International Conference 
"Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
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Krissy Yin LAM at IUGTE Conference 2019
Devising theatre: imagination and artistic transformation for the femininity of mothers
Lecture / Workshop by Krissy Yin LAM – Lecturer in the Centre for Performing Arts Research in The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (Hong Kong). 

Krissy, currently a Lecturer in the Centre for Performing Arts Research in The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, is an award-winning drama and theatre artist who has won awards and nominations in The Hong Kong Drama Awards, The Hong Kong Theatre Libre, and the International Association of Theatre Critics (Hong Kong) Awards. Krissy is especially interested in devising theatre, performing, directing, teaching and practice-as-research, some of her works have travelled to Brussels, Warsaw and Singapore. Krissy earned an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice majored in Performing at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and a Master in Drama Education at the Griffith University. Krissy’s current research interests lie in the areas of the training of the performer’s body and the art of story- telling in devised theatre.


The art of storytelling in devising theatre, and how stories are transformed and told through the performer’s body, have always been the key interests of my creative works and research. In this presentation, I am going to share and reflect on a piece of group-devised theatre called “Mothering Voices” which I directed and co-devised with a group of performers after I became a mother. The piece has won many local theatre awards in Hong Kong, but its aesthetics and creative meaning, in both devised theatre and feminism, have not yet been discussed adequately. Apart from the sharing, I will also hold a mini-devising workshop, to examine how the imagination and artistic choices for storytelling in theatre can capture, honor and transform the meaning and different aspects of human experiences, in this case, mothering experiences.

The experience of being a mother has changed the way I see life and what it means to be human beings.  Motherhood or maternity was once regarded as a gender identity that had a fixed definition and conventional social role and functions, which caused a lot of oppression to women. However, feminist ideas about motherhood or maternity has changed a lot in the last decades. Postmodernist feminism does not see motherhood or maternity as a static universal concept, but rather as experience of mothering that are diverse and dynamic in nature, which is also being constantly shaped by external forces and discourses. Telling the stories of the real, current and diverse mothering experiences helps us re-construct and re-imagine our understanding of this very complex and influential role of being a mother in the contemporary world. It also helps us break away from any dominant or oppressive static definition of motherhood or maternity. When the different voices of mothering experiences are heard, our understanding would become fluid and open to change, which will in turn be a strong empowerment to women, and in fact everyone. 

Finding the ways to tell stories about the very familiar figure “mother” that can invite imagination and new understanding has been challenging and fulfilling. This presentation will share the experiments and discoveries made in the creative devising process of “Mothering Voices”. Then, through a short devising workshop, I will invite participants to share different types of stories about mothers, and explore the use of materials and images to create different ways of storytelling about mothering experiences. Focus will be placed on looking at how the essence of stories and the unique femininity of mothers can be captured and transformed artistically through various forms in contemporary theatre. Some of the forms that I have employed in “Mothering Voices”, including physical theatre, chorus work, live music, metaphors, and monologues will be examined and discussed. Through the sharing and the devising theatre workshop, the presentation hopes to stimulate new ideas for future storytelling which will become take-aways for the participants.


Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse" and New International Performing Arts Institute