Jessica Beck

Jessica Beck

Director, Writer, Theatre Maker

  • Location: London
  • Career stage: Early
  • Freelancer: Available Soon

I am an American-born theatre artist living and working in the UK for more than a decade. I specialise in new writing and devised work and am currently an Artistic Associate of The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter, and formally an Associate of Theatre503 (from 2004 - 2010).

As a director, I create visceral work exploring edgy subject matter such as war, mental illness and violence against women. From Terrorist! The Musical to Up the Gary (a one-man show about a Gary Glitter tribute artist), I combine humour, detailed psychology, and visual metaphor to investigate complex topics.

I also am passionately curious about psychophysical actor training and embodied practices to enhance an actor’s performance. In 2011 I completed a PhD in Performance Practice entitled Directing Emotion: A Practice-led Investigation into the Challenge of Emotion in Western Performance under the supervision of Phillip Zarrilli. My PhD included experimenting with three approaches to emotion, including Susana Bloch’s Alba Emoting technique, the work of Brian Astbury, and influences from the training of Teatr Piesn Kozla (Song of the Goat).

As a result of my research, I have become a somatic practitioner, teaching Alba Emoting and Feldenkrais (practices that I also use in my professional directing work). Alba Emoting is somatic approach to induce emotional states at will through respiratory-facial-postural actions that trigger physiological components, a technique developed by Chilean neuroscientist Susana Bloch. The Feldenkrais Method of somatic education focuses on learning and movement, which can bring about improved movement and enhanced functioning by working with the nervous system. Peter Brook, and companies such as Complicite and Told by an Idiot regularly use the Feldenkrais Method in their practice. 

Work History

Associate Director - Kidder

Aug 2014 - Present

Co-Artistic Director - Viva Voce

Jan 2011 - Present

Artistic Associate - The Bike Shed Theatre

Mar 2010 - Present

Theatre Director - Freelance

Aug 2005 - Present

Sessional Lecturer - Canterbury Christ Church University

Sep 2013 - Aug 2015

Visiting Lecturer - Royal Holloway University of London

Feb 2014 - Aug 2014

Script Reader - Bush Theatre

May 2013 - Sep 2013

Education and Projects Director - Theatre503

Nov 2006 - Apr 2010

Resident Assistant Director - Old Globe Theatre

Apr 2003 - Sep 2003

Education

The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education - Professional Qualification - The London Feldenkrais Professional Training Programme

Oct 2011 - Aug 2015

Performance Practice - PhD - University of Exeter

Apr 2006 - Nov 2011

Contemporary Theatre Practice - BA - East 15 Acting School

Sep 2003 - May 2005

Skills

  • Creative Writer
  • Director
  • Drama
  • Movement

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