Joshua Sofaer

Artists and their Families

A workshop devising contemporary performance for individual artists and one non-artist family member, either biological or chosen, or someone they consider as close as family.

Produced by Prototype Paradise
September 2017
Guling Street Avant-Garde Theatre, Taipei

Does your mother complain that she doesn’t understand what you do?
Do you think your grandfather has an amazing story to tell?
Have you always thought your sister was a natural dancer?
Would you like a shared experience with your boyfriend?
Are the dinnertime conversations with your daughter better than theatre?
Is the best friend who is really like the brother you never had desperate to try something new?

These are just some of the reasons why artists might have wanted to participate in ‘Artists and their Families’, a workshop devised and facilitated by British artist Joshua Sofaer for Prototype Paradise.

Over the course of 5 evening workshops, artists (in any field but with an emphasis on contemporary performance practices) were invited to consider what it might mean to work together with a non-artist family member. Through a range of exercises, they were encouraged to begin develop a professional collaboration.

Each evening started with a collective dinner. Eating together was an important part of the workshop. It gave us a chance to get to know each other as a group in an informal, conversational setting, and to share something of our hopes and expectations. We then stepped into the studio to explore ways of drawing on personal, familial relationships in the creative process. We used family histories and anecdotes for storytelling; interviewed each other about our lives; took turns in directing each other; artists shared their practice with their family member as an equal collaborator.

We aimed to create a safe, confidential, group environment for people to share their hopes, dreams and fears. At the same time it is important to recognise that this was not a group therapy session.

The workshop was conducted in English with full Chinese translation.