Robert is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre and co-chair of the LGBT+ network. They maintain a performance practice that draws on a training in acting, and a background in dance, particularly improvisatory practice. Robert's teaching practice centres around actor-training, especially movement for actors but considers the voice also as a movement practice. Robert performs regularly in dance contexts using improvisation as a tool for making, often including voice and poetic text as part of the immediately choreographed material. Robert is a member of the five-strong performance collective anthologyofamess and performs regularly in London. Robert is a certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, which heavily informs a pedagogical practice that largely focuses on movement/training for performers.
In their words:
"After obtaining a First class degree with practical distinction in Drama & Theatre Arts at Birmingham University, I trained as an actor at the Welsh College of Music and Drama conservatoire. Early in my career I worked with touring physical theatre companies, repertory theatres, and in storytelling and TIE.
Over the past decade or so, my performance practice has shifted to take account of my interest in dance, and in particular improvisatory practices. Since 2009 I have worked with choreographer Rosemary Lee (RESCEN associate), in each of her Dance Umbrella commissions; with performance maker Kristin Fredricksson to create an instantly choreographed performance piece, Senior Moments, with people over 65 years old for Big Dance, and later Forest Fringe; and other companies such as Dog Kennel Hill.
More recently I have worked as part of a stable of performer/dance artists called anthologyofamess developing a series of works using, predominantly, improvisation as a tool for making performance pieces.
I would say that my performance practice is now firmly based in improvisatory methods that utilise both my acting and dance experience by bringing the voice into play.
I have been a member of the Theatre team at MDX since 2010. My teaching centres around actor-training, somatic practice (especially through the Feldenkrais Method), and improvisation. My research segues with my artistic practice. My PhD (Material Words for Voicing Dancers) looked at the production of improvised speech in some improvisatory dance or movement-based performance practices. My research interests extend beyond improvisation to methods of actor training, identity, queer politics, democracy and class.
I am a founding member of the research cluster - TransDisciplinary Improvisation Network (TIN) - hosted by Middlesex University.
I am a fully qualified practitioner of The Feldenkrais Method®."
I am passionate about what can be done in a studio-based teaching and learning environment. I teach across the Undergraduate and Postgraduate performance programmes. Areas include approaches to acting, with a specialism in movement, voice, and improvisation founded in a cross-disciplinary ethos. My pedagogic values are heavily influenced by the Feldenkrais Method which fosters an inclusive, everybody-can-do approach built also around care for the self and others while one commits to improving skill and know-how to develop individual and collective craft.
Robert’s recent research has used practice-led approaches to investigate the role of voice in improvisatory dance (and associated) practices building on their PhD thesis: Material Words for Voicing Dancers. The research looked at three key dance-based improvisation practitioners noted for their incorporation of improvised voice/text - Ruth Zaporah (US), Julyen Hamilton (UK/ES) and Billie Hanne (BE) - and is rooted in the areas of embodiment and Somatics extending into discourse that intersects politics, ethics and relational ontology.
Publications: “A Piece for Two (Lovers)”, for RiDE Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, published 2017; guest-editor on a special "Words and Dance" issue of the journal Choreographic Practices, published 2017; “Ten Days in Tarbena”, for Handbook of Improvisation (OUP), published 2019.