Last weekend I had the honour to facilitate a conference which grew from the broad theme of Clothing Optional Theatre under a working question of “How do we choose to reveal our bodies through life, performance, and art?” It was a fascinating day drawing together theatremakers, bodyworkers, artists, academics and naturists. What made the conference special was that it was, itself, clothing optional – allowing each person to have a very personal reaction to the question of how they chose to reveal their bodies in a meeting room in central London amongst strangers and friends.
My thanks to Improbable Theatre and their extraordinary ten year journey with open space and Devoted & Disgruntled for teaching me open space, lending me their animals and principals for the day, and opening the space in Birmingham in January where I started to explore this idea. My thanks to the 50+ practitioners who have already expressed a wish to be part of the ongoing discussion.
As befits the personal nature of the discussions, this is not a conference where I am going to publish the notes into the wider ether. However I would be delighted to talk with anyone for whom some of these subject headings resonate or inspire.
Creativity Art, Sex and Sexuality; COT – Is this just another gimmick ?; Dance the horrors of the vote away; Emotional Nudity; Finding & Making pleasure in a time of sadness; Gender Sexuality Nudity; Intergenerational Nudity; Nudity Spirituality Madness; Our body (bodies) and others; What next for [my show]; Who makes and enforces the rules; Witnessing / Making Art Conscious Intimacy; Pornography; Regaining the body.
What became clear is that theatre and creative practice have a deeply important role to play in helping people understand their own lives, sexuality, spirituality, relationships, body, and confidence. We touched so many areas which deserve more development. We did not make any theatre, but we began to offer some ideas which may form into performance. We talked too much and danced too little. The feedback has been valuable in helping me shape some next steps, and I’d love to widen the circle now to people who might be interested to delve into these areas as part of a clothing optional theatre and bodywork journey.
Some of the ideas from Birmingham in January, and London this week, will move forward to some conference opportunities with the naturist community in the UK, and we will explore how this can move sensitively to involve the “audience” as well as the theatremakers and workshop leaders we had present.
And now I am back in my role as supporter of the MA Creative Producing course here at Mountview where we have 2 more plays to bring to the stage to complete our 10 play, 1 cabaret, and many network events which are under the banner of Mosaic 2016.
In a week which also included the launch of my new e-book “The Anatomy of your Creativity” and the signing up for a number of workshops in London, Edinburgh, Ayr and Blackpool over the coming months, I guess I continue to tell you, dear reader, how I answer Mary Oliver’s question “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Chris – the pic is not me !!
2nd July 2016