The revolution is here! No more waiting for someone else to pick you for a job, the part or the opportunity. Create your own. Uncover your passion. Embrace your unique process.
That’s the mission statement for Creatively Independent, a cutting-edge arts education enterprise that believes in “Sustainable Artistry” through child’s play. Husband-and-wife co-founders Chris Beaulieu and Jess Pillmore have been invited by the Jacksonville University Theatre Program to conduct a two-week “Ensemble Devising” student collaboration project.
Using the techniques of physical theater, mindfulness and play, the eight JU students involved have devised an original piece to be presented for free at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, in Studio North in the Phillips Fine Arts building on the JU campus at 2800 University Blvd. N.
The impressive resumes of Beaulieu and Pillmore read like a Who’s Who of theater. Their experience spans the reaches of off-Broadway, Fringe, and International, and regional education. The techniques and expertise they incorporate into their work include physical theater, dance, choreography, contact improv, fight choreography and clowning, to name a few.
“We are so honored to have them on our campus, working with our students,” said JU Associate Prof. Deborah Jordan, Program Head of Acting and Directing in the College of Fine Arts. “What they bring to the table is a wealth of knowledge about being an artist, and standing up for your art, being present in your work. I have been able to witness the students getting out of their heads and into their bodies. They have miraculously created this tight-knit ensemble in a matter of days, completely committed to each other and to the work. It is truly awe-inspiring.”
Beaulieu said the first week is always about participants submersing themselves into the world of play, ensemble and raising the stakes, which leads toward forming a point of view.
“Only then can an artist create something relevant and unique to them,” he said. “There’s been a huge shift in the JU students. I can see them now breathing freely and playing past the moment of first intention into the unknown. They are beginning to offer and accept ideas without judgment.”
As Creatively Independent stresses on its website: “It isn’t about having the answers for other people. It’s about building playgrounds for you to find your own answers.