Intersections 2015 Schedule

Intersections 2015 – Impact/Value

The theme of this year’s Intersections is ‘Impact and/or value’. In a climate in performance research and the performing arts which is increasingly looking to demonstrate its ‘impact’ not just upon its field of investigation, but also upon society at large, this conference explores how performance researchers regard the relationship between their own research and the potential for impact. With government agencies, funders and public arts and research policy-makers looking to assess the value of research in terms of its various external impacts (social, cultural, economic), how are researchers themselves responding to these demands?

In addition to the diverse range of papers presented in the conference’s panels, Intersections 2015 is proud to host two keynote speeches by Professor Franc Chamberlain (Huddersfield) with Dr Gareth White (RCSSD) as respondent, and by Dr Colette Conroy (Hull) with Professor Sally Mackey (RCSSD) responding.



Thursday 15th January 2015

09:30 – 10:00

Registration (Reception)

10:00 – 10:15

Welcome: Dr Tony Fisher and the conference committee (Rehearsal Room 1/2)

10:15 – 11:30

Keynote Speech (Rehearsal Room 1/2)
“The Problem of Impact and Value in Practice as Research”

Speaker: Professor Franc Chamberlain (Huddersfield) Respondent: Dr Gareth White (RCSSD)

11:30 – 11:50

Coffee break

11:50 – 13:20 – Rehearsal room 1/2

11:50 – 13:20 – Rehearsal room 3

Panel 1: From Training to Product: Values and the Economy of the Theatre Industry

Chaired by Will Pinchin

Panel 2: Discourses of Value, and the Impact of Discourses

Chaired by Dr Experience Bryon

The Interdependence of Public and Private Finance in the Performing Arts – Dr Stephen Hetherington

What is the Value of Clown Training? – Jon Davison

The Value of Actor Training- Meyerhold’s Biomechanics – Chloe Whitehead

A Glimpse of Stocking: Historically Situating Camp Performance as a Commentary on Impact and Value – Simon Dodi

The Value of Power Distribution in Actor Training – Evi Stamatiou

Visions of Radio: Interrogating the Impact of Radio Drama Theory – Farokh Soltani

13:20 – 14:30

Lunch break

14:30 – 16:00 – Rehearsal room 1/2

14:30 – 16:00 – Rehearsal room 3

Panel 3: INTER-impact, or how things affect others

Chaired by Wendy Gadian

Panel 4: The Shape of Values: Images, Selves and Aesthetics

Chaired by Dr Joel Anderson

An Investigation into Current Acting and Music Performance in Higher Education Courses in the UK – Helen Price

Dancing on Documentation’: Exploring the Transformative Impact of the Past on Present Improvisations – Jindeon Park

The Fun Palace: A Collaborative Research in Theatre and Architecture – Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez

Mask Construction with Cardboard Citizens’ ACT NOW and St Mungo;s Broadway Recovery College – Will Pinchin

New Insights into the Notion of Interculturalism and Hybridity in Musical Theatre – Alejandro Postigo Gomez

Text, Theatricality and Impact – Silvia Dumitriu

16:00 – 16:20

Coffee break

16:20 – 17:30

Intersections: Open Space Plenary or Panel Discussion on Impact and Value (Staff Room)

17:30 – 19:00

Wine reception (Staff room)

Friday 16th January 2015

09:30 – 10:00

Registration (Reception)

10:00 – 11:15

Keynote Speech (Rehearsal Room 1/2) “Participation, politics and plays)

Speaker: Dr Colette Conroy (Hull) Respondent: Professor Sally Mackey (RCSSD)

11:15 – 11:30

Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00 – Rehearsal room 1/2

11:30 – 13:00 – Rehearsal room 3

Panel 5: Who Values the Establishment?

Chaired by Dr Selina Busby

Panel 6: Archive, Stage and Private Values: Textile, Dress and Costume

Chaired by Caroline Townsend

Who Values Dance Made by Disabled Artists? Empirical and Academic Research in Dance and Law? – Kate Marsh and Mathilde Pavis

Precious? – Toni Bate and Liz Garland

Why Should a Theatre Engage with its Local Communities? An Examination of Joan Littlewood’s Fun Palace and Figure 8 Concepts through a Cultural Value Lens – Naomi Alexander

The Wear Project – Nadia Malik

Life of the Cloth – Stories in the Making –

Clair Sweeney

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch break

14:00 – 15:30 – Rehearsal room 1/2

14:00 – 15:30 – Rehearsal room 3

Panel 7: Who Defines Value? Participants, Directors and the Power to Ascribe Value

Chaired by Amanda Stuart-Fisher

Panel 8: The Value of Disobedience

Chaired by Dr Tony Fisher

Challenging the Rules of Engagement; a Person-Centered Approach to Art-Based Research Methods Appropriate for the Investigation of Alzheimer’s Disease in its Mid to Late Stages – Hannah Gravestock

When the Lights are Shining On Them: The Value of Performance in Club Settings – Joe Parslow

‘All I Care About is the Numbers’: Shaping and Challenging the Agenda Through an Applied Theatre Research Project Focused on an Ethic of Care – Anne Smith

What is the Value of Being a Public Nuisance? – Adelina Ong

Concrete Blood: Creative Fluidity, Meaningful Impact and Participant Wellbeing. The Ethics of Generating Publishable Research Data Through Participatory Performance – Lady Kitt and Lorraine Cowley

You Can’t Tell Me What to Do: What We Learn from Medea – Sarah McCormack, Francesca Millar, Molly Cheesley

15:30 – 15:45

Coffee break

15:45 – 16:15

Reflections/Responses (Rehearsal Room 2)


From training to product: values and the economy of the theatre industry

Thursday 15/01/15 – 11:50-13:20 – Rehearsal Room 1/2 Chaired by Will Pinchin

1. The interdependence of public and private finance in the performing arts

Dr Stephen Hetherington

The performing arts in Britain operate in a mixed economy of private and public funding as an outcome of complex judgements of value by those in each of these spheres. Since the advent of arts subsidies as a policy of government they appear to have been increasingly interlinked with private finance. This interactive diversity has been referred to as an economic “ecology”, recognising the probability of interdependence between its elements. This presentation describes on-going research into that postulated interdependence within the life-cycle of theatre productions (its present limitation), unravelling conjunctions, conflicting or consonant ideologies, and collaborative practises. It describes in outline a three-part research methodology used (i) to locate historically and theoretically the creation and presentation of modern theatre productions; (ii) to produce a comparison of quantitative “industry” data that define the scale of each sphere; and (iii) how outcomes of semi-structured interviews with producers and executives across the British theatre world are elucidating the rationales they employ. At its conclusion, the research is expected to explicate the chain of activity from the creation of productions to the distribution of finance and to define the logic of the various operational models. Research into these relations has not previously been undertaken but its results may lead to improvements in the effectiveness of subsidy in the performing arts and the mechanisms for its application.

BIO: Stephen Hetherington is an Honorary Fellow of Exeter University, Chairman and co-founder of HQ Theatres Trust (one of Europe’s largest theatre groups), and founder of the OHMI Trust. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music, playing with a number of the UK’s leading orchestras, before moving on to produce theatre, opera, ballet and orchestras across the world through his company, Hetherington Seelig. He has acted as a consultant for the development of cultural operations and buildings worldwide, including the development of Britain’s largest tri-Lottery funded project (at £125 million), The Lowry, for which he acted as Chief Executive for the design and construction of the building and all its operations. He directed Birmingham’s Bid for European Capital of Culture in 2002.

2. The value of actor training – Meyerhold’s biomechanics.

Chloe Whitehead

This paper will discuss the value of Meyerhold’s Biomechanic training for the individual actor, the rehearsal process and the performance. Using the Biomechanical principles it is possible to break down training into learnable blocks that are both concrete and transferable.

Four of these fundamental principles are:
Otkas – The pre- movement. A movement in opposition from the consciously decided movement thus giving a clear beginning to the movement.
Posil – The movement but with purpose, filled with intention and the knowledge of the actor.

Stoyka – The clear end of the movement, the full stop.
Tormos – The control of the movement, the brakes or the reins held by the actor during the movement.
Biomechanics actor training is taught within some Higher Educational Institutes and acting schools, however, the continuation of this training into rehearsals and into performance as a through line is rarely achieved. Students or actors often have some elements of Biomechanics as one part of their arsenal from which they may draw to create and contribute to a performance rather than as a coherent approach. It is, therefore, rarely possible to assess the value of Biomechanics training in contemporary performance due to this lack of consistency from the rehearsal room to production. It is the possibility of constructing a coherent pathway from a training in Biomechanics through to performance that is the focus of my research.

BIO: After a very practice based academic training at Middlesex University, I first encountered Meyerhold’s Biomechanics in 1995. This was the first time that Bogdanov and Levinsky came to the

UK to train actors as part of the Past Masters Symposium held by the Centre for Performance Research. Their direct and embodied lineage from Meyerhold through his student Kustov was rare and indeed, felt very special. From this point I have continued to work with Bogdanov and Biomechanics. Talia Theatre was established in 1996 and it was through this company that I was able to invite Bogdanov to the UK over a fifteen year period both to train actors and to direct productions which then toured nationally and internationally. In 2002 Talia Theatre merged with Proper Job Theatre Company where I am now the director. Between Talia Theatre and Proper Job Theatre Company I have been involved in over thirty professional productions, all of which have used Biomechanics to some extent. I hold a number of awards for these productions including the Royal Philharmonic Society for Music award. I am currently developing two new productions; The Shape of Things to Come adapted from the novel by HG Wells and Nosferatu based on the journey of the Demeter in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, both will tour in 2015. Recently I have stepped back into the world of academia when invited by my now supervisor Franc Chamberlain to undertake a Practice led Research PhD in Meyerhold’s Biomechanics in Contemporary Practice. This transition led me to your recent ‘Collisions Festival’ where I had the opportunity to speak with Sinead Rushe in relation to Biomechanics in performance. It has also led me to contemplate the differences and commonalities between actor training and performance within an institutional context and those touring productions in which I have spent my career. As an actor/director from a very practical background I have a practical perspective on the impact of research. For this reason I would welcome the opportunity to share my knowledge on the impact and value of research into actor training.

3.The value of power distribution in actor training

Evi Stamatiou

In this paper I will discuss the Value of my Practice-based Research in Actor Training.

At the SCUDD conference in 2009 there has been addressed the issue of tutors’ training methods and processes deriving from their “own experience in the field” rather than linking to those practices or methods specific theatre practitioners or theorists. John Gillet writes that such an approach beholds students from understanding, while it creates a culture of dependency and the creation of gurus and disciples. The gain for the tutor remaining a guru would be a tighter bond with the students/actors. I argue that choosing to reveal the training mechanism to the student/actor and distributing power through decision-making may create equally a bond between trainer and actors. This bond will not be based on authority but rather on community.

In this paper I will read the above deprivation of knowledge through Brecht’s notion of power. Brecht writes that “there is not much knowledge that procures power, but much knowledge is only procured through power”. In order to explore the impact of power distribution in actor training I will examine the impact distribution of power had in rehearsal to the particular knowledge gained during

working with 18 Level 5 HE Performing Arts students. I will examine as case study the specific point of Aristophanes’ parabasis in The Frogs. The aim of my practice as research was to create a learning environment that would facilitate equal power distribution. In order to do so I made specific choices; Anne Bogart’s- Tina Landau’s Viewpoints and Composition practice, clowning and Aristophanes’ The Frogs.

The result of the above PaR project was a shift in power dynamics amongst the group of actors and trainer from a Republican Democracy model where power as perceived through decision-making was representative to an Ancient Athenian Democracy one where decision-making was communitarian.

BIO: Evi Stamatiou is a theatre practitioner, actor trainer and practice-based researcher. She has worked and trained in Greece, UK, NY, Germany, Brazil, Poland and Estonia. She is a Teaching Fellow in Acting/Musical Theatre at Guildford School of Acting and PhD Candidate at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She is a member of UK Actors Equity, Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab and a Fellow of Higher Education Academy. Latest performances; Digital Handshake (PaR project, 11/14, London), 28 Bananas (PaR project, 10/14, London), Caryatid Unplugged (Solo Performance, 08/2014, Estonia).

Discourses of value, and the impact of discourses.

Thursday 15/01/15 – 11:50-13:20 – Rehearsal Room 3 Chaired by Dr Experience Bryon

1. What is the value of clown training?

Jon Davison

In this paper I will ask what clown training produces. This question will be addressed in two ways. Firstly, what does the dominant contemporary clown discourse have to say about the value of clown training? How do those who produce and reproduce this discourse (trainers, practitioners and students alike) articulate the privileged position given to failure and the flop, held to be the foundations for clowning teaching and practice? How do they attempt to identify and describe how the flop is the ‘most valued thing’ in clowning? By ‘dominant’ discourse, I am referring mainly to the lineage which ostensibly begins with Jacques Lecoq’s experiments in clowning in the early 1960s, passing through Philippe Gaulier’s work and which has infiltrated a vast number of clown trainers currently working.

Secondly, how do the organisation and delivery of clown workshops based on the flop do their work of producing clowning held by participants to be ‘of value’? What are the key means (dramaturgical, pedagogical and managerial) brought to bear in clown training in order to achieve this.

Finally, I will ask which values seem to lie behind the dominant approach? Are these values not inevitably destined to produce the clowning held to be ‘valuable’? And how do these values operate in binary opposition to the now disparaged values of so-called ‘traditional’ clowning, whose clowning, by definition is held to be ‘of no value’?

BIO: Jon Davison is co-founder of the Escola de Clown de Barcelona, formerly Creative Fellow at RCSSD, author of Clown: Readings in Theatre Practice, and currently preparing Clown Training, a practical textbook.

2. A glimpse of stocking: Historically situating Camp performance as a commentary on impact and value.

Simon Dodi

When Cole Porter’s song Anything Goes (1934) is reprised at the end of various award-winning incarnations of the musical, a camp extravaganza impacts the stage as a chorus of tap dancing sailors joins the leading lady for the finale to the show. For this paper I consider that value in camp performance comes from its resistance to normative notions of value and impact. In the example of Anything Goes, the narrative climaxes and time is delayed by the means of tap dancing sailors, which in turn generates camp value, though the impact is lighthearted. Also, the lyrics of the song itself are historically situated as they specifically reference scandal and gossip of high society set amongst the economic depression era. When reprised the social commentary and witty remarks of the past sit out of synch in current time. Offering another example of how this musical number extends the moment in time as the lyrics re-ignite gossip and scandal of past societal attitudes into the present moment. By reading camp as a specifically queer discourse set against normative modes of impact and value, this paper argues that camp value emerges through this process of holding onto the past

and glorifying the moment by means of exaggeration. This paper addresses how camp performance is theatrically and knowingly out of temporal synch. The paper concludes with the idea that understanding camp performance in this way can offer a way to critically think about the subject of camp. By knowingly placing value and impact in areas not generally thought to be valuable – in this case asserting, ‘In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking. But now, God knows. Anything Goes!’

BIO: Simon Dodi is an early research degree student here at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and is specifically researching the discourse of Camp through social and staged performances and practices. He is a performance maker and has previously studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, where he received his MA in Performance Design and Practice.

3. Visions of radio: interrogating the impact of radio drama theory

Farokh Soltani What have the radio theorists ever done for us?

Consider the issue of the impact of theory in other fields: film aesthetics and film theory have been in constant dialogue since the inception of the medium, from Eisenstein and Kuleshov’s application of dialectics to montages, to the time when angry Cahiers de Cinema critics decided to take up cameras and start a New Wave. In acting, Stanislavsky’s method, informed by a thoroughly developed theory of the dramatic person, revolutionised the way actors practice their art. In the visual arts, most artistic movements of the 20th century have been accompanied by a theoretical manifesto. Has radio theory had the same impact on the way we write and produce radio drama?

In this paper, I explore this question by examining several key theoretical writings on radio drama, to demonstrate that the response to the question tabled above is a resounding ‘no’: the trajectories of the development of the radio drama format and that of its critique do not converge. Some theorists uncritically accept the general morphology of the format as a given and instead concentrate on interpreting the medium within the boundaries of such conventions, while those who challenge these principles demand an essential change in the nature of radio aesthetics, demanding its aesthetics to move away from dramatic representation and toward abstract soundscapes.

But what lies behind this state of affairs? Drawing from Jonathan’s Sterne’s idea of the ‘audiovisual litany’, I suggest that both theoretical approaches and practice conventions of radio drama demonstrate an unacknowledged ocularcentric bias which has hindered the debate on radio drama. The ocularcentrism prevalent in radio theory prevents a thorough critical examination of the foundations of radio practice conventions, while preconceptions about the hierarchy of senses shape the way practitioners create radio drama.Without questioning the ocularcentric assumptions of radio drama, the impact of radio theory is bound to remain minimal.

BIO: Farokh Soltani is a writer, researcher, composer and sound designer. He spent the first decade of this century as the jack-of-all-trades of the Iranian culture industry; this entailed directing four award-winning short films (and one non-award-winning but still serviceable one), writing music and creating sounds for plays, movies and one particularly annoying ad for mobile phones, producing research for a variety of organisations, translating short stories and plays, and writing a sitcom for national television. He then promptly left all of that behind and moved to Britain to study Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media at Central, where he still spends most of his time. Nowadays, he is consolidating the various strands of his past activities into his PhD research project, which challenges the conventional dramaturgy of radio drama.

INTER-Impact, or how things affect others Thursday 15/01/15 – 14:30-16:00 – Rehearsal Room 1/2

Chaired by Wendy Gadian

1. An investigation into current acting and music performance higher education courses in the UK.

Helen Price

This paper is part of a wider study which investigates how acting techniques can improve music performance. The research entails exploring a wide range of current syllabi and assessment criteria of music and acting courses from Higher Education establishments in order to ascertain how various institutions examine performance. The study involves conducting and recording interviews with musicians and lecturers; producing and collecting data from questionnaires; filming flautists rehearsing and performing their normal routines; filming musicians in acting workshops; filming performances with the new approach to rehearsing music, and gathering data from audiences via questionnaires. These practice elements to the research have yet to be conducted and the planning for which is ongoing. A large amount of research has focused on current performance training in the fields of music and acting.

One of the subjects currently explored in music performance training and research is performance anxiety. A possible impact on this field would be similar to the notion of ‘concentration’ which R. Chaffin has analysed in relation to music performance. Concentration effected musician’s performance and those who were highly focused and alert experienced a more improved performance. If the use of acting techniques was found to significantly improve performance for musicians, then this could have a profound effect on the future training for musicians. My own experience led to this research when I took on characters for Reinecke’s Undine Sonata, my flute performance improved dramatically. When I prepared for this I focused on the character work and wrote notes containing my character’s inner monologue. Reinecke’s programme notes included details about the character stating, “At the wedding of Hulbrand and Berthalda, Undine sadly appears and gives Hulbrand a kiss that kills him” (Larry Krantz Flute Pages, 1996-2014).

The research to date has revealed that there is a very limited number of similar collaborations which connect instrumental music performance to acting. Therefore a probable impact of my research may be that it will inspire more researchers and academics to consider inter-disciplinary collaboration in these two fields. The desired impact would be if academics from a variety of institutions having read the paper or attended the conference are made aware of the need for a new course and the possibilities it could bring to the field of music performance.

BIO: Helen Price began her full-time PhD at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in October 2013. Her research explores the synthesis between acting and music performance. Her first supervisor is Professor Paul Barker Music Theatre Course Leader at Central and her second supervisor is Simon Channing Head of Woodwind at Royal College of Music. Throughout her time at Central Helen will contribute to several conferences including the Collisions Festival and the Intersections conference. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in Music with Instrumental/Vocal Teaching and went on to complete a MA in Music Performance. Helen Price is an Associate Lecturer in Music for University of Chichester and has been in the role since 2007. Helen has been teaching the flute, piano and music theory for 15 years in a variety of roles. She runs a successful private practice and has worked for West Sussex Music Service, Portsmouth Music Service and Sussex Academy of Music. Whilst employed in these posts Helen has taught woodwind, keyboard and music theory to small groups, large groups and on a one-to-one basis. In the past Helen trained and worked as an Actress. She appeared in several televised and theatrical productions.

2. The Fun Palace: A collaborative research in theatre and architecture.

Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez

In the framework of multidisciplinary research, this article deals with the creative process of a specific proposal, in which both architecture and theatre are involved in a balanced way.

The Fun Palace was an unbuilt project, developed by the architect Cedric Price and the theatre director Joan Littlewood in London. It is one of the most complex and rich projects in the history of architecture, mainly because of the fact that the spaces of the building would change depending on the activities that people would be developing in them.

Theatre is conceived as the motor of social change, it transcends the limits of the space through architecture, creating an urban, political and sociological machine. The main goal of this project is the development of a public building with an urban scale, inspired by the events from citizens’ lives.

The value of this proposal in terms of research is the approach from two different, and apparently, distant disciplines to a unique issue, and how in the process, they use other knowledges such as cybernetics or game theory to get to a competitive response to a sociological problem.

The objective of the article is to analyze the impact that the different disciplines involved had over each other, in order to extract the most important facts of the colaboration between Cedric Price and Joan Littlewood.

BIO: 1986. Architect, Scenographer and Graphic Designer based in London. Master in Advanced Architectonic Projects (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid). Student of the MA in Advanced Theatre Practice in the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

3. New insights into the notion of interculturalism and hybridity in musical theatre

Alejandro Postigo

This paper aims to reflect on the nature of hybrid forms of musical theatre based on the contributions of intercultural discourse to shed light on problems of cultural identification in musical theatre. The creation of a hybrid form of musical theatre through collaborative processes seems to mirror the way that the popular genre generally developed, through appropriations of new forms and functions from other local and foreign cultures. I will discuss new dynamics of collaboration and creativity, and the ways forward for intercultural musical theatre as a distinct form within the dominant West End-Broadway genus.

Interculturalism is a means to find further innovative ways for musical theatre to develop within an international framework by giving voice to cultures that can complement and expand the creative possibilities within the dominant musical theatre industry. Daryl Chin views interculturalism as a way of ‘bringing suppressed material into the artistic arena, by admitting into a general discourse other cultures which had previously been ignored, suppressed or unknown’ (1991: 95) and this paper will identify these discourses of dramaturgy and performance style found in the context of the dominant paradigms of musical theatre produced in America and Britain.

BIO: Alejandro Postigo is a theatre practitioner and researcher currently working towards a PhD in ‘Intercultural adaptation of Copla’ having obtained an MA in Music Theatre at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Prior to attaining his degree, Alejandro trained internationally at Universities Complutense (Madrid), Paris VIII (France), and Illinois Wesleyan (USA). As an actor, he has worked in Spain (The wizard of Oz), France (Vmmm…), Italy (Stürmen… malgré la pluie), USA (Of Thee I sing), and most recently in the UK in productions such as ‘Journeys of love and more love’ (Sadler’s Wells), ‘Prince of the Pagodas’ (Royal Opera House) and the TV sitcom ‘Episodes’ (BBC 2). UK credits as a director are ‘Men on the Verge of a His-Panic breakdown’, seen at the Henley Fringe Festival, and ‘The Copla Musical’, seen at Hoxton Hall, Roundhouse and the Collisions Festival (

The shape of values: images, selves and aesthetics. Thursday 15/01/15 – 14:30-16:00 – Rehearsal Room 3

Chaired by Dr Joel Anderson

1. Dancing on documentation’: exploring the transformative impact of the past on present improvisations

Jindeok Park

This paper explores how the ‘documenting process’ is involved in the concept of ‘time’ as a compositional method for dance improvisation. Improvisation for dancers tends to emphasize the importance of what is happening in the present moment because they cannot predict what the movement will be in the next moment or the next time. It means that the improviser does not know the future but is strongly present during the improvisation. On the other hand, where is the past located in dance improvisation? My research explores the past as a valuable concept in dance improvisation because the present is inherently linked to the past. I apply Gabriella Giannachi’s notion of ‘presence’ which is that “the sense of presence is read as occurring in the engagement with the trace, so producing complex relationships with the past events they may appear to inscribe into the present”(Giannachi et al., 2012: 195).I also aim to offer how it is framed in my own composition enquiry for dance improvisation as practice-based research. In particular, my enquiry is exploring the ‘documenting process ’in terms of how the pastas an archive of historical movements can be transformed and reshaped in the present improvised movement as ‘new’, live composition. However, the ‘new’ in this context does not mean that they have never done the movement before or that they have never experienced it before in the past; it may be that this past movement is transformed and reproduced to create ‘new’ movement.

BIO: Jindeok Parkis a dancer, choreographer and currently involved in practice-based research at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.After graduating from Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea, she participated in EDge Dance Company 2010 and completed MAat London Contemporary Dance School. She has danced in and choreographed numerous dance pieces including ‘ID’, performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008.

2. Mask construction with Cardboard Citizens’ ACT NOW and St Mungo’s Broadway Recovery College

Will Pinchin

“Masks can be seen as amplifications of the different inner drives rooted deeply within our body and psyche, which impact the way we relate to ourselves and our environment.”
–Thomas Prattki (Pedagogical Director, The London International School of Performing Arts)

This paper critically examines the use of mask construction as a means of accessing self- knowledge. It begins by reviewing the practitioners who use mask-making as a major element of their methodology. It then critically assesses two workshop series, delivered with Cardboard Citizens’ “ACT NOW” and St Mungo’s Broadway “Recovery College”, both respected London based programs that offer services for individuals who have experienced homelessness. Working in collaboration with Theatre Temoin, exploring 22 original hand crafted masks for archetypal themes and imagery, we approached personal narratives and conflict in a safe and constructive manner. This paper articulates a multi-modal Practice as Research methodology, merging a Jungian critical framework with the embodied knowledge of a group of devising actors trained in the

pedagogy of the renown mask teacher Jacques Lecoq. It explores the potential and pitfalls of accessing personal conflict and narrative through the use of mask construction.

BIO: Will Pinchin is an devising actor, movement director and mask-maker. Originally from upstate New York, Will is currently completing a Practice as Research PhD, “Myth within Contemporary Mask Praxis”, which critically examines the view of mask within the pedagogical tradition of Jacques Lecoq. Will’s research challenges the view masks as a means of stripping away psychology of the performer. As a professional devising actor, he has developed multiple original works of theatre and toured internationally with a number of award winning physical theatre companies. His most recent work includes a season of movement direction for the Shakespeare Sessions at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town.

3. Text, theatricality and impact

Silvia Dumitriu

“The dramatic text is like shifting sands. At its surface we can see, periodically and diverse, signals that guide our reception and signals that maintain its non-determinance or ambiguity” (Pavis 1998: 121). Departing from Pavis’ notion of text as shifting sands, this presentation will attempt to recuperate the consequences of the uncertain condition of text in postdramatic theatre, which revolves around the performativity of words as the undoing of character, plot and resolution. By suggesting a type of dis-order and misbalance at their basis, the clashing between re-presentational methods and means of presentation/performing mediated by text is supplemented by unsettling means to subvert meaning in the actual theatre event. I will contend that postdramatic theatre often makes performative events out of the deeply ambivalent content of culture, as thus advancing a perplexing attitude as its goal; as such postdramatic logic is making problematic the moment when theatrical text itself attempts to subvert the order that is linguistically and culturally constructed. By examining “4:48 Psychosis” by Sarah Kane, this presentation will attempt to disrupt the reliance on ambivalent models for thought and thinking presence in postdramatic paradigm. The clash between the aesthetic and art will be investigated in the attempt to undo hegemonic pretentions that couple meaninglessness of art with the idea of a political content inherent in theatre (Lehmann). While pointing to the hidden meaning of the interruption of the discourse of modernity by new types of desire, I will argue that the notion of Artaudian cruelty is necessary for recuperating a thinking on apparent and immanent opposites which constitute doubles . Theatricality will be associated with the idea of maximum impact/stage activation involving a text, perspective made problematic by Derrida’s insistence that “il n y a pas du hors-texte” and by current theatre practice which sees text as marginal and secondary.

BIO: Silvia is a theatre director and playwright who has also worked as an independent producer, translator of theatre plays and theatre journalist. Her particular artistic and research interests are related to new theatre work, contemporary texts and theatrical structures. As a director she has created independent theatre projects and she has worked with awarded professional actors of the best institutional theatres in Bucharest Romania. Two of her stagings, “Partners in Crime” by Eric Emmanuel Schmitt and “Zoo Story” by Edward Albee, have participated in numerous theatre festivals in Romania in 2007-1012. As a playwright she has written “Merry Arcadia”, a commedia dell’arte piece for 21st century, and “Cruel Games” a farce about capitalism and schizophrenia. She has translated more than 10 contemporary plays from French and English into Romanian, among which the translation of Sarah Kane’s play”4.48. Psychosis” constituted the final MA Playwriting dissertation. Other translated authors include Jean Cocteau, Eric Emmanuel Schmitt, Horovitz or Bernard Marie Koltes. She has presented the paper “Theatricality” at Tapra Conference 2014, Glasgow.


Who values the establishment?

Friday 16/01/15 – 11:30-13:00 – Rehearsal Room 1/2 Chaired by Dr Selina Busby

1. Who values dance made by disabled artists? Empirical and academic research in Dance and Law.

Kate Marsh and Mathilde Pavis

The presenters of this paper are PhD students in Dance and Law investigating in their respective disciplines the place and value of choreographic works made my disabled dance artists and their role as leaders in the dance community. Our dance specialist, based at Coventry University, aims to capture the voices of disabled leaders in dance, evaluating their experiences and exploring further leadership opportunities for dance artists with disabilities. Working from these empirical and practical inputs, our law specialist based at Exeter University assesses the efficiency of the law in supporting dance works outside the mainstream with a specific focus on the copyright framework. The latter being ultimately tied to a narrative dominated by the rhetoric of economic value in creation, it is prone to offer its own theoretical definition and matrix of values that often clash with practitioners’ views. Our research has revealed that the dynamics of our dance/law research collaboration did not take the course one might have expected. It shifted from having lawyers teach dance artists how to commercialise, or make valuable, their work by utilising the copyright system, to become a knowledge exchange where dance artists in turn educated law experts as to the ‘real’ value of contemporary performing art practices, beyond economic concerns.

As part of a large-scale collaborative project called Invisible Difference, Dance, Disability and Law, we have also considered the potential of our cross disciplinary collaboration to offer a framework for our research. The paper will draw attention to the fact that interdisciplinary collaboration became a real vector of value in our research from a methodological perspective, despite the challenges it presented. The paper will attest to the fact that the findings that offer the greatest impact on our respective field stem from truly collaborative research methods. By sharing their experience, the presenters aim to continue to inform on-going collaboration between dance and legal frameworks.


Mathilde Pavis (Exeter University) is an AHRC funded doctoral student in law based at the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on analysing the judicature’s understanding of creativity as reflected in case and assesses its impact on the protection of performers. She is part of the AHRC funded project InVisible Difference and co-founder of the network ‘New IP Lawyers’.

Kate Marsh (Conventry University) is a dance artist and AHRC funded doctoral student, she has worked in a variety of settings both in the U.K and internationally, this has included ongoing employment as an associate artist for Candoco Dance Company, a freelance artist practitioner for DanceEast, Dance4 Graeae Theatre Company and Scarabeus Aerial Theatre company. Recent performance work has included, Prometheus Awakes (Graeae) Floor of the Forest, Set and Reset/Reset (Candoco) and the Paralympic closing ceremony. Kate’s doctoral research seeks to explore the shifting role of the disabled dance artist with a focus on the development of dancers with an impairment undertaking leading roles in the sector.

2. Why should a theatre engage with its local communities?

Naomi Alexander

The production and consumption of publicly subsidised arts is highly socially stratified in the UK today, as evidenced through data from sociological (Bennett 2009) and cultural policy (Bunting 2008) research. Following Eleonora Belfiore (2013, 2014) I frame the allocation of public subsidy to cultural activities that predominantly have cultural value for the middle classes and those who enjoy high social and educational status as a social justice issue. Within this social justice framing, I move on to explore the question of why a theatre should engage with its local communities. Using Nancy Frasers’ (2000) theories of recognition and redistribution I recount Nadine Holdsworth’s (2005) retrospective analysis of the impact that Joan Littlewood’s ‘Figure of 8’ practice of engagement with local communities had on the way work was produced and valued at the Theatre Royal Stratford East during Philip Hedley’s tenure as Artistic Director. In the absence of detailed policy from ACE regarding the intersection between a theatre and its local communities I suggest that there is a need for further research and the development of policy and practice in this area.

BIO: Naomi is currently working on a freelance basis for Battersea Arts Centre setting up and running a Fun Palace for the area and for the Old Vic’s community and education arm, Old Vic New Voices, working on their community plays. She has a background in community development work, having worked at neighbourhood level and for several national community development charities including Locality and Comic Relief. She is a Fellow of the RSA and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and has a MA in Applied Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and a BA in Theatre Studies and Dramatic Arts from the University of Warwick.

Archive, stage and private values: textile, dress and costume

(Presented by teaching team on the Costume with Textiles BA at the University of Huddersfield)

Friday 16/01/15 – 11:30-13:00 – Rehearsal Room 3 Chaired by Caroline Townsend

1. Precious?

Toni Bate and Liz Garland

This article will investigate the concept of the theatrical costume store as a living archive, the use of historical pieces as costume on the stage and the implications this has on the conservation and display of period clothing.

Through conversation with costume industry professionals, photography and examination of original garments found in theatre collections, the changing relationship between costume and clothing will be explored and analysed in terms of preservation, performance, research and education.

Issues concerning the use of ‘vintage’ and ‘period’ clothing for a performance will be raised as well as discussion around the importance of these garments in a social history context; the difference in perceived value between lower class and upper class wear and the journey these garments have so far taken. The ethics of using a surviving pieces of period clothing as costume will be investigated as well as the purpose of such pieces; to be hidden away, preserved in a box with tissue paper, occasionally viewed by specialists or seen by a wider audience serving its original purpose- that of an item of clothing to be worn.

The reader will be motivated by a series of thought provoking questions to consider the value of a piece of original period clothing through its life in a store where it lives as an archived object, on the stage where it becomes part of the character’s narrative and what it brings to the performance for the audience, the actor and the costume team.


Toni Bates joined the University of Huddersfield in September 2012 as Costume Construction Lecturer on the Costume with Textiles BA (Hons) degree. Prior to this she worked as the Costume Workroom Supervisor at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) where she supported students on their Theatre and Performance Design degree. Other further and higher education teaching work includes Specialist Costume Technician at Edge Hill University, Costume Lecturer at Liverpool Community College and Costume Designer and Wardrobe Supervisor at Arden School of Theatre in Manchester. She has also designed and delivered short courses in corsetry, sewing skills and pattern cutting. Since graduating from Liverpool Community College’s Theatre Wardrobe course in 1994 Toni has worked as a Costume Maker, Tailor and Wardrobe Supervisor for theatre, film, television and dance. Theatre work includes productions for Clwyd Theatre Cymru, Contact Theatre Manchester, Duke’s Theatre Lancaster, Derby Playhouse, Chester Gateway and West Yorkshire Playhouse as well as for West End shows such as ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Starlight Express’. Career highlights include Costume Maker for ‘Gormenghast’ for the BBC, Tailor for feature film of ‘Vanity Fair’, Wardrobe Supervisor for ‘Shockheaded Peter’ at the Albery Theatre in London, Cutter for production of ‘Grease’ in Curitiba, Brazil and Costume Co-ordinator for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Liz Garland first started working for the Costume with Textiles course in 2006. Prior to this she was the Costume supervisor at Bretton Hall College and ran Costume construction projects for The University of Leeds. Although her main career path is now within education Liz has had a wealth of experience both in live theatre work, film and television. As a freelance costume maker she still maintains close contacts and occasionally works within the industry. Liz has worked as a freelancer

for many prestigious companies including; Sheffield Crucible, Manchester Library and Forum Theatres, Wexford Opera Festival, City of Birmingham Touring Opera, Oldham Coliseum, D’Oyle Carte Opera Company, York Theatre Royal, Northern Ballet, Theatre Clwyd, Angels Costumiers, Boda Television, SC4 and The BBC.Liz has covered all aspects of costume work: pattern cutting, making and fitting costumes and accessories, fitting and dressing wigs, dyeing and breaking down, millinery, leather and fiberglass work, mask making along with organisation and maintenance of costume during production for theatre, film and television.

2. The Wear Project

Nadia Malik

When we meet a character in a performance, the implicit understanding is that they have existed until the point where we join their journey and will continue existing after we leave them. Their clothing tells a hi/story to the audience before we hear them speak and before any action takes place. As a Costume Designer and Lecturer, my awareness of costuming as an anthropological practice has led me to explore these principles using myself as the subject of scrutiny. For one year I am logging every clothing combination I go through along with memories, prices, locations and dates etc. in order to explore the sub/conscious clothing decisions I make and the stories, embedded in my clothes, that I am surrounded by every day. What does my wardrobe mean to me inwardly and reveal to my audience outwardly, and how does this ‘me-search’ extend my artistic practice?

The Wear Project will be a visual archive, a teaching tool, and a foundation for further academic research/writing through the questions it raises about storytelling, memory, dress and audience: a personal interrogation generating a critical framework for understanding the dramaturgical significance of costume. I welcome any interest, suggestions, questions, provocations, conversations or counter-projects that could lead my research, costume design or performance related teaching in general into unexplored areas. The Wear Project is available for anyone to view or use on flickr at .

BIO: Nadia Malik is a Costume Designer, Lecturer and Researcher. Her work has encompassed new writing, original and adapted classics, opera, traditional folk dance, contemporary dance, musicals, period plays, site-specific and experimental devised work, live art and exhibitions since 2002. Recent credits include design for shows at the Greenwich and Docklands Festival, the Imperial War museum, the V&A and for the award winning company Elastic Theatre.

With a collaborative approach to performance devising, Nadia’s strong design concepts explore the human body and movement, and develop character and narrative through visual experimentation. She is interested in how design practice can engage an audience and communicate meaning within performance. Nadia has taught at various universities including University of the Arts London and the Royal Academy of Dance and is currently a Lecturer in Costume at the University of Huddersfield.

She has worked nationally and internationally as a performance practitioner and in commercial fashion design and has exhibited costume work in group exhibitions. Nadia has a BA in Textile Design (Nottingham Trent) and an MA in Costume Design for Performance (London College of Fashion, UAL).

3. Life of the cloth: stories in the making

Clair Sweeney

“(Storytelling) does not aim to convey the pure essence of the thing, like information or a report. It sinks into the life of the storyteller, in order to bring it out of him again” writes Benjamin (1999: 91).

The act of making cloth within a costume can be seen as a primary form of storytelling.

The cloth within a finished costume coveys a narrative which is threefold: the first is expressed in the language of the cloth itself, it is through the act of marking, staining, and stitching that the cloth speaks, it surprises. The second story that is told is that of the creator who gives life to the cloth and speaks of the material enquiry into the process of making; the learning through making, the mistakes, risks and accidents that lead to the final piece of cloth and third story is that of the activated and animated cloth in terms of life it has on the performer.

This paper will focus upon the first two, which are often neglected or forgotten. In the present work, the language of the cloth and the language of the making are explored by crossing the disciplinary boundaries of Textiles and Costume to achieve a novel perspective.

The theoretical discussion is enriched by the review of case studies in the form of creative process journals developed by final year students on the Costume with Textiles BA(Hons) course at the University of Huddersfield. These journals represent a data collection method that involves the students positioning their practice within the context of a specific performing art; then observing, recording and reflecting on the process of designing and making their costumes.

BIO: Clair Sweeney is the Course Leader of the Costume with Textiles BA(Hons) course in the School of Fashion and Textiles at the University of Huddersfield. Clair joined the University as a Lecturer on Textile Crafts BA(Hons) and Costume with Textiles BA(Hons) in 2009.

Clair was awarded an MRes in Creative Practice from The Glasgow School of art in 2007, for which she was the Glasgow and West of Scotland Postgraduate scholarship holder. She received a BA (Hons) in Textiles (2004) from the Glasgow School of Art.

Her art school education is grounded in the disciplines of both design and fine art. Research interests include: the use and interpretation of archival resources by creative practitioners, the practice of drawing, the relationship between traditional hand craft techniques and technology and the relationship between material, process and maker.


Who defines value? Participants, directors and the power to ascribe value

Friday 16/01/15 – 14:00-15:30 – Rehearsal Room 1/2 Chaired by Amanda Stuart-Fisher

1. Challenging the rules of engagement; a person-centred approach to art based research methods appropriate for the investigation of Alzheimer’s disease in its mid to late stages.

Hannah Gravestock

This paper describes my work as a researcher/volunteer at a Day Care Centre run and funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, and the value of a client-centred approach to, and assessment of, research and research methods in dementia care. The initial aim of my research had been to develop art workshops in order to explore and case study the embodied experiences and methods of communication of those with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). My research method was to be based on ethnographic case studies of a small group of clients at the Centre. These studies would include recording the clients verbal responses to creating art work, designing an intervention in the form of workshops based on this data and current art and theatre practices, and verbal responses subsequent to the intervention. This data would be examined further using discussions about both sets of art work with the clients primary care givers and caring staff at the Day Centre.

However as many clients at the Day Centre are in the mid to late stages of the disease it became clear that using established art mediums, workshop structures and one to one feedback sessions was not going to work. I also became increasingly aware that a relevant and practical art based approach to my research was not going to be found in academic literature. Instead I began listening to and watching the interactions between the Day Centre clients and their carers. As I studied their routines and practices I realised that I had over-valued my choice of research method as a means to reveal greater insight into the disease and had greatly undervalued the role and response of the person with dementia and their carers.

As a result, although my methodological approach is still phenomenological and my methods have remained ethnographic, they are, for now, based on non-structured observations rather than intervention. This research data, and its value in relation to better understanding experiences of AD, is informed and assessed using dialogues with regular staff members at the Day Centre.

Through the reflective narrative of this paper I identify the different problems I have encountered in using art as research methods in the study of the late to mid stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. I discuss my approach to problem solving and how I have been able to move my research forward by resisting the application of practices external to the Day Centre as the foundation for my case study. I conclude this work by proposing that the value my research comes from placing the person with AD and their carers at the centre of its development and as key people in assessing its desired impact and overall value.

BIO: Hannah Gravestock is a post doctorate researcher, performer and designer. Her creative and published work has focused on design, performance and sport practices and pedagogy and draws on her experience as a theatre designer and figure skater. Current areas of research include Dementia care, Parkour, choreography and scenography.

2. ‘All I care about is the numbers’: shaping and challenging the agenda through an applied theatre research project focussed on an ethic of care

Anne Smith

Creative English is an applied theatre programme that develops confidence in communicating in English for adult refugees and migrants in the UK. It does this through a playful, improvisation-based approach with familiar characters who engage in a range of everyday scenarios. Through emotional engagement with the plot and a lot of laughter, each session develops functional English, understanding of culture and participants’ rights. The model evolved from practice-based research in collaboration with participants, for a PhD in using applied theatre to facilitate a sense of belonging. In 2013, FaithAction won £1.1 million from the Department of Communities and Local Government to roll-out this programme across 22 areas nationally via faith and community organisations within its national network.

Using Creative English as a case study, this paper argues for the importance of recognising the value of participant-led research which informs what agencies are funded to deliver. It highlights the value of examining small, intimate moments in a workshop space, which attend closely to the needs of the individual, and the wider impact they may in turn have on addressing community cohesion. Where the research itself has been shaped by the ethic of care, this value becomes unimportant in contract terms and yet the fact this quality is embedded within the model is responsible for its success. This paper supports its argument by examining some of the tensions which exist between contract delivery and research in terms of how value and impact are assessed and how this may conflict with innovation and sharing of good practice.

BIO: Anne Smith was awarded her PhD from Queen Mary University of London in 2013 for a thesis examining the possibilities and limitations of using drama to facilitate a sense of belonging for refugees and migrants. With more than twenty years of experience of facilitating in school and community settings, Anne currently works for FaithAction, a national network of around 2,000 faith- based and community organisations involved in social action. In this role, she trains and provides ongoing support for volunteers delivering the Creative English programme that grew out of her research.

3. Concrete Blood- creative fluidity, meaningful impact and participant wellbeing: the ethics of generating publishable research data through participatory performance.

Lady Kitt and Dr Lorraine Cowley

Participation: This is a participatory performance lecture led by a live artist and a social scientist. Delegates will be asked to become involved in the action in a variety of subtle ways (all whilst remaining seated) during the lecture.

Actions: Linking art and science in a series of playful interactions, speakers use theatrical drawing, thought games, questions and toothpaste to transform themselves and delegates into a series of art works, a collection of scientific data and an experiment in identifying the value of their own involvement.

Content: Speakers share developing techniques and experiences from their current “a-n” funded research project which focuses on the ethics of producing “hard” science data through performance.

Through our work we aim to simultaneously:
Engage participants in outstanding, thought provoking and entertaining artistic experiences and Generate useful science research data with real life applications
This desire generates endless questions about value. For us the most immediate of these are:

  • Does involvement fetishize the layperson or are we creating real platforms for meaningful engagement?
  • Who should determine the value / cost of these projects- both as artistic experiences and as a credible works of science research?- ourselves, participants, funders, curators, users of products and services that the projects set out to improve?
  • What will involvement “cost” participants (emotionally, physically, socially), how is involvement credited / celebrated and how can these issues be sensitively managed?These questions have led us to experiment with new methods for monitoring and evaluating both impacts and (non-financial) costs of projects; attempting to create more realistic ways of delivering value in an ethical manner. In the lecture delegates will be presented with and involved in this evolving process.BIO:Lady Kitt is a live artist, researcher and Artistic Director of SciArt public engagement organisation “Fulcrum Arts and Research”. With an insatiable curiosity about the social functions of cultural activity, from Morris dancing to non-league football, she works in a participatory, collaborative practice. Kitt’s work delves into, communicates and finds new uses for the transformative properties of art. Kitt is trained in the Indian dance discipline Bharatanatyam and the Portuguese singing tradition Fado, as well as completing a Fine Art degree in 2008. Since then she has presented work nationally and internationally, including projects at Covent Garden Opera House, “Exist-ence Festival” (Australia), the Fourth Plinth Trafalgar Square, Fullerton University (California), and a tanning salon in Newcastle. Kitt’s research interests include: the role of the layperson in the development of useful, engaging, high quality live art, art as a tool for social change (especially within academic data generation & collection, policy development and autodidactic learning- particularly for women and girls), investigating engagement models in folk art to build sustainable strategies for participation within contemporary art practicesDr Lorraine Cowley works as principal genetic counsellor at the Northern Genetics Service (NGS) and a visiting scholar in Policy Ethics and Life Sciences (Newcastle University), having recently completed her PHD focused on “how genetic testing for cancer genes has shaped lived experiences of family”. Lorraine has a strong interest and belief in the ability of the arts to illuminate aspects of science (especially the emotional and social implications / applications of recent research). In her practice Lorraine uses artistic (particularly performance) methods and settings to explore the reactions of members of the public to ideas of morality within genetic testing and the effects of testing on family relationships. Primary research interest- The potential of art settings and techniques to be used to enhance public engagement with science, as a tool for: supporting understanding and generating new research data.


The value of disobedience.

Friday 16/01/15 – 14:00-15:30 – Rehearsal Room 3 Chaired by Dr Tony Fisher

1. When the Lights Are Shining On Them: The Value of Performance in Club Settings

Joe Parslow

What is the value of performance which takes place outside of theatres and performance venues? What effect does this mode of performance for those who witness and participate in it? Looking at the performance of drag, this paper proposes to examine performance in club settings to consider what this performance does or can do in these spaces for queer collectivity and academic research.

This paper will focus on two performances that took place at The Black Cap, a bar and club in Camden (London) which holds a historically significant role in drag performance since the 1970s featuring well-known drag performers such as Mrs. Shufflewick, Regina Fong and Lilly Savage. In recent years The Black Cap has been home to a huge number of new nights promoted, ran and hosted by drag queens who work across the London drag scene and beyond. The specific form or style of drag that I will articulate/explore sits in a contemporary (re)emerging context in which younger drag performers are producing aesthetics and performance practices which work to challenge the limits of what drag can be traditionally understood to be. The performers that I will examine work beyond gender illusion or female impersonation and, rather than trying to “pass” as female, produce an aesthetic which is visually engaging, challenging and disruptive.

Focusing on work by contemporary drag performers Maxi More and Bourgeoisie at The Black Cap in the last 6 months, this paper intends to examine the impact of these performances as events within a club night and the effect of these performances for the performer and audience. Furthermore, it will consider the temporal, physical and economic cost, or expenditure and return (both economic and cultural) that these performances offer for the performer, audience, club space, and the field of academic research.

BIO: Joe Parslow has recently began his time as a research student at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Alongside his research, he works as a co-producer and club promotor for The Meth Lab, a drag performance and club night which takes place at the historic drag venue The Black Cap in Camden.

2. What is the Value of Being a Public Nuisance?

Adelina Ong

In Seeing Like a City, professor of criminology, Mariana Valverde, notes that ‘the logic of nuisance governance’ coexists with existing modes of governance and are often enacted in a ‘non zero sum manner…in unpredictable and shifting combinations’ (Valverde 2011: 281). This logic of nuisance governance refers to the negotiations that people make in order to live together and this predates formal legislation or regulations.

Graffiti artists who appropriate ‘public spaces’ for their work are often regarded ‘vandals’ who are a public nuisance. On the other hand, regulatory signs that do not declare the identity of the author or specify the authority capable of enforcing these regulations are permitted and displayed at will. Sociologists Joe Hermer and Alan Hunt argue that these regulatory signs should be considered as a form of ‘official graffiti’ where signs assume the ‘appearance of official status’ namely by

appropriating its symbols ‘ the prohibition circle with its diagonal red slash across the circle’ (Hermer & Hunt 1996: 456).

In Singapore, regulatory signs restricting various acts that might be construed as ‘public nuisance’ abound. These regulatory signs ‘mark, scar and deface public spaces’ even whilst conveying the impression of legitimacy through iconic symbols of ‘official’ commands (Ibid.). Some graffiti artists in Singapore have responded to these regulatory signs in ways that interrogate the authority of such signs.

This presentation will reflect on the value of graffiti in Singapore, and the impact that this relationship has on ‘official graffiti’.

BIO: Adelina Ong has been active in Singapore’s theatre scene from 1997, initially as a performer, then later as a public nuisance, directing and producing ‘street x art’ festivals like Pulp (2003) that troubled definitions of ‘street’ and ‘art’. She established one:lab in 2010 as a vehicle for producing and performing work that sought to address vital social issues through performance and theatre-led interventions. From 2008 to 2012 she managed an interdisciplinary arts school for children and youths from low-income families and personally taught the youth theatre programme.

3. You can’t tell me what to do: what we learn from Medea.

Sarah McCormack, Francesca Millar, Molly Cheesley

In August 2014 Big Shoes Theatre Company took their production of Medea to the Edinburgh Fringe: a structurally and narratively faithful adaptation of Euripides’ text performed by an all-female group aged 15-17. Constructing the character and narrative of Euripides’ Medea as a model for interpreting their own experience, the director and key participants of the production will examine the problematized status of experiential education as realised within the secondary school practical arts curriculum – and consider the wider societal impact of this.

The impact of the character of Medea derives from her rejection within her own context of the societal articulation of the value of woman. Medea’s actions are ultimately beyond the measure of constitutional judgement and confer upon her a status directly at odds with rational or moral assessment. The embedded perversity within the text of Medea can be read as a celebration of irrationality and disobedience in both the individual act and societal outcome.

The Big Shoes theatre venture rejects the moral/ideological conflation of abstract and market value within current educational practice. It reconstructs the process as direct physical and intellectual engagement with a range of bodies of knowledge, filtered through the discipline of the theatrical performance to chime with the individuality of the participants. And its impact in every area relevant to education: wider knowledge, personal growth, societal awareness – is infinitely greater than that of the regulated classroom event.

As Medea’s rejection of the hegemonic construction of womanhood provides a compelling realisation of the physical reality, so the Big Shoes engagement with Medea and the Edinburgh Fringe rejects the current hegemonic understanding of the educational process. It demonstrates that the impact of projects peripheral – even anathemic – to accepted policy and practice provide experiences that make the greatest impact on students and therefore ultimately yield the most significant value.


Sarah McCormack:
• BA (Hons), English Language and Literature, Manchester University (1986)

  • PGCE, Cambridge Univeristy (1987)
  • MA, Performance Research, Bristol University (2010).
  • Teacher of English and Drama since 1987: maintained and independent sectors, overseasand A S Neill’s Summerhill school, Suffolk.
  • Head of Drama, Redland High School for Girls, Bristol since 1998.
  • Director of numerous productions including The Trojan Women (2010), Romeo and Juliet(2012), Puss-in-Boots and The Company of Wolves (2013), and Medea (2014) at the Edinburgh Fringe.Francesca Millar:
  • A-Level student at Redland High School for Girls: Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Statistics and Music
  • Currently undecided as to University plans: probably hoping to apply for courses in Maths and Music.
  • Composer and musical director of Big Shoes Theatre Company’s production of Euripides’ Medea at the Edinburgh Fringe (2014).Molly Cheesley
  • A-Level student at Redland High School for Girls: Theatre Studies, Music, English Literature and German.
  • Hoping to study Drama and Music at HE, either at University or designated Drama School.
  • Chorus Leader, Messenger, singer in Big Shoes Theatre Company’s production of Euripides’Medea at the Edinburgh Fringe (2014).