Theatre and Performance Design: a Reader in Scenography (2010). In 2009, Collins restaged the award-winning Ten Thousand Several Doors for the Brighton International Festival and her essay on this production is included in the collection, Performing Site-Specific Theatre: Politics, Place, Practice published in autumn 2012.  Also in 2012 Collins secured funding to establish a partnership between the University of Hyderabad and Wimbledon College of Art from UKIERI (UK – India Education and Research Initiative) to jointly investigate; Scenography in a digital age; a comparative study of the impact on new media on contemporary Indian and British performance practice.  Jane is a member of TrAIN and in 2014 was awarded a network grant from the AHRC, Performing Romani Identities: Strategy and Critique. A chapter on this project ‘Scenography Matters:  Performing Romani Identities: Strategy and Critique’ appears in Scenography Expanded, an introduction to contemporary performance design, Bloomsbury 2017. She is founding member of UAL Performance Network, an interdisciplinary network of artists who run workshops and performance-related events across the university and co-editor of the Routledge journal Theatre and Performance Design.

Jonathan Pitches, University of Leeds: Simultaneity and Asynchronicity in Performer Training: Massive Open Online Courses as training tools

Training is moving online. From fire safety to DIY computer-building, from salsa moves to film-making, core skills are being compartmentalised, digitised and disseminated in a host of online environments. What impact has this challenge to pedagogical norms had on studio-based performer training and how might things change in the future?  This short talk seeks to address these questions through a consideration of the complexities of time and temporality in digital performer training environments using a Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC) run on the Future Learn platform: Meyerhold’s Biomechanics.

Jonathan Pitches is Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Leeds and specialises in the study of performer training, environmental performance and blended learning. He is founding co-editor of the journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training and has published several books in this area including Vsevolod Meyerhold (2003/18), Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting (2006/9) Russians in Britain (2012) and Stanislavsky in the World (with Dr Stefan Aquilina 2017). He is editor of Great Stage Directors Vol 3: Komisarjevsky, Copeau, Guthrie (2018) and sole author of Performing Mountains (forthcoming 2019), supported by the AHRC.

Ben Spatz, Huddersfield University: Performer Training and Embodied Audiovisual Research

Ben will introduce the new interdisciplinary, open access, videographic Journal of Embodied Research, published by Open Library of Humanities, which supports peer review for video articles in any field of embodied research. After discussing the various approaches to the “audiovisual body” taken by the four video articles published in JER 1.1 (2018), Ben will discuss their own current embodied audiovisual research, including the AHRC-funded project “Judaica: An Embodied Laboratory for Songwork” and the series of scholarly video articles it led to via a new embodied audiovisual research method.

Ben Spatz is author of What a Body Can Do: Technique as Knowledge, Practice as Research (Routledge 2015); AHRC Leadership Fellow (2016-2018); and Senior Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Huddersfield, UK. They edit the new videographic Journal of Embodied Research from Open Library of Humanities and convene the IFTR Embodied Research Working Group. More information: <>.

Kelli Zezulka, University of Leeds: The Language of Training: Design and Scenography

Kelli’s research examines the linguistic practices of theatre lighting designers and their collaborators at work. One of the aims of this research is to identify ways in which design information can be better conveyed, discuss working practices with more clarity and preciseness, and better teach these practices to emerging scenographic practitioners. Starting with a brief outline of my research and an example from my fieldwork, Kelli will briefly explore the implications specifically for theatre lighting training but also for collaboration more generally.

Kelli Zezulka is a lightening designer, trained at LAMDA, and in the final year of her PhD in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at University of Leeds. She is the editor of Focus, the journal of the Association of Lighting Designers, and has worked in editorial roles on several journals and academic books. She currently has two journal articles, a book chapter and a book proposal under review.