The following research interests intersect, overlap and cross-fertilize in research and creative practice.
Moving between acting and dance: Interdisciplinary training- and rehearsal vocabularies
This project is the next step following a series of pilot projects and case studies with The Chekhov Collective and choreographer/dancer Julie Cunningham, as well as explorations in my own creative practice and teaching.
Key research questions are:
These questions are addressed through a portfolio of methodologies:
Associated with this research, my chapter on ‘Chekhov Technique in Actor-Movement and Dance’ will be published as part of Michael Chekhov Technique in the Twenty-first Century: New Pathways. Eds. Cornford, T. and Fleming, C. (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama), forthcoming in 2019.
Michael Chekhov Training in the 21st Century: New Pathways
This was a tri-institutional research project between Goldsmiths, York University and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in collaboration with Michael Chekhov Centre UK. As research associate to Dr Cass Fleming I was embedded in the strand of the project which explored contemporary uses of Chekhov’s technique in devised theatre practice, as well as leading the project strand investigating applications of Chekhov Technique in actor-movement and dance.
The Actor’s Body: Identity and Image
The Actor’s Body: Identity and Image is a research group at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama which charts the dynamics of body anxiety amongst students and explores adjustments to curriculum and staff training in relation to this topic. I was an active member of this research group from 2010 to 2014 as part of my doctoral research. In this time the group successfully integrated new curricular aspects and run workshops at staff faculty days and specialist seminars. This is a crucial area of investigation, about which I remain in dialogue with both colleagues at Central and in Australia. See my publications on this subject in the list below.
Making Performance from Taste and Smell
From 2013-2015 I collaborated with Dr Krysta Dennis (US) to develop and explore methodologies of theatre-making that both take taste and smell as stimulus and integrate them into the audiences’ performance experience, thereby de-emphasizing visual and surface-elements of performance and prioritising interior body experiences and their impact on the imagination.
Out of this was born Through the Grapevine, a company which delivered performed wine tasting performances and workshops.
In November 2014 Through the Grapevine and its methodology toured to the Interdisciplinary.Net 5th Global Conference: Performance, and were enthusiastically received. A rich collaboration, this work is currently suspended in the face of the barriers provided by visa regulations and geographical distance.
A critical reflection on this work can be found in Mitchell, R. and Dennis, K. (2016). The Dramaturgy of Wine, the Terroir of Performance: Multi-Sensory Performance-Making in Through the Grapevine. In: Interdisciplinary.Net 5th Global Conference: Performance, 7-10 November, 2014. ID Press: Online.
Mitchell, R. (2019 forthcoming book chapter). ‘Chekhov Technique for Movement and Dance Training’ in Michael Chekhov Technique in the Twenty-first Century: New Pathways. Eds. Cornford, T. and Fleming, C. (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama)
Mitchell, R. (2018 forthcoming book chapter). ‘Bodies as Profit Centres: Susie Orbach’s work in the context of performance and activism’ in Festschrift for Dr Susie Orbach (title TBC). Ed. Kahr, B. (London: Routledge).
Mitchell, R. and Dennis, K. (2016). The Dramaturgy of Wine, the Terroir of Performance: Multi-Sensory Performance-Making in Through the Grapevine. In: Interdisciplinary.Net 5th Global Conference: Performance, 7-10 November, 2014. ID Press: Online.
Mitchell, R. (2015). The Body That Fits The Bill. About Performance: Special Issue on the Lives of Actors. 15(1).
Mitchell, R. (2014). Seen But Not Heard: An Embodied Account of the (Student) Actor’s Aesthetic Labour. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 5(1).
Mitchell, R. and Pakula, P. (2013). Imagining O, Encountering India: Recounting an embodied experience. Indian Theatre Special Issue On The Body: Studies in South Asian Film and Media, 5(1).
Mitchell, R. (2011). Endangered Species: Report on the Summit. Criminal Justice Matters, 85, 20-21.
Mitchell, R. (2011). Endangered Species Summit Review. Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty, 2(1&2), 223-230.
Doctoral Research: Mitchell, R. (2013) The Body Politics of Acting in the Context of Training and the Performance Industry: Perspectives from Contemporary Britain
The Little Prince: Practice-led research with Dr Cass Fleming and the Chekhov Collective, exploring Chekhov technique in devising and catalyst direction, using archival materials, as part of the ‘Michael Chekhov Training in the 21st Century: New Pathways’ project (Queen Mary & Goldsmiths, July & September 2016. Performance, research).
Guts & We Shall See The Sky: Practice-led research examining the application of approaches based in the work of Michael Chekhov and Jacques Lecoq in dance and choreography, with Julie Cunningham. The Place and The Barbican (January and February 2016. Dramaturgy Consultant, research).
Resting Place: Performance series with Platform-7 artists. Ramsgate, Charing Cross Station, Southeastern Trains, Folkestone (2014-15, movement direction, research).
Making Space to Remember: Performance presentation with V&A award-winner Dawn Cole, Spaces of Memory and Performance: Trauma, Affect & Displacement. UEL, 20-21 June, 2014.
Through the Grapevine — Taste and Memory: University of Kent Practice-as-Research performances (2013&14, movement direction, research).
Hamlet Re-membered: University of Kent Practice-as-Research (2013, movement support).
A Jane Fonda Provocation: Catford Tapescape Intervention, Platform-7 (2012, performance, presentation, research).
Imagining O: Richard Schechner & University of Kent Drama Department (2011, movement).
Up The Line: Cemetery Remembrance Event, Platform-7 (2010, movement and coordination).
Seminars & Masterclasses: Multiple, with the Chekhov Collective. Including at Young Vic (May & June 2016), Goldsmiths (2018 onwards), Jerwood Space (June 2018) and Almeida Theatre (Summer 2018; Organizer, workshop-leader, presenter, chair).
Chekhov and Laban: Investigating the Crossovers: Workshop-symposia exploring the crossovers between Laban and Chekhov’s approaches and philosophies, in collaboration with Juliet Chambers and the Labanarium (Goldsmiths, Jan 2018; Athens, July 2018).
Praxis Symposium: Michael Chekhov in the 21st Century: New Pathways symposium held at Goldsmiths (September 2016; Co-organizer, workshop-leader, speaker, chair). Report available here.
Is Your Body Really Yours? Webinar discussion with Dr Mark Seton as part of the series The Lives of Actors. This accompanies the special issue of the journal About Performance, in which my article ‘The Body That Fits the Bill’ can be found. (17th August 2015)
RCSSD Faculty Day: Research presentation on body anxiety in actor training (2014).
TEDx Warwick Talk: On Identity: Undermining the Merchants of Body Hatred (2014).
AnyBody Events (Coordination of events and speaker/workshop leader):
– Endangered Species international summit (Southbank Centre London, 2011).
– Bodies in Education art installation and debate (Houses of Parliament, 2013).
– Women of the World Festival (Southbank Centre London, 2013-15).
– Over 30 Occupy Your Body workshops across the UK (2014).
Young Vic Workshop: The Body Politics of Working with Actors (Director’s Programme, 2012)