Please contact me if you are interested in working with me as a dramaturg. Each artist-dramaturg relationship is different and bespoke; and the role of the dramaturg can differ from project to project even with the same artist. It begins with a dialogue!
In 2017-2018, alongside other projects, I am undertaking a self-led professional development programme in dramaturgy, funded by Arts Council England grants for the arts using public money through the National Lottery. I am also receiving support from South East Dance, Oxford Dance Forum, Pavilion Dance South West, The Point and AMATA (Falmouth University) for this programme. See my Blog section for updates and reflections from this programme.
Photos: where dramaturgy happens….
“Thanks to you and that specific session I’ve found myself saying out loud that I trust the piece – and I love that! And it’s a lot down to your brilliant contributions – be they reassurances, questions, angles and directions of thought I hadn’t seen/envisaged… It was a delight to work with you.” Segolene Tarte
As a dramaturg for artists, my job is to help you as an artist get the best out of yourself.
To challenge your thinking
To be curious about your work and to thereby inspire you to think about your work in different ways
To show you doors you may not have seen yet so that you can open them if you want
To ask ‘Why?’ not because I think you shouldn’t, but because I genuinely want to know
To help you to find out more about your own inspirations and desires as an artist
To be a mirror so that you can more clearly see yourself and your work
To be your second brain when yours is at full capacity, helping you to see connections that you didn’t know were there
and to be your sibling, giving you a reality check if you need one or simply a response that doesn’t evade the truth on behalf of politeness.
I do this by being curious, asking questions, listening to what you say, making suggestions.
When I work with you I am sympathetic, humorous, curious, friendly, excited, realistic, thoughtful, artistic, knowledgeable, passionate, down-to-earth, sensitive, tactful, challenging.
It is not my place to decide for you, to judge you or your work, or think less of you if you don’t follow my suggestions. It is not my place to tell you what you should or must do.
“In Miranda I had a very knowing, honest viewer but also a continuity of looking that I trust and respect. Miranda has great skill in this work being able to look objectively and creatively and also ask questions that are curious but not judgmental.” Cecilia Macfarlane
I bring to you my experience of over ten years’ running and managing a number of arts projects in professional and community contexts; my experience in working with artists in a range of contexts and roles; my knowledge of the performing arts; my artistic abilities in direction, choreography and performance; my artistic sensibilities and critical faculties; my curiosity; my ability to phrase a good question and keep asking; my listening ear; my thoroughness in writing good prose; my interest in and care for your wellbeing and that of your work but also my disinterestedness as someone not part of making the work.
As a dramaturg, I work with you as an artist on a particular piece of work that you are making. I can help you to talk through your barriers and for you to clarify your interests. I can help you to find words to tell others about your ideas. I can give you the space you need to voice and articulate your inspiration and find the next step for you in the making of this work. I help you to be accountable to your own artistic intention.
“I loved the way you asked me to clarify my intentions with an intelligent and critical mind. With prior knowledge of my artistic intentions, your observations were useful in identifying areas that needed clarification and development.” Joelle Pappas
The work of a dramaturg can take place at any point in the creative process, from the earliest stages of your thinking to the very last day of rehearsals (or even feedback from a performance). It usually happens both inside and outside the rehearsal studio.
My work can consist of helping you to research ideas, and asking you questions to help you to articulate your thoughts for yourself and others. I can provide ideas and suggestions while you are making / devising / rehearsing, I can be an outside eye, I can be a link person with other collaborators. I can write programme notes or other critical writing, I can facilitate work in progress to get feedback from others that you will find useful. I can meet, answer emails or speak on the phone outside the rehearsal times, when you’re stuck for an idea or worried about something particular before tomorrow’s rehearsals. I can lead tasks in the rehearsal room and help you to decide which tasks might be most useful. I can help give notes after rehearsals and performances either through you or directly to performers.
I can do all of the above during the entire process of making a work, or I can do just one or a few of them. I always tailor my approach to the artist and the work, and the particular context in which the work is being made, based on a mutual agreement about how you will get the best use of me and what I bring.
I never make artistic decisions on your work.
“Miranda builds up good working relationships with her artists, empowering supporting and building trust. She provides an outside perspective to the task at hand; offering creative solutions and ideas that have not been thought about.” Jennifer Stokes
Effie McGuire Ward was a performer for Surprise! choreographed by Chris Bradley for MÓTUS – You, Me, Dance in 2018. Here she talks about the performer’s perspective of working with me as a dramaturg:
(Filmed by Nigel Brittain for MÓTUS)
Recent and live dramaturgy work includes:
Virtual You with KDE Dance
YAATRA with Jaivant Patel Dance
Body-No-Body with Segolene Tarte
ANON with Johanna Nuutinen (Finland) – supported by the Collaborate award through South East Dance
Surprise! with MOTUS Dance
Estela Merlos and Thomasin Gülgeç (Swindon Dance associate artists)
Traits with Joelle Pappas – commissioned by Dancin’ Oxford festival and Pegasus Theatre
Twenty, Forty, Sixty with Kabecca Films – commissioned by Screen South Ignition Catalyst Fund
Votes for Women with Reside Dance
Home Solo with Hayley Matthews / Ensemble Dance Co
My professional development and support
I am in a continual learning process with my dramaturgy work; whilst there is no formal dance dramaturgy training currently available in this country, I underpin my professional experience with mentoring relationships and observerships with other dramaturgs and industry professionals, including Katalin Trencsenyi, Chris Fogg, Peggy Olislaegers, Mary-Ann Hushlak, Lou Cope, Struan Leslie and Marie McCluskey. I am a member of Oxfordshire Theatre Makers.
I am grateful in particular for the ongoing support of South East Dance through multiple financial awards, including via Flourish, TEST and Collaborate (the latter two part of the Jerwood-funded dramaturg-in-residence programme). I am also grateful to Oxford Dance Forum for their support including financial awards through Home-Bed ‘Cultivator’ and Evolution programmes.