Anne Thompson has been a contemporary dancer, choreographer, tertiary level teacher, journal editor, academic, reviewer of dance with RealTime, dramaturg and director, primarily in visual and physical theatre with independent artists and small companies (Terrapin, Snuff Puppets, My Darling Patricia). She was a founding member of Dance Works and one of the founding editors of Writings On Dance. She has had an ongoing dramaturgical relationship with Garry Stewart and Daniel Jaber of Australian Dance Theatre as a dramaturg. In 2001 she co-founded the Eleventh Hour Theatre project in Melbourne with William Henderson. In 2008 they presented their version of Beckett’s End Game at the Melbourne International Festival and in 2010 their version of Shakespeare’s King John at the Adelaide Festival. Both were award-winners. In 2008 Thompson was appointed Director of the Drama Centre at Flinders University where she teaches directing in the program.
Anne writes: I love teaching. I like workshopping physical experiences and ideas with people. I like seeing how ideas and experiences sit with people and what they make them do. I have always found ideas and physical experiences liberating. Both can lead me to fresh thinking and a sense of rightness with myself and the world. I don’t dance much anymore but it still makes me happy when I do. I like being this age. I’ve done a lot of things in the performing arts and I am so much more relaxed doing any of them now. I’ve always pursued the experimental—the experiment of performance. I like examining performance and throwing caution to the wind. When I realised at 19 it was possible to interrogate performance I was excited. It made me realise it was possible to interrogate the performance in, and of, one’s life, though that realisation wasn’t so conscious at the time. I’ve never lost that. I have had so much fun interrogating performance with other people.
I like writing about dance/performance because it makes me keep considering what artists are attempting and doing. I like to be respectful of that enterprise. I know as an artist and teacher it can be incredibly powerful to give people a way of describing experience. It can settle disquiet and liberate possibilities. When I review I like to honour the work artists do, attempt to describe that work and the action of that work on me. I am very committed to presenting the largest possible picture of what art can be and how it is occurring. I have always loved RealTime for presenting that. I started wanting to write about women and performance because I have many close, great relationships with women working in the field, many of whom are a lot younger than me. Graduates from the course in which I teach would ring me up and need to debrief about something that had happened to them. I wanted them to understand that what was happening was part of a bigger conversation so I set up a number of support groups where women working in performance could meet and talk and then I thought ‘why not make the conversation national?’
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Anne is currently writing a series of articles titled Women + Performance for RealTime, with the intention of later compiling a book with other writers and RealTime on the current generation of women in Australian performing arts.
Women + Performance 1: Tessa Leong & Emma Beech
RealTime issue #115 June-July 2013 p38-39
Women + Performance 2: Anne-Louise Sarks
RealTime issue #116 Aug-Sept 2013 p6
Women + Performance 4: Kate Davis & Emma Valente, The Rabble
RealTime issue #117 Oct-Nov 2013 p28
See also her review of Leigh Warren's Not According to Plan in this e-dition
Coming up in RT118: An interview with POST prior to their 2014 Sydney Festival production for Belvoir, Oedipus Schmoedipus.
© Anne Thompson; for permission to reproduce apply to firstname.lastname@example.org