Michael Chekhov Technique in the Twenty First Century: New Pathways
Roanna Mitchell is currently co-investigator on the multi-institutional project Michael Chekhov Technique in the Twenty First Century: New Pathways. This project explores how Chekhov’s technique can be used in a 21st Century context, beyond its commonly known use in the interpretation of dramatic literature. The research practice draws on the rich archival materials describing the work of the Chekhov Theatre Studio at Dartingon Hall, and is being undertaken in six strands:
· Devised Theatre and Catalyst Direction
· Collaborative Writing
· Theatre Design
· Voice and Singing
· Movement Training and Dance
· Community Contexts, Drama Therapy, Psychotherapy and Health Contexts
Within this project, Roanna’s research and practice focus on current applications of Chekhov technique in movement training and dance. She is exploring the influence of 20th century dance practitioners on Chekhov’s own work, and identifies reasons why his psychophysical approach may be able to solve the current gap in training performers for work that exists in the crossover between dance and theatre.
Roanna’s chapter on the subject will be published in the forthcoming publication Michael Chekhov Technique in the Twenty First Century: New Pathways (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama 2018), edited by Dr Cass Fleming and Dr Tom Cornford.
The New Pathways project has already had significant impact on the practice of theatre- and community/health practitioners across the UK, as will be outlined in a forthcoming report on the work undertaken. The project is generously supported by Goldsmiths, CKP at the University of Kent, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Queen Mary University, and Michael Chekhov UK.
Multi-Agency Training Day (October 18th 2017) Led by Melissa Trimingham and Nicola Shaughnessy of the Centre for Cognition Kinesthetics and Performance, this Multi Agency Training Day at the Beacon School Folkestone kicked off this project of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) in Kent Shepway schools, training ‘Imagining Autism Champions’ cascading creative play based approaches to autistic children and promoting embodied understanding of autism.
‘Imagining Autism’ (5th October 2017) NAS (National Autistic Society) Helen Allison presentation to local parents by Nicola Shaughnessy, Melissa Trimingham and Annette Foster.
The Great War Horse conference (15th and 16th September 2017) brought together academics and theatre practitioners to evaluate and discuss War Horse, the landmark collaboration between London’s National Theatre and South African Handspring Puppet Company. In 2017 War Horse celebrates its tenth anniversary and started its second UK national tour at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury. This seemed an auspicious moment to examine its impact on UK theatre, particularly on the puppetry sector. This event was hosted by Canterbury Christ Church University in collaboration with The Marlowe Theatre and the University of Kent Research Centre for Cognition Kinesthetics and Performance.
The Broken Puppet: a symposium on puppetry, disability and health (1st and 2nd August 2017) This symposium took place on at the University of Cork, Ireland. Keynote speakers were Dr Persephone Sextou (Newman University Birmingham) and Dr Melissa Trimingham from the Centre for Cognition Kinesthetics and Performance, University of Kent.
Playing A Part (May/June 2017)
Funded by the UoK Public Engagement Fund, Nickie Shaughnessy of the Centre for Cognition Kinesthetics and Performance ran a series of practical workshops with a group of autistic women students, exploring their experiences of perceiving differently through drama and interactive media. They made a short film (with additional funding from the Autism Ethics Network) for screening at conference and in arts centres, co-produced by Jasper Bouverie . This will be shown in Ghent in November 2017 at a 3 day symposium run by the Autism Ethics Network where one of the film participants (Leni Van Goidsenhoven) will be co-presenting with Nickie Shaughnessy at a special session on female autism.