Emily Rollie | Breakout Session
"Take Time to Breathe: Yoga & Mindfulness for Theatre Artists – A Discussion & Practice"
About this session:
Self-care, especially for women (particularly in academia and in theatre), is difficult. While many theatres are actively working to support work/life balance by retooling rehearsal schedules or offering childcare, there is also a need to encourage self-care, particularly self-care that might also enhance creativity.
In spring 2017, our theatre department instituted Wellness Wednesdays: a weekly event that encouraged students, faculty, and staff to focus on self-care – specifically breathing, yoga, and meditation. As a certified yoga instructor and theatre faculty, I lead these sessions and have a core group of students and faculty who regularly attend. Our sound designer remarked, “Wellness Wednesdays got me through the chaos of spring quarter.” The sessions continued in 2017-18, with increased interest. I have also recently developed a Yoga for Artists workshop that utilizes mindfulness, meditation, and yoga to enhance creativity and encourage artists to dedicate time for needed self-care.
Using these sessions as inspiration, this workshop explores the import and efficacy of regular mindfulness/yoga training for theatre artists, particularly women. I offer an overview of existing literature on the connections between yoga/mindfulness and creativity and argue for the increased use of yoga/mindfulness training as a mode of necessary self-care and an incubator for increased creativity.
I will also lead a yoga and meditation practice, which may offer a moment of calm and focus amid the busy conference. The session would break down as follows:
• 15 minutes - welcome and presentation about yoga and creativity, yoga for theatre artists
• 45 minutes - yoga, breathing, and meditation practice (all levels)
• 15 minutes - discussion and questions
A dedicated artist-scholar and freelance director, Emily Rollie is an assistant professor at Central Washington University, where she teaches theatre pedagogy, dramatic literature, theatre history, directing, acting, and yoga. Her primary research areas are directing, feminist theory and performance, Canadian theatre, and the relationship between mindfulness, yoga, and creativity. Her scholarly work has been published in Canadian Theatre Review, Theatre Annual, Theatre Survey, and several edited anthologies, including an essay on directing feminist solo performers in About Directing and another on teaching improv to business students in the forthcoming New Directions in Teaching Theatre Arts. In addition to her scholarly endeavors, Emily also is a freelance theatre director and an associate member of the SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society), for which she also serves as the associate book review editor of the SDC Journal Peer-Reviewed Section. Emily is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and maintains a regular home practice in the Ashtanga yoga method. She teaches a variety of yoga classes in several local studios as well as travels around the country leading workshops on yoga and creativity for artists.