I’m an educator and theatre practitioner with a research background and an HE teaching portfolio. I have extensive experience and expertise as a performance-maker, focusing on interdisciplinary collaboration, physical theatre, and somatic practices.
I’m an educator and theatre practitioner with a research background and an HE teaching portfolio. I have extensive experience and expertise as a performance-maker, focussing on interdisciplinary collaboration, physical theatre, and somatic practices.
As a creative practitioner I have engaged in collaborations with artists/academics from various disciplines (dance, performance, sound, photography, video, and installation) as a performer/performance-maker, and facilitated numerous creative projects. I have worked with Japanese experimental theatre company Gekidan Kaitaisha (Theatre of Deconstruction) on various projects in Europe and Japan since 2004; in addition to freelance performance work with a range of companies and practitioners; creative development; and establishing a small theatre company. My practice lies between theatre and dance, and my work often explores memory and notions of history, and finding ways of using the body to give form to memory.
I have extensive knowledge and experience of teaching in HE; I was a Senior lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Wrexham Glyndŵr University (2012 – 2023), and prior to that I was a sessional lecturer at various institutions. I have expertise and experience in curriculum design; teaching through theory and practice; directing, devising and facilitating student productions; postgraduate research supervision; programme leadership; external examining; conference organisation; and cross departmental/external organization collaborative project facilitation.
I studied at Aberystwyth University (BA Hons. English and Performance Studies); Bristol University (MA Cultural Performance, in collaboration with Welfare State International); and Middlesex University (PhD in Performance Practice). My practice-based doctoral enquiry, supervised by Professor Susan Melrose and Dr. Signy Henderson, was titled 'Working with Gekidan Kaitaisha: Addressing the Complexity of the Self of the Performer as Other’. The project focused on performance-making practices for contemporary audiences and addressed the complexity of the self of the performer as other, drawing primarily on my collaborative practice with Japanese performance company Gekidan Kaitaisha. The investigation approached the enquiry from a practitioner’s perspective and addressed questions that emerge from that practice, aiming to establish accounts of the self of the performer, performer expertise, collaborative performance processes, and cultural hybridization.
I have trained with a range of professional practitioners in ballet, contemporary dance, viewpoints and ensemble actor training, psychophysical actor training (Phillip Zarrilli), butoh dance, physical theatre, and community theatre practice/rites of passage facilitation (John Fox and Sue Gill, Welfare State International).
Professional memberships and activities
- Member of Theatre and Performance Research Association.
- PhD 'Working with Gekidan Kaitaisha: Addressing the Complexity of the Self of the Performer as Other', Middlesex University.
- MA Cultural Performance, Bristol University. BA (Hons) Performance Studies and English, Aberystwyth University.
Practice as research Performer training, somatic practice and physical theatre Contemporary dramaturgy Collaborative and transcultural performance making Collaborative and ensemble creation and approaches to devising Contemporary Japanese performance Intercultural theatre and performance Theatre history and text analysis Critical theory.
- Contemporary Japanese performance
- Cultural hybridization and transcultural collaboration
- Performer-bodyness and performer-selfhood
- Performer expertise and collaborative performance processes
- Walking, landscape and performance
- Creative pedagogy
- Somatic practices
Undergraduate and Postgraduate: Physical theatre Somatic movement practice Theatre history and text analysis Critical theory Intercultural theatre and performance Contemporary theatre and performance - theory and practice Collaborative and ensemble creation and approaches to devising Site specific practices Research methodologies and practice as research Academic writing Creative industries Postgraduate doctoral supervision: Rebecca welcomes proposals for supervision within: Practice as research Performer training and somatic practice The body in performance/theatre of the body Collaborative and transcultural performance making Intercultural theatre and performance Contemporary Japanese performance.
- Woodford-Smith R, Pearce M ‘The (Dis)location of Time and Space: Transcultural Collaborations in Tokyo’ (2012) Journal of Media Practice 13 197-213
- Woodford-Smith R, Colin N, ‘Bodies in Motion: Working through Plurality’ (2012) Skepsi 5 20-36
Selection of presentations:
- Woodford-Smith R, Nefydd E M 'Applied performance: Engaging students in collaborative practices through verbatim theatre using digital technologies during Covid – 19' (2021), Engage! Wrexham Glyndŵr University
- ‘Working with Gekidan Kaitaisha: Contemporary Japanese performance, cultural hybridization and transcultural collaboration’ (2016) TAPRA, University of Bristol
- Woodford-Smith R, Pearce M 'From Tokyo and the Tokyo Marathon Walk: Walking as a Performative-Dialogue (Reflecting and Recollecting our Experience as Walkers in Tokyo)' (2014) Performance, Place, Possibility: Performance in Contemporary Urban Contexts Symposium, University of Leeds
- 'Virtual and Embodied Places of Transmission in Performer Training, Practice and Collaboration' (2013) TAPRA University of Glasgow/Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- 'Tracing Traces: Locating Training in the In-between Transcultural Performer Self' (2012) TAPRA, University of Kent