Crossing Borders talks 2013 | Talk description | 8 October 2013
The Mindful Performer – how can a performer be authentically present in each moment of performance with their heart open fearlessly to their audience?
Reflecting on her own journey as a performer since arriving in Poland in the 1970’s, Anna will discuss the unique approach to actor training of her company Piesn Kozla which emphasizes the interconnectedness and integration of all the actor’s faculties. Anna’s main emphasis has been on singing and musicality as a key to opening up the internal landscape of imagination, emotions, metaphors and character. When fully inhabiting the present moment the content of the performance resonates deeply within the performer, freeing their natural compassion and connecting them to the bigger picture of humanity. This process then resonates with their fellow ensemble members, the audience and finally is reflected in their life journey as an artist who is mindful of their social context and the needs of others.
Brought up in Australia where she began her acting career with the Jigsaw Theatre in Education Company, Anna has spent the last 35 years working as an actress and pedagogue in Poland. She was a founding member and lead actress for 15 years of the renowned Gardzience Centre for Theatre Practises in eastern Poland during its period of extensive research expeditions into rural communities. In 1996 together with Grzegorz Bral she established the Song of the Goat Theatre, in Wroclaw, with its emphasis on collaborative ensemble work and innovative performer training. She is principal performer and an artistic director of the company as well as course leader of the biennial MA Acting which the company has run for the last 10 years - currently in conjunction with Rose Bruford College in London. Anna specialises in teaching performers to connect deeply into the emotional and imaginative source of their singing and speaking voices and resource this as the basis for building their strong, authentic and courageous presence on stage.
Anna is completing an MSc in Mindfulness at Aberdeen University and is researching ways to deepen the company’s ‘coordination technique’ of actor training based on integrating all of the actor’s tools: voice, text, imagination and gesture in creating character as well their relation to their stage partners and the whole ensemble and in finding ways to free the natural spontaneous creativity of the performer.
Anna is a founding member of the Polish branch of Rokpa International Charity which runs a winter soup kitchen for the homeless in Wroclaw and fund-raises to support educational projects of the charity in Tibet, through Song of the Goat’s annual Brave Festival. Anna was artistic director of the 2012 edition of the festival entitled ‘Women Initiating’ which is currently continuing as an independent three-year project in itself. It will include the’ Voices of the Community’ project which Anna has initiated for marginalised and disabled artists with a view to culminating in an international project in 2016 during the celebrations of Wroclaw’s European Capital of Culture.