Dr Matt Smith
I am a Senior Lecturer in Applied Theatre. I joined the university in September 2009 after twenty years professional experience as a community artist. My research interests focus on applied theatre, puppetry, extended reality, role playing simulations and junk music. I have used puppetry in a number of unusual settings to engage groups in work that can be considered applied theatre. This work has opened up many different and surprising results in workshops. I am interested in describing this work critically and developing a developed study of applied puppetry (terminology I coined in 2014) as part of applied theatre in the future. I recently developed ideas about audiences in theatrical extended reality, role play simulations for the earth sciences and criminology and continue to develop junk music experiments.
Puppet Psychogeography: Play as Participatory Approaches to Urban Futures 2018 onwards
This project brings together expertise in puppet interventions, playful geographies and co-creative architecture to interrogate the use of play as a participatory tool for urban design. It centres on a one-day Practice as Research (PaR) event for exploring urban living with the local community. Throughout the day the public – particularly, although not exclusively, families and children from will be invited to use a bespoke ‘city design toolkit’ to imagine what a future cityscape may look like. Playful construction will be punctuated by set time performances where puppet surrogates explore the imagined city provoking questions about the built environment and urban living. Collaboartion with Dr. Tara Woodyer, Department of Geography and Mr Guido Robazza, Portsmouth School of Architecture.
How Plastics Talk About Plastics: See Bin Sea Change Performance Installation 2017
This project explores how through the re-use and ludic use of plastic waste puppetry can develop ways of thinking about ecological issues that are accessible and engaging. The question considered is; how can plastics used playfully as objects create new knowledge about our environment and material world? Collaboration with Dr Ben MacPherson and Mr Walid Benkhaled, School of Media and Performing Arts.
SoundGarden 2017 - Collaboration with School of Architecture. Making a large noise sculpture with local schoolchildren and students.
Developing language acquisition with puppets 2016 – ongoing project with School of languages.
‘Poor Dorothy’, original drama for learning, collaboration with forensic and criminology courses. 2015 Nominated for BFI Learning Onscreen award.
Mock Trial projects – developing performances with drama students to train Law students in court proceedings 2012-14
Developing drama with Alzheimer’s Society – a project in which I mentored facilitator develivering drama workshops in the community. This was part of a wider research project.
Hands On 2 – two day conference on applied puppetry I co-convened this conference of international speakers and practitioners. 19-20th April 2013
Workshops at HMP Haslar IRC A practice as research project with immigrant detainees 2013-15.
A Sound and Puppet Archaeology of Vehicular Emissions And Other Excited Rotations - A Holiday Snap In Motion Flux collaborative practice as research with Paul Rogers, composer 2013 and continuing to develop and perform.
Simulation Exercise SIMEX – Disaster Management May 2015-2019. An applied theatre project using students to train crisis management and emergency services in how to deal with refugees and an earthquake. An intensive project exploring a humanitarian crisis as an immersive performance exercise.
A Week of Kindness November 2015 Suspense Festival, London – Devised puppet show exploring surrealism and object theatre.
Every year as part of my work with students I develop projects that are performed for young children using fairy tales. I also develop projects with special needs schools and old peoples groups. I do work with junk music in the community as part of festivals. I have directed work for the main stage of the New Theatre Royal Portsmouth both devised work and an adaptation of Brecht’s Man equals Man.
Cultural Olympiad project 2012, with a collaborative project between School of Media and Performing Arts, the Mary Rose School, Portsmouth.