EARTH-ENGAGED PERFORMANCE RESEARCH

Earth-Engaged Performance Research is an unusual term, and has come about after a long search to find an immediate description that will accurately communicate what this body of work is and does. 

Earth-Engaged Performance Research means all research and performance is rooted in the exploration of the EARTH / BODY relationship.

Our place of enquiry covers all aspects of performance in context with how an active connection between the actor and natural world influence structure, technique and quality of performance.

This applies to every aspect of the performance process to include:

  • Movement

  • Voice

  • Character

  • Storytelling

  • Theatre Construct

  • Actor / Audience Relationship

  •  Writing

  • Direction + Production

For now, at a glance, here's a little more on constants and key principles:

FUNDAMENTALS

  • THE EARTH / BODY AXIS

Spiderflower's holds a clear, sharp focus where research and the resulting performance process is rooted entirely in the exploration of the earth/body relationship.

  • A SHARED LANGUAGE

When we understand body is made of the substance of earth, we begin to engage with the immense intelligence and creative power shared by both organisms. This principle honours the body as an instrument, so inviting the physical being to engage with the natural world at a cellular level. Over time, the body/earth connection gives rise to an alchemical process where dialogue through the expressive arts (movement, voice, music, art, story) slowly unearths a shared language

  • SLOW TIME

We must adjust our concept of and relationship with TIME.  It is essential to slow down to a point that is almost unimaginable to truly connect with the deeper language of nature within and around us.

  • CHARTING THE UNKNOWN

Spiderflower's approach delivers us quickly and powerfully into the unknown. As an actor heads into uncharted territory, expression and quality of energy rising out the process may initially seem alien. The work ahead is to stay engaged with the unfamiliar, listen and allow.

  • TRANSLATION

'Earthwork' means hands on/feet on connection with the elements, making up a significant proportion of Spiderflower's practice. Over time, the body as a receptive instrument develops ability to interpret a natural source - acting as translator.

  • A PRECISION FORM

As we track into the choreographies of body and earth, we find patterns, shapes, circuits of energy that are incredibly specific. Our art is to remain engaged with these currents, to follow the river and chart their course. In action, often contrary to assumption, we witness a precision form where crystal clear movement and gesture emerge to make transparent the landscape within. This framework and approach gives rise to Spiderflower's distinctive style and quality within movement,  performance and writing.

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RESEARCH, THE LANDSCAPE + OUR WORLD

  •  RESEARCH

Research allows emergent technique and structure to undergo constant investigation, revision and development.

  • THE LANDSCAPE

The lay of the land tells a story in its own right. While it is in constant motion, our work is to observe, and observe how that story interacts with human life.

  • WORK AS SITE SPECIFIC

Relationship with place is vital. An on-going body of work often settles at a specific site to evolve through a sustained relationship sometimes over many years. 

  • SEPARATION vs  CONNECTION

Focus often falls on the connected state vs separate state in the human/earth relationship. We observe how those states impact human life - as an individual/performer, ensemble/collective, society/audience. In turn, we observe how those states within the human impact our world.

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CREATION + WRITING

  • UNEARTHING + CREATION OF NEW WORK

The creation of a piece starts as a blank slate with only clear intent and maybe one or two anchors in place. Beyond this, there is no knowing what will transpire. To allow story to unfold directly through the earth/body dialogue is the entire point of the work.

 

As stories living deep in the soil, flesh and that meeting place between rise to surface, it is essential to hold to the unknown, vital we do not impose or anticipate. We wait, listen, translate.

  • NEW WORK vs ADAPTATION

The practice can easily adapt to interpret existing text. All elements of Spiderflower's performance process come into play and will lend its distinctive edge to any piece. However, Spiderflower's guiding principle is to create new and original content.

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PERFORMANCE, THEATRE CONSTRUCT + THE AUDIENCE

  • THE ACTOR AS CONDUIT

The actors role explores how the ability to work with creative forces beyond the self informs, inspires and influences clarity and quality of performance, in turn, how that delivery is received by an audience. Essentially, the actor is seen as conduit. 

  • THE ACTOR / AUDIENCE RELATIONSHIP

Is of huge importance. The work is not only constantly honed around how this relationship works, but also how it wants to evolve. It is usual for Spiderflower to work with unorthodox strategies to engage the audience. Audience reaction to date shows us the work that takes place to weave layers of the unseen into performance is directly experienced, and does indeed touch people deeply.

  • AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Spiderflower is nothing without its audience. Virtually all work (performance or training) has root in initial conversation with community at some point. Strong ethos around audience inclusion during the creation of a body of work and/or performance exists, and has lead to the development of Spiderflower's course repertoire over a long period of time - so offering continued space for actors, creators and humans of every ilk to step into that journey of discovery.

  • THEATRE -  THE OLDEST WATERING HOLE

The nature of earth-engaged performance research evokes the very question: 

  • What are the roots of theatre and why does it exist?  

 

Which often opens the floodgates to others such as:

  • How has it stretched back over thousands of years, if not millennia?  

  • What human need does it actually serve?

To visit these questions is a wonderment.  

Remember this:  We are not bound by static ways of doing and creating, but instead, this work is here to innovate forms of theatre practice that are poignant for today. We question, (maybe uphold, sometimes dismantle) existing theatre constructs, sometimes arriving at a thing-never-seen-before.

 

This is a voyage for pioneers, yet, whatever we may come to - the entire process delivers us, again and again, back to theatre as perhaps one of the oldest watering holes for humankind.

I will stop here.   

 

For there is much to say, the best way to say it - is in the doing of it.  

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A CENTRE FOR EARTH-ENGAGED PERFORMANCE RESEARCH is currently in development where Spiderflower's findings are to be archived and made available as an educational resource. 

If you would like to support this work, please visit SUPPORT SPIDERFLOWER or head over to MEMBERSHIP for active inclusion.

Weaving the Ancient, the Wild & the Beautiful

Phone: +44 (0) 7967 430303    |   Email: contact@spiderflower.org

Office:  The Flat, 15, Meneage Street, Helston, Cornwall.  TR13 8AA.

Website + Content © 1999 - 2020 Rowan Jacqueline Beckett / Spiderflower.  All rights reserved.  

Registered Trademark: UK00003466287

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