Portrait of Sian Stevenson

Sian Stevenson

Senior Tutor, Director of Graduate Theatre Companies


I have worked in theatre, opera and performance art for over 25 years and am currently the Creative Director of Moving Memory Dance Theatre Company. My academic approach is rooted in applied contemporary practice and my specialism is movement. My teaching is informed by research into ageing, dementia and disabilities married with the possibilities of movement-based techniques such as Feldenkrais and Alexander, sign language, dance and physical theatre to facilitate the telling of individual stories and experiences in a performance context.

As a director, performer and choreographer, I have worked with many companies including Bobby Baker Daily Life Limited, English Touring Opera, Plain Clothes, Gloria, Grange Opera and Actors Touring Company. This industry-based expertise in small/mid-scale touring and community performance offers students access to networks, knowledge and skills, including opportunities for professional placements and movement-based training. I have extensive experience in applied theatre, with specialist knowledge in movement, inclusivity and disability, and a long track-record of creating new performance in a wide range of educational and community settings.  

My work with Moving Memory underpins my research, which is focused on the creation and promotion of a distinctive, movement-based, peer-led, collaborative, creative practice which enables people (especially women aged 50+) to tell their own stories and express their individual identity. A unique feature of this practice is the integration of digital technology, especially the use of a bespoke digital projection kit, nicknamed “Doris”. I am also creating an online training programme which will enable the establishment of sustainable Moving Well groups across the country. The work has a strong inter-generational element and there are many opportunities for students to be involved.


Currently I convene and teach three practice based modules:

Explorations in Theatre Practice, a stage 2 module which explores ways and starting points into making performance work, process based skills, and ensemble practice, with an emphasis on the creative application of  technical skills.

Applied Theatre, a stage 3 module, which introduces students to the historical context of applied theatre, workshop skills, facilitation techniques, project planning and management in an educational setting. Students gain hands on experience of what it means to organise a workshop programme from conception to completion in a ‘real’ educational context. 

Applied Performance: stage 4 Mdrama pre professional research and practice. This year long course of study equips students to develop their practice and knowledge of applied performance at a pre-professional level. Students are taught how to set themselves up as independent companies and run performance projects in varying community settings. The course involves a placement with a professional theatre company. The latter plus skills based training, residencies with professional companies and running outreach projects at organisations outside the confines of the department, equips students with real skills and practice to ensure they are ready to enter a professional context following graduation.

The emphasis of my teaching is ‘hands on learning’; understanding theory through exploration. My teaching ensures that students are trained in and understand professional expectations and discipline, while providing opportunities to network and make connections in industry, building knowledge of opportunities in performance related professions. The above is linked directly to my continuing practice in professional and community based performance work, and informed by my research.


My teaching is currently informed by research into dementia, and disabilities, as well as the possibilities of dance and movement based techniques such as Feldenkrais and Alexander, married with physical theatre and sign language, to facilitate the telling of individual stories and experiences in a performance context. A recent ballroom based project funded by the Creative campus initiative, with women in their 70’s-80 has led to StevensonThomson establishing a performance-based company, Making the Move. In addition, a project funded by The Ideas Factory, University of Kent, is commissioning the company to explore collaborations between performance and medicine in relation to rehabilitation of fall–victims, as well as developing a training DVD for carers of older people.  

  • Making the Move: Establishment of East Kent’s first performance company for people who are 50 plus by StevensonThomson
  • Sit Down Durational Chit Chat: Bobby Baker Daily Life Ltd
  • Making the Move DVD :StevensonThompson, Ideas factory, University of Kent

Recent Performance Projects:

  • Moving memory: Creative Campus, StevensonThomson
  • Peas for peace: Wellcome Trust, Daily Life Ltd
  • Dainty Feeding: Victoria and Albert Museum & Home Gallery
  • First Feat: Toynbee Studios, Daily Life Ltd
  • Creative Learning and teaching projects: Creative partnerships
  • Magic Flute, Macbeth & Fidelio: English Touring Opera
  • La Calisto: Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Venus and Adonis: Actors Touring Company & The Hairy Mary’s
  • Ballroominating: Scratch Arts, University of Kent
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