News of the CAIRH

Dear friends of the Roy Hart International Arts Centre,

It has been a while since we last wrote to you. So much has happened in the last year! Where to start? CAIRH, Malérargues and its inhabitants are still on track. A few residents have had Covid, but without any need for hospitalization.

As the CAIRH is a centre for professional training, we can still organise workshops in Malérargues. But unfortunately, many courses are being cancelled due to lack of participants. Travel restrictions mean we can no longer come from the four corners of the world… The workshops planned until mid-october are on the website. We will have to be a little more patient for the winter 2021 workshops. Our administrative manager Béatrice David is partially unemployed: she works in Malérargues from 1 to 3 days a week. If you want information about a workshop, it’s better to send an email than to phone:

Workshops 2021 in Malérargues

CAIRH benefits from the French government’s financial support schemes, which allow us to remain in good financial health despite this slowdown in activity. We are also able to keep on track thanks to the generosity of those who have contributed to our fundraising, via the Hello Asso online platform: 57 people have made donations, so far totalling 4841.93€. A huge thank you to you! Further donation can still me made:

Make a donation

CAIRH’s “Associative” life has seen its share of changes. Our legal structure is determined by the “Association Law 1901”, and administered by a Board of Directors elected at a General Assembly which is usually held in the summer in Malérargues. For several reasons, it was complicated to hold the event in the summer of 2020. We postponed it, hoping to organise it face to face at a later date in Malérargues. But the months passed without this being possible…

And so the 2020 Annual General Meeting finally took place on Sunday 3 January 2021… online! Our first AGM online. We’d been able to practice meeting via Zoom, for a two-day seminar in November 2020, which brought together some sixty Active Members and Associate Members. On this occasion, we talked about the “Raison d’être” and “Governance” of the CAIRH. We will talk to you about this again at a later date.

During this AGM, the Board of Directors was substantially restructured. Jonathan Hart, Ralf Peters, Alice Claparède and Viviane Gay came to the end of their terms of office. We would like to thank them for all the time and energy they have given to our Association. A new Board of Directors was elected, with a woman as President, Véronique Taconet… As of 3 January 2021, the members of the Board of Directors are

President: Véronique Taconet
Vice-Presidents: David Goldsworthy and Zelino Rocha
Secretary: Maryline Guitton
Vice-Secretary: Costanza Amici
Treasurer: Marie-José Torrero

Around the world, the professional lives of CAIRH-affiliated teachers are being disrupted. Lockdowns, curfews, and health measures have massively challenged our ability to practice voice work. Even when not simply forbidden, they are drastically regulated. How can you sing while wearing a mask? Online teaching has become inevitable. But it raises a number of questions: poor sound quality, difficulty in establishing a relationship etc. Some people are wary of it, or even decline it. Others are enthusiastic and are finding it a source of new creativity. Below are various comments on the subject from a number of teachers. We hope you enjoy reading them.

If you would like to know more about a particular teacher, please visit the “Teachers” page of our website.

We hope that you and your loved ones are in good health. And we hope to see you soon in Malérargues or elsewhere… face to face, voice to voice. Creative good wishes to you all!

“What is teaching online for you?”
Comments from some teachers affiliated to the Roy Hart Centre

“Because I really want to keep up a good connection with my pupils, who would usually be wanting to come here to Malérargues as they were doing before the lockdowns and the curfews, I started to teach online. It’s a huge challenge because our work with the voice, the body and the spirit is based essentially on a dynamic and real presence. But I have found that often the pupil concentrates well, and once the difficulties of distance, modified sound and strange separation are accepted, the wish to give of one’s voice takes over, and knowing there is no other choice we just adapt.” Kaya Anderson, Malérargues (France)

“On-line courses can complement courses that rely on direct physical presence. Most importantly, they enable us to keep present and alive our whole organism, as it expresses itself through the voice. Relationship, feeling and sympathy can be transmitted even in the absence of physical contact. The voice’s very non-corporeal reality does extend over a digital connection. Giving voice online is not ethereal but it is palpable.” Kevin Crawford, Arezzo (Tuscany, Italy)

“What I love most about online teaching is that it encourages students to overcome a huge challenge – developing a consistent practice at home. When we [Audrey and Andrés Zará] only taught in-person classes, our students found any excuse not to continue working outside of our studio. Not enough space, fear of bothering the neighbors, shyness around their family and friends. Now we have a tremendous tool to help people take their creative practice to the next level. It has been so inspiring to witness the transformation in our students, the personal empowerment they have experienced by bringing the richness of their voices to their day-to-day lives and close relationships.” Audrey Pernell, Santiago (Chile)

“I do very little teaching online and only for working on some material like reading a text. I have done two videos with some voice exercises that I sent to some people. But this is more part of an artistic project with people I know very well. I don’t feel able to give a ‘real’ voice lesson online because I cannot hear the voice, or better the person, in a way that I need for being in contact with her/him.” Ralf Peters, Cologne (Germany)

“To speak of online lessons does not make any sense to me when speaking of the Roy Hart Centre’s voice work, which is so much connected to the body. I am an “intermittente du spectacle” or part-time performer, but also give some singing lessons live at home. I believe that life (live?) theatre, like the voice work should stay palpable : all the sensations , the physical “face à face”, the implicit acceptance of a mystery to be found in the moment, the flesh, the breathing, a given look, the proximity, the taking of risks…. All that is magic to my eyes. I am very mistrustful about rapidly changing habits that can encourage students to stay at home for their voice lessons and not see the point of going to Malerargues! The digital contagion will then have won over both the market and the wider public. That’s my point of view inspired by the words of Jean Michel Dijan ( journalist and writer) who writes very poignantly about all that we are going through right now.” Anne-Sophie Masson, Foix (Ariège, France)

“I resisted teaching online for quite some time, as I so love to hear, see and feel other people work in the room. I did not make any effort to offer my work online at first. Now, at the end of the second lockdown, more and more people reached out to me, eager to sing and to connect to themselves. And it works. It works in a different way. We can also listen and be heard online, this is the most important aspect to me. And it is fun, too!” Walli Höfinger, Berlin (Germany)

“Since the start of the pandemic, I have kept myself informed as best I can. Here in Brazil, we feel so powerless in terms of collective action that organizing ourselves in society has been our only way out. I was teaching online even before the pandemic. The way I see it, the teacher and student must have a realistic grasp of what is available in order to be able to outline together what is possible. However, the audio quality of the platforms available for online education (GSuite, Zoom, Skype) is disappointing. They are designed to respond to a discursive situation involving speaking and they mask, flatten, and compress the sound in the interests of efficiency. Otherwise, the biggest challenge for me has been creating in real time. I love what these challenges have given me and I have dedicated myself to finding other ways to create collectively. I use several resources. Cleanfeed is currently my favourite..” Paula Molinari, Teresina, Piauí (Brazil)

“Especially for on-line teaching with ‘the student at home’, I get nearer to one of the main points of attention in all my teaching : the connection between daily life, and our voice and theater work. ‘Life? or Theater?’ [quote Charlotte Salomon] still is a guiding theme for my life and a wish to transmit this. Connecting and discovering the richness of many sources of creativity, inspiration and motivation in the world of quarantine and isolation seem to be essential for my personal life, my theatrical research and interacting with my students in these Coronatimes and beyond.” Zwaantje de Vries, Nijmegen and Amsterdam (Netherlands)

“I was skeptical about online education. I took lessons with Carol Mendelsohn via Skype during the first lockdown and discovered that it still allowed for the internal process to take place! So I took the plunge, focussing on giving individual lessons only. This allows me to keep up with people who live far away, and deals with the curfew problem. And it also complies with health safety measures. I have noticed that online education works best with people who already know me or who are familiar with Roy Hart work. They feel empowered and listen to what is happening in their body. The day I saw one of my students cry on screen was very strong for me. It confirmed that the process was working in her, that the voice was changing. On the other hand, I encountered difficulties with beginners who had body blockages. On meeting one of them later in person, it became clear that she needed to be accompanied live.” Véronique Thomas, Rennes (France)

“I refused to give online classes until March 2020. Little by little, I started to realize that it was possible, it was making sense. It has been getting better and better. First, my main concern was about listening : how could I hear my students well enough? How could I see them and… how could I feel them? I’ve done some investment in equipment and acoustics. For each online session, I prepare myself to get focused, grounded and embodied, the same at the end. I don’t expect to do the same as in the studio, but to bring up possibilities that arise. I follow a very slowed down and embodied experience and process in each class. Yes, I miss the contact and the studio but other possibilities arrived, like teaching in Portugal, France, Italy, America… Saule Ryan was my first teacher in Malérargues, I have this wonderful “picture” in my heart… What a special moment! I believe in giving and receiving, honoring and dignifying what such a wonderful human being has opened in my life. Saule became my student, and we have been working online. I am very happy with each lesson and with our progress.” Joao Charepe, Lisbon (Portugal)

“In Switzerland, individual lessons are allowed (in contrast to group courses). I was able to continue giving lessons in ‘real life’, which of course is so much better than the virtual world. Online education is something that connects us when nothing else is available. In this virtual world, through Zoom, I feel that we can still pass on and perceive the energy in the voice, emotions, and intentions, give some tips on breathing and working on songs. The pleasure of singing awakens during the lesson, that feeling of ‘it’s much better than nothing and we mustn’t forget how good it is to express ourselves using our voice!’” Esther Knappe, Zurich (Switzerland)

“I began to give individual online classes in April 2020 during the first confinement. They were challenging, moving, chaotic, and often funny in between the disappearing phrases and the interruptions – but, they were pertinent. I continue to work individually as it creates an ongoing dialogue with “students” that I would not otherwise be able to follow. In the autumn Pantheatre began an online programme in Chile for some twelve participants. It was dynamic, heartful, beautiful and fun – and it produced some amazingly creative work and dialogues. Later in December we began to launch an international programme for an ongoing group. This move shifted the whole dimension of my work. I question constantly how to engage and transmit. I have doubts, and I have inspirations. The selection process was quite long but resulted in a work with a superb group of mature artists in a process of research and learning. Online opens a space for theory and practice and the participants have a considerable work to do alone. Enrique [Pardo] and I have set this up with longstanding artists and colleagues of Pantheatre. It is a precious collaboration. The next challenge is the Myth and Theatre Festival – can we imagine the event live and online? The first experiments were promising…” Linda Wise/ Pantheatre

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