stephen • simon • phil • cathy
Stephen is an artist-academic-curator whose work falls within the territories of live art and interdisciplinary spatial practices. As well as working with Wrights & Sites, he generates Practice-as-Research across a range of contexts, e.g.:
Stephen is Professor in Live Art + Spatial Practices at the University of Exeter, where he is an active member of the Centre for Contemporary Performance Practices. He was Head of Drama (2012-2018) and the University's Academic Director of Arts and Culture (2016-2021), responsible for co-authoring and delivering the institution's Arts and Culture Strategy. He is an adjunct faculty member of the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore, India, and has contributed to the BA Architecture course at Plymouth University.
Stephen has a history of deep connections with the creative industries, for instance:
Simon is a Doctor of Ambulant Investigations. As an artist, performance-maker and writer, his practice lives in the re-imagining of cities, towns and landscapes through an active and playful engagement with people and place. His performances, walking and relational arts projects have been commissioned by partners including Compass Live Art, Live Art Development Agency, Plymouth Arts Centre, Spacex Gallery, Live@LICA, and B-Side Festival.
Simon is an experienced educator, lecturing in site-specific performance and devised theatre at Dartington College of Arts (1997-2008) and Falmouth University (2009-15). He completed a PhD, Mis-Guided Exploration of Cities in 2008 and currently mentors practiced-based researchers. He ran a series of public Leaving the Building walks in Exeter, Bristol and Prague supported by Falmouth University (2015). This Research and Innovation project was devised to complement the current architectural focus being applied by Wrights & Sites.
Selected recent projects, collaborations and publications include:
Phil comes from a background in performance and music theatre, working as a writer and dramaturg with many companies including TNT (Munich) of which he is a founder member and with whom he continues to work as company dramaturg, with over a hundred of his plays and libretti performed professionally.
From site-specific performance-making with Wrights & Sites in 1998 Phil began to explore the possibilities of walking as a performance and writing practice. Among the companion pieces to his walking he has written and performed The Crab Walks (2004) and Crab Steps Aside (2005), in South Devon beach huts, lidos, tea shops and other unconventional settings, a mis-guided tour for the Beaminster Festival (2006), and with Simon Persighetti A Michael Chekhov Mis-Guide at Dartington Hall (2006), Rescued From The History Hut (2007, with Katie Etheridge and Anoushka Athique), The Fabulous Walks at Teign Village (2008, with Nicola Singh, Katie Etheridge and Fumiaki Tanaka), Exe-Pedition (2009), three walks at A la Ronde (2007-9), A Yarn Around the West End (2011, Plymouth), Spaces (2012, Weymouth, b-side Festival), and a Signs & Wonders walk (2012, at Newchurch-in-Pendle with Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti). The texts of the 'crab' shows are published by Intellect in Walking, Writing and Performance: Autobiographical Texts by Deirdre Heddon, Carl Lavery and Phil Smith, edited by Roberta Mock.
Phil is the author of Counter-Tourism: The Handbook (Triarchy Press, 2012), Counter-Tourism: A Pocketbook (Triarchy Press, 2012), A Sardine Street Box of Tricks [a handbook for making mis-guided tours] with Simon Persighetti (Triarchy Press, 2012) and Mythogeography (Triarchy Press, 2010).
Phil is an Associate Professor (Reader) in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts at the University of Plymouth. He has published papers in Studies In Theatre and Performance Research, Cultural Geographies, Performance Research, Research in Drama Education and New Theatre Quarterly.
Cathy is Associate Professor in Theatre and Performance at the University of Exeter. She has published widely on Dramaturgy and Site, including Dramaturgy and Performance (2008, co-author Synne Behrndt), with translations into Polish, Slovenian and Arabic. Her articles have appeared in Performance Research, Contemporary Theatre Review, New Theatre Quarterly, Studies in Theatre and Performance and other peer-reviewed journals. Her monograph, Dramaturgy and Architecture: Theatre, Utopia and the Built Environment, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015. She was principal investigator on an AHRC network grant researching the politics of interactive and site-based dramaturgies, and was on the steering group of a further AHRC network into walking art. For updates on research, see her blog site. Cathy’s early experience was as a playwright with commissions from The Common Players, Orchard Theatre, the Northcott Theatre and Paines Plough, but her practice has shifted through her work with Wrights & Sites and her investigation of performance writing and dramaturgy (the focus of a practice-based AHRC research project in 2008).
Selected relevant recent publications: