Jessica Beck

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I am an American-born theatre artist living and working in the UK for more than a decade. I specialise in new writing and devised work and am currently an Artistic Associate of The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter, and formally an Associate of Theatre503 (from 2004 - 2010).

As a director, I create visceral work exploring edgy subject matter such as war, mental illness and violence against women. From Terrorist! The Musical to Up the Gary (a one-man show about a Gary Glitter tribute artist), I combine humour, detailed psychology, and visual metaphor to investigate complex topics.

I also am passionately curious about psychophysical actor training and embodied practices to enhance an actor’s performance. In 2011 I completed a PhD in Performance Practice entitled Directing Emotion: A Practice-led Investigation into the Challenge of Emotion in Western Performance under the supervision of Phillip Zarrilli. My PhD included experimenting with three approaches to emotion, including Susana Bloch’s Alba Emoting technique, the work of Brian Astbury, and influences from the training of Teatr Piesn Kozla (Song of the Goat).

As a result of my research, I have become a somatic practitioner, teaching Alba Emoting and Feldenkrais (practices that I also use in my professional directing work). Alba Emoting is somatic approach to induce emotional states at will through respiratory-facial-postural actions that trigger physiological components, a technique developed by Chilean neuroscientist Susana Bloch. The Feldenkrais Method of somatic education focuses on learning and movement, which can bring about improved movement and enhanced functioning by working with the nervous system. Peter Brook, and companies such as Complicite and Told by an Idiot regularly use the Feldenkrais Method in their practice. 

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Who they are

I am an American-born theatre artist living and working in the UK for more than a decade. I specialise in new writing and devised work and am currently an Artistic Associate of The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter, and formally an Associate of Theatre503 (from 2004 - 2010).

As a director, I create visceral work exploring edgy subject matter such as war, mental illness and violence against women. From Terrorist! The Musical to Up the Gary (a one-man show about a Gary Glitter tribute artist), I combine humour, detailed psychology, and visual metaphor to investigate complex topics.

I also am passionately curious about psychophysical actor training and embodied practices to enhance an actor’s performance. In 2011 I completed a PhD in Performance Practice entitled Directing Emotion: A Practice-led Investigation into the Challenge of Emotion in Western Performance under the supervision of Phillip Zarrilli. My PhD included experimenting with three approaches to emotion, including Susana Bloch’s Alba Emoting technique, the work of Brian Astbury, and influences from the training of Teatr Piesn Kozla (Song of the Goat).

As a result of my research, I have become a somatic practitioner, teaching Alba Emoting and Feldenkrais (practices that I also use in my professional directing work). Alba Emoting is somatic approach to induce emotional states at will through respiratory-facial-postural actions that trigger physiological components, a technique developed by Chilean neuroscientist Susana Bloch. The Feldenkrais Method of somatic education focuses on learning and movement, which can bring about improved movement and enhanced functioning by working with the nervous system. Peter Brook, and companies such as Complicite and Told by an Idiot regularly use the Feldenkrais Method in their practice. 

Career stage
Junior
Industries
Performing Arts, Publishing and Journalism
My skills
Creative Writer, Director, Drama, Movement

Work history

Aug 2014 - Present

Associate Director
Kidder

Jan 2011 - Present

Co-Artistic Director
Viva Voce

Mar 2010 - Present

Artistic Associate
The Bike Shed Theatre

Aug 2005 - Present

Theatre Director
Freelance

Sep 2013 - Aug 2015

Sessional Lecturer
Canterbury Christ Church University

Feb 2014 - Aug 2014

Visiting Lecturer
Royal Holloway University of London

May 2013 - Sep 2013

Script Reader
Bush Theatre

Nov 2006 - Apr 2010

Education and Projects Director
Theatre503

Apr 2003 - Sep 2003

Resident Assistant Director
Old Globe Theatre


Education

Oct 2011 - Aug 2015

The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education - Professional Qualification
The London Feldenkrais Professional Training Programme

Apr 2006 - Nov 2011

Performance Practice - PhD
University of Exeter

Sep 2003 - May 2005

Contemporary Theatre Practice - BA
East 15 Acting School


Where they are going

Industries
Film, Performing Arts, Radio, TV

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