Workshops can range from one to two days or be designed to run once a week over several weeks, depending on the needs of the group/individual. 

Above image from the Taiwan Woemn's Theatre Festival


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Leslie Hill and Helen Paris are Associate Professors of Performance Making in the Department of Drama at Stanford University.

The Drama Department at Stanford integrates theory, criticism, and performance. Convinced that scholarship is strengthened by direct engagement in performance, and that performance is enhanced by practitioners whose analytic skills had been honed in scholarship, the department produces more than a dozen productions each academic school year, including canonical plays, commissioned dance works, experimental projects, and the work of visiting artists.

Current Hill-Paris Courses (Stanford 2011-2012 academic year)

INSIDE STORY this course explores the connections between biology and biography in performance and art through practice-based research and readings in contemporary art and science. The course combines seminar discussions of art practices and scientific research with devising techniques in the studio. Students will generate original material using the senses, automatic writing and body memory and can work in any format – live performance, visual art or film - toward their final creative piece.

PERFORMANCE MAKING: PROCESS: A performance studio course focussed on the creative process and generating a wealth of original material for theatre, live art or visual art practices. Students will be encouraged to think critically about the relationship between form and content, to identify issues they are passionate about and to experiment with form and voice. Examples of different contemporary performance will be studied and discussed alongside studio work. Students are encouraged to reflect throughout on types of contact and communication uniquely possible in live performance, such as interaction or the engagement of the senses. The emphasis is on weekly experimentation in the creation of short works or sketches rather than on working toward a final production.

PERFORMANCE MAKING: PRODUCTION A structured performance lab in which students will develop an original solo or collaborative performance piece for theatre, gallery or site specific contexts. The course will provide weekly creative exercises and studio time for development with faculty and peer feedback. As well as presenting research and showing work in progress, students will keep a project log book in which they critically reflect on the elements of composition. Throughout the course students are encouraged to reflect on and articulate on the question: what do you want to say and how can you best say it?

CRITICAL STYLES 2: This seminar follows on from Critical Styles I in which students were introduced to the study of performance in the Stanford graduate program and to the rigors of critical writing in particular. The emphasis in the previous seminar was on the intricate connection between critical thought and the question of writing. In this sequel seminar, the emphasis will be on the overtones and undertones of critical thought in performance making and performance analysis.

click here for more info about Stanford Drama

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Helen and Leslie often act as mentors to other artists.

Mentoring can take the form of:

  • tailored help and feedback on specific projects / performances
  • training in video editing and/or making demo reels
  • general professional development help and advice
  • help with funding applications.

Helen and Leslie are proud to have worked with many artists such as Breathe, FrenchMottershead, Natasha Davis (pictured) and Eva Weaver and to have acted several times as mentors at East End Collaborations. 

Photo: Natasha Davis in Rupture 2009.

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Autobiology is an intensive programme for artists that focuses on the generation of autobiographical material by exploring the connections between the body and the mind, biology and biography, taking 'gut feelings' as a starting place.

Workshop Summary:
Participants will explore autobiological material, investigate stories of their bodies and explore ‘gut feelings’. They will work on individual and group exercises investigating ‘body memories’ and ‘parts of the body invisible to the naked eye’ from which they will create writing, performance and/or installation. The exercises will range from working methods developed over the years by Curious including writing triggers, interviews, body memory exercises, Yin Yoga, and body mapping.

Autobiology has taken place thoughout the UK as well as in the US (California, Madison) and Taiwan (Taipei)

Participant’s comments:

I thought the workshop was extremely well built up all through the week. Incredibly organised with exercises, feedback and a good balance between solo and collective works. It felt challenging deep, developing, hard – working, beautiful and rewarding. - Chloe Dechery

Not only I could dig into my own creativity and stimulate the dialogue between my bodily experience and my thoughts but it also gave me the chance to explore new tools that I can further use to enhance my creative process, to devise further art works as well as pass them onto others in my teaching. - Julie Therond

The workshop was as rich and creatively satisfying as I hoped it would be - which is saying a lot! Leslie and Helen took such detailed care of us all and I felt throughout the week that I was able to dive deep into explorations of the body-mind connections in their many manifestations.  - Rajni Shah

An incredibly enriching week. So much information was shared, there was a lot of generosity around and a great group feeling. I felt like I went through a real journey. I'm also really pleased we did yoga every day. This everyday practice, combined with being gently pushed to realise any ideas we had into pieces/glimpses of work, were really where the meat of the workshop lay for me. - Shelia Ghelani

 link to full PDF of pilot participants comments (34pp)

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