Welcome to Canadian Intimacy for Stage and Screen

A resource for professionals in the stage and screen industries with regards to scenes of Intimacy, including Best Practices, where you can get training and how to find an Intimacy Director.

Canadian Intimacy for Stage and Screen is a proud affiliate of  Intimacy Directors International.

Testimonials

“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

Upcoming Workshops

Intimacy For The Stage – Performers

Instructor: Siobhan Richardson
Date: April 13, 2019
Time: 11 am to 3 pm
Location: Toronto, ON
Theatre Ontario Boardroom
Suite 350, 401 Richmond St W, Toronto

Learn the techniques and the language to approach human sexuality in a way that is professional, dynamic and focused on storytelling.

As an actor you’ve probably been confronted with an intimate scene and you know how difficult they can be to stage comfortably.  This 4 hour workshop is designed to give you the tools you need to handle these moments respectfully, safely, and with confidence. Learn the language and standards for intimacy that should be followed from rehearsal into performances, just like fight choreography.

The focus is on subtle and specific details in choreography for the purpose of telling the story of the scene.  Contact improvisation is used as well as breath and eye contact to keep partners connected physically and emotionally.

Siobhan Richardson’s Workshops on Intimacy for the Stage have been enthusiastically received as a practice which empowers actors to respect their own boundaries, while improving the quality and clarity of scenes of intimacy.  Intimacy For The Stage workshops and the assistance of an Intimacy Director/Choreographer creates better storytelling, and is an important step forwards in supporting actors’ safety and rights.

Registration: https://www.theatreontario.org/training/courses-and-workshops/details/Intimacy-for-the-Stage-for-Performing-Artists-Workshop-13-April-2019.aspx

Intimacy For The Stage – Directors

Instructor: Siobhan Richardson
Date: Saturday June 29, 2019
Time: 11 am to 3 pm
Location: Toronto, ON
Theatre Ontario Boardroom
Suite 350, 401 Richmond St W, Toronto

Learn the techniques and the language to stage human sexuality in a way that is professional, dynamic and focused on storytelling. 

Whether you’re a director or stage manager, you’ve probably been confronted with an intimate scene and you know how difficult they can be to stage comfortably.  This 4 hour workshop is designed to give you the tools you need to handle these moments respectfully, safely, and with confidence. Learn the language and standards for staging intimacy that should be followed from rehearsal into performances, just like fight choreography.

The focus is on subtle and specific details in choreography for the purpose of telling the story of the scene.  Contact improvisation is used as well as breath and eye contact to keep partners connected physically and emotionally.

Siobhan Richardson’s Workshops on Intimacy for the Stage have been enthusiastically received as a practice which empowers actors to respect their own boundaries, while improving the quality and clarity of scenes of intimacy.  Intimacy For The Stage workshops and the assistance of an Intimacy Director/Choreographer creates better storytelling, and is an important step forwards in supporting actors’ safety and rights.

“Thank you so much for your work today. It was so inspiring watching 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 Grosz, PencilKit Productions

Registration: https://www.theatreontario.org/training/courses-and-workshops/details/Intimacy-for-the-Stage-for-Directors—Workshop—June-29-2019.aspx

The next workshop could be near you! Please contact us if you’d be interested in co-producing or hosting a training session.

Book a Workshop

News

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.

National Post

Theatre world calling in intimacy coaches to guide actors through sex scenes.

http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/theatre-world-calling-in-intimacy-coaches-to-guide-actors-through-sex-scenes

Flare

How Intimacy Coaches Can Help Put Sex on Stage Without Sexual Harassment

http://www.flare.com/news/theatre-sexual-harassment/

Our Team

Coming Soon.

CISS FAQs

What is Intimacy for Stage?

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.

What are 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.

What is an Intimacy Director?

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 mail@ciss.online.

How does an Intimacy Director integrate into my production?

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.

Why should I have an ID on my production? I’ve never needed one before.

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.

Will they take over the director’s job?

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

How do I become an ID?

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!

Do I need to kiss someone at your workshop?

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.

Is there nudity at your workshops?

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.

Are there any union rules in Canada for Intimacy and Nudity?

Yes. To begin, read these sections:

Theatre: Canadian Theatre Agreement: 8:07 Sex and Nudity

Film: Independent Production Agreement: A24 Nude Scenes

Ready to explore intimacy on stage?

Contact Us

Interested in booking a workshop, finding an Intimacy Director in your area, or just want to send a note? Please use the form or send us an email at mail@ciss.online, we love hearing from you!

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