Category Workshops

Middlesex University GII, London UK

Last week we spent four day at Middlesex University in London at the Global Improvisation Initiative symposium.

We were people from many different countries celebrating Improvisation and Awareness. 

I managed to make dolls with people four days non stop, first time ever!!! Only next day I realised how tired I was but really happy.

The makers were Shannon, Johan, Catharine, Susanna, Oliver, Joel, Chloe, Carla, Janet, Chris, Bronwen, Daniella, Kelly, Diana, Emma, Holly, Cath, Derek, Alison, Marcus, Gina, Stefano, Shannon, Shemekka and Nicola, 25 makers in total, we made 30 dolls together.

We were doing an awareness research for the symposium. We tried to observe our ‘attention’ and ‘awareness’ during the process of making dolls and meditation. We realised that the more we focus our attention in doing a specific thing the more aware we are of everything else within and around us.

Some of the makers wrote comments: 

‘When I sat down with Regina to make the doll I was so tired and was done with talking. To gently, slowly listen, touch, feel, make… to sit with others doing the same…and then to sit quietly with the doll meditating…beautiful, resting, soft, focused, moving. As I was in the middle of making I was feeling it would be hard to pass it back to Regina… but strangely, or not, after meditating, it was right the time to let it go. Beautiful and necessary contrast for me among all the talk and action of the previous two days. Thank you!’

‘Luscious! Great way to relax and take your mind to a peaceful place. Regina is fabulous and really helps to relax you whist making dolls.’

‘It helped me to check- in with myself and ask if I was ok again.’

‘I had heard how peaceful and refreshing the process was with Regina before I began. It lived up to my expectation and was a soothing experience throughout the whole time. I enjoyed the concept of dreams being filled into our personal dolls. Dreams of the past, present and future that came from strangers but feeling like our own. Adding the heart and giving it my heartbeat was an unifying ritual and I was sad to let him go but am happy he has joined the other ‘Dreamers’. Thank you for this!’

‘Calm, caring and careful accumulation of form filled with dreams and a beating heart – and then I felt that it was my heart beating…’

‘I felt very relaxed. It was a wonderful experience. I have a fascination with dreams. Thank you so much for sharing this with me.’

‘O encontro do passado e do presente. Fui capaz de colocar aqui todos os meus e os sonhos de outro alguem dentro de um lindo ser. Lembrando que todos somos diferentes e que isso é a beleza do universo. Lembrando que juntos somos mais fortes. Obrigada Regina, de coração, por esse momento delicioso de cura e partilha.’ ‘The meeting of the past and the present. I was able to put all my own and the dreams of someone else inside a beautiful being. Remembering that we are all different and that this is the beauty of the universe. Remembering that together we are stronger. Heartily thank you Regina for this delicious moment of healing and sharing.’

‘Filling my doll with dreams and a heart was a lovely moment to pause and actively engage in a creative act. I am grateful to have had this opportunity.’

‘I felt I was giving a body to my dreams and that I found the pulse that animates my dreams. I loved the calmness of making the doll.’

‘The experience was incredibly relaxing and stress releasing. I found the process very moving. I found myself shaping and creating this doll made of dreams which made me feel in balance with myself and with the people around me. It was a great experience to converse and be in company with other human beings while creating small human shapes.  The final meditation is a great opportunity to connect personally with the doll and give it a unique identity and blood flow. I learned to craft dolls and sew it, while chatting about the most random topics with people from different cultural backgrounds. This experience made me think, love and smile. Grazie.’

‘This project is the representation of love and we shared hearts and dreams together. It was a truly lovely experience. Thank you.’

‘I loved to make the doll of dreams. Sitting quietly, talking, and listening to very lovely souls, enjoying being together in this magical process. The dolls will bring love and spread love wherever they go. And my doll will be with them all. A community of dolls full of love and dreams. A very beautiful creation and experience. The meditation at the end was so peaceful. Holding the doll, aware of the voices around the room, being in the still centre. Thank you Regina, and the dolls and the dreams.’

‘Thank you for the wonderful experience. You are magic.’

‘Thanks Regina for putting me back in touch with myself. It’s great work you’re doing.’  

‘The experience of making the doll for Regina’s project felt comforting, life affirming and heart warming. A space to forget problems and focus on the dreams you are pouring into the tiny body. I felt very connected to my doll, I will miss her when I give her back but I am glad to see her be part of the project. Thank you so much.’

‘Regina’s warm and curious and calm and grounded and absolutely lovely to be with.’ 

‘The tears came, slowly at first… this doll, all the dolls, all the people who have helped to make them, all the people who are suffering in the world, and me, and my grief, the grief, these are the tears of the whole fucking world. The doll had given me the opportunity to slow down and simply notice what’s alive inside.’ 

‘This might have been my favourite part of the conference.’

‘It was therapeutic, the comfortability comes from the way Regina supported and advised me whist making the doll. My favourite part was when we put the heart in, Regina said  ‘you need a good bed of dreams for your heart’, it was instructive and meaningful for me. I needed this workshop.’

Thank you so much for all the makers – we talked, stayed in silence, meditated, laughed, cried… we shared special moments, we felt good together.

In the last big circle Phelim gave the dolls the chance to speak their silence, it was beautiful! 

Most of us didn’t want it to end despite being tired after four long days taking part in loads of activities, sometimes until 10pm. This is love. You amazing people!!! I feel happy, privileged and blessed to have met you all, Thank You!  

 

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GII Middlesex University, London UK

We are thrilled to be at GII Global Improvisation Initiative next week!

Dreams and a Heart will develop an awareness research during the two first days of the event alongside loads of other amazing activities.

Come and join us in this fantastic unique event.

https://giisymposium2019.sched.com/speaker/regina_mendes.1zie8z51

avatar for Regina Mendes

Regina Mendes
Dreams and a Heart
Artist
London

Regina Mendes (UK) ‘I am a body filled with dreams and a heart just like all of us. I am also a mother and an artist. I close my eyes, sleep and dream. I see the world.’ Regina Mendes created the community art work for peace Dreams and a Heart and have been running it since 2011. She is a theatre-dance deviser, performer and director, a visual artist including photography and painting and a psychologist specialised in play therapy. Some of her shows travelled abroad and received some prizes. She had worked with children for over ten years and for the last thirty years she has been working as a psychological astrologer. In her experience all these areas, theatre, dance, visual and healing arts, complement each other.
My sessions 
‘Dreams and a Heart’ awareness research will investigate the impact of making dolls and meditation on our natural abilities of ‘attention’ and ‘awareness’. We will observe the coexistence of these two kinds of consciousness and we will focus on experiencing both of them simultaneously in an optimal way.
Drop in sessions.
Wednesday, May 15
12:00pm
Thursday, May 16
11:00am
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Middlesex University, London UK

Regina will be taking Dreams and a Heart to Middlesex University’s Hendon Campus in London, UK, to develop an awareness research at the Global Improvisation Initiative.

Dreams and a Heart will investigate the impact of making dolls and meditation on our natural abilities of ‘attention’ and ‘awareness’.

Launched in 2016, the Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) is a global gathering of improvisers, artists, educators, scholars and activists promoting the evolution and advancement of improvisation.

Two days of workshops, performances, presentations, and round-tables on improvisation around the theme of awareness will be followed by two days of Open Space with Improbable’s Devoted and Disgruntled (D&D).

Alongside Dreams and a Heart, it features contributions from field leaders in improvisation including Improbable, Patti Stiles and Theresa Robbins Dudeck; sessions on improvisation in disaster relief settings and for communication in healthcare; and performances including Keith Johnstone’s Maestro. The full programme is available at https://www.improbable.co.uk/…/global-improvisation-initia…/

GII 2019 runs from 15 – 18 May at Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT

IMPROBABLE.CO.UK
A global gathering of improvisers, artists, educators, scholars and activists promoting the evolution and advancement of improvisation. Co-hosted by the iii! and Middlesex University.
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The Actor’s Centre, London UK

Last Saturday we spent the afternoon at The Actor’s Centre in London at the D&D event ‘NOW what are we going to do about European Theatre?’ 

Sarah did a brilliant introduction. I said to her that I am never tired of it, she replied ‘Me neither because it remind us how to live.’ Exactly!!!

Jeremy and Sarah came to my session, we make three dolls in total, two theys and one he.

‘A very calming & meditative experience! Definitely coming back in a future D&D.’

‘When I make a doll, my hands are busy. Somehow my mind opens, my heart opens. I can have a more meaningful conversation + connection with the other makers.’

I also attended the session ‘What does cheer you up?’ It was lovely to have this joyful conversation, to remember what make us happy in this difficulty world scenario.

I am very grateful for another wonderful time we spent together, thank you!

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Royal Academy of Arts, London UK

Last Friday we went to another InPractice event at Royal Academy of Arts in London.

All the artists were fantastic! It was great to see them sharing their work and talking about their artistic processes.

I was specially inspired by the experience of a trans artist. Her work shows many phases of the process since the early days when she became aware of who she was, going thorough her decision to transitioning, the surgery and the experience of recent years as a trans woman. She was so honest and keen to clarify many misunderstandings about gender dysphoria. All the struggle, pain and accomplishment expressed in her art, amazing!

It was also great to follow the experience of an artist who had a stroke that limited him a lot physically. His work is really funny, made us laugh, he showed amazing positivity and sense of humour despite his painful condition.

The makers were Matty, Julia, Vera, Nina and Anahita. We made 5 dolls, I’ll finish them all at home.

‘It made me feel useful. It made me feel calm.’

Thank you so much Molly and Sarah for inviting us, it is always wonderful to attend InPractice

 

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Deptford Lounge, London UK

Yesterday we went to Deptford Lounge in London at the D&D event ‘Writting: what do you need, and what can you share?’ 

Jordan, Lesley, Estee, Patrick and Tom came to make dolls, we made 6 in total.  

One of us did a long meditation, over half a hour, everybody went away, the apparently empty room was filled with a peaceful energy… it was beautiful!

‘I really enjoyed making my doll. This is such an innovative, creative, RELAXING way of focusing your energy and making friends!’

‘Wonderful sensory experience. I felt fully engaged with the process, the doll and Regina. Thank you.’

‘I felt a ring of energy pulsing through me into the doll – and back into me. It was powerful and beautiful.’ 

‘The most valuable and rewarding thing I can do is to heal my heart. A beautiful and magical moment. Powerful because it is so simple yet profound. Thank you (from the bottom of my heart).’ 

‘Sometimes the universe gives one a gift. This has been a beautiful process – it has helped me find clarity and reconnect with my body amidst a time of emotional turmoil. I have found ‘the answer’ to the turmoil. Thank you!’ 

I love this project, I love D&D. Thank you so much Sarah and Olivia for holding the space and Jen for the invitation. Once more I feel blessed by our experience together, thank you! 

 

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Royal Academy of Arts, London UK

We spend another wonderful time at RA InPractice last evening. 

John, Devon, Calliope, Sophie and Joanna joined us and we made 5 dolls. 

They told me they prefer to do something while they pay attention to the presentations so they felt it was great to be invited to make dolls. 

It was the best evening so far in terms of holding the space, it seems I am more aware of the best moments to help them during the process keeping us in silence.  

‘Very powerful holding the pulse. I liked my figure with its weird little legs, thank you.’  

‘Wonderful idea, it captured the essence of humanity. Relaxing and at times frustrating, but throughly enjoyable.’

‘What a wonderful tactile experience. So meaningful the process.’

‘Stuffed my dreams away. Now I feel like I should follow them.’ 

It was lovely to make dolls with all the makers and, as always, it was so inspiring to witness the artists sharing their work. It is an incredible event we are so happy to be part of, thank you! 

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Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton, UK

We spent the last weekend of January at the big annual D&D event ‘What are we going to do about Theatre and Performing Arts’ at Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton.

The makers were Teejay, Evaristo, Emília, Holly, Ruby, Izzy, Amber, Roisin, Ellie, Marit, David, Helen, Kate, Angelina, Joseph and Arne,  5 adults, 10 teenagers and 1 child. 

It was really special to receive so many young people during the whole weekend. They joined our session on Saturday, they were very excited about the project. At the meditation part, when I asked them to pay attention to their pulse, they started to laugh a lot. I shared it with Phelim and he said 

‘Well, there are lots of laugh in the heart.’ 

So true!!! 

I loved that many young people came to make dolls, but it was the first time though I felt I needed some help, they were asking for my attention at the same time and I made some of them wait much more than I wanted to. 

We made 16 dolls, 4 of them were finished by the makers, the others I finished myself, mainly sewed the legs, on a calmer session on Sunday. One of the dolls is named Jackson inspired by a session about transgender.  

‘Thank you Regina for letting me be part of your dream-making. It was a soothing and reflective experience – a lovely moment of calm in the middle of the storm!’

‘It was really relaxing and I found it very helpful to calm me down and I think it’s a lovely project to be able to be part in. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed it and I thought you were very kind and helpful and the whole atmosphere was lovely.’ 

‘This was the second doll I made and just like the last time it was a nice moment of rest, time to think of what has been going on that day. It’s a nice project and I hope that many people will join in and help Regina to achieve her goal.’ 

‘Making the doll is being. It is an opportunity to press pause for a moment, take time, reflect, share in stillness, in activity, in conversation. Felling my pulse during the meditation just reminded me that I am alive, I am full of life. What an achievement! Thank you!’

‘Regina and her dolls are always a nice company, helping you to relax, come back to earth, to connect. A very positive vibe is around her, an oasis, meditative centre point of D&D.’

Thank you very much for all the makers and for D&D team who once more organised a brilliant event for all of us, Thank You! 

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Omnibus Theatre last day, London UK

It was fantastic to spend the Well/Being season at Omnibus Theatre making dolls with the community.

We made 63 dolls together, 3 more than necessary to complete the display with a total of 211 dolls.

We did our ART INSTALLATION IMPROV PERFORMANCE again.

1. The story developed through different group of makers every evening.

2. Each group was a different act.

3. Each act is improvised as we never know how each group will play.

4. The last act was the last evening when the gap was finally completed.

5. Happy end. Black out.

Most of the makers were the audience members who came to watch the show but some of them came especially to make dolls.

It is great to have the chance to talk with strangers about an artistic experience you just had together. Some of the groups did this and enjoyed it a lot. I love that Dreams and a Heart is a catalyst of this experience.

Thank you so much Marie for invite us for another season and a huge thank you for Omnibus team, I love you guys, you are such an amazing group of people who make this space the coolest and cosier place to be in London.

 

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Meditations pics last two weeks at Omnibus Theatre, London UK

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