Canadian Intimacy for Stage and Screen is a proud affiliate of Intimacy Directors International.
“I do have to give a shout out Siobhan Richardson’s intimacy direction [in Odd One Out]… you can really see the difference on the stage. I felt the attraction between the two female characters from the moment they met in a way I can’t remember experiencing ever before in a show. There was such a comfort level between [those] actors that has to have been Siobhan’s work.”MK PiatowskiOne Big Umbrella
“The chemistry between Mat and Clem is simply electrifying — and seriously hot, ooff”Samantha WuMooney on Theatre
“Thank you so much for your work today. It was so inspiring to watch you work and I feel like I learned so much. You made the women feel totally comfortable and safe and I love what you came up with. Feeling very grateful to have had your eyes on the project. ”Claren GroszPencilKit Productions
“Had a great experience learning about this work and would recommend and intimacy choreographer to any director.”Michael Bradley
CBC’s The Current
Siobhan Richardson, is interview by John Chipman about Intimacy Direction:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1130115139609/ (starts at 22:44).
Keep listening to the interview with Ellen Close from Downstage Theatre in Calgary for some of the additional impact that this work is having in their community.
Theatre world calling in intimacy coaches to guide actors through sex scenes.
How Intimacy Coaches Can Help Put Sex on Stage Without Sexual Harassment
Intimacy Directors (theatre) and Intimacy Coordinators are across Canada!
Intimacy for the Stage is a specific method to approach moments of Intimacy for performance, created by Tonia Sina. The focus is on subtle and specific details in movement and intention, for the purpose of telling the story of the scene, keeping the actors connected physically and emotionally throughout the process. This is not just “making out” or sex scenes, but can also encompass moments of intimacy found among dear friends, between parents and children, and can also cover scenes of sexual violence. Intimacy For The Stage also includes recommendations for Best Practices, and has been enthusiastically received as a practice which empowers actors to respect and communicate their own boundaries while improving the quality and clarity of scenes of intimacy.
Most obviously, Scenes of Intimacy include kissing, sex and sexuality. They also encompass flirting and sexual tension, moments among dear friends, between parents and children, and can also cover scenes of sexual violence. Broadly, they are explorations of intimacy within a dramatic context for the purpose of telling the story
When Scenes of Intimacy are not handled with full communication and consent, the work can run dangerously close to sexual harassment, for this reason engaging a qualified Intimacy Director is recommended. If engaging an ID is out of reach for any reason, companies are encouraged to use the Pillars, which are IDI’s guidelines for approaching Scenes of Intimacy.
An Intimacy Director choreographs scenes of intimacy. Like a Fight Director specializes in fight scenes, an Intimacy Directors specializes in intimacy. They study the movement, psychology and human interaction of these specific aspects of human behaviour. An Intimacy Director integrates into the rehearsal process like any other designer: they put action to the creative vision of the director, and to the impulses the actors. While Intimacy Directors are not trained counsellors or psychologists, their expertise can be called upon to helping to establish practices of clear communication and consent, psychological safety and a positive rehearsal space.
“A rehearsal space must be a safe space where dangerous things can happen, otherwise it’s a dangerous space where only safe things can happen.”
For specific inquiries or to connect with one of our recognized directors, contact us using the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think of your Intimacy Director like another designer: the ID contributes with their specialty to the director’s overall concept of the show. It’s our job to put action to your vision. It’s also useful to have the Intimacy Director conduct a brief workshop early in the rehearsal process to help put the actors at ease: once they know how the scenes of intimacy will be handled, any trepidation the company has around those scenes will often dissipate.
On a film set, an ID is another specialist. Just like you’d hire a dance choreographer for a ballroom scene, an intimacy director can set specific movement and coach the actors through the finer moments of the scene, allowing the director the space to capture exactly the shots they envision. The ID can also act as an advocate for the actors, so that they have someone whose task it is to specifically be mindful of the actors’ safety.
Each production has unique needs, and the relationships will be different. A qualified Intimacy Director will be happy to have as much or a little involvement with the production as is appropriate and comfortable for each circumstance.
Many directors are excellent at directing their own scenes of intimacy, and may choose to go without an Intimacy Director. Still, we encourage you to consider the benefits of having an intimacy director on your creative team. The ID focuses specifically on moments of intimacy so that those storytelling moments are fully explored, with subtle repeatable details in choreography. This ensures that the storytelling you envision is being performed the same way every show, or take to take. They set repeatable choreography, while keeping an eye on the comfort of the actors, ensuring that the scene is repeatable not only physically, but psychologically. If any of the actors involved are even slightly uncomfortable, this can balloon into visible discomfort as the run of the show continues, resulting in possible trauma to the performer. While your Intimacy Director is not a counsellors or psychologist, your ID can guide the actors to communicate their boundaries effectively, so that the storytelling is never compromised.
Please note that if your production includes any violent intimacy, whether consensual (kinky sex) or non-consensual (assault/rape), our professional recommendation is that you must hire qualified specialists, meaning an Intimacy Director and a Fight Director, or someone trained in both disciplines.
Absolutely not, unless the director chooses to hand over the scene to the Intimacy Director. Intimacy Directors are there to focus on the minute details of movement within the scene, putting action to the impulses of the actors and the vision of the director, not to press their own interpretation into the show.
Not all directors will choose to work with an Intimacy Director, but most directors find that they enjoy the collaboration, and appreciate the expertise in movement and the insight into the psychology of the moments of intimacy that the ID brings.
“One of the things that I’ve learned – and later in my career, unfortunately, is that knowing how to direct is not the same as knowing how to do stage fighting, or knowing how to choreograph a dance or knowing how to act. It seems simple til you make the first step into that river and then you know – this is not at all as easy as it looked. It was that way for me for the intimacy choreography.”
– Jillian Keilley, Director, The Bakkhai (2017), Stratford Festival
Apprenticing and Certification is a personalized process, fitted to each applicant. Each applicant’s training and work history is considered during the application process. Please contact us to get started!
No, kissing is not required. Touching (handshakes, handholding, hugging) through guided contact improv is part of the course. That said, while the goal is to explore emotional and physical intimacy, the core concept of this work is Safety for the facilitation of safe exploration. All touching is consensual, and participants are always invited to sit out and watch, should they feel uncomfortable or triggered.
No. Our Introduction to Intimacy for Stage and Screen workshops focus on
If you are interested in a workshop focussed on exploring these specific boundaries, please contact us to make arrangements.
Yes. To begin, read these sections:
Theatre: Canadian Theatre Agreement: 8:07 Sex and Nudity
Film: Independent Production Agreement: A24 Nude Scenes