Stillpoint Theatre
  • February18th

    A Workshop For Women
    Brighton @The Studio
    24-25 June 2017
    10 – 5pm
    11 – 6pm

    A workshop for bringing women home to their own wise bodies.

    Medicine for objectification culture, exploring womb, gut and sensory health as keys to self care, libido and wellness.

    This workshop will focus on the body as THE primary source of information for us about our wellness and vitality as well as our primary source of clues about our bliss. How to listen to it as a guide and own our own experience of libido, life force and creative expression.

    Libido in its deepest and broadest sense is a great teacher. It lets us know when we are depleted and over extended. It tells us when we are being nurtured and when we are not. It connects us to the earth, fire, water, air and spirit inside each of us and is an instant baromometre of preference: revealing like, dislike, disgust, yearning, indifference and bliss.

    Getting women in touch with womb, gut and sensory wellness, dissolving body shame and welcoming in self / body value, is key to healing much of what is out of balance in our culture at the moment.

    As well as running Stillpoint, Rachel is a massage therapist and teacher of somatic wellness. She is also trained as an actor and works as a theatre-maker. She has a special interestest in the body as an intelligent instrument – the transmitter and receiver of all lived experience. She runs a thriving body-work practice in Brighton UK where her focus is on guiding clients towards their own self healing path. She has been working with a group of bodywork and movement professionals researching touch as a tool for catalysing movement for wellness since 2014 and has been facilitating groups for over 10 years.

    Rachel will be joined by RADA Alexander Technique teacher and somatic wellness coach Korina Biggs.

    For more info, please email
    Or click here

  • June9th

    There is a tale – perhaps apocryphal – of a man who had lived in cities his whole life and took up a challenge to live in the desert alone for a brief time. Just him, a tent and a fire, no buildings, no cars and not a single living human soul within shouting distance.


    Apparently with in 48 hours, he had lost his mind.


    We spend much of our lives desperate to reign it in, manage it, wrangle it, train it out of ourselves, our children. But it will get you in the end. ignore it long enough and it will run rampant. Burst forth through your well managed edges. Trimmed hedges. Entropy is an inescapable fact, death comes to our bodies – and knowing that; being able to regulate our response to that to a certain extent – metacognition- is perhaps the biggest blessing and curse of our species.

    So we build elaborate structures to minimise risk – insurance policies; traffic lights, exoskeletons to sheath our hairless, vulnerable bodies; safe jobs with assured income and holiday pay; concrete buildings, shiny metal cars, planes that carve up air-space, space stations that carve up space-space; we make art and science to try and make sense of it all in metaphor and double blind trials. We draw diagrams and write books explaining it in ever increasing patterns of complexity.

    But still,


    We do a pretty good job of managing it I would say. So good, that by the time we get to adulthood, most people are so out of practice, that the mere prospect of expressing something creative and spontaneous in front of an audience of some kind, is mortifying. In fact, kind of literally. There is a freezing up. A terror that is utterly real, but totally disproportionate to the actual risk involved. Mmmm. That’s right, you are just being asked to read a poem at my wedding and yet, your response is not dissimilar physiologically to how you might react if you were about to be attacked by a lion!!

    No lions.

    Just an audience.

    Not even an audience of lions.

    Just your colleagues.


    Or your family and friends!!

    Worse still!!!

    This is where improvisation is good medicine for our species. It helps us to break down some of that over-structuring bollocks that dominates us and has us cut off at the bollocks – or is it the throat? Probably both.

    But like the guy in the desert, we have to ease ourselves back into chaos gently, so as not to, you know, blow a valve of some sort. Chaos is all very well, but we seem to need structures to be able to cope with it in small chunks, or we very quickly unravel. We are delicate creatures really.

    Being pushed through a lot of formal education as a child, (for which I am very grateful) – classical music, classical ballet, then an ill-thought through university degree straight out of high school to study something I really wasn’t very into for three years, ending with a degree that said to the world – what the did it say?- uhhhhm – that i’d been a obedient girl for fifteen years of full time institutionalised learning and hadn’t quite grown the courage to let the chaos in just a little bit and follow my wilder yearnings and deeper path.

    A few years later i went to acting school which started to make more sense. But things only really started to get interesting for me as an artist, when I started to decompose some of that formal education. Digest it. Fuck with it. Compost it all down into small enough bits that out of the newly formed mush I could begin to build my own shapes.

    We like to imagine- or we are sold the notion that what we are chasing is the experience of ultimate freedom. Anything you like, when ever you want, for as long as you want it.

    So, get on stage, now, and make up a performance of some kind, with no preparation at all – about anything you like –

    It can be about anything.

    Anything you like.

    About anything.

    Everything! (if you want)

    What ever you want.

    Anything you like.

    All you can eat



    and probably your imagination shuts down completely and you have some low level (or high voltage) panic that you cant think of anything at all and have no idea where to start.

    Having all the options is the worst kind of heaven in the world!

    To begin, we need a specific clue. Something to reign in the scope of the terrifying abyss. Something to trip us up into the here and now. Our brains are so blessedly relieved to have specifics. It can be a simple noun, or something more delicate, a simile perhaps, an image – the implication of a specific – to engage our creative imaginations – to enable us into action:

    ‘All you can eat – with a teaspoon, secretly’


    ‘all you can eat – like you haven’t eaten for weeks and you want to steal your guests’ silver surreptitiously.’ suddenly there is a playground for the imagination. Blessed relief.

    Recently I have been thinking about how when people start out learning improvisation, they are introduced to the non negotiable benefits of listening, agreement and commitment. These are described as the only ‘rules’ or ‘guidelines’ to the beginner. And they are superb guidelines – essential! A mantra! and excellent practice for all aspects of life and relationship! – but it is also not the full picture… the other rules beginners are taught – and it is less visible and less kind of, well, sexy – are structures that limit creative opportunity and focus the imagination on very tightly managed, palatable quantities of chaos. The Alphabet Game. (Each new line begins with the next letter of the alphabet). Shift Left. New Choice. Games where the rules of engagement are so narrow and specific that the limits of the imaginative playing field are very comfortably restricted. The shallow end of the pool with floaties on. The railway tracks – the games – will always pull you back if you venture too far off into no mans land. You cant really go wrong. you won’t ever lose the plot, but you will certainly loosen up a little.

    This is good.

    In two-provisation – or ‘2-prov’ as it is known in the hood – (the hood in this case being North America, the land from which the most refined practitioners of this art-form in my limited knowlege, seem to hail – I can feel some Canadians bristling and some hot heads in the European Union getting tetchy- but its my blog guys, so, back off!… yes, the collegiate-frat-jargon-factor is pretty difficult to stomach for some and can put off the uninitiated – but unfortunately for you, cultural aesthetics make no difference – because from now on, you can only SAY YES!!!) – in, ahem, 2-prov, or the kind i practice at least, the only structure you have is your relationship with the other actor, your imagination and the ever unfolding present. Thats it really. That and your shared relationship with the audience.

    I love that. I love the nakedness and vulnerability of that. I love that the training wheels are off and you are trusting each other to dance with chaos a bit more. There are no obvious railway tracks, just the structures inherent in nature itself. Our natures. Suddenly you can take flight into a slice of human life reflected through the frame of some shared hours in a theatre. Suddenly improvisation can be about the human condition and life itself… our struggle to manage chaos, for example.

    2-prov is creeping us ever closer to the void. Though still humanoid and in satisfyingly bite sized chunks. It is my improv medicine. I wonder which is yours?

    Obviously it helps if your 2-prov partner is Katy Schutte. Katy is one of the most skilled technicians I know. Incredibly adaptive, magical, receptive, sharp, satisfyingly decisive and happy to be an idiot – sometimes all at the same time. What a gal!! My improv wife. She is the flood-banks to my louche, fluid, animal, chaos, sensate, river thing. I know I will always be caught by her. I know I will catch her in which ever way she throws herself at me. That is unceasingly beautiful. And that’s it really.

    And Love.

    Because if love isn’t in it, you’re in the wrong game.

    Go away and don’t come back till you can bring some of that shit.


    Choose the right improvisation partner and you are no longer just a loner going mad in the desert.

    There are two of you. You’ve got this other girl / guy.

    And she’s got you.

    You don’t need the city,

    You need each other.

    You are all there is,

    (and maybe a tent and a fire and some stars in the distance)

    it is what you are made of that is creating the material

    and the third thing, the magical, ever unfolding present.

    so you’d better get on with it.

    Get on with it!!

    Time won’t wait!!


    Image by Elizabeth Barnes, Rainbow Valley. Central Australian desert.

  • May3rd

    Last night was one of the edgiest times I’ve ever had in a theatre. I am still processing it but feel the need to write about it even as I am as yet unsure how to approach it with words.

    It was the final London performance of a play I’m in called The Bombing of the Grand Hotel. It is the story of the relationship that developed between Pat Magee and Jo Berry. Pat is the IRA operative who planted the bomb and Jo is the daughter of a Tory MP who was killed in the blast. It is set against a back ground of Thatcherism, the Irish/British conflict and traverses the late 70’s through to the present day. ultimately it is about two people finding a path towards reconciliation against incredible odds. Both protagonists are still living and the events are current enough to stir up very fresh feelings in the audience.

    It is a play that elicits strong emotions – it is triggery material – and I think does an admirable job of digging into the moral complexity and nuance of the subject – the human cost and causes of politically motivated violence and the path towards healing – with out lapsing into sentiment, polemic, easy answers or didacticism. It has been written by Josie Melia and Julie Everton and knocked into shape by the tireless Paul Hodson and Emma Roberts and the dedicated cast. Pat is exquisitely rendered by Ruairi Conaghan and the rest of the cast are utterly – just utterly – incredible. Aoife McMahon, Paul Mundell, Glenn Speers and Beth Fitzgerald. There is a lot of care in the room and a LOT of commitment to the intentions of the piece.

    I play Jo.

    Jo Berry and I after one of the London shows in spectrum matching jumpers.

    Jo Berry and I after one of the London shows in spectrum matching jumpers.

    Last night there was someone in the audience for whom my character very tangibly represented the enemy. I felt it immediately, as soon as I walked onstage, before anything was said or i saw who it was or how many there were. i just felt it as a hostile force to my right. And whilst the animal in me felt threatened, the watching part began rifling through possible worst case scenarios and exit strategies. The hostility was so tangible I wondered if he might try getting up to hit me. Even if he might have a gun or some other kind of weapon. I had no way of gauging if these were over reactions because i couldn’t look at him. The threat was clear and present.

    He was pissed up, looking for a fight, goaded on by the women he was with, stupid, violent and pointing it all towards me – or what I appeared to represent to him. I felt extremely vulnerable and initially was very thrown by it.

    There is a certain amount of entrapment as an actor. For the next hour and a half I am tied to this particularly awful railway track – A Tory daughter utterly dismembered by grief, being verbally abused by someone who hates me – And there is no getting out of it. I am trapped by the fucking forth wall, the story arc and the character trajectory – I am held to ransom by my own character.

    He said some truly horrible things. In a sequence about Jo’s pregnancies he was muttering – ‘breeding like a horse’. ‘Tory whore’ and other things. It was hard core. When Pat Magee is shown a body of a decapitated woman and turns his eyes away, he shouted ‘good man Pat’ and again when the word ‘conflict’ was mentioned, punching the air and shouting ‘yeah’ when the bomb went off. It was fucking intense. I felt extremely unsafe.

    I might normally have been better at protecting myself – in my thoughts – but I’d had a tough week. I’d been rehearsing another show each day and performing this one every night. Putting in 12 – 14 hour days and not getting time to eat properly or sleep enough. By the time the 2 shows on Saturday hit I was a bit shaky anyway and broken by exhaustion. So my defences were low. I hate aggression. I hate it. the emotional kind, the physical kind, all kinds. to me or to someone else. It hurts me. It hurts my heart. It is like an allergy. It hurts me to see it done to another, hurts me to experience myself exacting it on someone. We are all capable of it somewhere. It literally hurts. if it happens to another, especially if i am emotionally close to them, it rips through my body as if it was happening to me. I am so weirdly physically empathic it has caused me all sorts of problems in life. I can feel how people are wired on the inside sometimes. It isn’t voluntary. it just happens to me. It is a physical experience. Thankfully science has caught up with it now and there are all sorts of synesthesias that can help describe it. I am no longer simply ‘over sensitive’ I have a thing i can point at with charts and everything. It helps. Great for acting. Shit for having a quiet life. I have to go and have time alone just to tune out of all the kinaesthetic emotional racket!!!

    Needless to say, we, the cast, were all taken off guard and in the interval we had a discussion with the stage manager about whether we should boot him out or not. we decided that no, he should be allowed to stay because if he decided to come back for the second half at all, the point of the play – some of the more hard hitting material around empathy and listening – might begin to kick in for him (or not as it turned out!) But either way, it might be an opportunity to test the metal of the content. we all agreed that the fact that this guy had found his way into a theatre at all was kind of miraculous and that we weren’t just speaking to the Guardian readership liberal theatre middle classes. (my god, how often are we preaching to the converted?!!!) The fact that he had come at all was testament to the impact of the material. And we attacked the second half with a stronger sense of commitment and support of each other in the face of this aggressive edge. I felt tremendous rallying and encouragement and LOVE from the creative team & suddenly a way through felt possible again.

    In the second half he was just as, if not more, obnoxious and he’d had more beer. but aspects of the play leapt to life inside us – as if it’s purpose or intent had been ignited in some bespoke way. Swathes of it felt like it was pointing directly at him. For him. His presence was this acute amplification device…

    Jo: I didn’t want to be a casualty of my anger. If I was still angry, the only person I would be hurting would be myself you know and I would be stuck. I would be closed down. My heart would be shut. I could feel that. And I would have lost out.
    For me it became a clear choice – do I blame an enemy? And live with that. And the consequences of that. Which would have meant that/

    Pat: yes that. exactly that.

    Jo: / my heart would have closed down and I would have suffered more…
    Or do look at letting go of blame, looking at the causes with in myself, my group, my tribe, where I come from and try to, try to heal that?


    At the same time there was someone in the audience, a different person, who was very emotionally and vocally responsive to Jo’s pain, clearly a victim of violence of some kind. so there was this whole other bespoke amplification going on.

    Jo: We need to provide a safe environment for pain like that to be heard. It doesn’t get any easier, but it is essential that we keep trying.

    The play chimed in a whole new way.

    Afterwards there were many intense hugs between the cast members for having gotten through it. It felt like we’d survived something dangerous. In the bar I drank a glass of wine in a way which was definitely medicating – a practice I normally have a strict rule with myself about- and I had to find a way to have proper conversations with people even though my identity was leaking out of the hole in the back of my head and my skin was in a crumpled heap on the floor.

    Early rehearsals. Ruairi Conaghan looking knackered, Aoife McMahon looking on and me doing some kind of pointing acting.

    Early rehearsals. Ruairi Conaghan looking knackered, Aoife McMahon looking on and me imagining something between my thumb and forefinger, obviously.

    And everyone was talking about how electric it had been. People wanted to come up and share their stories. A few asked if that guy had been a plant. I still didn’t have any skin on.

    He was still there in the foyer. With his back to me, but with all his etheric attention piercing through his back towards me. Eventually he singled me out to speak to me. I didn’t feel resistant or scared by him at this point and was surprised to find I had energy for it. Like Jo does with Pat in the play, i wanted to meet the human being behind the ideologue. There was also a kind of anthropological fascination with how he arrived at this person he was being and a wonder at what had shifted in him. Because his energy had definitely shifted. Perhaps by the play. Perhaps by the other audience member’s response. I don’t know, but I could feel his violence had ebbed away. He seemed smaller. A bit confused. I found I could be present with him. I felt there was something in this encounter of a kind of living experience of the subject matter. He was trying to be sensitive.

    Aoife McMahon came up – feisty, protective, clear hearted and brave and said to him
    ‘do you realise that you hurt this woman?
    Him: No I didn’t. She’s alright, aren’t you?
    Me: I found it very hard actually. Some of the things you said did hurt, yes
    Him: I didn’t… I didn’t really though…did I?

    (more confusion and unfinished sentences).
    he kept stumbling on. he wanted me to know he’d been in the IRA – (98% bollocks) that i had no idea what he had been through (98% likely). He was looking for leverage. I could see him calibrating in some remote part of himself that I am Australian. That i was being kind and listening. That 4 of the cast are Irish, three of them from the North. That they all have history. That we all, each of us have history. Each of us have some semblance of blood on our hands. every single one of us. NOW, how do we get on with the business of loving?

    Some part of me didn’t have the energy to leave. If i’d more skin on, i would have done.

    A sandwich short of a picnic maybe, but I feel sure he took something tangible away from the experience of last night. some seed sprouted deep with in his walls of belligerent resistance.
    He definitely took something away…
    I’m just trying to work out if part of what he took away was some invisible bit of me.

    Eventually Aoife pulled me away to be with the others. I felt grateful.

    Theatre eh?

    The over riding thing i came away with is to do with listening and love and how listening with openness and making space in yourself for another’s story can change the anatomy of things. Also how being too open at the wrong moment can make you very vulnerable to the poisoned darts of wounded idiots.
    And kindness.
    Can there ever be enough of it?
    Kindness and tenderness.
    Oh man.
    Gentleness and kindness.
    Kindness in the heart.
    Courage to find kindness in the heart
    And if you can’t be kind, be tolerant.
    And if you can’t be tolerant, just walk away.
    And if you are under attack..? then what?
    I don’t know but just not violence.
    Not violence.
    Please not that.

    And theatre. That it can still be so LIVE – ALIVE – ESSENTIAL like this. And Meryl Streep being interviewed about her part in August Osage County and saying she has grown very weary of being asked to dip into the well of pain again and again. And how as actors we are these antenna – kind of portals – amplifiers of the human experience, human pain. Acrobats of the heart. And how that requires a certain access and vulnerability that most people take for granted. Even those that are hiring them, or loving them. That kind of access becomes a currency. That the idea of being a window pane and getting self out of the way is a wonderful practice, and how sometimes you also need a very defined self on board or it is dangerous.

    And yet I wonder what the point of doing it at all is if we are not stirring something essential and urgent in us up. If there isn’t some element of species recognition that happens as a result of the live transference, if not, then what are we doing really? If there isn’t some movement. Real movement. Internal movement. Then what’s the point? In this sense in a very real way, last night was indeed electric. but I do wonder at the cost. For me there were some uncomfortable lines crossed and i guess I’ll just get better at dealing with that in the future. It will be a muscle i develop more strength in through use. Still, kindness.

    So more questions than answers.
    And i might be too tired to be making much sense.

    Before i have too much time to think
    Tomorrow. Back at it.
    Now. Bed.

    For more on Jo Berry and Pat Magee’s extraordinary work on peace and reconciliation, go to Building Bridges for Peace

    To see the play – there are 3 shows left in Brighton next week. The 6th, the 7th & the 9th of May at the Warren. Tickets nearly gone apparently.


  • April18th

    Getting organised with public workshops this year and very excited about some new collaborations. Starting in May and running through to the Summer solstice, we a running a brand new series of evening workshops with amazing technology artist Kate Genevieve. Called FEELING SENSING PERCEIVING: Technology and Sensing The Body And Environment, it will be an investigation into our capacity for sensory perception. It features a final session out doors in the Sussex Woodlands.

    The next 10 week evening course of APPLYING THE SKILLS OF THE ACTOR begins on the 11th September in Brighton on Thursday evenings. This is open to anyone and requires no prerequisite skill base. is not about learning to be an actor, but applying the skills of the actor to life to enhance presence, playfulness and creative flow.

    We will also be running our professional development workshop PURE CREATION for writer/performers in Exeter this Summer. Look out for late Summer dates of this workshop in London coming soon.

    And, it is a while away yet, but the piece Stillpoint were commissioned to create for Fuel Theatre‘s Phenomenal People goes on tour again in Autumn. Watch this space for UK dates.

    Mean time, here is a new bit of blog for your reading pleasure.

    Enjoy the sunshine!

  • October17th

    So we have had some lovely new photos done by Geraint Lewis For Moon Project while we were at Oxford Playhouse last week. They show off Pearl Bates set beautifully.

    Here are a few to tease you. Click on ’em to make them bigger.

    Jules Munns – Shahab in the star field

    Rachel Blackman – Leila in flight

    There’s also a promo video we’ve just released with some behind the scenes footage, show teasers and interviews by Joe Murray.

    Check our listings page for upcoming tour dates and details of our London run with Ovalhouse.

    More soon…xx

  • September16th

    So we are about to begin our third week in the rehearsal room making Moon Project. Here is a blog about the process so far, with some lovely pictures by Greg Allum.



  • May16th

    Well, it has been quiet on the surface recently here at Stillpoint HQ, but the truth is, we have been busy busy preparing ourselves for a zesty summer and a feverishly hectic Autumn.

    The Art of Catastrophe is on at the Ignite Festival in Exeter on the 8th of June. Come down and see us!

    Then we get on with making our brand new piece Moon Project. This will be our first two hander and a more ambitious work than we have attempted to date. We have assembled a team that we are dead excited about. They include our regular team, plus some new folk. Jules Munns and Rachel Blackman will be performing with direction from Paul Hodson and Emma Roberts and design by Geoff Hense and Pearl Bates. We’ll be creating the piece together with concept and script by Rachel Blackman. To find out more about everyone’s roles, go here.

    We are also excited about our new partners. We’ll be teaming up with Theatre in the Mill in Bradford and South Street Reading to build the piece, then we are delighted to announce that Ovalhouse, London, will also be supporting and co-producing a season in November.

    The image above is the promo image for the new piece. It was photographed at the Science Museum in London where our friend Colin managed to find us a space to shoot as well as source a reproduction of an original Apollo mission space helmet! Jules was so excited he nearly collapsed. The fragments were shot by Briar Ellen Photography, design is by Stillpoint and zero gravity effect is by your brain…

    We also have summer workshops coming up. The one is on the 20th of July in Brighton.

    Enjoy the sunshine. xx

  • November19th

    So here’s to fragile new beginnings. 2013 sees the emergence of a brand new piece that has been quietly seeding in the back ground since the beginning of 2012 where it began life as a Fuel Theatre residency at Dartington Hall. Called The Moon Project: home, we are scratching 10 minutes of new material at The Nightingale Theatre on the 8th of December, if you fancy a sneak peak.

    Two people suffer nostalgia for impossible futures:
    One yearns for home but can never return.
    The other yearns for escape but can never leave.
    You are invited – with us – to exhume the anatomy and cosmology of their colliding trajectories.
    The Moon Project: home is about a car crash. It is about life (and love) after death.

    Stillpoint have also been invited with artist Emma Kilbey to make a piece of spontaneous work for City Running in Bristol on the weekend of the 30th of November. This involves scouring the city for inspiration then presenting the piece later that very night. Exciting, challenging and sleep depriving indeed.

    City Running is the brain child of Rowena Easton and is about exploring and documenting an urban environment. For more information on how it works go here.
    If you are interested to participate the applications are still open so maybe see you there! City Running is being produced in Bristol by MAYK.

  • October18th

    Got a few shows on tomorrow at Merge, Bankside.
    We’re doing The Art of Catastrophe and The Growing Room.
    Here’s a little blog to celebrate.
    All the info you need is there, plus a lot more that you probably don’t, but might enjoy.
    Scroll down to the bottom if you just want the low down.

  • May14th

    Mr.Clarke, by Mr.Chrisp

    Well, our most intmate show ever, The Department of Unreliable Memoirs is well underway and our first reviews are tinkling in. There is still time to make an appointment with our office and pretend to be someone else for 10 minutes, facilitated by our sensational hostesses!

    Here is a snap of our lovely clerk, Mr.Clarke in Department attire ready to invite you into our unfeesable and playfully off kilter world.

    Here are our dates for the remaining shows at The Old Market at the Brighton Fringe 2012.

    Next up Ms.Kilbey and I will be at The Pulse Festival, Ipswich as part of The Campsite on the 1st and 2nd of June.

    For those of you who have already visited, we have been capturing your memories in photographs and you will be able to view them via a special portal on this website soon. Oh boy!

    Happy fringe everyone.

    More soon. xx RB