Chrissie Poulter is a director, devisor and trainer.
She has been lecturing at Trinity College Dublin since 1990 and is currently Director of Undergraduate Teaching & Learning for the School of Drama, Film & Music. She has a BA (Hons) Drama & Theatre Arts (Birmingham ‘76) and an MA in Cultural Studies (Leeds ‘90). She has worked as a theatre-maker throughout
Teaching, Arts Management and Education Leadership:
A founder member of Jubilee Community Arts in the UK (1974), Chrissie went on to teach at Birmingham University for 7 years (1979 – 86), leaving to be Drama Officer and later Deputy Director for Yorkshire Arts (funding agency for Yorkshire – now part of the English Arts Council).Returning to education as Head of Expressive Arts at Accrington and Rossendale College she then moved to Ireland in 1990 to take up post as lecturer in the School of Drama at Trinity College Dublin. In 2009 Chrissie took a career break from TCD in order to return home to family in Yorkshire and took up post as Head of Media Film & Culture with Leeds Trinity University College (now University), returning to TCD in 2012.
Invited to advise the Northern Ireland Arts Council on the development of community arts in Belfast in 1979, Chrissie became increasingly involved in training community drama leaders around that city and it was for them that she wrote her first book, Playing The Game, a recipe book of theatre games (later published by MacMillans,1987, now Palgrave)
- '"Fair play to ye": Aspects of Actor-Training as a Paradigm for Developing Creativity, Compassion and Citizenship with Children and Their Teachers', in Creative Engagements with Children: Inside and Outside School Contexts, Vol 192 of At the Interface series: Education, Editor: Elena Xeni (ISBN 978-1-84888-107-5.)( InterDisciplinary Press. e-book. 2012)
- 'The teacher as artist - the artist as teacher', in All Changed? Culture and Identity in Contemporary Ireland (Cultúr agus Féiniúlacht in Éirinn an Lae Inniu) Editors: Pádraig Ó Duibhir,Rory Mc Daid and Andrew O’Shea (Duras Press. Dublin 2011)
- 'Playing with Pain: the Need for Guardianship in Group Work', in New Theatre Quarterly, 23, pp 376-379. (Cambridge University Press. Cambridge 2007)
- 'Children of The Troubles' in Dramatherapy: theory and practice 3, Editor: Sue Jennings (Routledge, London 1997)
- 'Playing the (power) game', in Contemporary Theatre Review 3 (1) p9-22 (Routledge. London 1995)
- 'Playing The Game' (Macmillan. Basingstoke. 1987) (revised edition in process at present – due to be published 2014 by Palgrave)
Theatre Practice and Practice-as-research:
Chrissie was co-director and founder of Artslab(Ireland) (1996) an interdisciplinary, intercultural arts laboratory engaged in local/international collaborations. Projects took place around Ireland as well as in Poland, Greece, France, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Since the turn of the century her focus has been on borders and disputed territories.
In 2001 and 2002 this centred on intra-lingual performance, created in response to performers’ engagement with text, landscape and mother-tongue. Two site-specific performance pieces were commissioned by and created at the Roy Hart Voice Centre in France.
In 2004 a similar “performance essay” was created and presented as part of Lille’s year as European city of Culture.
These projects evolved through a process of performed response to material - The Roy Hart work was inspired by Beckett, the Lille project by Frank McGuinness’ “Someone Who’ll Watch over me” and the story of Scheherazade.
In 2001/2/3 some of the artists from the Roy Hart project collaborated on a series of projects with young people in their respective homelands (Kerry, Enniskillen, Bera de Bidasoa, and Toroella de Montgris). This also linked in with My Voice Theatre from Bushwick in the Bronx, (New York.)
During 2003/4/5 Chrissie was mentoring a pool of 30 actors/film-makers and painters designing and delivering a cross-border schools-exchange peace project in Ireland for Co-operation Ireland with an emphsis on intra-art collaboration, actors working with visual artists (painters and film-makers).
During 2004/5 and into 2006/7 she developed a parallel project with the Stamsund International Theatre Festival and Teater Nor on the Lofoten Islands, off the coast of Norway. Her collaborator in this was visual artist Kate Buckley , who was a collaborative artist with Artslab in the 90s .
From 2005 – 2009 Chrissie was developing work with Lizbeth Goodman’s SMARTlab : For “Streets Called Home” commissioned by the UN World Summit Awards and performed in Tunisia at the 2005 Summit on the Information Society Chrissie was local choreographer in Tunis, contributing director in Ireland and contributor of some of the video footage used in the final performance. Later projects included a short piece for the very first Project Brand New at Project arts centre, Dublin, which was further developed for the Science Gallery at Trinity College.
In 2007/8 Chrissie worked with the musicians of Prey Trio, creating site-specific performances for the Mermaid and for Killruddery gardens in Bray, Siamsa Tire in Tralee and the Stamsund International Theatre Festival in the Lofoten Islands, Norway.
From 2009 – 2012 she took a 3-year career break from her teaching at TCD in order to spend time with her parents in Yorkshire. During that time she was Head of Media Film & Culture at Leeds Trinity University, setting up an in house film production company within the college. ‘Trinity Vision’ is now working with over 40 external groups on projects.
In 2012 Chrissie was one of the invited guests/participants at the inaugural
dinner/event of ‘The Table’ – a project curated by Charlotte Vincent and Claire
MacDonald ( www.thetable.org.uk )
Since returning to TCD in April 2012 Chrissie has continued to develop new and existing projects – The Talking Shop, a teenager-led project she developed as part of the 2012 Stamsund International Theatre Festival in the Lofoten Islands sent four of its crew to join the Young Critics at Cork Midsummer Festival in Ireland in June 2013; her existing links with the TCD School of Nursing and Midwifery will see the development of some theatre projects linked to explaining and expressing the different perspectives on health/medical issues;
Chrissie’s earlier directing work in Ireland includes
- One Big Bed (Nell MCafferty) for Point Fields, Belfast;
- My Love, My Umbrella (Kevin O’Connell) for Opera Theatre Company (OTC) - UK, Ireland and Germany
- New Composers Shorts for OTC (for whom she also led a week-long acting for opera singers workshop, funded by Gulbenkian);
- The Quest – a rural arts project linking nine villages in Co Down;
- Dockers (Martin Lynch)- expanded to include a cast of 0ver 30 and performed in the old docks in Belfast;
- a number of other youth and community shows both north and south of the border..
Her work centres on the application of theatre arts to non-theatre contexts … and vice versa…the application of what is learnt from such a process back into the world of professional theatre practice.
Advisory and Voluntary roles:
Chrissie is increasingly asked to apply her work to the public, private and voluntary sectors. She has been a senior manager, consultant, chair of numerous committees and was a member of the Northern Ireland Arts Council for 6 years in the 1990s. She has also served as a board member of IETM (Informal European Theatre Meeting), a network of over 400 theatre and dance producers/directors/programmers from 40 countries. She is currently on the boards of theatre, film and festival projects in Ireland and abroad.
External Examiner role:
Chrissie is currently External Examiner for the Birmingham School of Acting, Faculty of Performance, Media and English, Birmingham City University:
BA (Hons) Applied Performance (Community and Education)
BA (Hons) Community and Applied theatre/Applied Dance Theatre|