What is intimacy direction and does my production need an id?
If you haven't already noticed, there is a large shift happening in our industry. A shift rooted in the necessity for change in creative spaces that honors the actor's boundaries and the way we both discuss, shape, and choreograph intimate movement on the stage. The seeds of this movement were planted around 10 years ago when advanced movement specialists realized the need for repeatable, safe, choreography and the handling of sexual intimacy in rehearsal rooms.
I started my ID training in 2020 with IDC (Intimacy Directors and Coordinators) and just recentlt became fully certified under master teachers and industry professionals, Claire Warden and Cha Ramos. Check out some of the FAQ below and let's work together toward making our industry a safer, more supportive space for ALL artists.
1) I'm producing a live performance but am not sure I need an ID? What should I do?
Intimacy lives on a large scale. What is considered intimate in nature to me, might be totally different for you. If you're wondering whether or not you should hire an ID? Get in touch and we can chat.
2) What is the role of the ID once hired?
I like to think of an ID in 3 separate categories: Advocate, Liaison, and Choreographer. An ID holds space for the production, meaning they help collaborate with the whole ensemble to create a safe and supportive working environment for ALL. The ID also acts as a liaison between the actors and the director, offering choreography rooted in the actor's consent and boundaries. And finally, as choreographer, an ID shapes repeatable and sustainable choreography for the actor to explore and repeat performance after performance.
3) Is there room for exploration and spontaneity?
YES! I believe hiring an ID is the ultimate acknowledgment of collaboration. The idea is to create choreography rooted in the context of the piece, the director's vision for the moment, while honoring the actor's autonomy over their bodies. WE create the container, and let the actor's impulse drive the moment by listening to the wisdom of their bodies while honoring both boundaries employing consent.
4) How much does hiring an ID cost?
Let's talk! After our initial consultation, I will provide my rate sheet which includes everything from a high five to simulated sex to workshops for the ensemble to introduce said material.
5) What if we're not the right fit?
All good! I would be happy to offer you other ideas on how to craft the moment, and or give you the names of other certified ID's that might be a better fit for the project you're working on.
6) Is there anywhere I can find more information about what to expect when considering hiring an ID?
Yes! I recommend taking a look at the organization I am certifying with, IDC, their website is HERE.
"Sean brought expertise, compassion, creativity, flexibility, clarity, and joyful exploration into our rehearsal rooms for two consecutive - and very different - Wellesley College Theatre productions. Our students quickly took on the consent-based framework offered by Sean of how to enter these techniques, why to use these techniques, how to use these techniques, and how to evolve, grow emboldened and deepen their dramatic storytelling and ensemble building work with these techniques as part of their daily practice. In choreographing specific moments of intimacy, Sean helped us set initial goals rooted in relationship, always balancing my vision as director with the company's accord; he then returned to expand and refine the possibilities of what these moments could be, as the company's work and boundaries evolved. It was exciting to remain in a space of discovery and communication with the company at all times, while using the structure of Sean's support to guide the creative choices."
- Marta Rainer, Director of Wellesley College Theatre
"What I can say about Sean is that not only does he create a safe space during his time in the room, but employs practices that carries that energy throughout the rest of the production even after he finishes his process. His authenticity, vulnerability, empathy, and leadership make him an amazing collaborator, but also an amazing human to have by your side as an advocate and support system. His work on the ground to direct beautiful moments for our production of Heathers along with a master class with the Youth Ensemble of the Scranton Shakespeare Festival was immeasurable - every student grasped his lessons in consent forward artistry and I believe will never let them go."
-Lizzie Gumula - Director, 'Heathers' / Youth Ensemble Program Manager, Scranton Shakespeare Festival
"I was a little skeptical about needing an Intimacy Director. There were several moments in our script that said “They kiss”. I was working with student actors— and for all of their outward bravura and confidence, when it came time for these moments, they retreated into their turtle shells. When Sean came in, he quickly put them at ease. He was able to explain different zones and a common language for the actors, the Stage Manager and me. When it was time to set the moments, Sean kept everything very context based. I explained what I was looking for as director. He was able to hold space for the actors, and shape the “they kiss” moments into something special that revealed a history of the characters' whole relationship— all while keeping the actors comfortable and safe. It was a true collaborative process for everyone involved. I look forward to our next endeavor."
-Bob E. Gasper, Director - 'A Good Farmer', University of Scranton
"Working with Sean on Spring Awakening was a wonderful experience. He created and held vital space for performers. Sean is attentive, made me feel supported and fully aware that I have a resource to turn to if I ever felt uncomfortable, disrespected, or upset in the rehearsal room. He helped me feel confident in expressing sensuality and strength onstage. I have also gotten the pleasure to work with Sean on a personal project, and collaborating with him in a directorial role is just as wonderful. He is so invested in story, and believes in the power of collaboration with a director to create wonderful choreography rooted in consent and sustainability. Hire him!"
- Jessica Umanoff, Actor & Director, Brandeis University