Katherine Maxwell-Cook, 26 January 2013

People who came: Regina, Kath, Nicky, Rob, Pauline, Sarah, Aliki, Sara Kewly, Elly,

Christelle, Kate, Jen Lunn, Eliska, Laura M and some others I didn't get the name of


- Spritual experience happened in the theatre when I was present and connected.

- When I was training in Butoh I had those experiences more.

- During a Kantor production which was completely in Polish and I didn't understand a

single word - it was very physical - the communication became not about language. It

was about the power of the ensemble.

- It was like an opening; an experience of self opening and deepening.

- It's what I'm often hoping for when I go to the theatre but rarely experience.

- A collective experience - something opens up

- It's a driving force to go and make theatre

- The experiences are rarer as time goes by, I become more analytical

- When I was acting in Blood Wedding as a student, I became completely obsessed

with Lorca. On the opening night it was like I was speaking letters rather than words - I

felt detached and the words lost their meaning. But after a few nights it was like Lorca

was in the space with me and every word I was speaking made absolute sense. I felt


- Transformational theatre

- A revealing of performer and audience

- You might need to be really concrete, specific, very small - rather than opening it out.

Someone in a workshop brought in a blade of grass and just spent ages looking at it -

very tiny, simple but it was also very deep.

- It's like open space, it expands the now.

- Puts you in a different time/space continuum.

- Spiritual experiences can be like the artist experience

- Spiritual + artistic = meet God through art

- Takes courage to explore it

- Piece exploring Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich - two 14th century mystics - it

needs to look at the deepest truth of the two women and how they understood their

relationship to the divine, serve their truth

- You can't create an experience that will touch the whole audience.

- Craziness has a relationship to this

- Detail is important.

- I had an experience in an exercise when I was very slowly moving to the floor - I felt

as though floor opened and I entered the universe - the universe opened up. I felt the

stone and mineral of it - it was such a concrete experience.

- The universe is as above, so below.

- Had a spiritual experience watching the Gandhi opera by Improbable with music by

Philip Glass - at the moment when the followers of Gandhi took off the coats and

began their journey with him. It was a very meditative piece of theatre, very slow.

Some people were very uncomfortable with it but I found it very moving.

- Not everyone will like it.

- Interested in silence in a show - silence can create something very mystical -

particularly after it has been quite busy - you can almost see people's thoughts. We

don't have much silence in life. There might be a pain barrier with silence. Some

people might find it difficult.

- You need to be confident with what you are performing.

- There's that comfortable silence that you have with someone you know very well,

maybe when you are in a car together.

- Empty silence is the hardest - when you haven't been given a focus - could be

interesting. How long will it last for? Do you tell the audience how long it will last for?

- The Chris Goode show God/Head was quite spiritual. Laura M who was in it when I

saw it and in the discussion said she did not have a spiritual experience performing in

it - although it had been very intense. During the very heightened moments the

performer was given focused tasks so they couldn't be engaged with what Chris was

saying. It was an intense day working with him. Laura also felt conscious of being a

pregnant woman on stage when she was in it.

- Not sure if you can make the audience feel something. You can as a performer make

yourself feel something.

- Looking at creating a space where that can happen.

- Everyone is at different stages of their spiritual journey.

- If you can connect with my truth at some point - that's a stimulant.

- Something might have been suggested, something that comes from somewhere


- It's about being bold, bold choices

- Does it have to be word-less, silent?

- Harder to express how someone else feels.

- Trilogy by Nick Green was very moving - the whole thing rather than one specific


- Someone who was in it said the whole process had been like that.

- Taligat (?) - powerful show performed by blind/deaf performers during the LIFT

festival - girlfriend proposed at the end of it because she said ‘You bring me to things

like this and make me a better person’.

- Making a show that feels like community - someone grew personally a lot, worked

with lots of Buddhists, now is practicing that more. However it didn't work in the work in

progress performance - couldn't convey what had been created in rehearsals - need to

work out a way to do this.

- Need to create space for the audience - leave people to read into it what they want.

- But you can create too much space - it gets too diluted until it becomes about


- Work in progress showings would be helpful in this process.

- Things that take me out of myself - create a sense of awe - this can also be from

something raw.

- Had a spiritual experience watching the Lion King recently - cried because it was full

of awe - make awesome theatre.

- Not meant to interpret all the time.

- Had a spiritual experience at the Rothko exhibition because it made no expectation

of me, didn't ask any questions or expect me to have any knowledge.

- But maybe that was an aesthetic rather than spiritual experience?

- Sense of being connected to the audience - when everyone is thinking the same


- Transcendent - a world opened up.

- Experiences of God as a Christian are about moments of clarity, bliss, joy - a chord

on the organ, nature - being present in a space, happy, comfortable.

- Dionysus is my spirituality - theatre is my church - where people go to make a


- Atheist church - using the structure of church but taking God out.

- The difference between someone who believes and someone who doesn't is that

they have an object of devotion - otherwise there are lots of similarities - helpful in

understanding other religions.

- Theatre as community.

- Community and spiritual are connected.

- The stress of individual living - community lifts this burden - being part of something.

- Picking up the emotion from someone - feeling it off them.

- Taking you out of yourself and deeper into yourself.

- It's the human condition - about yourself and others - the layer where we are all


- Complicite show - Lucy Kapol (?) - when the water was flying in the air and the light

caught it

- Michael Frayn show - Democracy - very different but also very spiritual

- They both spoke the truth completely, totally committed to it. There was an impetus

behind it - everything was in the service of what they were saying.

- Pippa Bailey is leading a women's pilgrimage from London to Canterbury in March -

will tell women's stories and sing women's songs.

Thank you everyone.


Theatre, Audience, religion, history, History, connection, beauty, audience, faith, God,

spiritual, theatre, divine, god