New international project to boost adults’ involvement in theatre
18 December 2018
Performance academics at Leeds Beckett University are collaborating with arts organisations across Europe to develop new, non-verbal methods of adult theatre education and increase participation in theatre.
Leeds Beckett performing arts staff and postgraduate students will visit four partner organisations in Romania, France, Hungary and Germany to take part in intensive workshops in theatre making from some of the most well-established and respected European practitioners working in the field of performer training.
Each organisation brings with it a specific area of expertise, from voice training and vocal research to education and training. By working together, the partners will examine several ideas, from voice and body work to theatre in education, and intergenerational performance making, sharing good practices and working to combine their different approaches in a common set of applied theatre techniques.
Csongor Kollo, of the Shoshin Theatre Association - the originators and lead artists on the project, said: "Theatre can make an enormous contribution to improving wellbeing, relationships, lifelong learning, active aging, integration and communication. When theatre is 'applied' and becomes participatory, it can exert a very direct and beneficial effect on all those involved.”
Teresa Brayshaw, Principal Lecturer in Performing Arts and the UK project lead researcher, said: “We are thrilled to be partners on this project which will give our staff, students and graduates the opportunity to take part in intensive training with some of the best voice, movement and theatre-as-conflict resolution trainers in Europe. At this critical time for maintaining our relationships, links and mobility with European partners, this project feels more urgent and relevant than ever.”
The 13-month project has received €84,842 of funding from Erasmus+.
Romania-based Shoshin Theatre Association have a long-standing relationship with the performing arts department at Leeds Beckett, working with staff and students at theatre festivals in Croatia and Romania.
Practitioners from Káva Drama, the first established theatre in education organisation in Hungary; the Roy Hart International Voice Centre in France; and Colaborative Reichenow e.V. in Germany complete the international project team.
In April 2019, the European partners will attend a week-long training in Awareness through Movement at Leeds Beckett University led by Teresa.
The Feldenkrais Method
The training will be delivered by performance experts, covering a range of educational methods of improving movement and enhanced functioning – known as somatic practices. One such practice is called the Feldenkrais Method. This approach combines movement and breathing with awareness and mindfulness – and Teresa is one of only 16 practitioners registered in the north of England. The workshops will allow the European partners to apply their newly-acquired skills and knowledge in their own specific community and cultural contexts.
At the end of the project, the techniques will be put to the test in a collaborative theatre project with senior people in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
As part of the first meeting of all project members, second year BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance students at Leeds Beckett enacted a performance piece investigating the construction of memory and memorial in a contemporary context.