Today I met an amazing lady, Stefania Placenti, who has just completed her PhD in Italian theatre studies at Bristol. Her thesis dealt with the links between movements of protest and theatre in particular the occupation of spaces as a form of resistance, with reference to the Occupied Theatre Movements in Italy born in 2011. Her research covers a number of theatre occupations, examining the historical, socio-economic and political context in which these movements occurred.
An interesting section in her thesis examines the language the occupiers used to perform their protest. From this chapter I was inspired by their approach using their physical presence to resist. From being, to walking and then talking, each action begins to change the narrative of a space.
Our so-called public spaces are culturally defined, but by who? Is it a shared agreement? Are the public spaces in our cities actually public? It can be difficult to escape capitalist ideologies in the centre of Bristol, with advertising and shopping dominating our view and the narrative to buy more to feel better.
In my next workshops I plan to further explore public spaces, to examine the dominant narratives and then poke them with a stick.
Robyn is a Bristol-based director, teacher and performer. With over 20 years experience she is passionate practitioner of clowning, physical theatre, circus and street arts. She has a MA in Circus Directing, a Diploma of Physical Theatre Practice and trained with a long line of inspiring teachers including Holly Stoppit, Giovanni Fusetti, Jon Davison, Zuma Puma, Deanna Fleysha, Igne Barkauskaite and Maggie Irving.
Robyn has collaborated with companies including Let’s Circus, The Sexual Health Circus and Whispering Wood Folk and performed with acclaimed physical theatre companies including, Derevo, Akhe, Oceanallover, and Gappad as well as her own award-winning company, Fun in the Oven Theatre. During the pandemic in 2020, Robyn set up The Online Clown Academy with Holly Stoppit and developed a series of Zoom Clown Courses.
Robyn’s research, started during her Masters, has been exploring the meeting point of clowning and activism, online, in the real world and with international collaborators. With this drive to explore political edges of her work she has also dived back into the world of the Bouffon; training with Jaime Mears, Eric Davis, Nathaniel Justiniano, Tim Licata, Al Seed and the grand master Bouffon-himself; Philippe Gaulier.