*a life in twenty-six postures
First there was yoga; then there was theatre; now there’s a play that brings them both together. Lou Prendergast’s latest theatrical offering matches twenty-six autobiographical nuggets to the twenty-six postures of a Bikram yoga sequence. Spanning a life in four scenes, the work provokes thought around personal transformation through Eastern disciplines, against the harsh realities of working class life in the West.
The show’s three performers met at Bikram Yoga teacher training in Thailand last autumn. Now Prendergast’s vision is being realised in collaboration with Northern Irish theatre-maker, Anna Leckey, and Galway visual artist, Laura Fahey. The narrative is enhanced through the movement of the bodies on stage, demonstrating the struggles, the beauty, the light and the shade of life. Bringing her trademark humour to dark scenarios, this ultimately uplifting piece challenges perceptions across a range of contemporary social issues.
This is a one-off performance on SATURDAY 2nd JULY at the Swallow Theatre in Whithorn – Scotland’s smallest theatre. Only 35 seats are available. The theatre is set in the rolling Galloway countryside, with parking in the field opposite. There is return minibus transport from Glasgow to Whithorn. The show is a matinee, enabling travellers to be back home for Saturday evening.
There are two ticket options:
or call 07868 243 213 to arrange your tickets.
We have been inspired by the quality and quantity of proposals we received for the Symposium. Thank you to everyone who proposed a paper, workshop, performance or intervention.
We are just about to confirm booking arrangements for the Symposium which will appear on this website very soon alongside a draft schedule.
Hosted by the Centre for Psychophysical Performance Research
Saturday 27th February 1000-1800
Sunday 28th February 1000-1700
Cost: £50 (Some part or whole bursaries available)
Limited numbers so early booking advised.
For bookings and further information contact Franc Chamberlain at email@example.com
Meditation/mindfulness is a growing area of interest across many fields. It throws up interesting questions around the nature of identity and the way we attach ourselves to our thoughts. From a creative point of view, in it’s different adaptions, it provides a bountiful route into self-awareness and feeling connectivity, enabling access to internal qualities, ideas, processes and emotional states that can be the inspiration for both epic and intimate vocal-physical expression. On the other hand it also suggests and encourages a more aloof relationship to these aspects, implying that the greatest creativity is in the act of choiceless listening itself, with expression as a potential interruption to the deepening experience of pure listening observance.
In this workshop we will be looking into these notions, investigating the paradoxically contradictory and complimentary pulls between meditation, personal expression and performance. To do this we will blend internal and external meditations, with voice-movement work, working from the extremes of stillness and silence through to highly dynamic vocal-physical states of emotion. Along the way we will look at:
The workshop is designed for those who are interested in both expanding their experience of voice-movement integration and meditation and exploring how the two may or may not link together. It may be of particular interest for those who have questions about their role as creative artists and are looking to rediscover it or find a different direction, as well as for people simply interested in using creative and meditative processes to get to know themselves better.
Guy Dartnell is a UK-based inter/national award winning performance artist. He is the co-director of Oogly Boogly and is an associate artist with Improbable and Lone Twin Theatre. Among various influences are the psychophysical extended voice techniques of the Roy Hart Theatre, fooling, Process Work and the work of healer Hilmar Schonauer.
Performance and Mindfulness Symposium
Centre for Psychophysical Performance Research
University of Huddersfield
Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June, 2016.
Since Stanislavski in the late nineteenth century, Western theatre practitioners have demonstrated a fascination with Eastern philosophies and with mindfulness practices. Lee Worley, Nicolás Núñez, Meredith Monk, Marina Abramovic and Pasquale Esposito are some of the contemporary artists who have been exploring the theoretical and practical relations between theatre and aspects of meditation, including mindfulness. Whilst there is now a growing body of research into applications of mindfulness in clinical and educational contexts, there are few studies explicitly examining the role of mindfulness and meditation in theatre and performance. Aiming to gather together scholars, practitioners and artists interested in this study and practice, the Centre for Psychophysical Performance Research at the University of Huddersfield invites proposals for a Symposium on Performance and Mindfulness.
We invite proposals in four different categories:
Papers: 30 minute presentations followed by 15 minutes’ discussion.
Working Groups: Short papers, to be circulated within the group in advance, presenting statements of practice or provocations relating to one of the following themes. The working groups will be chaired and tasked with feeding back to the whole conference in a closing plenary.
1. Research Methodology and Evaluation: Which research methods can best interrogate and capture experiences and articulations relating to mindfulness and performance? What contribution might source traditions, such as Buddhism, offer to the development of methodologies for research in mindfulness-based performance practices?
2. Ethical Considerations: In what ways do the ethics of various meditational source traditions play out when mindfulness practices are transposed to the secular context of theatrical performance?
3. Creative Practices: An exploration of the role and practice of mindfulness forms in generative creative processes (including, but not limited to, improvisation, devising, performance writing, collaborative practice).
4. Contemplative Performance: How might meditative experience be invited or generated through theatrical performance experiences, for both performers and audiences? Is it possible to conceive of a contemplative mode of spectatorship?
Performances: We invite proposals for performance pieces requiring only basic technical resources. We particularly welcome short performances (20 – 30 minutes) but can consider performances suitable for studio theatres or non-conventional spaces.
Workshops: Three hour practical workshops, exploring integrations of meditation/mindfulness and performance practice.
Proposals should include:
Proposals will be considered between 1st and 15th March 2016, and decisions communicated by 4 April. Please email proposals or enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicolás Núñez will offer a two day workshop before the Symposium on the 31st of May and 1st of June. More information, please contact: email@example.com
Symposium registration information:
Registration and Booking will open soon and further details will be available.
The full symposium cost will be
£140 Not including related costs e.g. accommodation or dinner
£100 Student rates (limited tickets for full-time non-funded students)
We are also allocating a limited number of bursaries to attend the symposium in exchange for symposium support (e.g. ushering; written reviews / written blogposts or feedback on the symposium; other). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to propose a bursary application.
Tibet’s Secret Temple Exhibition at the Wellcome Collection
The world we see is a painting
Born from the brush of discursive thought.
Within or upon it nothing truly existent can be found.
knowing this one knows reality;
seeing this one sees what is true.
Second Dalai Lama (1475-1542). Quote reproduced from exhibition
Tibet’s Secret Temple Exhibition continues at the Welcome Collection until 28 February 2016. Tracing body, mind and meditation in Tantric Buddhism the displays examine the history of Tibetan Buddhist yogic and meditational practice and their connections to physical and mental wellbeing. The Lukhang secret temple built during the reigns of the fifth and sixth Dalai Lamas provided a sanctuary for the Dalai Lamas to use on their journeys towards enlightenment. The heart and inspiration of the exhibition contains virtually recreated images by Photographer Thomas Laird of three of the 17th century murals which adorn the top floor of the temple’s meditation chamber. The murals contain visual instructions into practices and beliefs of Tibetan Buddhism.
After a freelance day of facilitating an arts meeting in London I thought I might not have the stamina to fully engage with this exhibition. I’m glad I trusted that the exhibition would inspire and lift my spirits. The exhibition is wordy and has a wide-ranging focus, but it is elegantly curated and immersive. Beginning with a contemporary film by David Bickerstaff capturing the journey by boat to the Lukhang, the film situates the Lukhang in context to Lhasa today with the sights and sounds of devotional life in Tibet’s capital city. Twelve themed rooms then lead on from each other, filled with 120 artefacts including scroll paintings, statues, manuscripts and films each exploring a different aspect of the Lukhang; Tibetan Buddhist belief systems; and contemporary understandings of meditation and wellbeing.
Themed areas are:
Radiating a sense of continuum and a plethora of dynamic practice, the exhibition will offer different highlights to different folks and includes documentation of performance practices. I particularly enjoyed the room of yogas of fire and light; depictions of Chöd practices; and images of the adepts of Tantric Buddhism, the mahasiddhas, who follow their own independent paths outwith a more uniform monastery route and look joyfully maverick in the photographs. I was enchanted by the sense of a wilder perhaps more autarchical way of being rather than following a linear path.
The image above is of an 18th Century depiction of Garuda. (Copyright: Trustees of the British Museum). I loved this particular Garuda!
To some extent the display commodifies its subject and exaggerates the ‘secrecy / unseen’ element of the murals and practices in order to tantalise a lay audience. Yet this is a high quality and considered exhibition which has many rarely seen objects on show. It is also an expansive exhibition with joyful and intimate sculptures on show and intriguing depictions of unfamiliar meditation methods.
Wellcome have a variety of events associated with Tibet’s Secret Temple exhibition including:
This exhibition overlaps with a new Wellcome collection exhibition States of Mind: Tracing the edges of consciousness beginning 4 February until 16 October 2016.
States of Mind will ‘examine perspectives from artists, psychologists, philosophers and neuroscientists to interrogate our understanding of the conscious experience. Exploring phenomena such as somnambulism, synaesthesia, and disorders of memory and consciousness, the exhibition will examine ideas around the nature of consciousness, and in particular what can happen when our typical conscious experience is interrupted, damaged or undermined.’ The show features a series of changing installations. The first one will be ‘The Whisper Heard’ by Imogen Stidworthy, from 4 February until 24 April.
MINDFULNESS AND PERFORMANCE