Teaching and Research

Much of my work over the last ten years has come out of my teaching at the Wimbledon School of Art (now Wimbledon College of Art since August 2006), The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the London Institute (now University of the Arts, London), The Central School of Speech and Drama and internationally in Europe, Africa and Asia.

‘to further knowledge and understanding of performance by exploring the interface between the visual and the word.’

- one of the aims of the ‘Renaissance Project’ which I initiated with designers Peter Farley and Michael Pavelka at the Wimbledon School of Art.

Hamlet 2007

Hamlet 2001

Hamlet 2007
"When I first started working at Wimbledon the text/character based discourse of the drama school and the post-modern/visual approach of the art school seemed incompatible. In the drama schools responsibility for the visual is passed to the director and designer. The relationship between the word and the image is rarely discussed with actors apart from in matters of function, ‘I can’t walk on this rake.’ or costume, ‘My character wouldn’t wear this.’ The audience isn’t considered at all. The psycho-physical, and linear conceptions of character, motivation and action which underpin most drama school training tend to disempower the performer at the very point when they could exert most control – in the moment of performance.

For the designers, word based text can be fragmented or eliminated. New narratives are created driven by the demands of the visual. Meaning is fluid, imprecise and the audience makes its meaning from the range of signifiers on offer. The human form, depersonalized, can become just another element in the mise-en-scène. Once again the performer appears to have given over control to someone else.

At Wimbledon this ‘conjuncture of practices’ provides the creative tension from which new work is made."

(Extract from paper delivered at Sussex University May 2004)

E-mail: ejp.collins@virgin.net or j.collins@wimbledon.arts.ac.uk

Last updated March 2007