#70 – Siobhan Richardson

Siobhan Richardson returns to Stageworthy to talk about intimacy for the stage and Intimacy Directors International.

Siobhan is an actor/fighter/singer/dancer, currently based in Toronto, but originally from Kitchener-Waterloo, and trained at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria. Tours and travelling are one of the perks of the job! Acting credits include Lucy Debrie (And Then The Lights Went Out, Stage West Calgary), Mo (Mo and Jess Kill Susie, Harley Dog Productions), Lady Capulet (Romeo and (her) Juliet Headstrong Collective/Urban Bard), Solange (The Maids, Whirligig Productions), the twins Jessica and Julia (The Last Resort, Stirling Festival Theatre), and the world premiere productions of The Madness of the Square (Cahoots Theatre Projects) and The Forbidden Phoenix (Citadel Theatre and LKTYP).

demo reel: www.tinyurl.com/SRreel
twitter: @fighteractress
Instagram: @fighteractress
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SiobhanRichardsonActress
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ActorSR

Twitter @stageworthyPod
Facebook: http://facebook.com/stageworthyPod



Siobhan Richardson, Phil Rickaby

Phil Rickaby  00:02

Welcome to Episode 70 of Stageworthy, I’m your host Phil Rickaby. Stageworthy is a podcast featuring conversations in Canadian theatre with actors, directors, playwrights and more. You can find Stageworthy on Facebook and Twitter @stageworthypod and you can find that website at stageworthypodcast.com. If you like the podcast, I hope you’ll consider leaving a comment or rating on iTunes or Google music or whatever podcast app you use. Comments really help people find the show. My guest this week is Siobhan Richardson. Siobhan is an actor, singer and dancer as well as a fight choreographer and intimacy director. Siobhan returns to Stageworthy to talk about the work of Intimacy Directors International, and the importance of bringing in intimacy director into the rehearsal hall.

Siobhan Richardson  00:47

You have to spend the time on it, yeah.

Phil Rickaby  01:08

Always, it’s always like, Oh, yeah, I could do this. But then this is making me money. This is making you know, all these other things.

Siobhan Richardson  01:16

Or these other things, like it’s not making me money now. But maybe the potential is for it to be a connection, as opposed to going, this isn’t making me money now. But it will mean that I can be in a position to do these other gigs, because I will be ready. I will be and I’m doing something I love. So I’m in a better place to begin with.

Phil Rickaby  01:33

Yeah. Have you found that there are people who are watching regularly? Or is it? Do you know what, like, your viewership is like,

Siobhan Richardson  01:38

yeah, there’s there certain time periods, especially part of what I’ve been doing this first bit is trying out different periods of time to to see who I get when. And so the, I have a couple people who are regular kind of no matter what time I’m on. Sometimes it’s just they only could they’re usually free on a particular day. So I see them then. But because of time zones, because pocket live is is releasing all around the world. So some people like in the evening, it’s first in the morning for them because they’re in the Philippines, or they’re on that side of the globe.

Phil Rickaby  02:16

Is pocket like only live like is there an archive of it,

Siobhan Richardson  02:19

there’s an archive of it. It’s the apparently the plan is fair to only have like three or four broadcasts on it, but at the moment is archiving them all. So I actually had to go do a big purge at one point. And now that my it looks like I had no lag today. So I will go through and I’ll just eliminate a bunch of the old ones because I don’t want to have laggy stuff in there. Even though some of the content is a lot of fun on some of them. Yeah, I’m just going to reduce it to just a few.

Phil Rickaby  02:42

Yeah. was hard when there’s like lag because then you’re like if somebody comes along and sees this, what’s their reaction to this laggy thing going?

Siobhan Richardson  02:49

Yeah, how does that represent the work I’m doing and and because it shows how much how much effort Am I putting into it? How professional is just like anything else? How professional is my presentation?

Phil Rickaby  02:59

What? So what are the things that you’re doing? Like a warm up? You’re doing some physio yesterday?

Siobhan Richardson  03:05

I do. And it depends on what else is going on. So during Dan Cox dance, I only had like two pockets on every day that I could do. So I did some physio and warm up stuff, which is also maintenance for another project that I’m working on. And then in the evening, I would do some reading out of the Degrassi treatise, which was translated into English 30 years after was originally written so it’s still in Renaissance.

Phil Rickaby  03:33

See for a second there you said to grass? Yeah, I was thinking like, either Degrassi Street in Toronto, or the Degrassi sisters who have Upper Canada rebellion on the brain.

Siobhan Richardson  03:43

Oh, nice. Isn’t that fun? I wonder when it kind of weird play or what weird script would include the Renaissance Degrassi like Giacomo, Degrassi Degrassi sisters. Grace on Degrassi Street.

Phil Rickaby  03:59

Cool. How many? How many cross generational? How many credit time travelling things can you create there?

Siobhan Richardson  04:04

Yeah. And that’s, I mean, that’s part of why I’m like, Degrassi. And the hashtag is like, I wonder because you never know what people’s nerdery is cross now. Right. And it’s not fair for me to assume that someone who watches Degrassi junior high, or I forget, I think now is addressing and and Degrassi Western martial arts cross, you never know. So I’m reading the Degrassi treatise, and at one point, I was just like, I’m just so tired. And there’s stuff that I have to do for the show. So I was talking with my my liaison at pocket live and going, I kind of have to do this. But is that going to be interesting? Because it’s not I was thinking at first like visual and movement and like, no, as long as you like, you’re still interacting with your audience to a degree, but also because what you’re doing is part of your process in your life. She’s like, I think that’s totally interesting. So I just had the camera over my shoulder. Looking at my book, while I while I’m Making my notes and going through and doing stuff like, this is part of the bookwork of being an actor, like this is this is me sitting down doing the Brain Stuff like it’s Yes, it’s got to be moving in, in my body, but there’s for for my personal process, there is a certain amount of that just has to be sitting, reading and just truly reading what’s there reading it really closely. So that was a new discovery for how many people were actually interested in that process. I think that’s been the biggest discovery for me, is people what their act what they actually want to see and what they actually find interesting.

Phil Rickaby  05:34

There’s a lot of times listening recently, to. There’s a podcast called the block type. And it’s designer podcast, like he’s a Toronto designer.

Siobhan Richardson  05:49

Oh cool,

Phil Rickaby  05:49

they’ve been doing a bunch of stuff lately called the Oh, what’s it called? It’s called the bellows.

Siobhan Richardson  06:01


Phil Rickaby  06:02

he’s the what is this podcast called? anyway? type block type something. Anyway, the bellows title block is name of the podcast in case anybody’s interested. That’s podcast for the win, you guys Canadian theatre podcast for the winter title block is really about design and designers in theatre.

Siobhan Richardson  06:25

Michael Kruse. Okay.

Phil Rickaby  06:27

Yeah. Also, the bellows is the one that got me was Media Relations. So yeah. Steve Fisher and Sue edworthy. And

Siobhan Richardson  06:36

Oh, very good,

Phil Rickaby  06:38

like, promotion and stuff for the theatre. And one of the things they were talking about his process, and how the general public doesn’t actually know what happens in the room and how, like, giving a glimpse into that can be just fascinating for them, like the idea that they could sit and find it. What happens behind the scenes is they’re doing this thing now, it might be completely boring, but the like, for them, it might be completely fascinating.

Siobhan Richardson  07:10

Yeah, like what are they talking about

Phil Rickaby  07:11

it’s a glimpse.

Siobhan Richardson  07:11


Phil Rickaby  07:12

So you’ve got this, like, your process is like pulling back the curtain on on some of that stuff.

Siobhan Richardson  07:17

And I think that’s another one of those like, because at the beginning, we’re like, oh, it’s in a way, it’s about the product. It’s about what the audience gets to see and what we prepare for the audience. So if I think there’s a lot of us out here who are hesitant to first lift that thinking that Oh, no, it’s not done. What will they think of me? Yeah, as opposed to, you know, knowing that the audience gets that it’s not done yet.

Phil Rickaby  07:45

But there’s, I mean, there’s something to be said, for those behind the scene things like I see. videos like the – some show opening on Broadway, here’s a behind the scenes look, and they’ll have a couple of the actors talking about whatever, though, you know, maybe a little moment from rehearsal, or what did this song and dance number look like when they were rehearsing it in the studio? As opposed to what now? We’re recently like Hugh Jackman doing ADR for what for the Logan movie. And people are like, that’s like fa – So this is what actually happens. Fascinating shit. And people are actually like, interested in like, what goes on behind the scenes, like pulling back that curtain?

Siobhan Richardson  08:22


Phil Rickaby  08:23

we don’t have to, like, they’re gonna, you know, if they come to see the thing, they’ll see the finished product. But like seeing the early stages can be really fascinating for people to think.

Siobhan Richardson  08:31

Yeah, yeah, I remember I forget who was talking to you, we were talking about the idea of actually, maybe it was part of what we were talking about with, with fundraising and such, the idea of when people get a chance to see more of it than they have a more personal connection with it. Whether it’s in a case of like a crowdfunding thing where they have something, or their or their, let’s say one of your rewards is sitting on the first read.

Phil Rickaby  08:57


Siobhan Richardson  08:57

they have a sense of Yeah, more of a sense of ownership, more of a sense of discovery with the piece.

Phil Rickaby  09:04

Yeah. I also think like treating some of that behind the scenes stuff as sort of like in a documentary style, like where it doesn’t have, you don’t have to think about the presentation. Be honest, if this scene is not going well. Say it like this is like we’re working on this thing. You know, those sorts of like, human moments that make the audience who’s watching that? Yeah, sort of, like be there with you. Which is terrifying to think like, Oh, this scene isn’t going well. They’re gonna think it’s garbage. Yeah, but then maybe they won’t.

Siobhan Richardson  09:33

Maybe I just I’m this this faraway Look in my eyes that your listeners can’t see is me thinking about that moment where, like, for instance, recently, Stratford released a behind the scenes of Guys and Dolls, essentially, like a teaser of come and see this and the rehearsal that they show looks, looks pretty polished. And there’s lots of big tricks and big impressive things, which is, which is lovely. And part of me goes that’s a fairly finished scene just out of costume. Yeah. As opposed to like another version, maybe we have where you’re saying like, this scene just isn’t working. But then, but then I thought about those wonderful moments that we do have in rehearsal where it’s like, everyone knows, but everyone’s there. Yeah. Right. It’s like, oh, that didn’t work. Oh, let’s do that again.

Phil Rickaby  10:14

One of the things that might have been fascinating in that Stratford Guys and Dolls thing would have been like, what about whenever, like, teach people how to play craps?

Siobhan Richardson  10:14


Phil Rickaby  10:14


Siobhan Richardson  10:14


Phil Rickaby  10:14

That’s one of the things you have to do if you’re doing Guys and Dolls is learn how to play craps.

Siobhan Richardson  10:26

Yeah, or at least have an understanding that when he says this number, you’re really upset about that.

Phil Rickaby  10:34

But I think like I remember being there years ago, one of the backstage tours, and they had like, it was a Sunday. So nobody was rehearsing, we were walking around. They were rehearsing Guys and Dolls. And there’s all these books, like they put the people leaving books, like where they were, it was just like the rules of craps. Right? well worn book, as people are going through trying to learn this game.

Siobhan Richardson  10:52

Craps is complicated. Yeah, I had to learn some craps for Hogtown as well.

Phil Rickaby  10:57

Yeah. But just like that sort of like, this is part of what goes into this. We have to learn this fucking game.

Siobhan Richardson  11:03


Phil Rickaby  11:04

So here’s the here’s how it goes. This this this this, like, explain it. Like to the to the to the camera? Yeah. Okay, now you try it. This is what we have to remember. So that kind of fascinating, like, behind the scenes stuff.

Siobhan Richardson  11:16


Phil Rickaby  11:18

And now, of course, we’re like, as we as you and I always do, we’re like, way off where we were intending to go? Because that’s just – I mean, one of the things that we did want to talk about was intimacy for the stage.

Siobhan Richardson  11:34


Phil Rickaby  11:35

Which, as somebody who does fight choreography, and is your I mean, among all the other things that you do your fight teacher fight choreographer, fight fighter. intimacy is not that different

Siobhan Richardson  11:51

Not really

Phil Rickaby  11:51

From fighting. But we don’t tend to think of it that way.

Siobhan Richardson  11:57

No, I think, yeah. Well, there’s, I think there’s a certain there’s a certain group of people who who get that they’re very similar. And, but I get this all the time where I go, I know a thing. And then I forget that other people don’t know, which is something which as a teacher is something that I have to keep actively reminding myself. But I have these moments where I go, Well, of course, they’re the same thing. Because it’s choreography. And even in the approach to the material, it can. It’s very sensitive material for people, it can really, it can be full of triggers. It can also just be full of trepidation. Like, I don’t know what my response to violence is. I have no experience, how do I act this? I don’t even know where to get started. I, I have my own experience with intimacy. But I how is that going to translate? Who’s going to judge me on that? Because so much of human existence is about who am I attractive to? Who am I attracted to? I’m not attracted to anybody. And until recently, that just wasn’t a thing you would admit.

Phil Rickaby  13:07

Yeah. So it’s, it’s interesting, because they’re the thing the idea of like intimacy choreography takes away that nervousness going into like Laredo being like, Okay, so then we and then they do what onstage? Okay? How am I how, I don’t even know how this is going to go down, like to know that there’s going to be like, some kind of somebody is going to show us how to do that. And so we don’t have to worry about like, awkwardness of like, how would I do this? No. Okay, how about

Siobhan Richardson  13:39

can I can I put my hand, it says, there’s like stage directions. There’s like, A fondles. so and so’s B.

Phil Rickaby  13:46


Siobhan Richardson  13:46

And like the word fondle.

Phil Rickaby  13:48


Siobhan Richardson  13:48

I mean, it kind of makes you put your back up, like, Nah, I have to fondle you now. Because of because most people have that sense of, I don’t want to violate this person. I don’t want to make the rehearsal hall uncomfortable. And I had an a colleague, contact me was asking like I have, we’ve left the scene till last. And I don’t know what they’re going to do. I mean, I trust the director, but the director feels very new at some of the stuff and has, we’ve been talking about it kinda but not really. So we’ve left this to left this to last and I just don’t want to go in there only trusting other people to do it for me. Which is a different opinion, of course, from the people who are like, I trust my director, I will I will with abandon trust my director, knowing that they will do something and saying that with all the hope of that, but none of the belief Yeah, yeah. So sometimes it’s really just a matter of having the vocabulary of being able to say keep let’s let’s just talk about consent for a second. Let’s just talk about Yeah, I’m okay with with this. Let me take your hand and put it right here that I think maybe that works for me, but also Like, what’s that story based approach to it? As far as intimacy choreography is concerned? A lot of times what you hear about happening is like, Okay, then just kiss. There you go. Yeah, there’s no talk about all the various storytelling points that you can have in that moment that we really lose. When we don’t take a moment in the rehearsal to go, well, what’s the story of this moment? Because it’s two words, they kiss

Phil Rickaby  15:23

Yeah. So that you just go well, I guess.

Siobhan Richardson  15:26

I put my face on your face. And then like, as similarily again, to me, this is why those of us intimacy directors International, we’re talking about this we kind of what we don’t want to keep talking about it like fight choreography, because we all happen to be fight directors as well. But the parallel works for us because it is really a similar process in the choreographic approach to it.

Phil Rickaby  15:49

I think that the parallel works for anybody who’s familiar with the idea of fight choreography,

Siobhan Richardson  15:56

but also dance choreography, right? Like, there is a dance. It’s like, oh, here’s some music, then dancing happens. And if you just have someone who’s like, I’ve done some dance before, let’s do hichy Kupol change jazz square, yeah, is a very different approach than someone who has a vast vocabulary and goes, What’s this? What’s the tone of this? What’s the story of this? Where are we getting to? What do our characters care about right now and actually expressing that in the movement?

Phil Rickaby  16:20

Where did the the the intimacy choreography idea come from? Do you know what that is?

Siobhan Richardson  16:27

I will, I will paraphrase. So my mentor in this, Tonia Sina was doing her degree. She was also training as a flight director at the time. But she was she was looking at movement and choreography. And something was happening in in various scenes that were being done in other people’s directing projects. And like, oh, there’s some like kissing and touching going on here. Does somebody want to choreograph that, and she leapt at the opportunity. And again, this is the very short version. From there, it pretty much sort of grew, she recognised a need. And when this is something that people need to have an intelligent approach for, and not this sort of haphazard, well, I am brave, and I will enter which is also commendable as an artist. But being brave and entering can be made smarter. By having some of the details. It’s like, I can be brave and try to climb Mount Everest, but I bet you’ll have better success if I if I draw the expertise of others on the way. And what Tonia does as well is what she’s been developing over the last couple of decades is also not just this as choreography, but it’s also an approach to the work. Because intimacy, for the stage, when you’re performing intimacy, can be very exposing emotionally not just physically for people. But also, let’s say there is nudity, there is a lot of personal danger, in that they get a lot of emotional, a lot of emotional danger in that. So part of what Tonia does is it’s about her approach to it about how do we get actors to communicate with each other? How as a choreographer? Do I manage for lack of a better word, the rehearsal itself? How do I communicate with the people? Where do I place myself physically in the room? What kind of tone do I bring to the room so that everyone feels safe? And I wish I remember or actually knew who said this, but I heard recently, rehearsal space should be somewhere safe, that dangerous things can happen, as opposed to a dangerous place where only safe things will happen. Yeah, so I as an intimacy, choreographer, how do I come in and create a safe space so that we can really explore these things that can feel quite dangerous? So yeah, so a lot of Tonia’s work is very much about that entire negotiation, not just the approach the choreography itself, and you can really see a difference in a room, and I’m sure you experienced it with with other stuff, where you’ve got a director, who’s a little bit, as you will, will make a very different kind of tone of a room as opposed to someone who’s maybe very jovial, or is everybody’s body or is very much like the the the benevolent dictator. Yeah, like that creates very different tones. So it’s making choices about what tone we enter the room with reading the people who are there, if they are really actually totally cash about it, and then they don’t need a lot of they don’t need the space created for them, then that’s a different process than a room where everyone’s like, I have no idea how it’s going to go. We have to simulate sex today. Yeah. Or even if because, again, intimacy is also not just a bikini that’s next to each other. It’s also like parent to child it’s also best friends that say it’s a scene where two two friends haven’t seen each other forever. And that’s a very tender, vulnerable, loving moment. So how do we how do we allow that to to live and breathe? How do we create how We create a hug that that tells that story, because it’s a very different thing than, you know, two buddies who saw each other like last month.

Phil Rickaby  20:07

Yeah. Where is your starting place for that kind of work?

Siobhan Richardson  20:16

So yeah, reading the room has a lot to do with it. Also, keeping in mind the appropriateness of things like language, dress, it’s very much it’s a little bit about presentation, as well. But it’s very much about what’s what’s the text calling for? What is the work, so that we can help to distinguish between what’s the storytelling issues were dealing with? And what are the personal things that are maybe things we need to negotiate in order to have the work happen? Well, let’s say someone is, let’s say it is a scene where clothes have to come off, and someone’s really self conscious about their belly. So maybe we don’t take any clothes off in the first rehearsal. Yeah, cuz that’s not important to the storytelling at this point, right. And so a lot of it is discussing what this moment calls for what’s come before what has to happen afterwards. And then the specifics of how we can tell that story. And it’s, again, very much like who are the who are the actors in front of me? How are they interpreting these characters? And so how do we tell this story with these people, like one pair of Romeo and Juliet is going to be different than another set of Romeo and Juliet? Because maybe they’re different ages. Maybe they’re playing it more impetuously than others. Or maybe these folks are really more just horny teenagers? I say just that, that’s very judgmental sounding. Maybe they’re playing it as Super horny teenagers. So the boss is matching faces. And as long as that’s the story you’re interested in telling, then, then that’s a great choice. So how do we tell that safely? I mean, also physically, if you’re going to play two characters who just want to match their faces against each other? How do you do it without breaking teeth?

Phil Rickaby  22:00

Well, that’s a logistics, you know, actual teenagers, they’ll probably think about.

Siobhan Richardson  22:06

But when you have to do it again and again,

Phil Rickaby  22:08

you have to do it every night,

Siobhan Richardson  22:08

yeah, yeah. Then twice on Saturdays

Phil Rickaby  22:11

and twice on Saturdays. In terms, I mean, the whole the the idea, do you – Is there a resistance to the idea of like, intimacy choreographer,

Siobhan Richardson  22:23

sometimes some directors are like, no, I can do that myself. Some directors are, Wow, amazing. I don’t have to deal with it. But some, like some directors really like to have their own view of the whole room. And they don’t want anybody else. anyone else’s touch on what’s going on. And I totally respect that. That’s the way they want to run the rehearsal. Fantastic. Sometimes, there is pushback, from actors as well, who are like, I don’t need you telling me how to do my job, because they face see it as maybe an imposition as opposed to a discussion. But that also depends on the choreographer going in, like if someone is going in and is like, Alright, we’re gonna do it this way today. And maybe they think what they’re doing is like having positive upbeat energy. Maybe the way it’s received that day is alright, you’re doing it wrong, I’m gonna tell you how to do it the right way. So again, like reading the room is so important. But that’s where you do get some pushback from, from the performance themselves, when they’re like, I’ve been doing this for for many years, I’ve got this figured out.

Phil Rickaby  23:25

So that, that’s, that’s great if all of the people involved in the intimacy are in that same boat. If all of them are like, yeah, we’ve been doing this for years. And we’re comfortable with it. We’ve got this figured out. But if one of the other people is not there, then you have an uneven stage relationship.

Siobhan Richardson  23:45

Yeah. And that’s where, where, and I think that happens with everything too, right? Where you’ve got, oh, let’s do let’s do some close work on this scene. And one person’s like, I got this scene, I know exactly what’s going on. And they end up being there in a way in support of the other people in that scene. But in that way, then you go, Okay, cool. So you don’t think you don’t feel you need an intimate intimacy choreographer? lets your job then is to just be confident in the in the movement, and then allow the outside eyes to continue to adjust the full picture. And I wonder if that’s where some of the pushback comes from is the they haven’t necessarily thought before about how the third eye sees it really differently, is a reminder that we all need sometimes, like time passes differently on stage than it does in the audience. In the same way, our perception of what’s happening from the inside is different than what the audience’s is seeing, and you can’t rely on like, Oh, I feel that impulse tonight, because it means that the story changes. And then let’s say you and your co star have been doing this passionate kiss this way one day. And then one performance someone goes oh yeah, then I’m gonna grab their butt or something. And then Suddenly there’s

Phil Rickaby  25:00

Yeah, that can throw everything off

Siobhan Richardson  25:01

yeah! that can that can throw your and it’s, it’s different than having just a slightly different expression of the text one day, let’s say that person just doesn’t like being touched there or has for whatever reason that feels like a kind of violation, then they’re then they’re off for the rest of the performance. And sure you’re going to deal with it and still say the things but it’s it’s a different kind of pushing somebody around than what’s expected and what’s acceptable within the we are being these people in this situation, as opposed to now I’ve provoked the actor.

Phil Rickaby  25:35

Yeah. I mean, it’s always in it. Well, not always. But I think everybody’s heard a horror story of a, an intimate scene that went wrong, felt wrong, but they didn’t feel like they were empowered to do anything about like, they were stuck doing the scene that felt like in like a violation.

Siobhan Richardson  25:58

Yeah. I, myself have been incredibly lucky. The worst is that I was doing a scene, and I had to kiss somebody. And I was like, why am I giggling like a 12 year old? Like, I feel like an idiot. But But yeah, some people have have not felt empowered to, to speak up and say, this doesn’t, I don’t feel right, but not necessarily feeling like understanding really innately understanding that we can have a difference between what the characters need to do. And the actor feeling violated, like you can, you can do what the character needs to do, and you yourself, the actor can feel safe, at the same time. And that’s part of some of the education that’s going on with Intimacy Directors International, because it’s helping people understand that vocabulary. Like as I mentioned, that I had a colleague that wrote to me, and she just said that having vocabulary to talk about what’s, what’s the scene work here. So that if something was sort of going in direction that she didn’t agree with, artistically, that she didn’t agree with, because her personal boundaries were being pushed. Because we had talked about it, she said that she had a sense that she could tell those two things apart. where sometimes when you have a warning bell going off, you don’t know what it is. Because maybe it is only artistic, but you feel awkward. And the more you The more you do the thing you’re like, I feel wrong, I feel wrong, I feel wrong. And maybe what was a disagreement on storytelling then becomes something that feels really personal. And then the whole thing is sort of becomes off. But people being empowered to, or even then having a vocabulary and understanding that. Okay, maybe it is that you feel personally violated, but you don’t want to talk about it. Maybe it is a matter of going well, let’s talk about the story of this. And you can negotiate your way around. The thing that is a personal trigger for you.

Phil Rickaby  27:51

We don’t often – it is one of those things. That I mean, I’ve had so many conversations in theatre about the story of the fight.

Siobhan Richardson  28:01


Phil Rickaby  28:03

When it’s a good choreographer sometimes they just want it to look cool. But you know, for the most part, it’s like we talk about the story of the fight.

Siobhan Richardson  28:09


Phil Rickaby  28:09

But it’s like you were saying, usually, when you get to the romantic part, it’s like, put your face together.

Siobhan Richardson  28:14


Phil Rickaby  28:14

And then we move on. And nobody ever talks about what’s happening in that moment. And so that moment, especially the first time when we have to do that becomes fraught, because in that moment, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had moments where I’m like, I have to do this thing and the characters doing it. But I’m having difficulty separating myself from this moment. And now I’m like, feeling like awkward and weird. Like, it’s that weird moment where it’s like, you’re the actor, I’m playing apart. But I’m also me, and you know, that I may we’re doing this thing. And now I’m just like, I’m feeling so awkward, and not having like that discussion or any underlying, anything

Siobhan Richardson  28:53

Yeah. And those moments of like, well, let’s say you’re doing a show, and like, humans are humans. And as much as people don’t want to admit it, sometimes we are also just animals sometimes, and your body and your chemicals are going to do things. And if you haven’t had any kind of discussion on the storytelling versus the actor, you may start to confuse and that’s, you know, that’s where a lot of romance has come from is that people just haven’t been together and they’re, they’re touching each other. And they’re doing things that are meant to read to the audiences as though they’re feeling good, so they’re probably actually feeling good.

Phil Rickaby  29:26

Like those things. That actually it’s like when you smoke, people say you’ll feel good smile. You’ll feel better. Yeah, it’s like the sets off the chemical on the brain makes you feel like you’re feeling a thing. Yeah, the showmance happens and it’s great until the show ends and that’s not happening anymore.

Siobhan Richardson  29:40

Yeah. Yeah. So part of being able to talk about the intimacy as as a choreography and just and addressing that very thing where it’s like, this is going to feel great. And remember that it’s not real. Yeah. Now if something genuine comes up, then that’s that’s great. But for it to happen in You’re in there is I endeavour to say there is something there that needs to be. Don’t take your work home with you. That’s a bit harsh. Maybe

Phil Rickaby  30:11

it may sound a little bit harsh, but I mean, it’s, it’s true because those

Siobhan Richardson  30:17

Tagout! Go home!

Phil Rickaby  30:20

I mean, I don’t know anybody that any that it worked out, there may be some

Siobhan Richardson  30:24

I think there’s there’s a couple of like, there they are out there. But for the vast majority of them, I mean, it’s a thing, like we call them showmances. Even in that word, we diminish them in a way going,

Phil Rickaby  30:35

 Oh, yeah, that one thing that happened deep down, we know what they are.

Siobhan Richardson  30:38


Phil Rickaby  30:39

Maybe people involved it, but you know, we know what they are. And then to have them happen all the time. It’s like, No, we maybe we need to be doing something different.

Siobhan Richardson  30:48

Yeah, it’s like, do I need to keep changing my life every time I change shows, like, let’s say that you’re the type that’s always that’s always the lead. That’s always a romantic lead.

Phil Rickaby  30:56

Like, every time you do a show you are falling in love moving in, like having a relationship and then as soon as that show ends, you’re breaking up and going on to the next.

Siobhan Richardson  31:06

Yeah, yeah. And if that’s the lifestyle you’re happy with then great, but I wonder about the emotional wear and tear that takes on a person and what about a time when you when you are ready to when you are ready to be with one person you want to have something solid? And but you’re in the practice of

Phil Rickaby  31:25


Siobhan Richardson  31:26

falling in love and being with that one person like I Oh, I just thought of the deeper implication to have if you’re if you’re always falling in love in that fashion the the act of falling in love in a different context would be kind of kind of foreign not that you’re not going to see it but in my mind I kind of go what that would be really different experience I wonder for someone who is a a serial showmancer what what that might mean for their

Phil Rickaby  31:57


Siobhan Richardson  31:58

they’re other  – building relationships and other fasions. It just it’s very curious philosophical question

Phil Rickaby  32:04

very interesting philosophical question.

Siobhan Richardson  32:04

more than than anything. But back to the original idea of the of putting it down and taking it home. There’s there’s a certain amount of recognition. So let’s let let’s go back to like the, the like naked intimacy, let’s say when you are doing sex scenes and stuff, those can get really awkward, because suddenly like, Ah, now my body is doing things and my, my, my human animal is doing the things that it’s supposed to do. But having the discussion of, well, sorry, if I do sorry, if I don’t, it’s not a personal, it’s not a personal thing. It’s just that our, our chemical systems work well together, or our chemical systems don’t work well together. So those things aren’t happening. But it’s not an it’s not meant. It’s not an insult to you. I don’t need it in any way. I personally think you are lovely. But my body doesn’t want to reproduce with you necessarily. It’s not something that needs to be needs to make the work awkward, right? Because we’ve talked about it because we’ve addressed it, we can be like, Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s just a thing.

Phil Rickaby  33:04

The the things that that it’s almost as though we should have been talking about this for many, many years previous to this. unfortunate that we’re really only starting to have these conversations now.

Siobhan Richardson  33:16

And I, part of the reason I dove into studying with Tonia and working on getting her up here to Canada to do some work with us here was because I was like 30, and had this experience of having to kiss someone to show and giggling like a 12 year old and I’m like, why am I an idiot? I am an adult. I’m an I’m a married woman. And I I have put my face on people’s faces before in shows. Why is this one different? And I just felt like such an idiot. But for whatever reason, that particular one, just my subconscious was doing things and I was like, I I was in some ways just really embarrassed that this was being so bizarre. Everyone in the room was lovely. And we all had a great little giggle about it. But it does seem odd sometimes that how are we talking about this? Or to talk about it? We kind of go Well yeah, isn’t that what everybody knows? And then secretly we’re like oh, good. We’re talking about it.

Phil Rickaby  34:17

Yeah. Of course. Yeah. It takes a lot of the pressure off those seems like to have that conversation and not have that conversation be like had with the director saying all right, so you to work on the scene like go into the other room work on the cast or something?

Siobhan Richardson  34:34

Because then it puts the pressure on the actors like you’re not hot enough like it’s subconsciously becomes this judgement Yeah, also then you make it personal

Phil Rickaby  34:42


Siobhan Richardson  34:43

Go Go hide somewhere and get sexy together

Phil Rickaby  34:46

be sexy and the come back here and show us your

Siobhan Richardson  34:49

Do you tell your actors to go away just go to punch each other for a bit and then come back with a great fight. See, yeah, go go ballroom dance together and then be brilliant at this choreography. Like it’s it’s a – and then It’s also not like technically, then it’s also not rehearsal. There’s no stage manager with you. There’s no director, it’s you rehearsing on your own time.

Phil Rickaby  35:07

 That gets really awkward. That’s where that showmance thing – showmancy romantic thing.

Siobhan Richardson  35:11

Tends to pop up. And that’s where that’s one of the like, one of the cardinal rules, you could say one of our pillars of, of safe choreography is making sure that it’s, it always stays within the realm of the professional rehearsal. Yes. So that it’s it never, it’s not allowed to become awkwardly personal. Because it’s, there’s, there’s a third party watching, going, yes, the audience’s perceiving this, and then the actors generally are able to go, okay, that worked. How did that look? And if they’re feeling awkward themselves, they can kind of defer that energy and go to the the outside line and go, did that work? I felt awkward. Do I look sexy? Yeah. Or it does tell what we need to tell because subconsciously, if you, if the actor doesn’t believe that it works, they will subconsciously do things with their bodies that be lie, how awkward they feel things like, okay, you can’t see me, I’m doing it right now. Shoulders rolling forward, the whole, anything that you see, that we parallel with, that indicates to us low self esteem. So things like hiding down making yourself smaller, or even something really simple, like just rolling the shoulders forward and collapsing the chest of it reads as if I’m kissing someone while I’m doing that. There’s a subconscious pulling away as opposed to like when I open up my neck, and when I open my chest and sort of allow that person into my personal space. If I’m at all feeling awkward when I’m performing that scene, those little subconscious cues are those things where when people are watching intimacy on Theatre in theatre, when they’re watching it performed, where they go, I just don’t believe it why, why, we all feel awkward, like in the audience feels weird.

Phil Rickaby  36:54

Yeah. So what does education look like for the intimacy directors? Like how are you how does the education that’s that’s happening? take place,

Siobhan Richardson  37:06

it’s at this point, it is definitely a growing process. It’s something that Tonia’s been working on for years. And we’re just looking to formalise it. Because we’re also very conscious that we don’t want this to become like some kind of exclusive club. But we do want to be specific about who we recommend. For this work. We’re also not looking at calling it like certification or anything, but we really want to go well, these are people that we agree on appropriate rehearsal methods. So what does the education look like, as it were things like how, how does one manage a room? What kind of what kind of confidence? What kind of tone do you bring into it? It’s also some very simple biomechanical things of like, what I said, This is what the body does, when it’s arouse, this is how we do things like hide away. It’s also a lot about reading people. So do I, when I walk into a room again, in that way, again, it’s a lot like fighting. When I walk into a room, do I see who doesn’t really like each other? who’s involved in this scene? How do they feel about each other? Are they like, I’m very professional, and I know what I’m doing. But secretly, I’m really terrified, or I trust the other people in the room or when you’re in the middle of the work, and suddenly you see someone shut down. Someone said something, we’ve done something. So you recognise that and go, okay, that person’s just had a trigger. Yeah. So how do I how do I negotiate around that? Do I ask them about it? Like, is it the kind of thing where I need to go? Are you okay with this? Or is it the kind of thing where they would probably rather not talk about oh, we just find another way to do that. So in that way, it’s about the reading the room. It’s also some basic stagecraft of, like, from a director’s perspective, what does the scene need? What where’s it supposed to go all those questions and having a handle on, on all that kind of work as well. But it isn’t, it is a developing process. So listeners, you should check out intimacy directors international.com. And that’s where as the work grows, and as our as our gathering our collection of like minded professionals, as it grows, and as we continue to define what we feel these prerequisites are, that information will be there, and you can connect with us there.

Phil Rickaby  39:17

Is there something that you wish that performers, directors stage managers knew about this process? beforehand?

Siobhan Richardson  39:24

That it’s, it’s storytelling. And it really is about looking at how we can create a movement piece, as it were, that tells the story that we’re looking for. It’s not personal, because as we were talking about before, the current practice tends to be a little bit about you’re not hot enough. I’m not buying it. No, this isn’t working. And no one, no one fewer people have a sense of how we clarify that. So going into it, just having a sense of this is this is a movement people And there are lots of little things. And just like any other piece of slightly complicated blocking, it’s not going to be perfect on the first day. And it may take some warming up to get into it. Also don’t like asking an intimacy choreographer to come in and give you a hand is in no way. diminishing one’s own expertise as an artist. It is a specialty. And as much as directors absolutely have a sense of the human spirit and this person’s experience, calling in someone to take a look at this really specific moment, is not about relinquishing control of your show, or saying, I’m not good enough or anything else that implies a lack. What it really is, is just deferring a particular moment to a specialist that can do something probably quicker than you yourself can. Because this is what we spend our time doing is what we study,

Phil Rickaby  40:55

it’s the kind of thing I mean, you wouldn’t think twice about bringing in a dance choreographer or hopefully a fight choreographer. We’ve had that conversation. But it’s, it’s very similar to those sorts of things.

Siobhan Richardson  41:10

Yeah, it’s, it’s something that is really quite personal for people. So I mean, know that like, if you call me in to do some intimacy choreography, know that I understand that. And it’s, I absolutely respect every person in the room, I’m not going to come in and try to top dog the room or something. I’m also not going to come in and be like, Alright, so today we’re going to choreograph the intimacy. It’s, it’s, you know, it’s it’s a professional coming in and doing some, some choreography, I think, if it was just one thing, then then that would be it. Like, we can just take a breath. Yeah, choreograph some movement, and know that we’ve got a handle on like, what’s the audience going to see? And we want everyone to feel good. Like, we want everyone to feel confident while we’re doing this.

Phil Rickaby  41:53

Well, that I mean, and that’s, that’s really the thing, because I think there’s, there’s been a lot of times when I’ve seen a show when people are not connected. And you know, you go into the scene, and everybody’s like, this is the part I hate. It’s, like, being like, a little awkward, but let’s put our faces on each other. Yeah. Like, are like, or worse.

Siobhan Richardson  42:16

Now, I want a T shirt with just like two awkward faces near each other. Yeah,

Phil Rickaby  42:20

but sometimes feels like Yeah, sometimes it feels like it’s like, this is the part where we’re supposed to kiss.

Siobhan Richardson  42:25

Yeah, there’s just sort of like, yeah, cuz it seems like in a way, you could you could categorise the extremes of, there’s this like, this, like bracing for it. Yep. Or this like, Alright, here we go. Like the running up towards it. Where you can see, in both of those extremes of discomfort, you can see the actor’s like, Alright, here’s this thing that we haven’t really talked about, but we kind of need to do and it’s, it’s again, so. But there’s no other word, this climactic moment where a thing is happening. Yeah, and it’s a story plot as well. So it’s important and it has to happen. Or we, you know, we do the Star Trek, we, we cradle people and walk them out of the room and go, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada. Yeah. Which is also in a way unsatisfying, if you don’t have the lead up to it. If we don’t believe that those characters are going to go off and do that thing.

Phil Rickaby  43:13


Siobhan Richardson  43:13

Then, then we’re, again, we’re losing the story, opportunity. And that’s the thing that hits me the hardest, or the thing I’ve noticed the most in my last years of studying this is in my several years of studying this now is it’s the story that gets lost when we don’t give it the time. I know, it’s only like, two words in the script. But you kind of you kind of need to give it enough time.

Phil Rickaby  43:39

I mean, yeah, it’s the two words in the script, but how often is “they fight” just two words in the script.

Siobhan Richardson  43:45


Phil Rickaby  43:46

Right. So it needs a little bit of something.

Siobhan Richardson  43:50

Yeah, yeah.

Phil Rickaby  43:52

Is this that all the kind of stuff that I wish has been? the conversations that we’ve been having for a lot longer? I remember doing a show myself years ago, where there was a wedding, and the person I was supposed to be marrying in a group wedding, Shakespeare, you know, oh, yeah. comedy, so a bunch people get married? Yeah, I try to explain that to my girlfriend once. I know. This one is actually technically comedy, they get married? and she said what the fuck are you talking about? So it’s like one of the comedies and everybody gets married at the end. And everybody’s supposed to kiss and my partner in the scene was like, No, I have a boyfriend. I’m not gonna do that. I’m like, Okay. We probably should have had a conversation around that before the directors that and everybody kiss. She just sort of like said No, not like, there was no conversation about it. It was like, at odds with the director at odds with the actor, that sort of thing. And it just, if we’ve been able to have conversations about that sort of thing, like from day one, then we could have come up with some way that kind of worked better than whatever was happening at the time.

Siobhan Richardson  44:56

Yeah, and actually comes around to that question of consent. as well and also like accepting the job, or or making it known at the beginning that I really want this role. But I don’t I don’t kiss other people on the mouth.

Phil Rickaby  45:08


Siobhan Richardson  45:09

in shows that’s just not a thing I do. And so that the director can either approach it with great, you’re amazing for this role. Let we’ll find another way to tell that moment. Yeah. So that Yeah, so it’s not sort of a surprise, and it can be part of a wonderful moment.

Phil Rickaby  45:25


Siobhan Richardson  45:26

And again, that’s where an intimacy choreographer might take some of the pressure off, because it’s like, oh, here’s another way that we can tell this moment of intimacy without having to use the traditional trope. I dare say, of I put my face on your face?

Phil Rickaby  45:39

Yes. Yeah. This is like you got to get that on a button or something “I put my face on your face”.

Siobhan Richardson  45:44

put my face on your face.

Phil Rickaby  45:45

Yeah. Can you make that sound more awkward?

Siobhan Richardson  45:49

It’s because a little love and she’s like, are you so handsome? I will put my mouth on your mouth. It just makes me so happy. Yeah. makes me laugh cuz Yeah, sometimes it’s just like, Oh, I just want to eat you like an apple like? Om nom nom.

Phil Rickaby  46:06

But then again, that’s that’s stuff that that’s great iff both people want to eat the other’s face like an apple.

Siobhan Richardson  46:12


Phil Rickaby  46:12

but one person is like, I want to your face like an apple I don’t want it’s like, Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down. Oh, we have to do something or that ruins the scene.

Siobhan Richardson  46:19

Yeah, yeah. So

Phil Rickaby  46:20

these are conversations that have to be had.

Siobhan Richardson  46:23

Yeah. Boy, oh, yeah. But speaking of which, that moment of like, Oh, I don’t I don’t kiss people. Being a that that actor also, being able before that, to feel empowered to say, this isn’t something I do. But here’s some other great options, or, let’s, let’s chat about this beforehand. So it’s like, even if it’s to the fellow actors, like, I don’t kiss people on the mouth. But so let’s come up with another really tender moment of maybe you kiss my hand.

Phil Rickaby  46:49


Siobhan Richardson  46:49

Or Or maybe you stroke or we

Phil Rickaby  46:51

and that could have all been stuff that we that was a conversation. Instead, we kind of stood there awkwardly. said, No, we’re not gonna do that. And so it was just like, Alright, so everybody else does it. And we just stand there.

Siobhan Richardson  47:06

The but though, but now my brain goes like if the two of you look at the others, and then look back at each other, like, yeah, like, oh, guess what’s gonna happen?

Phil Rickaby  47:17

It could have been a moment. And but again, we would have had to, like, discuss that and like, make the choice and things like that, which was not happen,

Siobhan Richardson  47:23

as opposed to in a run somewhere like,

Phil Rickaby  47:25

Oh, we don’t do that. Okay. Yeah. It’s basically like

Siobhan Richardson  47:28

twiddling thumbs, whistling a little. Yeah. And it comes back to, again, these conversations that we just haven’t really had much. Like, what, what are those alternatives? And the idea being, you are well, within your rights to say, I don’t do that. Yeah. That is that is a personal choice. But that doesn’t affect the quality of my art. Yeah, it just means that I do it in a way that maybe you don’t expect.

Phil Rickaby  47:55

And that’s, I mean, that it’s perfectly valid to do that. But it’s, again, we have to be able to talk about you have to be able to talk about it. I kind of feel like one of the reasons why these conversations have been happening is because a lot of directors have been dudes, and a lot of leading men, because they’re men are dudes, and it turns into, like, No, okay, so she’s hot. So now I get to kiss or whatever. And I think there’s some sexual politics involved in that or have been involved in that. And that’s why those conversations have been happening.

Siobhan Richardson  48:29

I know Tonia’s got lots of stories

Phil Rickaby  48:31

I’ll bet she does Yeah, of course.

Siobhan Richardson  48:32

for this. And, and as the work of intimacy directors, international and intimacy directors, and choreographers in general becomes more of a discussion and more of an accepted practice. It’s interesting to see where the pushback comes from, whether it’s male directors or female directors, or what kind of pushback you get from people. Or what kind of open arms you’re accepted with. I know Tonia has announced it so that I can say it, she will be intimacy directing for the Bakkhai at Stratford this year. And that’s very woman positive show. So that’s where it was like, Oh, this is wonderful. Let’s let’s talk about this. Let’s build a relationship, as opposed to other situations where it’s like, no, I got it. We don’t need you. Oh, and I’m not saying that not not to imply any particular Theatre Company in that that’s certainly not but various situations where it’s been like, No, no, we got this this fine. They’ll just kiss

Phil Rickaby  49:32


Siobhan Richardson  49:33

Or in other situations. I’ve had directors, as I said, who are like, Oh, thank goodness. And yeah, you do get little surprises of like, Oh, that’s a very dude. Like that’s a very bro kind of person I would have expected them to, to be really precious about it, but they’re not but yeah, if I if I may say from anecdotal evidence, it can be those people who are either very protective about being the director. A room or dudes who don’t see it as a problem?

Phil Rickaby  50:03

Yeah, of course they don’t. Yeah, of course they don’t.

Siobhan Richardson  50:07

Yeah. Because we can’t see it. You don’t have to understand the problem. And you can see people’s awkwardness.

Phil Rickaby  50:11

We’re having this conversation on International Woman’s Day. Well, yeah, everything should be talked about, yeah, about how the gender politics and gender politics in theatre have, have played out for many years. And how the dude’s the bros, the guys there, there have been there has been a history of, of railroading, of railroading. of guys, putting women in situations that they don’t want to be.

Siobhan Richardson  50:40

And let’s talk a little bit about bystanders stuff to where it’s not just the people in the scene. But it’s also other people who are in the rehearsal, feeling like they’re not allowed to speak up because it because they feel like it’s not their car, it doesn’t really affect them, not knowing who they can go to, or even the stage manager being if they if they don’t feel empowered to speak up and be like, like, let’s take five or i, this, this is getting really tense, not knowing how to defuse, or to move the situation along, like, everyone in the room, feeling awkward, in some manner when they can see something happening. But also, it’s, it can be really tricky, because sometimes you have a person in the scene who was like, No, don’t stand up for me, I can do this myself. And that’s, that’s one thing I find. When I’m a fellow performer in rooms, I, I find it sometimes can be a bit frustrating, or I’m just like, this is not an energy I can deal with, I can see people are personally upset. And that’s where I must admit, my, my usual method is like, not my place, I’m going to I’m going to slip out. And as I admit that on a bit like, Oh, that’s, that’s not something I should be doing at all, I should be talking to somebody, but I could not feel empowered to

Phil Rickaby  51:56

I guess the quesiton is who do you talk to. I mean, it’s one of those should there be like, I don’t know, like, some kind of educational seminar for a stage manager so that they can, you know, know how to handle those situations or like have things that they could do in those situations.

Siobhan Richardson  52:20

Yes, and I believe that there is, I’m just looking as I’m furiously looking up the information. I believe that that’s part of the aims of the not mine space campaign with equity is the idea of, who do I talk to who can I call, they have educational materials out that you can take a look at, you can also contact a respectful workplace advisor. And this is for any kind of uncomfortable thing, let’s say someone is bullying the rest of the room. I mean, oftentimes, it’s a director, but maybe it’s it’s a particular actor or whatever, for whatever reason the workspace is, is awkward in any fashion, so you can contact a respectful workplace advisor by email, notinourspace@caea.com. And there’s also a helpline, 1-800-387-1856. And you can find that information on the equity Canadian actors equity website. There’s a whole pilot project like I encourage encourage you listeners, no matter where you are in the world, to check it out. It’s It’s It’s really exciting that that Canadian actors equity is moving this direction, because again, it’s conversations that we should have been having. There. There have been certain policies in place, but it’s an awareness thing that hasn’t been there.

Phil Rickaby  53:39

Well, that’s the thing is the policies can be in place, but they’re they only have teeth, if there was if like there No, yeah, doesn’t help. If like there’s somebody somewhere who knows the knowledge more people have to know where to go and what to do in this situation.

Siobhan Richardson  53:53

Exactly. So yeah, check out check out caea.com in under Member Services, or just click on the not in our space campaign link. And you can see some of the materials they have available. Some of them, there’s some great little like bookmark sizings, where it’s like, what can I do? How can I help? Who do I talk to, and there’s information on this, like, they’re really quick picks of information, but they also have more materials to read, as well. Again, check out the numbers that you can call if you’re in the middle of a rehearsal process, and you’re like, I don’t know, you can call someone there’s always somebody at that at that phone number.

Phil Rickaby  54:30

Those things that’s so important that again, we should have been talking about so long ago, but where are we getting to now? But again, I mean, we’re looking at there’s a change happening for the better I think in the industry in terms of

Siobhan Richardson  54:45

even in the world honestly about things that people are able to talk about now or want to talk about now or not want that’s though no no. People feel safe to talk about. Safe to talk about compelled to talk about people who are like I I won’t be silent anymore. This is this is really important. And I, I need to leave live my life in a healthy manner. And this is part of what makes my life healthy. And I’m not going to tiptoe around your norms in order to do that.

Phil Rickaby  55:14

So important because I mean, yes, you know, it’s art, but it’s a workplace. Yes, you know, that is a it is a workplace, we’re doing work in that place. And so we have to have, it has to be a safe place to can’t be bullying, there can’t be harassment, there can’t be abuse.

Siobhan Richardson  55:34

And we don’t have to. Because the other thing that happens is people have this sense of like, oh, but as part of the the actress process, or as part of an artistic process that is painful. You don’t have to suffer trauma to make good art.

Phil Rickaby  55:44

In fact its better if you don’t suffer trauma,

Siobhan Richardson  55:46

right, a safe space where dangerous things can happen. It’s because we can tank out. And we don’t suffer long term psychological damage from the work that we’re doing. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s not worth it. No, I mean, maybe maybe some people feel it is. But guess what I want to get up tomorrow, and be able to feel comfortable and safe in my own skin and go to a new workplace. Tomorrow, go back to the same one.

Phil Rickaby  56:09

I just think that if you finish your day, and you, you have to go home and curl up in a ball and cry for three hours, that may be something is wrong in the space that you’re working in.

Siobhan Richardson  56:22

Yeah, you know, that said, my colleague Jade Elliot recently choreographed for if we were birds in Edmonton, and one of the characters, there’s a pretty brutal rape in that script. And this director chose to stage it. Whereas in the original staging, it wasn’t actually staged. But the lead actor in that felt perfectly safe, but was finding that there was like this energy buildup, right. And sometimes, it’s just the fact that because the material is energetic in a certain way, that a certain kind of self care was required afterwards. And it’s particularly case what work was like, go home, do 20 minutes on a treadmill, and it actually expressed that energy. And again, that’s where someone who has intimacy director training or experience is going to be able to help advise you through those things, because you can be as safe as you want. But sometimes, the emotional residue of what we’re doing is going to stick with you. And you need to know what healthy ways to express that, again, not taking your work home, because as much as you’re like, Well, no, I’m a professional. I will leave that there. Yes, you absolutely are. I agree with you. But there is a line sometimes where you’re like, I my subconscious cannot handle this. How do I tag it out?

Phil Rickaby  57:32

But the body is so creative – all the chemicals that make it real? Absolutely. And so as far as your body is concerned, its real.

Siobhan Richardson  57:39

it’s still happening!

Phil Rickaby  57:40

Yeah, you might be like, well, I’m just faking it. We’re just acting, but your body is like, these are things I’m doing

Siobhan Richardson  57:45

right? I we we talked before about the autonomic responses. Oh, sorry, if I do sorry, if I don’t, it’s no offence, but my body is doing the things that it expects to do in this context. So yeah, you are you are physically experiencing that. So it’s it’s finding, how do you how do you release that? And thereby minimise any other trauma? And I wonder how many rehearsal spaces have been affected by those kind of residual energies when we don’t notice it building up? Yeah, like I was doing more than just kill Susie. And as much as I did a whole bunch of stuff. Like it was like, Okay, that was a really hard one. I’m going to go on to the patio, and just do some yoga for an hour and just release that. But by the end of the run, I was I was exhausted.

Phil Rickaby  58:29

Oh, fucking brutal. It’s pretty. And you know, I mean, you’re working with with Jackie that. She starts at a certain emotional place.

Siobhan Richardson  58:38

Yeah. And she’s a hostage. She’s tied up. She doesn’t get to talk for half an hour cuz she’s gagged!

Phil Rickaby  58:43

 Yeah. So I mean, there’s for that there’s a certain amount of thing for the people who are doing it, there’s a certain there’s certain terms of going you have to be able to do something with the energy of the

Siobhan Richardson  58:53

Yeah, yeah. And I guess that’s part of it, too, is the acknowledging that it’s not just the trauma that we accidentally hold on to. So sorry, I’m saying that poorly. By being able to talk about it, we can then help ourselves understand, what is the trauma I’m actually accidentally holding on to? What’s the trauma I’m holding on to because I feel like it has to be part of my process. And where can I find the ease? Like, where can I what are what are the things I can let go of, and thereby nourish my art and my expression, as opposed to this kind of feels right, and I think it’s helping me, but again, maybe an outside I can go, you can drop that particular prototype. I know it feels good, yeah. But you can actually drop that because it’s not helping from the outside. And then you find you’re actually you’re able to approach it in perhaps a healthier manner. And that’s not to say that someone’s dictating your process, but they are helping you hone what’s going to work for that piece on that day, in that time with this cast the same thing.

Phil Rickaby  1:00:00

Like when your fight choreographer says, when you’re waving your sword like that you don’t look like a Master Swordman, do it more like this.

Siobhan Richardson  1:00:09


Phil Rickaby  1:00:12

It’s a similar thing.

Siobhan Richardson  1:00:13

It is.

Phil Rickaby  1:00:16

Well, this has been this has been great. Thank you so much for talking with me about this.

Siobhan Richardson  1:00:19

My pleasure.

Stageworthy on Google Podcasts

Stageworthy on Apple Podcasts

Stageworthy on Spotify

Stageworthy Twitter Feed


- 11 hours ago

@partonandpearl @Toronto_Fringe @partonandpearl would you be interested in a live stream talk about the shows you review sometime in week 2?
h J R

- 15 hours ago

@philrickaby: Tomorrow is the start of theatre Christmas, also known as @Toronto_Fringe. Sadly, I'm in rehearsal mode for my own fringe show, so I won't be able to see as much as I want, but I'm seeing as much as I can. follow my coverage on the @stageworthypod insta and tiktok.
h J R

- 19 hours ago

This week on Stageworthy, host @philrickaby talks to storyteller and serial entrepreneur, @VikkiVelenosi about her #FringeTO show: 2 Robs, 1 Cup: : What Happens When You’re Done Eating Shit? #TheaTO Listen now at https://t.co/Vx85xxavyd https://t.co/TeMg6wqn8S
h J R

- 1 day ago

@itskyliethomps1 I'm doing my best to see as many shows as possible, but between day job and my own rehearsals I'm pretty limited. You're on my radar!
h J R