UEL lecturer is Not F**kin' Sorry about breaking social taboos
Radical theatre collective launches educational workshop sessions based on its West End show
Liselle Terret, senior lecturer and member of the Centre for Performing Arts Development at the University of East London (UEL), is taking radical inclusive theatre to schools, FE colleges and theatre organisations. With other members of the Not Your Circus Dog Collective, she presented an interactive workshop, Practices for Inclusivity in the Performing Arts Classroom and Rehearsal Studio. Teachers from 28 schools and theatres from London , Vienna, Spain and Hong Kong joined on Zoom.
The workshop revealed some of the rehearsal processes that created Not F**kin’ Sorry, the collective’s joint theatre production (in partnership with Access All Areas) performed at the Soho Theatre in London’s West End and due to tour the UK in 2022. Teachers are invited to learn and apply these dramatic processes and techniques in their own rehearsals, teaching and productions. The programme itself was hosted by Creative Schools
The Not Your Circus Dog Collective proudly identifies as different. “Different is beautiful,” says Adam Smith, musician, actor and a member of the collective. Liselle herself identifies as neuro-divergent.
The collective exists to invert conventional stereotypes and labels. Not F**kin’ Sorry is subversive cabaret that mocks and parodies popular culture, bites back at bullying and relentlessly challenges ingrained prejudices and taboos.
Housni Hassan AKA DJ, a charismatic dancer and actor, says of how they work, “We have a structure but in a very experimental way, trying things out that we might keep or move on from.” It is the product of experiences in the real world or as actor, Emma Selwyn says, “Autobiography to begin with, then we move on.”
The workshop interrogates key scenes from the Not F**kin’ Sorry production with Liselle asking directors and teachers to give their gut reactions to what they are witnessing. It elicits powerful visceral responses. She says, “From rehearsal to full production and workshop, through every stage of the working process, we are conducting a continuous and ongoing research project into institutional and societal prejudices, and the complex impact of these prejudices upon those discriminated against using both popular and more avant garde theatrical technique.”
Liselle is co-programme leader BA (Hons) in Drama, Applied Theatre and Performance at UEL. Her work has been staged in partnership with theatre company Access All Areas, Soho Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre, Duckie, LADA (Live Art Development Agency) and the South Bank Centre. She co-founded the Diploma in Performance Making for adults with Learning Disabilities & Autism (RCSSD) with Access All Areas, winning the Guardian University Award for Student Diversity and Widening Participation. Liselle also regularly presents her research at international conferences, most recently in Israel and Singapore as well as through publications.
The Not Your Circus Dog Collective is collaborating with the playwright, actor and director, Neil Bartlett, on Princess, produced by Duckie, another radical collective. It is scheduled to open in September 2021. In the show, audiences will travel, from site to site, around Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to encounter an interconnected programme of performance installations that reveal the social archaeology of queer and crip (the word taken by the disabled community as a self-empowering title) in underground Georgian London.
Image by Robert Stainforth