I am a PhD student at York St John and as part of my research I’ve been working with the company to explore what we do in the creative process, what it means to us and how the company works. It’s been a really rich experience for me both personally and in terms of the emerging research findings. This is the first stage of a three year research journey for me. I hope I am not being too bold in saying that the company have enjoyed having time to reflect on their practice and creativity; on what is important to them about Out of Character and what they contribute.
Strong themes of freedom have emerged: to express oneself freely and take creative risks whilst being free from judgement. People reflected on the buzz and excitement of creativity and performance, the contrast between the playful elements of the work and the discipline required for rehearsal and performance. Underlying all this was a sense of the importance of mutual support and understanding between performers, facilitators and students. This is just a taste of the rich material and insights Out of Character have shared in this research process.
This period of reflection and exploration of practice came at a time of transition for the company. Gina Vickers, the artistic director has moved on from her role to focus her practice in another area. The company interviewed and selected their new director Paul Birch and assistant director Vicky Sharples. So the work shifts from a time of reflection to continuing the creative adventure in new and exciting directions.
El Stannage, PhD Student, Faculty of Arts, York St John University