Embodied Conversations with Audiences

love life

I have the memory of a sieve and I don’t read back my blogs. They become a stream of my life, and I am sure I repeat myself often. But hey ho, maybe each repeat reaches a slightly different audience.

Today I have once again been with a group of artists sharing new work, research, and exploration of life, death, body, self, other and all things. Sounds profound. Well it was. Held beautifully it offered one member the chance to say that the process “clearly embodied that an artwork can be a conversation and a collaboration between the person making / instigating it, and the person witnessing it”

I went from this event to a dance event, for non professionals or artists, which again allowed for a personal journey and a witnessing of the transformative power of the connection between two people, and more people.

Many of my blog colleagues talk about the shows they see, and the experiences they witness, as an audience member. My most powerful experiences at the moment are when I am an involved witness, sometimes participant.

This afternoon we watched a short piece – poetically inspired and visually manifested exploring the writer and the performer’s connection to the sea and to ships – ancient travel and adventure, through to refugee arrival and despair were played out in this piece set around a bath of warm water. It was deeply powerful. It was even more powerful when we all gathered around the rippling water and added our thoughts to the creative atmosphere.

With a fourth wall the piece would have had half the power it had. By being part of a tiny happening, with a small grouping of people, we were allowed our own journey too.

There were many other magical connections made today. The power of ritual and storytelling were alive in the room, and I feel richer and calmer for allowing my tears to flow, and my thoughts to fly with the ideas being presented.

Is this sort of connection possible in the West End or on the major subsidised houses of the UK – sometimes, yes, there are performers and works which connect with us all in a visceral way. My instant thoughts as I write this are Mark Rylance in Jerusalem and Brian Dennehy in Death of A Salesman, the extraordinary Oresteia by the Almeida and Satyagraha by English National Opera. Times when I have been viscerally engaged in a way which transcends script and music.   But in each case the collective energy from the audience may feed back to the performers, but we never voice the thoughts in our heads.

There are wonderful ways for the major houses and today’s creative artists to blend, flow, and share their two energies. A heartfelt belief from all creative producers and managers  that art is more than describable will help. A realisation that the most extraordinary experiences are felt by all those in the space.


Art is a conversation. With words yes, but also with a shared breathe and awareness. The palpable power of Blood Brothers when it is shining with its heart, and the raw shock of Women in Black when it causes a collective gasp (and more) are examples of the collective making art which needs us to complete it.

For me, every theatre should have the equivalent of our monthly safe space for research and exploration. Maybe at D&D in January, when the creative energy of the whole UK comes together in Birmingham, some new sparks will be lit that continue the world of necessary and embodied conversation.

I can’t wait to be there. But for now I sign off for a month (unless I get a rush of keyboard loss), because I have a week away to write about Creativity in Business for a small new book, and then a Christmas to hide away with family and friends.

Thank you to my readers, to those who offer their inspiration to me as clients of my coaching and surgery practice, to my producers colleagues who inspire me with their emerging creativity at Mountview, and most especially to Kath and her Authentic Artist collective which offers me a safe space to be moved beyond measure by the artistry which can be created with the tiniest movement and most fragile idea.

The image celebrates new life, and today sees the birth of a new life into the world of Threes’s Company, C Venues, and Smooth Faced Gentlemen – congratulations Alice and Tom on your new arrival.

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