Melanie Thompson m.a
Dartington College of Arts, Totnes, Devon Diploma in Drama and Dance.
Rolle College – Exmouth, Devon Certificate in Education (Drama Major) Distinction.
M.A. in ’Fine Art in Context’ University of the West of England, Bristol
2007 Started PhD at U.W.E Bristol (the act of negotiation – personal arts practice)
February – teaching performance writing workshop for M.A site specific performance students at Mountview Theatre School London.
March – employed by heart of the tribe gallery as their creative advisor.
Initiated and curated the first of 9 monthly Art Talks by artists who cross boundaries with their art forms.
May – co- organised the first in a series of live events, continuing through the year under the title of South West Creatives – Socials
July to August – presenting 4 box installations in Summer Group Exhibition at heart of the tribe gallery.
September – October – creating interactive installation for Somerset Arts Week at gallery.
Autumn – initiating LOSS a large interactive project which will travel following year.
February – Taught day’s virtual workshop for M.A site -specific students at Mountview Theatre School London.
Created 20 live streamed performances over 23 days called Empathetic Shoes for Heart of the Tribe gallery.
March – Women’s International Day performance event live streamed from Heart of the Tribe gallery garden.
April – May – Solo exhibition – Where Do We Go From Here ? at Heart of the Tribe gallery Glastonbury Somerset.
June – Talk on Creativity
July – Creativity workshop – one day in Somerset
November – Creativity workshop – one day in Somerset
January – taught Performance Writing workshop at Mountview Theatre School London.
March to May – Viral Texts, an ongoing installation in Somerset, UK.
September – Taught Day’s Workshop at Heart of the Tribe Gallery in Installation practice.
April / May – preparing and presenting 2 week residency of Wildedges. Consisting of 2 large installations one in a barn and one in a orchard. Plus an open day of live music, talks and walks.
May – Presented Remembering and Forgetting ( 2 solo shows and a film) at major Theatre Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark.
September – workshop in Performance Writing at Aarhus University Denmark.
October / November – Exhibition of changing text placards in small garden, Glastonbury.
February – Organising a weekend Seminar in Aarhus about collaborative practice in the UK and Denmark with the Scenet .DK
June – Presenting- Bodies of Water – ( talks and films on site specific practice and interdisciplinary work with Helen Ottaway) at the Heritage Gallery Wells, Somerset.
August – Visiting Croatia as a consultant and teacher for a Danish / Swedish / Croatian collaboration project. Teaching site specific workshop.
September – Presenting solo talk – Bodies of Water at Stream 2018 at Dartington, Totnes, Devon.
September / October – playing Forgetting and Remembering in Aarhus for a week.
October – Presented Bodies of Water at The Silk Mill, Frome.
February to November – observed and documented and led workshops in reflexive research practice over 6 visits and made 3 short films about the work of the PAA project.
February to August – Created Forgetting and Remembering( 2 solo shows, one I performed in one I directed) which premiered in August in Aarhus Denmark as part of the European City of Culture 2017.
Created Wildedges a art research project, based in a walled orchard in Somerset in collaboration with the Alfred Gillett Trust.
January – Directed and workshoped large site – specific collaborative project ‘Shaking hands with Ghosts 2 ‘ at Teater Refleksion over 4 day, culminating in a 30 mins travelling performance.
Continued directing solo performance and working on own solo performance over a week.
February – Invited to attend workshop with Agnes Limbos from France, exploring object work.
February/September – Teaching interdisciplinary practice at Den Danske Scenekunstskole Odsherred Teaterskole.
February – Taught 3 day Performance Writing workshop at Teater Refleksion in Aarhus Denmark.
February/March – Facilitating creative process for solo performance at Teater Refleksion.
February – Started work on my new solo performance, residency at Mols. ‘Secret Hotel’.
March – 3 day residency at Teater Refleksion for my solo performance.
May – 1 week visit to Athens . Taught P.W workshop as part of a mini residency at Kinitiras studio.
Invited to Denmark, Mols to give paper on my site-specific practice at a 3 day conference ‘Landscape Dialogues’ exploring Landscape /Sustainability / Collaboration.
Teaching weekly inmprovisation workshops in Somerset.
Setting up workshops and auditions for Falmouth University in Denmark.
Created WAITING FOR THE FLOOD a short film in collaboration with Deadbeat Films. See review.
Collaborated with Kim Van Coels on ‘sitting,running,lying,standing’ a time lapse short film in Zigzag building Somerset.
Taught Writing & Control workshop weekend at the Arnolfini Bristol with Jerome Fletcher as part of (Writing &)
April/May – Invited to The Teatro ARKA (H.C.E.) Intermedial Cultural Association in Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy), part of the XXVI Anniversary of annual InterActions Project Festival to present solo performance.
January – Created 2nd film of series Scaping the Land.
April – Created 3rd film of series Scaping the Land.
January to July – Research projects Falmouth University College.
January to July – Teaching Pilot BTEC performance course.
Teaching Body Language / how to teach a workshop /mentoring /public speaking
workshops for the Student Ambassador programme at U.F.C.
Film intervention – Glastonbury Abbey June 30th – July 1st
Charles Hazlewood ‘Orchestra in the Field’ 3 day music Festival.
September – Site–specific Film and Performance Residency at the Rural Life Museum Glastonbury Somerset.
Created Writing & with Barbra Bridger and Jerome Fletcher – www.writingand.org
2010 – 2011
‘Shaking hands with ghosts’ – a 3 part installation /performance project celebrating the history and demise of Dartington college. Culminating in the curation of 10 artists creating site specific works in the Dartington estate and a final event as part of Dartington campus festival in June 2010.
Commissioned by the B-side festival to create a series of sites specific works in Portland Dorset 17th– 26th. September 2010. www.b-side.org.uk See Cut Here……… Film on YouTube.
Started teaching at University College Falmouth part time in all Departments.
June – ‘Shaking hands with Ghosts’ finale – Falmouth University festival.
July – Handbag – Lead dancer in performance created by Geraldine Pilgrim commissed by RSC at the Arnolfini.
August – Leading sites specific workshop residency in Italy for Sherman Youth Theatre students from Cardiff.
August – Creating first of a series of site-specific dance events in Somerset entitled Scaping the Land.
December 2011 – Teaching at Falmouth University College – piloting performance BTEC and doing research looking at Performance education in Cornwall – September.
2005 – 2010
2005 – Appointed Artistic Director of Tor Dance Festival – Somerset, supported by the Arts Council of Great Britain.
2005–2006 – Funded by CCEP based at Dartington College to be the lead artist in the ‘Harbourside’ regeneration project, to commission artwork for Beacon Quay in Torquay, Devon. Opening October 2006.
2006 – Invited to symposium at Exeter University to teach workshop on site specifity Returning to Wimbledon Art College for summer site-specific project.
2005-2006 – Performance of Slippage (solo performance) at Dance Edition, British Dance Leeds, and performance of Slippage – Made in Somerset, showcase.
2006-2008 – Arts Consultant for the National Wildlife Conservation Park Opening outside Bristol in 2011.
2006–2008 – Created ‘Palace Intrusions” see www.palaceintrusions.org.uk for archive A collaboration with composer Helen Ottaway and Wells Palace for a year long series of 12 public art commissioned events in Wells, Somerset.
2009-2010 – Studied VTCT level 3 Massage and Anatomy.
10-day residency as part of French Arts Festival “ L’ete des Arts’ in Cote d’Or en Bourgogne.
4-day residency as part of the ‘Wide Open’ Exhibition Artspace, Cambridge.
Guest workshop leader for 5-day introduction to site-specific art practice Wimbledon Art College, London.
2001 – Commissioned to create a site specific performance as part of a tour of the city ‘Tourist of the Heart’ – Arhus Theatre Festival Denmark.
April 2002 – Slumber weekend – 24-hour workshop exploring collaborative practice, Devon.
July 2002 – Invited to symposium organised by C.R.A.N.E – French artists networking internationally, France (created new site specific performance work).
November 2002 – Created one to one installation/ performance work – Blood works – for ‘crossing time’ international artists Festival – Dartington.
February 2003 – Collaboration – with 5 artists, exhibition, Dartington Gallery January.
August 2003 – The Party – installation with video and slides, Somerset.
Invited to International Visual Artists Festival – Montreal Canada Autumn 2003 Presented solo installation Performance “Whose journey is it anyway”.
Spring 2004 – Invited to the Sortland New music week, Norway. Presented solo performance, “Slippage” taught workshops and gave lecture on Interdisciplinary practice in the arts.
2003–2004 – Created series of 4 interactive workshops to support sound art work in booklet form for the Education Dept of Living Coasts Torquay, Devon.
2000 – 2004
February 2000 – Site-specific collaboration project with the Jerusalem school of visual theatre – Israel – based in Jerusalem Railway.
Sept 2000 – Scallop project – 1 year residency in small Somerset village and collaboration with artist /doctor Jane Hazlewood. Received local and Millennium funding. Final event Sept 2000 – Chillington, Somerset.
2001–2003 – Artist in Residence in ‘Living Coasts’ Project – large public conservation/ visitor centre built in Torquay, Devon. Funding from Dartington College of Arts, R.A.L P and Paignton Zoo.
Teaching Interdisciplinary practice using the body, site and installation at Dartington college of Arts in the theatre and music and visual schools.
1992 – 2000
1992 – Formed The Zwillinge Project with Kirsten Lavers.
In July 1992 Melanie began working with Kirsten Lavers (Installation artist) on a series of site-specific Live Art works. Their collaboration was called The Zwillinge Project. Zwillinge is the German word for twins.
The Zwillinge Project has made 10 episodes / performances in response to a variety of sites, ranging from a hotel in Hull (episode 6) to a week long walk around the city of Bristol examining the issue of homelessness (episode 10).
Episode 11 – May 1997 – Presented 3 hour slide / lecture of all episodes and overview of whole project at Leicester University and Crewe and Alsager University – entitled Conversing with Sites.
Throughout 1997 and 1998 Melanie presented the lecture within G.B, institutions visiting: University of the West of England, Nottingham Trent University, Dartington College of Arts, Cheltenham College of Arts and Cardiff Art School.
Episode 12 – February 1998 – Launched the final catalogue /documentation of the whole of the Zwillinge Project in a series of 10 limited edition books.
The Zwillinge Project received funding support from Eastern Arts, South West Arts, Hull Time Based Arts and the Arts Council Of England.
I996 – invited to become a Research Associate at Dartington College of Arts for two years.
1995–2000 – preparing major project entitled Eco-Performia in collaboration with Dr Ric Allsop of Writing Associates – meetings in Germany and Denmark.
1996 – initiated ongoing collaborative project entitled 10 Studies of Human Nature.
July 1997 – Site-specific performance, Bristol- entitled Primary Optic practical exploration with Diana Collins Artist/ performer.
1997–1998 – Practical exploration with Sam Usher in dance language conversations.
May 1998 – Site-specific performance, Devon Entitled ‘Still Life’ collaboration with Sam Usher/ cheographer and dancer and Jane Hazlewood Artist and doctor and video artist Toby Harewood.
1999 – Solo performance ‘The Runway ‘ Devon in collaboration with Dr Diana Theodoras.
August 1999 – Teaching a weeks workshop in site specific / installation for ‘DreamWorks’ summer school London.
Theatre Practice 1980 – 1990
Joined Cardiff Laboratory Theatre Company, Welsh Arts Council Funded. Toured Europe and was involved in numerous foreign performance /barters (Odin Theatre) and residencies (Growtoski and his company), site- specific collaborations (Mike Westbrook band) and educational projects (Roy Hart Theatre).
Started relationship with Nordisk Theatre School in Arhus, Denmark. Taught numerous courses in Theatre and Visual Art practice over a 10-year period.
Spent one year living in Denmark which culminated in creating a professional touring company from the student group called Q.U., toured Great Britain, France and Germany with ‘Paint as you want and die happy’.
In 1983, formed ‘Intimate Strangers’ with Paul Roylance, a performance company committed to developing work in collaboration with a range of art practitioners. Received funding support from the Arts Council and South West Arts.
1988 – Ran 1 year’s performance project at the Arnolfini Bristol.
Visited Poland in 1983 and France in 1987 on British Council Grants, teaching and performing and collaborating with Akademia Ruchu and The Roy Hart Theatre in France.
1987 & 1988 – Taught two major Theatre Summer Projects at Bristol University Drama Dept.
Teaching regularly at Dartington College of Arts in both the Theatre and Visual Performance and Music schools since 1989.
Early Arts Related Practice
Choreographer and Assistant Director at Cockpit Theatre, London, for two major youth projects.
Toured production of ‘No Regrets’ with ‘Hesitate and Demonstrate’ (visual performance group) GB and Holland.
Studied with Emil Wolk, Nola Rae, The People Show, Jeff Nuttall and Friends Roadshow, Oval House, London.
Visited West Coast of America for 3 months viewing new dance and performance work Participated in two ‘radical theatre’ school projects led by The Oval House, London (Hayward Gallery).
Worked with Community Inflatable Arts Group ‘Action Space’ – performances at I.C.A. and community venues.
Toured with ‘Salakta Balloon Band’ (Circus based Theatre Company), Holland Directed 2, two women shows, toured Great Britain, performances in Covent Garden Festival.
Toured with ‘Festival of Fools’ G.B and Holland.
Papers presented and published
June 1998 – Landscape and Performance project – Landscape and Performance conference, Dartington College of Arts
Summer 1999 – Article published in Germany Wahrehmen und Gestalten on Release movement practice within a visual art training.
January 2001 – The Zwillinge project – Berlin, Germany ‘Art in Context Conference’.
Spring 2004 – ‘Site Specific Performance’ article published in ‘Theatre in Social Fields’ Graz University Press Austria.
February 2012 – PLACE research series of talks. Presented paper on Landscape and Performance at UWE.
March 2012 – Paper written for ‘Writing meets Mapping’ with Christos Polymenakos.
October 2018 – Article published in Theatre,Dance and Performance Training, Volume 9, issue 3 – Training Places: Dartington College of Arts.