A day of original TEDx talks took place at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama on 1 September 2017, organised by students at Central surrounding the theme of The Next Stage.
This student-led initiative explored ideas worth sharing from a small and specialised conservatoire community. We firmly believe it is about time to delve deep into the world of theatre, its impact on the world and the world's impact on theatre. What does The Next Stage mean to you?
These talks were given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by students at Central. Learn more on the TEDx website.
Photo: Mitchell Eric Cohen
Alternatively, watch individual TEDx Royal Central: The Next Stage talks from the full list below.
Ali looks at the process of devising theatre and opens up the idea that this process can have a significant impact on peoples lives.
For a number of years Ali was Head of Drama in London secondary schools in the top 1% of deprivation where she significantly raised the profile of Drama, increasing GCSE results from 53% to 96% A*-C in two years. She has worked as a GCSE and A’ Level Drama examiner, and leads consultancy and Drama INSET training programmes at The London Palladium, and designs the educational workshops to accompany The Railway Children at Kings Cross Theatre, and The Scoop free theatre season. She managed the social inclusion programmes at the National Youth Theatre for two years.
Liz Atkin has a compulsive skin picking disorder. She tells her story, and encourages the world to see art as a tool for recovery.
Liz Atkin is an internationally acclaimed visual artist and advocate based in London. Compulsive Skin Picking dominated her life for more than 20 years, but art has become her greatest tool for recovery. Liz reimagines the body-focused repetitive behaviour of skin picking into photographic artworks, charcoal drawings and performances. Her work has been exhibited in the UK, Australia, Singapore, USA and Japan. She has given public talks for TEDx Youth, Wellcome Collection, Southbank Centre, and at a range of UK and international conferences and health events. She has featured on BBC Breakfast, BBC Woman's Hour, BBC World Service and BBC Radio London, Aljazeera TV, the INewspaper and BBC Arabic.
Sylvan Baker deconstructs notions of inclusion and diversity, encouraging a new approach to inclusive working in higher education.
Sylvan is an Applied Theatre researcher and practitioner with experience in a range of applied arts contexts. He's an Associate Artist at People's Palace Projects and an Artist Fellow at QMUL. He holds an MA from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and practice PhD from QMUL. His current research, the Verbatim Formula, uses verbatim practice with care experienced young people and is a recent winner of the QMUL Public Engagement award 2017 and has been awarded 3-year AHRC funding to extend its practice to several other university partners including Goldsmiths College and UEL.
Rachel talks about the need for our society to reframe how we look at fatness & women.
Rachel Vogler is an undergraduate student at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Her main areas of interest include the use of theatre for conflict resolution, feminist theatre, and body-conscious theatre practice. Rachel is currently on the student union as Women's Officer, and works part time in Jewish Education and youth-work. In her TEDx talk at Royal Central School, Rachel explores how diverse-bodied women navigate taking up space in the world. As women are consistently reminded that smaller is better, how can big bodies exist comfortably in space, and how can we lay rightful claim to the space our bodies take up?
Dr Jessica Hartley is an accidental academic.
She argues that shame is a significant driving force in modern academia and that in order for us to learn, we must first tackle these cycles of shame. A love of learning, a fascination with people's unique voices and an intense desire to listen to them brought her from a career in secondary education to the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (via the circus - but that's another story).
Sally White had everything she needed to be considered successful. Then it all changed. She offers an alternative view on success for millennials that challenges traditional notions of what it means to be successful.
Sally White is an Actress, Singer, Dancer, Teacher and Entrepreneur. She is the founder and creative director of Sally White Creative, a London based Communications Agency specialising in storytelling through Digital Marketing, Public Relations and Creative Videography. Originally from Australia, she spent the early part of her twenties working full-time in a variety of Corporate Communications & I.T. Project Management roles. During this time she also worked as a Performer and in 2013 quit her job and moved to London to pursue acting. In 2015 she co-founded a Software Development company and also graduated from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with a Masters in Music Theatre.
Working as an actress, living abroad, and running her own business has sparked her curiosity in helping others integrate their interests and passions to create fulfilling and momentous careers.
Jon Davison is a professional clown. He discusses how attitudes to clowning have evolved, but can potentially be linked by concepts of failure.
Jon Davison is a clown performer, teacher, director and researcher, with 35 years’ experience. He was formerly Research Fellow at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and is the author of two books, Clown Readings in Theatre Practice and Clown Training, a practical guide and is currently preparing three new books for publication. He was co-founder of the Escola de Clown de Barcelona and previously taught at the Institut del Teatre de Barcelona. He currently runs the London Clown School. He is artistic director of the clown companies Stupididity and Citizens of Nowhere.
Ann Akin emphasises the importance of the word 'No', encouraging others to take life into their own hands and make rejection work for you.
Ann Akin is a professional actress, producer and workshop facilitator. Some of Ann’s television appearances include: Law and Order UK (ITV), EastEnders (BBC1), Humans (C4), The Javone Prince Show (BBC2), The Delivery Man (ITV) and The Unforgotten (ITV) From November 2010 till July 2013 she was Artistic Director and co founder of Vintage Star Productions, an award winning theatre company. She wrote, choreographed, directed and co produced their first production, Conversations with Love, which won Best Theatre Production and Best Writer at the 2011 BEFFTA awards. The success of Vintage Star propelled Ann's creative vision further into looking at theatre within an educational setting. This led to her setting up HARTS. Ann Akin launched the LOST Young Company in September 2012. At launch, there were 7 children attending. Now called LOST HARTS Young Company, run by Harts Theatre Company (HTC) and funded by Young Lambeth Coop.
Mohamad Shaifulbahri wants to see a shift in the stories we tell. A global approach to diversity is needed.
Mohamad Shaifulbahri (Shai) is a creative producer and arts educator from Singapore who is currently based in London. He holds an MA in Creative Producing from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He founded and was the Artistic Director of Yellow Chair Productions and recently started Bhumi Collective, a Singapore-UK company telling stories about the lesser seen, lesser heard, and the lesser talked about, which staged its debut production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016. He now serves as Joint Artistic Director. In the UK, his credits include: PIAF (Charing Cross Theatre), everything that rises must dance (Resolution 2016), bhumi (Edinburgh Fringe), Bunker Without Borders (Bunker Theatre) In Singapore, his credits include: Every Brilliant Thing, Ikan Girl (Bhumi Collective), The Last Five Years, Off Centre, Those Who Can't, Teach (Yellow Chair Productions), Lord of the Flies, Everything but the Brain (Sight Lines Productions)
Eastman would consider himself a Musicker. He encourages the world to see music as a verb and not a noun.
Eastman Presser is a musicker (sic) from Ohio, USA. After studying music technology and composition at Oberlin Conservatory, Eastman is now based in London studying Practice as Research at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. His practice takes interaction between sound and the body as a starting point for creating situations that humorously problematize ideas of listening, genre, and mediation. His practice synthesizes percussion, electro-acoustic music, media theory, and performance theory. He has performed internationally in the US, UK, and Germany.
Tim considers a change in emphasis on the way audiences and theatre makers engage with art.
Tim is an Obie-award winning UK-based theatre-maker. He was an actor for many years before starting to write – and he still performs in much of his work. His plays include My Arm, ENGLAND (a play for galleries), An Oak Tree, The Author, Adler & Gibb and (with Andy Smith) what happens to the hope at the end of the evening. Tim tours his work nationally and internationally. He also writes for younger audiences. A series of plays inspired by Shakespeare’s lesser characters includes I, Malvolio and I, Peaseblossom. For the RSC Tim has directed The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear and I, Cinna (the poet) – all for young audiences. Other directing credits include Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore for the Unicorn Theatre, London, and The Complete Deaths for Spymonkey. His next play, Beginners, opens at the Unicorn Theatre in March 2018. Awards for Tim’s work include an Edinburgh Fringe First, a Herald Archangel, two Total Theatre awards, and the Brian Way award for best children’s play.
Phoenix offers a world in which we look beyond conventional approaches to fashion and costume, and instead transcend traditional narratives.
Phoenix Thomas is a Queer costume artist, researcher, and performance maker specialising in issues of gender, identity and representation. Having completed their PhD in Queering Costume Design at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2016, Phoenix recently undertook further Post-Doctoral Research into Costume Research Methodologies as part of the Costume in Focus Research Group at Aalto University. Phoenix has been working as a costume designer and maker for many years, and through their doctoral Practice has developed an exploratory mode of costume-centered performance as an independent performance maker in both dance and interactive performance installations - most recently 'My Sex' - a solo piece designed performed and produced for the Trans Pride Brighton Arts Programme at the Marlborough Theatre Brighton.
Samantha discusses the ever-growing video game industry and suggests that actor training needs to develop to get on board with the creation of games.
Sam is studying her MA in Actor Training and Coaching at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and is due to hand in her final project - on the same topic as her talk - in September. Previously, she studied her BA in Music and Drama at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is a director, composer and video game enthusiast.
Sally Mackey explores the value of performance practices in establishing and catalysing place attachment.
Sally Mackey is Professor of Applied Theatre and Performance at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London where she founded the first UK undergraduate degree in applied theatre. On the editorial board of RiDE: the Journal of Applied Performance and Theatre and advisory board of Applied Theatre Research, she is a key figure in the Applied and Social Theatre field. Reflecting a related interest in theatre ecology, she was a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) commissioning panel for the major themes of ‘Landscape and Environment’ and ‘Living with Environmental Change’ and the cross RCUK panel ‘Valuing Nature: Health and Wellbeing’. Publishing on performance, place, community and the environment, she has co-edited themed editions in RiDE - ‘On Site and Place’ and ‘Environmentalism’ - and has completed outputs from three AHRC grants in the last few years: Challenging Place, Performing Local Places and Performing Abergavenny.
Paula Kiel delves into the world of life & death, considering different modern-day ways for us to communicate with the deceased.
Paula Kiel is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her PhD project explores practices of preparing for post-mortem online communication. Her research interests include: death online, the internet and computer-mediated communication, visual media, media and everyday life and technological innovation. Her paper “The Emerging Practices of the Collective Afterlife: Multimodal Analysis of Websites for Post-mortem Digital Interaction” won the Best Student Paper Award at the 2017 Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) conference.
Sara Hirsch teaches spoken word & poetry in schools. She calls for the world to see the value in this as an invaluable tool in education.
Sara Hirsch is a London grown performance poet, graduating from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2011 from the BA Acting course, specialising in collaborative and devised theatre. Sara recently completed her Master’s degree in Creative Writing and Education at Goldsmiths University and is one of a handful of trained spoken word educators working in schools and communities across the world. In 2014 Sara won the UK Poetry Slam Championships and subsequently went on to represent the UK in various international competitions. She ranked third in the World Slam Championships in 2014, won the European Slam in Madrid in 2016 and was a finalist in the BBC Slam in 2017. Sara has performed at Glastonbury, has toured extensively both in the UK and internationally and has had two full length poetry collections published by Burning Eye Books.