The Primacy of Perception Convener(s): Martin SharpParticipants: Bisera Stevanosha, Philip Beaven, Monsie Gili, Shon Dale Jones, Mark Wakeling, Natalie Schwartz, David McGroaty, Liz Tomlin, Dan Rebelato, Graham Dixon, Pippa Ellis, Juliet Knight, Suzzanne Andrade, Esme Appleton, Robin Bathurst, Lin Forbes, Sarah Kane, Jim PopeThe opening question considered what is at stake regarding our idea of the imagination. What hierarchical place does it have in our model of the human being/mind? We also wanted to question how the faculty of the Imagination can be developed and what qualities/forces serve to hinder its creative use and development. We opened with a discussion about what ideas/qualities are associated with the Imagination – these words emerged:- fantasy, creativity, boundlessness, dreamlike, childlike, playful, invention, source of pictures/visualisation, place enhanced by courage, offers differing perceptions of reality, non-physical/metaphysical, freedom, moving force, irrational, place of stories, unconventional and conventional, true artistic source of inspiration.We considered these questions as relevant:- What is opposing the Imagination as a given – is there really a contrary source of creativity?It was thought that the Imagination does underpin many creative acts, but is it a tool of our creative self or is the creative self the tool which should serve the Imagination. It was suggested that the status with which the Imagination is imbued has significant consequences for our belief systems.Other questions that emerged were:What really is its relevance/function of the Imagination?How best do we access it?How do we value it?How do we play with it?As a performer is it our role/responsibility to engage the audience’s imagination rather than their intellect / feelings etc.Where does it live/reside – Should it be considered a physical or meta-physical faculty?Can it be taught?So what really is the imagination?EXERCISE – Around this time we felt we were becoming too intellectual and conceptual and therefore did a couple of exercises where two members of the group worked with their Imagination and told the group a story having been given a physical form by the convenerWe then discussed what was at work during the exercises and therefore what the Imagination might be - It was thought it might work as:An underlying creative engine that has its own movement and momentum – it is all pervasive in creative work.It is something that is aided/benefited by certain kinds of triggers and stimulation.It was argued that the source for the imagination should be triggered by an emotional response to a text/improvisation etc. rather than an idea which is too often evident in theatrical productions.It is something that we should become conscious of using – Although by being conscious of it are we not asking the intellect to control it?If the Imagination is dreamlike does it really have its source in the physical world – ie. Can Images be produced out of the Imagination themselves without resorting to images and memories from the material world?Does the performer really need to engage the audiences imagination? Is this really such an important purpose of Theatre rather than, for instance, stimulating or entertaining their emotions.IF THE IMAGINATION IS VALUABLE WHAT CURBS ITS POWER:-Conventions – eg. stage, cultural, psychological conventions. Pressure to succeed, historical expectations etc.Responsibility – the weight of responsibility to succeed in all its forms.Judgement and/or fear of Judgement curbs the ImaginationThe desire for Security and Safety curbs the ImaginationThe dry use of the intellect (highly rational thinking) curbs the Imagination.Trying too hard to be creative – get out of your own wayCluttered minds / ideas / cultural noise - We therefore need to clear a way and space to surrender and let go to truly unleash the Imagination, but it needs not to be chaotic to be aesthetic – Does Imagination therefore of its own nature create form?WE THEN POSED THE IDEA THAT THE IDEAL ACTOR NEEDS THESE QUALITIES TO TRULY WORK WITH THEIR IMAGINATION:-1 Courage / Fearlessness2 Right to Fail / Joy in failing3 Vulnerability and Playfulness4 Sensitised and Receptive Instrument/ Body5 Inquisitive and Curious6 Unattached to result, therefore not end directed in the process.7 Trusting in a variety of images and perhaps choices offered by the Imagination8 Concentration and Commitment9 Integrity10 Present in the process – being here and now in the process11 RadianceSo at this point we felt we were done!