Dorinda Hulton

Research through practice

mindflow

mindflow was an exhibition of audio-visual pieces at the Mood Disorder Centre, University of Exeter that aimed to reflect the lived experience of individuals with depression and bipolar disorder. The pieces combined the innermost thoughts of five fictional characters experiencing mood disorders with film of water moving in nature. Each character was very different in age and background but all share a vulnerability to mood disorders.

mindflow was the culmination of a ten-month artistic residency by playwright, Daniel Jamieson in the Mood Disorders Centre, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (Principal applicant: Professor Ed Watkins, Director of the Mood Disorders Centre) and the University of Exeter Arts and Culture Fund. The Mood Disorders Centre is a partnership between the University of Exeter and the NHS. Its mission is to conduct psychological research, assessment, treatment, and training for the benefit of people who suffer from emotional disorders. Over the last ten months, Dan Jamieson has been talking to staff at the Centre and members of its Lived Experience Group to gain insight into how it feels to live with mood disorders. In response, he has written interior monologues that dip into five characters’ thoughts as they journey through depression and bipolar disorder towards balance and recovery. He has also collaborated with director, Dorinda Hulton, sound designer, Duncan Chave and film maker, Peter Hulton to create the audio-visual pieces. In them, we overhear the inner “voices” of the characters and see film of the movement of the sea, rivers, streams and the rain to reflect the ever-shifting nature of our emotional lives.

The pieces aim to indicate the richness and diversity of the experience of mood disorders, to contribute to the breaking down of the stigma surrounding them and to increase public awareness of these common conditions.

The exhibition may be seen online at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/mooddisorders/research/mindflow/.

The One Square Foot Project

The research premise of this ongoing practice-as-research project is ‘an investigation into the role of the ‘creative actor’ within interdisciplinary processes leading to performance’.

Dorinda’s role in the project as a whole is that of co-director with Arianna Economou of Echo-Arts Living Arts Center, Cyprus.

Her roles within the artistic processes leading to performance are those of Director and Dramaturg.

The project as a whole is a collaborative investigation between Echo-Arts Living Arts Center, Cyprus, and Theatre Alibi, UK (Artistic Director, Nikki Sved).

The project has been funded by a grant from the AHRC Changing Places scheme as well as further grants from USAID, UNDP, UNOPS, the Cyprus Theatre Organisation, The Ministry of Education and Culture, Cyprus, The Youth Board of Cyprus and the Mark Ward Fund. It has also been supported financially, and in kind, by Theatre Alibi, UK, the School of Performance Arts, Exeter, and EMAA. 

The project has been conducted in three stages each of which has culminated in performances of ‘new work’ collaboratively authored by established professional creative artists using innovative interdisciplinary methods.

Stage 1

In May 2003 Site specific performances were presented near the military border in Nicosia, Cyprus, and in the Troodos mountains, Cyprus. Studio performances took place in the Open Studio Season, Nicosia, and also at the Chorotheatro dance-theatre Studio, Nicosia.

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Horst Weierstall The One Square Foot Project 2003
Peter Hulton: Video

Stage 2

In July 2003 the artistic director of Echo-Arts Living Arts Center, Cyprus, travelled to Exeter to work as part of an extended professional team led by Dorinda, to create three further performances, in collaboration with Theatre Alibi.

These performances were presented both on site and, with a public license, at the School of Performance Arts, Exeter.

Professor Anderson from the School of Biological Sciences, Exeter, acted as a consultant to this stage of the project.

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Daniel Jamieson The One Square Foot Project 2003
Composer: Helen Chadwick - Sound Designer: Duncan Chave

Stage 3

In September 2005, a series of further performances were created in conjunction with Echo-Arts Living Arts Center, Cyprus, and with artists from north of the military border in Cyprus.

Site specific performances were presented on both sides of the military border in Nicosia. Theatre performances took place at Ayios Andreas Market Theatre, south of the military border on the 21st and 22nd September 2005, and also at the Arabahmet Cultural Centre, north of the military border, on the 23rd and 24th September 2005

In June 2006, a performance entitled one square foot represented Cyprus in the NEW PLAYS FOR EUROPE festival in Weisbaden, Germany. This performance was tri-lingual and contained seven different performance languages.

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Horst Weierstall with Ilker Kaptanoglu The One Square Foot Project 2005
Composer: Larkos Larkou, Video: Peter Hulton

Other research outcomes include:

  • An article entitled Sites of Micro-Political Theatre in the Performance and Art Journal (September, 2008). (Editor: Bonnie Marranca).
  • An article entitled The One Square Foot Project in Studies in Theatre and Performance (June, 2007). Volume 27. Number 2. (Editor: Peter Thomson). Published by Intellect, Bristol. ISSN number 1478-2761.
  • A DVD-ROM published in Arts Archives by the Arts Documentation Unit, Exeter, entitled ‘One Square Foot’: An Exploration into Interdisciplinary Performer Training’. This documentation includes video documentation of process and performance related to Stages 1&2 of the project, written journals by each of the performers in Stage 2, and documentation of preparatory ‘tasks’ by each creative artist including tasks authored by Dorinda, as dramaturg.
  • A short article on Horst Weierstall’s One Square Foot performance (pp 63, 64, including translation into Greek and German) entitled Re-turn in From Sign to Action published by Moufflon, Nicosia, 2004. ISBN 9963-642-6.
  • A seminar paper presented as part of the SITE/SIGHT - SOURCE/RESOURCE series at the School of Performance Arts, Exeter. This paper was also presented in shorter form as part of the final symposium (2004).
  • A seminar paper presented as part of the PLAYWRIGHTING/DRAMATURGY series at the Drama Department, Exeter (2006).
  • A Theatre Alibi production for adults, and young adults, entitled Close to Home (2005), which grew out of Stage 2 of the project.Research premise of production: tracing the autobiographical stories of three ‘creative actors’ from different ethnic backgrounds, to their development for performance by a writer. Performance details: Feb 25th 2005-May 7th 2005. National tour to middle and small-scale venues. Documentation for the project is in the form of video, as well as educational material documenting the development of the project. Both of these are available through Theatre Alibi and have been widely disseminated nationally to schools teaching drama at GCSE and A Level. 
  • An APPLIED DRAMA seminar on the research premise and processes of Close to Home presented at the School of Performance Arts, Exeter (2005).

Citations:

  • Dr Deirdre Heddon has written a chapter on Phase 2 of the project to be published by Intellect, Bristol (2007) in a book entitled Walking, Writing and Performance: Autobiographical Texts by Deirdre Heddon, Carl Lavery & Phil Smith, ed. Roberta Mock. Further citations by Dr Deirdre Heddon are published in an article; ‘One Square Foot: Thousands of Routes’, Performance Art Journal (Spring, 2007); and three papers: “Autotopography: The Place of Self”, - Strange Behaviours, Suspect Culture, St. Andrews, October 2005; “Autotopography: The Place of Self”, University of Glasgow, February, 2006; and “One Square Foot: Thousands of Routes”, Women’s Writing for Performance, Lancaster University, May 2006.

Online Links:

Questions of Character: Medea, Agamemnon and Hecuba

The research premise of this ongoing practice-as-research project is ‘an investigation into ways of addressing and physically embodying questions of ‘character’ within contemporary performance of ancient Greek texts’. 

The project relates to new translations of Euripides’ Medea, by John Harrison, and Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, by Philip de May, in the series Cambridge Translations from Greek Drama (Series Editors: John Harrison and Judith Affleck, Cambridge University Press) as well as a new translation of Euripides’ Hecuba by John Harrison.

Dorinda’s role in Medea, and Agamemnon was that of Director. Her role in Hecuba was that of Dramaturg.

The project has been undertaken with professional actors, designers, a composer, administrators and technicians employed by Foursight Theatre, UK (Co-Artistic Directors Frances Land and Sarah Thom).

The project has been funded by grants from the AHRB Small Grants Scheme and Cambridge University Press, The Arts Council England (West Midlands), Wolverhampton MBC and others totalling £123,500.

Public performances of Medea took place on a national tour between March 6th and May 12th 2001. Public performances of Agamemnon took place at the multi-cultural Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton, between 3rd and 14th February 2004. Public performances of Hecuba took place on a national tour between October 7th and the end of November 2004.

The professional actors in Medea, Agamemnon and Hecuba were from different ethnic backgrounds and four different languages were spoken and sung in the performance of Agamemnon.

Reviews of performances include reports from Juliet Dusinberre, Girton College, Cambridge, Professor Lorna Hardwick, Open University and John Harrison, Series Editor Cambridge University Press.

Featured in the photo gallery (photographer: Dave Finchett):

  • Beatriz Pasamon-Gonzales - Cassandra, Agamemnon 2004:
  • Taylan Halici - Herald, Agamemnon 2004:
  • Neila Ebanks – Chorus, Agamemnon 2004:
  • Sanjay Shelat – Chorus, Agamemnon 2004:
  • Naomi Cooke - Clytaemnestra, Agamemnon 2004:
  • Ralph Mondi – Agamemnon Agamemnon 2004:
  • Purvin – Puppet Designer and Maker, Agamemnon 2004

 

Further research-based outcomes:

  • An article entitled Agamemnon: Foursight Theatre’s 2004 production - an investigation into ways of addressing and embodying questions of character for the Open University’s website (Editor: Professor Lorna Hardwick)
  • Three interactive DVD-ROMs published in Arts Archives by the Arts Documentation Unit, Exeter, in association with Cambridge University Press (2006). This documentation includes a video record of each performance, detailed notes by Dorinda, on questions of ‘character’ specific to the new translations of Medea, Agamemnon and Hecuba, an article about ‘process’, relating to Medea, by Naomi Cooke (Foursight Theatre’s Artistic Director who also interpreted the character of Medea), previously published as Physical Text pp16-18. in Total Theatre 13/1/2001, and a collection of further material, including an outline of training exercises developed during the project by Dorinda, and presented publicly in a master class for Nottingham New Stages.
  • A video published in 2001: BBC Resources-Agamemnon BAP 28091, forming part of the Open University European Identity Course material. This documentation is an edited record of a workshop with professional actors, directed by Dorinda, on the tapestry scene in David Stuttard’s translation of Agamemnon.
  • A seminar paper as part of a cross-disciplinary graduate seminar series, organised by the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, Classics Centre, University of Oxford, at Corpus Christie College, June 2004. The seminar series was open to the public and entitled ‘Dionysus Recast: Ancient Drama in the Modern World’.
  • A seminar paper at the Department of Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London, June 2004 on Foursight Theatre’s production of Agamemnon.
  • An interview with Professor Lorna Hardwick (Professor of Classical Studies, Open University) in May 2004 for their archives.
  • Three videos documenting the Foursight Theatre productions of Medea, Agamemnon and Hecuba, and further material written by Dorinda, are lodged with the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, Classics Centre, University of Oxford, for use by researchers.

 

Citations:

  • The production of Agamemnon is cited by Professor Lorna Hardwick (Open University) in her paper Multi-lingualism in receptions of Greek drama on the modern stage. This paper was presented at an international conference on Classics in Post-Colonial Worlds (2004), and is being published in a book entitled Classics in Post Colonial Worlds (Editors: L. Hardwick and C. Gillespie), Oxford University Press (2007). The production is again cited by Professor Lorna Hardwick in a second book Agamemnon in Performance, 458 B.C.-2004 A.D, Oxford University Press (2007). It also forms the basis for Eleftheria Ioannidou’s doctoral study (University of Oxford), in her paper Contemporary Adaptations of Tragedy presented at the Summer School of the European Network of Ancient Drama in Epidauros, Greece (2004). Information about the Foursight Theatre productions of Medea, Agamemnon and Hecuba is published in the APGRD Database, University of Oxford, ed. Amanda Wrigley. This database is in use by scholars internationally.

On-line links:

Other Practice-as-research projects

  • Yoga and Imagination Director. Research premise of the project: how yoga may act as a source and resource for writing for performance and for the body in performance. Outcome published by the Arts Documentation Unit in Arts Archives. U.K. 2003 as one third of Dr Catherine Turner’s DVD-ROM Three collaborations within writing and performing.
     
  • Yoga and Imagination Director. Research premise of project with Dr Lesley Wade: how yoga may act as a source and resource for the body in performance. Outcome presented with Dr Lesley Wade and Dr Catherine Turner in two workshops as part of the CHANGING BODY Symposium at the School of Performance Arts, Exeter in January 2006.