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Rebuilding for the Future: A Convergence of Thought Leaders in Intimacy Practice

The intimacy industry is under pressure. While many creatives and artistic leaders see the benefits of intimacy direction and coordination as specific care and technical support for actors, the industry itself has not yet created an equitable and inclusive training process for marginalized people. In this series, Ann James, founder of Intimacy Coordinators of Color (ICOC), interviews eight queer and global majority intimacy specialists about the joys and challenges they face in the industry. What emerges from this series of interviews is a complex, multifaceted range of approaches, training models, and innovations for the future of intimacy that actively decenter whiteness, colonization, and appropriation.

Two actors in their underwear caressing one another.
Celebrating the Spirit in Intimacy Work
Essay

Celebrating the Spirit in Intimacy Work

A Conversation with Cha Ramos

2 September 2022

Ann James interviews Cha Ramos about her approach to intimacy direction, which pulls from Cha’s multidisciplinary theatrical career, her Cuban American upbringing, and—perhaps most crucially—her intentional rediscovery of spirituality as an essential part of artistic practice.

An actor touches the face of another actor while standing on a darkened stage.
Bringing Identity to Staged Intimacy
Essay

Bringing Identity to Staged Intimacy

A Conversation with Adi Cabral

1 September 2022

Ann James talks to Adi Cabral about Cabral’s path though the intimacy industry. As a practitioner and professor, Cabral approaches intimacy choreography by centering harm prevention while working to create opportunities for students to identify and grow within their boundaries.

A woman sits looking at a camera while two others kiss in the background.
Being Authentic in a New Theatre Practice
Essay

Being Authentic in a New Theatre Practice

A Conversation with Jyreika Guest

31 August 2022

Ann James chats with Jyreika Guest, who works as both an intimacy specialist and an actor, about framing intimacy work for actors. Jyreika shares her hopes for a future in which consent is an automatic part of rehearsal processes.

Two actors staring lovingly into each other's eyes.
Erasure is Not an Option: Intimacy Advocacy Through a Transgender Lens
Essay

Erasure is Not an Option: Intimacy Advocacy Through a Transgender Lens

A Conversation with Raja Benz

30 August 2022

Ann James sits down with intimacy choreographer Raja Benz to discuss her experience implementing cultures of consent in rehearsal rooms, cultivating a localized approach to intimacy work, and centering trans perspectives in theatrical processes.

Two actors kissing on stage.
The Queering of Intimacy: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Action
Essay

The Queering of Intimacy: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Action

A Conversation with Brooke Haney

29 August 2022

Ann James interviews Brooke Haney, creator of The Actor’s Warm Down, about closure practices in intimacy practice, when to pass work to someone else, and the need to represent queer stories through an authentically queer lens.

Actors working together during rehearsal.
Making Our Own Table: Defining Black Intimacy Practice
Essay

Making Our Own Table: Defining Black Intimacy Practice

A Conversation with Kaja Dunn

25 August 2022

Ann James interviews Kaja Dunn, who works both as an intimacy specialist and a scholar of race and choreography, about her decade-long path through the intimacy industry. They discuss the way to bring intimacy professionals into a production process, the importance of citing Black women’s contributions to the field, and the need diversify who is telling stories on our stages.

Balancing Power Through Intimacy in the Rehearsal Space
Essay

Balancing Power Through Intimacy in the Rehearsal Space

26 August 2022

Ann James chats with Rocio Mendez about her work as an intimacy director, connections between intimacy choreography and fight direction, and getting excited about theatre’s fieldwide trend toward including intimacy specialists in production teams.

A person in the foreground with another person behind them.
Minding the Gaps: Making Space for All Identities in Intimacy Work
Essay

Minding the Gaps: Making Space for All Identities in Intimacy Work

24 August 2022

Ann James sits down with Chelsey Morgan to discuss the way their background in multiple intimacy work methodologies informs their work as a facilitator, director, writer, and intimacy specialist. Across all their work, Chelsey curates a practice that individualizes approaches to intimacy based on the needs of both the actors and the story.

sculpture floating above a theatrical stage.
Intimacy and Equity: A Balancing Act
Essay

Intimacy and Equity: A Balancing Act

23 August 2022

Ann James introduces the Rebuilding for the Future: A Convergence of Thought Leaders in Intimacy Practice series with this call for intimacy professionals to build a foundation of equity in the industry by interrogating available mentorship and training structures. This essay begins that work by highlighting the need for a diverse pool of training ideologies and methods; and the interview-based series that follows takes up that need by highlighting the perspectives of eight practitioners who navigate the intimacy industry in a variety of ways.