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Creative ID: 096

Art form(s): Dance, Theatre, Ngā Toi Māori, Multi-Disciplinary, Place-based Performance.

Based in: Wellington.

When I'm available: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, November 2020. Throughout 2021. Times of the day to be finalised in mutual consultation.

Where I'm available: Throughout New Zealand.

My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)

Throughout my creative practice and culminating in a practice-based PhD I have developed an original model of performance-making to reflect the geographic, cultural, historic and spiritual dimensions of a place, region or neighbourhood. This model can be used in artistic as well as educational settings. Through a practical devising framework with teachers, students and the wider school community, a specific Point of Departure (story, image, history, characters, etc) will be explored for its creative and original performative potential using body, space, sound, dialogue and objects/puppets. The framework I use encourages and enables all participants to bring in perspectives, values and expressions from their own unique culture (it is culturally responsive). Stages of a School Project would be:

  • Stage 1: A series of creative workshops with the teachers to inspire and guide classroom activities;
  • Stage 2: Activities to encourage members of the extended community to get involved;
  • Stage 3: Arts intensive with school and community;
  • Stage 4: Performance/Festival;
  • Stage 5: Reflective Process (Lessons Learnt, Future Plans).

As a dancer, actor, singer, director, psychologist and educator, I use body, space, sound, text and objects to enhance life and living.

My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with

I have more than 30 years' experience as a professional performing artist (dancer, actor, singer, director, choreographer) throughout Europe, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific and SE Asia. I have won numerous awards, grants and raving reviews about my work as a performer and/or director. I have written and published 2 books that contribute significantly to theatre in schools and in general and also have had various articles published on Place-based Performance, Intercultural Performance and Multi-disciplinary Performance. I have undertaken Artist-in-Residencies in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia and worked for 6 months in Samoa. My main qualifications are: Theatre School, Professional Diploma in Corporeal Mime (U.K.), M.A. Social and Clinical Psychology and a PhD in Theatre. I have a particular interest in collaborative creation, intercultural performance, inter-disciplinary theatre and world song. On a practical level I have studied and trained in the pre-European whare tapere, traditional Asian Theatre (Noh, Butoh, Bunraku), Michael Chekhov Acting, Extended Voice techniques, Choreographic Theatre and mime, puppetry and mask work.

Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes

As a Social and Clinical Psychologist, I have had 5 years of experience working in Youth Suicide Prevention through arts-based strategies (film and performing arts). I have taught at many of the Drama Schools and Universities in New Zealand and Australia and worked with young children in gypsy camps and socioeconomic challenged neighbourhoods. I was one of the main facilitators of ta studio residency for young people in Australia. I have directed a number of community-based performance projects, involving 60+ participants varying in ages from 6–83 years (different locations) and I co-facilitated a Place-based Performance Project at a school. Currently, I am a Senior Tutor at a NZ Drama School, dramaturg for a Pasifika Dance Theatre project and artistic leader of a vocal ensemble.

Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice

I am committed to encouraging the use of the performing arts as a pathway to support and enhance being and well-being in the context of a school community. The devising process offers an effective and powerful process to enable its participants to bring in values, perspectives and expressions unique to their own culture. By working across age groups participants are offered powerful opportunities to develop skills in leadership, communication, collaboration and expression. I highly value the creation of a safe and inclusive environment that aims to strengthen courage, compassion, transformation and Manaakitanga (mutual respect and support). The core of my Creatives in Schools proposal is to develop stronger, positive and supportive relationships between all participants. By working together with an experienced Māori Creative and Educator, I believe that our specialist skills together with the unique talents, skills and resources of interested kura and schools will combine into a powerful catalyst for positive transformation of the participants, both as individuals and as a community.

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