Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 30 November 202030 Nov 2020
Disembodied connection: Making theatre ‘Live from the Cloud’
- Jane Woollard, School of Creative Arts and Media, CALE
- Asher Warren, School of Creative Arts and Media, CALE
In our third-year theatre unit ‘Production Project’, students are given the opportunity to direct, design and produce their own short public performances. The subject is highly anticipated; as students take full creative control of projects, and present these works (and perform in them) to an audience of family, friends and the public. The 2020 unit began as per any other year; with students selecting texts, organising into production teams, and developing concepts, casting roles, and scheduling rehearsals.
The processes of rehearsal had only just begun when the COVID-19 restrictions were implemented, and we were thrust into the broken world of brady-bunch video conferencing, locked away from friends and family. We, and our students, were shell-shocked, isolated, distressed.
In this presentation, we will outline how we adapted to the challenges of COVID; altering our teaching to a collaborative mode akin to Haraway’s sympoiesis, “… a word for worlding-with, in company” (Haraway, 2016, p. 58). By ‘making-with’ our students, we replaced the embodied learning of the rehearsal room with a different kind of tele-presence - but still a presence as Shannon Rose Riley describes it: “constituted in the moment by means of attention to the processes of the organism and its relationship with its environment.” (Riley, 2004, p. 448). These changes challenged many assumptions students held about theatre; but through this ‘making-with’, we saw students employ lateral, high-level conceptual thinking about theatre making; demonstrable in the rich, creative and engaging performances made for the highly experimental online production: ‘Live from the Cloud’.
Haraway, D. J. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press.
Riley, S. R. (2004). Embodied perceptual practices: Towards an embrained and embodied model of mind for use in actor training and rehearsal. Theatre Topics, 14(2), 445–471.