This is an extract of a bid for funding I submitted on Oct 5th 2020. The question posed is from the online form written by the Arts Council England and the wording has been targeted to meet their brief.
In October the actress whose role I understudied & took over in Gardzienice, was joined by voices from all over Poland supporting allegations of abuse within the company. This ‘Coming Out’ instigated a #metoo storm on social media, pointing up the relevance & urgency of my practice. I want to contribute to this discussion in English, & to undertake performance research that proffers a safer space for female artists & audiences to engage in laboratory theatre. Having worked closely with Gardzienice’s director, Staniewski, for 7 years & as a protégé of the late Alison Hodge, who dedicated her life to securing Staniewski’s name in history I have been approached with invitations to ‘add my voice’ but have refrained till now. By working with a diverse cross section of people, coming with different (and even opposing) views, and by generating a statement that points to progressive paradigms - in conversation with senior artists in the field - I hope to unpack systemic issues behind this disturbing and complex outpour. I have applied to Arts Council Engand for DYCP funding to enable me to find my voice, to curate frameworks to help me to develop it (and those of others) & to model a practice that is safe and inclusive. As a result of completing the DYCP project I July 2021, I will have test run ideas for coordinating female futures in the Lab and have a revised (blended) ACT training course to sell in future. I want this blog to grow over time & cumulatively inform followers as creative agents of systemic change. The film documentation by Rosie Jones will be invaluable as I take ACT Sex forward; for archival reference in developing my next production, but also for presenting my findings at conferences & pursuing interest from producing/publishing partners. The partnerships cited (in the full application) are not only creatively indispensable to my development but form bridges beyond the pandemic. With my producer fully acculturated to Moon Fool's work, we are set to mount a show inspired by the Ancient Mesopotamian myth and sung-epic from 1750 BC, 'The Descent of Inanna' by 2022.
Anna-Helena McLean How might we ‘feminize’ actor training in the post-Grotowskian tradition? A female perspective on a historically male laboratory practice. Navigating identity, authority, gender and interpretation. Supervised by Alex Mermikides.