We were excited to be meeting with Lousie Coigley from Lis'n Tell www.lisntell.com as we knew that she was a profound teacher for both Amber Onat Gregory and Lucy Garland, early on in their learning journeys.
She is indeed a special lady, 25years of deep experience in the field of "live inclusive storytelling" with a particular fluency with pmld kids. her original training was a speech therapist, which also gives her a different starting point, although her experiences have also ventured into drama facilitation and training, storytelling and many other things.
Our conversation ranged far and wide from Steiner and his work on the 12 senses, to intentional communities( she lived in one for 6 years that included many adults and children with profound disabilities and was in fact set up for this group). Another topic of deep interest was the issue of choice and active participation of pmld kids in the storytelling experience - her term "Spontaneous Intentional Participation" which she explained is what often happens when we give the children the space to have their own response - not guided, or prompted or even worse forced by us. How much more meaningful and transformative this is. We explained our experience at Carson Street School - the "embedding process" of familiarising the students with story elements, character and environment and talked about the positive effect of that on children's audience participation and also the level of feedback that performers then experience during the show. She perceptively commented that perhaps the "embedding process" had an equal effect on the performers which is so true. It once again made me appreciate the wisdom of Ros Hamling's "hasten slowly'.
We showed her a dvd of the Jub Jub performance and asked for critical feedback.
She encouraged us to think about slowing the pace of the words even further - without doing that artificial T-H-E C-A-T S-A-T O-N T-H-E M-A-T thing. The way to slow the words without losing focus and expression is to carry the meaning of the words through full embodiment. In many ways - I was shocked in fact to recognise how we had not done that in our performance. Any way it felt like a light bulb moment and something to work with upon our return - bringing in my physical theatre and movement experience.
She also encouraged us to think of the ritual aspects of the performance - to make each of the moments of "water pouring" - To give a kind of gravitas and beauty to these moments.
We talked about the quality of mutuality that can be achieved between performer and audience member and that this mutuality was necessary for the work to translate - that this is part of its "JAZZ nature" - improvising around deep structure.
We also talked about the the spirituality of the work and impact of beauty and joy on learning.
We left our meeting feeling inspired and uplifted. Keen to see how we might be able to connect in the future.