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Intimacy Direction Talk Announced At UHM Kennedy Theatre April 4

The UHM Department of Theatre and Dance is partnering with the campus office of Student Equity and Excellence in Diversity and with the Hawai'i State Theatre Council to bring Claire Warden of Intimacy Directors International to Honolulu to give a talk and workshops about best practices in intimacy safety for theatre, television, and film.

Warden will give a public talk at UHM Kennedy Theatre on April 4, 2020 at 1:30pm, titled "Intimacy Direction: Towards a Theatre of Empowerment," to introduce the concept of Intimacy Direction, a growing artistic practice to promote psychological and physical safety in the performing arts. Attendance is free of charge.

Claire Warden is one of the most respected practitioners in the field of Intimacy Direction. She is Director of Engagement with IDI and has extensive experience in working with institutions and individuals on the development of safe practices for artists. Warden consults for and intimacy coordinates on productions that play on television networks, such as HBO and Hulu. In 2019, she made history as the first Intimacy Director in a Broadway production for Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, with Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon. She was also the first woman to be nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Intimacy and Fight Direction, which she won for Slave Play in 2019, which later moved to Broadway.

Sexual harassment associated with intimacy work in theatre and film has had an overwhelming negative impact of women throughout these industries, as recent journalistic investigations have shown. This talk presents an opportunity to address this unfortunate truth in a positive way: by presenting specific and up-to-date strategies for promoting safety and avoiding and harmful dangerous situations and practices; these strategies can benefit all genders.

The #metoo movement has brought national attention to the issue of safety in the rehearsal room, on the stage, and on set. SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) recently announced its Call to Action for "Ensuring Safe and Equitable Workplaces," emphasizing "Empowerment through Education" as one of its four pillars of support. Locally, in June 2019, The ARTS at Marks Garage sponsored a community discussion on "Cultivating Safe Practices in our Creative Spaces;" the discussion was well-attended by artists from a wide spectrum of community theatre and arts organizations. This group recommended many steps forward to cultivate safe practices, and highlighted the need for more education of artistic directors, board members, administrators, as well as directors and actors. Warden's talk is one step forward in that direction.

Intimacy Directors International (IDI) is on the cutting edge of hands-on work in educating theatre and film artists on work with staged intimacy. In January 2020, SAG-AFTRA announced a new set of standards, created in consultation with Alicia Rodis, the associate director and a co-founder of IDI. This new document was created in order to standardize, codify and implement guidelines for on-set intimacy coordinators.

IDI regularly trains university theatre departments. According to their website, "Our protocols are made for those who want to educate and update their entire department on the new standards for handling scenes of intimacy and sexual violence. We specifically address not only actors, and directors, but professors, stage management and the entire production team for the promotion of health, safety, and effective storytelling."

April 4, 1:30pm, UHM Kennedy Theatre, 1770 East-West Road, 96822. For more information visit manoa.hawaii.edu/liveonstage.


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