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I have been engaged in research and teaching in a number of Universities in the UK since 2008 including Royal Holloway University of London, Leeds University (workshop theatre) and Bristol University. In 2011/12 I taught 2 modules and supervised practical dissertations as part of the MA Performance Research at Bristol Drama Department.
I have also been teaching specialist workshops since 2002 at undergraduate and postgraduate level and with colleagues, artists and performers. These draw on embodied and collaborative practices, particularly the work of Goat Island Performance Group and BodyWeather and my own practice as a maker and director of site specific and site responsive performances. In March 2014 I will be teaching a workshop ‘Performing the Body’ at Bristol.
TWO EXAMPLES OF RECENT WORKSHOPS:
Strategies for exploring Site
We will explore strategies for the interaction and response of the mind-body-imagination to a specific site of research: in this case a physical/geographical place.
Specifically, we will use strategies from the practice of Bodyweather’s groundwork exercises (which explore the sensations, perceptions and interactions of bodies and environments) and the collaborative practices of Goat Island Performance Company. These strategies heighten awareness of our surrounding environment and maximize sensitivity to the perceptual and creative possibilities of the mind, body and imagination.
The aim, in this project, is that these same strategies can later be used in pedagogical and exploratory work with students, leading to the creation of site-responsive performance material for live performance and film.
How do we respond creatively and approach impossible tasks in devised performance and in life? A workshop exploring collaboration and the communication in the work of Goat Island Performance Group.
Introduction to Goat Island
Create transparency of process
1.Thinking through the lens of performance practice to reflect on theory
2.Thinking through the lens of theory to reflect on performance practice
1.A short process of circulation and creative response
Draw on own memory / direct experience
- writing exercise about a familiar place
- everyday action made impossible by disruptions
choose fragments + directive = performance
creative response + directive = duets
(directives are randomly chosen from a list)
five word creative response
Start a discussion by asking: What elements do you notice in this practice? What is happening at each stage? How do these elements involve or represent a different way of thinking, seeing and behaving – in relation to: impossibility and communication, creative response/criticism?
HOW DO WE RESPOND TO IMPOSSIBILE TASKS, BY DEVELOPING TACTICS (refer to De Certeau)?
CAN THIS GIVE US A WAY OF THINKING DIFFERENTLY ABOUT IMPOSSIBILITY and COMMUNICATION?
As facilitator and teacher I aim to create spaces that give a balance of lively investigation and ongoing sustenance for participants. Most of my work in this area has been in the form of research and development and weekend workshops. As well as workshops in performer training and creation of creative material in response to sites/environments, I would like to run a series of classes for artists, writers and performers that investigate the more personal, relational and collaborative aspects of creative practice that are often neglected. Creative artists need safe spaces to re-source and re-charge as well as be inspired.
Watch this space and the latest news on the homepage for up and coming events.
I run this workshop on a yearly basis:
hinterlands : creative investigations of bodies and environments : a weekend in rural Wales
up and coming:
creative investigations of bodies and environments
September 12 – 15th 2014
created and led by Ailsa Richardson
the course will be held at Penpynfarch, a creative research and retreat centre www.penpynfarch.co.uk listed in Alasdair Sawday’s ‘Special Places to Stay’
the combination of this workshop and the setting of Penpynfarch provides an opportunity to refresh creative batteries and investigate creative practice – to tune in, slow down, play and activate as necessary.
we will be exploring the ‘hinterlands’ between bodies and their surrounding environments and what we create in/at this intersection.
we will spend time in the small perfectly formed studio at Penpynfarch (with underfloor heating!) receiving the body’s condition and activating its potential for movement; investigating the nature of being in a body – our awareness to and from the body, mind and imagination.
outdoors in the secluded and varied woodland, river, farm and pasture, we will be receiving, walking, moving, making, witnessing and responding.
- this workshop provides a structure that allows for individual and collective investigation of creative practice (there will be a maximum of 9 participants)
- the weekend is aimed at artists, performers, teachers and researchers in the areas of movement, the environment and site responsive practices (and others related).
the somatic practice and collaborative structures inherent in this workshop are informed by BodyWeather, Movement Medicine and Goat Island Performance Group as well as Ailsa’s performance and practice.
course fee (including accommodation)
institution funded: £195
self funded: £175
fee includes accommodation, studio and use of all facilities
we will self cater and share cooking of evening meals (food is not included in the price above)
scroll down ffi about content and ‘what people said’ last year
The workshop will draw on some of the principles of Bodyweather and Movement Medicine and collaborative structures from Goat Island Performance Group:
BodyWeather is a comprehensive training and performance practice that investigates the intersections of bodies and their environments. The term & philosophical basis for Bodyweather was founded in the early 1980’s on the Bodyweather Farm by dancer Min Tanaka and his company Mai Juku and has been further developed by ‘laboratories’ worldwide.
Goat Island Performance Group (1987 – 2009) are well known for their influential, experimental and precisely structured collaborative processes and and their physical, meditative and affecting performances.
Movement Medicine is a moving meditation practice. Much of the practice is about cultivating an awareness of our body-heart-mind and of relationship with self, other and a wider environment
What people said about hinterlands 2
Ailsa ‘s workshops are a real treat – clear and spacious, still & passionate. She allows you to create what you need to create –co-creative!
Ailsa’s Hinterlands workshop was joy-full and growth-full; she has an infectious energy and enthusiasm, with a flexible sensitivity to what the group needs.
Ailsa oozes movement in her very being, as if her whole body is engaged in the present.
Pen Pynfarch touched me deeply, the river and wild flowers were glorious and offered a healing presence. The cottage had everything one would need and the welcome helped to offer a safe, supportive and deeply creative weekend.
Above and beyond the fact that it was glorious to move freely in a wonderful environment, Ailsa Richardson’s leadership really made this weekend for me. Ailsa was able to nuance her approach and tailor activities according to the evolving needs of the group: I really appreciated this.
The location and venue were beautiful and perfect for the purpose of wandering, exploring, investigating – both our inner landscapes and the external one. Ailsa held a beautiful space for us throughout … it was a transformative experience and one which left me energised, enthused, and feeling centered in my body and in my world.