Spirit in the Circle

Convener(s): Leviathen 

Participants: Andy Saich, Nicholas McInerny, Ned Lunn, Lucy Avery, Chris Grady, Cindy Osein, Kath Burlinson, Sam Pallis, Alan Lyddiard, Ellis Kerkhoven, Valentine Zagerie, Sarah Sansone, Paschale Straiton


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Session started with much talk about circles and their ancient potency and essentialness to living a fulfilling life. Safety and comfort of circles of people. The non-hierarchal and fostering nature of sitting in them.

Breaking of that tradition by organized religions in to a physical focus on an authority figure by shifting people’s position to forward facing toward an altar/authority figure.

Richard Giles is/was an architect who restructured a church in Philadelphia into a circle.

The power and superiority of theatre in the round was discussed.

Spirituality in theatre – when the audience comes out feeling strongly connected to each other, that’s a spiritual experience.

However, as evidenced by the number of people who left or quickly chose not to join our discussion, the word ‘spirit’ seems to scare people. This could be due to the liberal, societal-norm and hence religion-shunning nature of many people drawn to the theatre arts. What more benign words can we use in lieu of ‘spirit’? Heart, passion, and soul were suggested.

How do we keep the Spirit alive in our drama schools and diminish fear of the concept of spirituality?

There’s a spiritual experience in the collective creation process of mounting a production from idea to script to casting to staging, and then performance and viewing experience.

A negative critique of productions often uses phrases like ‘lacks soul’ or ‘has no heart’ to describe that lack of a spiritual or transformative or transcendental element to a production.


Quotes of the session:

‘Say yes to availability and yes to vulnerability’

‘The only reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly’

‘I wouldn’t be a very good explorer if I didn’t get lost.’