Connection, Creativity and Compassion
Prior to training as a psychotherapist for many years I was a theatre director. I now work in drama schools with students and staff, both as individuals and in groups.
I offer drama students in training an opportunity to explore challenges whilst developing their creativity, self-awareness, compassion and resilience.
At Guildhall I have designed a programme that recognises that psychological understanding lies at the heart of the actor’s craft, and can deeply
enrich practice as well as supporting personal growth and creative freedom. I encourage compassionate understanding of ourselves and others, challenging the culture of competitive perfectionism prevalent in our education system and culture. This pioneering approach gives students tools to understand and support themselves, and to create psychologically complex, richly inhabited characters.
Using Our Inner Lives as a Rich Resource
Each of us has a unique life experience and history, which we bring with us into the rehearsal room. I will support you to explore how your own story impacts the way you relate to others and experience the world.
Using games, drama exercises, images, movement, and impro, I encourage playfulness and curiosity, building awareness of both our innate creativity, and the ways we can sabotage ourselves. Learning to recognise, explore and release unhelpful patterns increases our creative potential, empowering us to take risks and grow.
We will explore how to use our inner lives as a rich creative resource and how our own conflicts and shadow parts can help us step into another’s shoes, empathise, and deepen character exploration in the rehearsal room.
We will work with Stanislavski’s language of objectives and obstacles to understand how a character's history and psychic wounds create powerful drives and protective defences. Students are introduced to the autonomic nervous system and its primitive origins, which trigger fight, flight, freeze, fawn or submit survival reflexes. We will explore the tension between what is revealed and what is hidden, and our experience of universal emotional states. Students learn how these are linked to primary needs for security, attachment and belonging. Focusing on our shared humanity supports compassionate exploration of the characters’ internal conflicts, and creates powerfully embodied performers.
Recognising that there are many parts of ourselves allows actors to use that richness as a resource, and expand their range and depth of understanding.
We will work with difference, celebrating our uniqueness as well as exploring and becoming curious about how we are each shaped by our own history, culture and the bigger system.
Coming from this place of shared humanity we will ask ourselves what we want our work to communicate and how we want to create change in the world.
Working with Arts Organisations
I also work with leaders of arts organisations and with their staff exploring group dynamics, communication and creative innovation. I am particularly interested in supporting the process of change towards a more inclusive, socially engaged training that empowers the student. As we embrace diversity the arts can be used to explore the challenges and potential, and find creative ways forward.
Workshops and Training
I am a tutor and supervisor for Trauma Informed Schools UK and I teach at The Institute for the Arts in Therapy and Education. I have run workshops for the Arvon Foundation, National Theatre, Royal Court and and British Council as well as in universities, drama schools and theatres throughout the world.
My Theatre Background
I was Artistic Director of touring company Shared Experience, with productions I wrote and directed regularly transferring to the West End and touring internationally. These included the award winning trilogy: Bronte; Jane Eyre and After Mrs Rochester (winner Best Director Evening Standard Awards, and Time Out Best West End Production). I also wrote and directed Mine, Speechless and Mermaid. My plays continue to be performed nationally and internationally and are available from Nick Hern books. My work is on the school syllabus.