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.
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."
from paper delivered at Sussex University May 2004)
Last updated March 2007