Lisa May Thomas
Creative Director

Lisa May Thomas

Award-winning dance and film artist, Lisa May Thomas works at the intersection of performance and technology. Her practice-as-research PhD at the University of Bristol takes a dance-somatic approach, exploring the role of digital technologies in performance. Thomas’ immersive film and performance work has been seen by diverse audiences around the world.

‘Figuring’ was the prototype project for Soma that took place at the University of Bristol in September 2018. It was developed with project collaborators through Lisa’s PhD research and with the funding support of Arts Council England before later evolving into ‘Soma’.

Soma presents an opportunity for diverse audiences to experience her most recent work.

VR technologists:

All Seeing Eye Logo
Creative Technology Studio

All Seeing Eye

All Seeing Eye is a creative technology & design studio developing multi-sensory narrative experiences. A unique combination of designers, artists, and engineers, they are adept in graphics, technology, performance, and storytelling, creating immersive works for audiences worldwide.

They collaborate with other organisations and artists from a variety of backgrounds and industries to explore the possibilities emerging technology can bring to more traditional forms of storytelling, installation, performance and location-based experience.

All Seeing Eye have been responsible for developing the multi-person VR networking framework for SOMA, the show-runner UI and the framework for supporting the visual and sonic interactions.

All Seeing Eye Logo
All Seeing Eye

Adam Child

Networked Rope Simulation, and Visual and Sonic Interfaces
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All Seeing Eye

Ollie Lindsey

Networked Multi-Person VR Framework
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All Seeing Eye

Robin North

Experience Logic and Show Operator Interface
Clarice Hilton
Creative technologist

Clarice Hilton

Clarice Hilton is a creative technologist working in immersive interactive experiences. She is interested in how participatory interaction can create embodied responses and how technology mediates, influences and shapes our perception. She has shown work globally alongside creative collective Anagram at Tribeca, Sandbox Immersive Festival, Venice Film Festival and IDFA DocLab.

Clarice is responsible for creating the visual virtual world of Soma.

Dancers:

Ania Varez
Dancer

Ania Varez

Ania is a Venezuelan interdisciplinary artist based in Bristol. Relying on different mediums, such as choreography, text, film and sound, she is interested in facilitating opportunities for people to exercise care, choice and attention in looking for new ways of being together and being here.

Ania brings her experience both as a performer and a facilitator to Soma, helping people experience the work. She is especially interested in exploring how being open to our senses could bring a different sense of togetherness between people and the world surrounding them, as well as meeting others inside an attentive space full of possibilities.

Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot
Dancer

Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot

Anne-Gaëlle is an independent dance artist based in the UK and France. She graduated from Trinity Laban in 2008, and has since been performing, creating work and collaborating with choreographers and artists in the UK and Europe. Collaborations include Annie Lok, Simonetta Alessandri, Tara D’Arquian, Laura Doehler, Tania Soubry, h2dance, Laila Diallo, Joe Moran and Noa Zamir, amongst others. An associate artist with Candoco Dance Company since 2010 and a teacher in a variety of contexts, she has a particular interest in making her practice accessible to a great diversity of dancers.

Anne-Gaëlle met Lisa in 2011 and has been involved in a number of her projects including Grassblades, Shipwreck (revisited), The Touch Diaries, Figuring and now Soma.

Ben McEwen
Dancer

Ben McEwen

Ben graduated from Trinity Laban before going on to complete the training cycle at P.A.R.T.S. (BE). He now regularly works as a performer and movement researcher for Charlotte Spencer Projects, Vera Tussing, Francesco Scavetta/Wee and Lisa May Thomas, amongst others. Alongside performing, he teaches at conservatoires, universities and professional classes throughout Europe. Ben is currently completing an MA in Creative Practice at Independent Dance/Trinity Laban.

Ben is one of the guides/facilitators for the participants in Soma and was part of the team that researched and created the project.

Bryn Thomas
Dancer

Bryn Thomas

I am a mover and facilitator within SOMA, using my awareness to allow participants to access theirs.

Bryn Trained at London Contemporary Dance School, winning the charlotte Kirkpatrick scholarship for exceptional potential. He then joined VERVE, the postgraduate performance company that toured internationally. He then completed an MA in dance performance, entitled: “The Complicit Virtuoso-Analysing the relationship between virtuosity and neoliberal ideology, and the implications of this for the contemporary dance artist” through the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in partnership with the University of Kent. Since completing This, Bryn has worked with Julia Thorneycroft dance, Humannah productions, About NOWish, Bitter Suite, Luca Silvistrini’s Protein, Lisa May Thomas and Travelling Light Theatre Company And has Choreographed for Tessa Bide, Myrtle Theatre Company and Vic Llewellyn & Kid Carpet.

Fernanda Munoz-Newsome
Dancer

Fernanda Munoz-Newsome

My name is Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, I was born in UK of English and Chilean descent. I live and work in London as a dance artist and choreographer, working independently and collaboratively since 2009. Working with composers, visual artists, music producers, pop/punk bands, writers, architects, choreographers and dance artists takes my work into galleries and alternative performance contexts. My work is concerned with experience and transformation between public and private bodies and spaces. A movement towards re-experiencing and reorienting inside our entangled, inherited political and experiential bodies.
Laila Diallo
Dancer

Laila Diallo

Laila is a dance maker based in Bristol, working and presenting work across the UK and internationally. Notions of impermanence, of our experience of time passing, of how we negotiate togetherness thread through recent works and current research. Alongside independently and collaboratively devising work for live performance, she often works as a movement director in theatre and opera.

Laila is also an educator within the university and vocational sectors, as well as with emerging artists and peers. Recent commissions include: SOMETHING ABOUT WILDERNESS and several attempts at taming beauty for Skanes Dansteater (Sweden, 2017), Husk for Candoco Dance Company (UK, 2018), All my Song for Joyce Theatre (USA, 2019). The recipient of a Rayne Fellowship for Choreographers in 2006, Laïla also was Associate Artist at ROH2, Royal Opera House, between 2009 and 2012, and recipient of a 2018 Leverhulme Art Scholarship through Bristol Old Vic Ferment.

Laila was invited to work on Soma for her experience as a dancer and performance maker as well as her interest in collaborative processes.
www.lailadiallo.com

Will Dickie
Dancer

Will Dickie

Will is an artist and performance maker based in Liverpool. He trains in Kalari, Suzuki and Butoh and makes his own performance work.

Will comes to Soma with an interest in sensitive body work and co-creative practice.
www.willdickie.co.uk

Sound and composition:

Tom Mitchell
Interactive sound design

Dr Tom Mitchell

Tom is a Bristol-based computer scientist, interaction designer and musician/artist. With a degree in electronic engineering and PhD in AI and music, he is currently appointed as Associate Professor in Creative Technologies in the Department of Computer Science and Creative Technologies at UWE. Mitchell publishes across a range of disciplines centred on music and technology, including HCI, sonification and AI. He currently supervises 6 PhD students, leads the Creative Technologies Research Laboratory and is a member of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and Computer Science Research Group. He is also an honorary visiting scholar at the University of Bristol and resident at the Pervasive Media Studio. Mitchell has worked on range of interdisciplinary projects combining technology and the creative arts to produce novel and inclusive representations of the art, science and technology.

In Soma, Mitchell is developing interactive data sonification tools that create a seamless and immersive connection between physical and virtual worlds.

Joseph Hyde
Composition and sound design

Prof. Joseph Hyde

Joseph has been working as a musician, installation artist and audio-visual performer for over 20 years. For many years he worked at the avant-garde end of electroacoustic music and more recently, has been making music using analogue technology and running Seeing Sound, one of Europe’s leading audio-visual events. He regularly collaborates with dancers, theatre-makers, technologists and scientists, and runs the MA Sound course, at Bath Spa University.

Joseph is working on the sound design/music for Soma with Tom Mitchell focusing on software development, aesthetics and sound design.

Documentation and cinematography:

Adam Laity
Cinematographer and editor

Adam Laity

Adam Laity is an award-winning cinematographer and filmmaker working in documentary, fiction and experimental shorts and feature films. His work has been screened at international festivals and galleries round the world and in 2014 he won the Royal Photographic Society’s DepicT! Cinematography Award for his short film, The Peace of Wild Things. His work often focusses on the relationship between human figures within a landscape, and explores how ‘we, the human’ interact with and see ourselves within an environment. This passion for landscape is reflected in his practice-led research PhD- working within the Digital Cultures Research Centre at the University of the West of England- looking at the relationship between the cinematographer and the emergence of a contemporary eco-sublime landscape, and how this functions as a way for humans to visually understand or re-frame ourselves within the landscape of the Anthropocene.
Razaka Firmager
Lighting-camera and editing work (Brigstow Ideas Exchange project)

Razaka Firmager

Razaka is a self-operating Director of Photography. Since 2003 he has worked steadily on a wide variety of projects including music videos, dance films, features, drama shorts, art installations, community arts projects, artist's films, documentaries, educational TV for the BBC, and corporate videos for Panasonic Toughbook; BMW Financial Services and Caterpillar. This has taken him all over the world, from India, South Korea, Bosnia and Herzegovina to Japan, China and South Africa. This work has enabled him to engage with a diverse mix of people, ranging from heads of state to people in extreme poverty. Razaka integrates the latest technology, which when combined with his experience and creativity, produces beautiful, dynamic and subtle images. He pays great attention to detail and delivers films with high production values.

Razaka’s role on SOMA is lighting cameraman and editor. Specifically, he is documenting a study on sight and depth perception in and out of VR focusing on the experience of a visually impaired dancer.

Jonathan Eve
Camera and sound editor

Jonathan Eve

Jonathan is a Bristol based filmmaker that specialises in sound; he storyboards, shoots and edits, mostly for short-form docs and promotional content. As a musician, he also produces custom soundtracks that often include both physical instrument recordings and electronically generated sounds. He particularly enjoys experimenting with different sound combinations and has a particular interest in how the visual and audio elements of film-making influence one another.

Jonathan has been responsible for documenting the development of the Soma project on camera as well as assisting with the production of a trailer and doing some Foley work and sound editing.

Silvia Carderelli-Gronau
Studio assistant, dancer and documenter

Silvia Carderelli-Gronau

Silvia is an independent dance artist, movement therapist, researcher, teacher and film-maker. Her movement practice, teaching and research, focuses on somatic and relational practices. She is the Director of the Bristol Ensemble, part of the Institute for the study of Somatic Communication (ISSC-US) and has been working with Lisa and her research since 2017 as a studio assistant, dancer and documenter.

For Soma she has been a consultant on the developmental process, and been on hand to share ideas, movement, imagery (photo/film), material and insights.

Production:

Jay Kerry
Production Manager

Jay Kerry

Jay is a Technical Production Manager, Designer, Maker and Technician specializing in immersive, multi art form performance and installation work. He trained at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama (Acting and Performance 1999 – 2002) and has since worked extensively in touring and site-specific theatre.

Through his company, Mercurial Wrestler, he has been resident at Bristol Pervasive Media Studio, Academy of Innovation and Research at Falmouth University and is currently a resident artist and Production Manager for Kaleider.

Holly Thomas
Participant Co-ordinator

Holly Thomas

Holly is a dance artist and performer, working with improvisation, inclusive practice and integrated audio description. She is visually impaired and uses her lived experience to inform her work.

After completing a BA honours degree, she went on to work in the performing arts and chose to specialise in dance. She has worked extensively with visually impaired people in the arts and education.

Currently a City Fellow at Arnolfini, Holly is working with PECo Theatre‘s Rachel Aspinwall and co-creators from the visually impaired community on 'Could this be the place..?' exploring how the organisation and design of Bristol impacts our relationship to the City.

Holly has worked with Touchdown Dance, Sadlers Wells, Northern Ballet, KARAS, Natural Theatre Company, The Velcro Collective and the Royal National Institute for Blind People.

Soma Project Participant Co-ordinator, she has been working with Lisa exploring visual perception and the felt experience relative to the VR environment by supporting sighted and visually impaired participants to experience and inform the work during its development.

Photo:

Leticia Valverdes
Photography

Leticia Valverdes

I studied Fine Art at London Metropolitan University. With a background in dance and theatre photography felt like a perfect medium to allow me to interact with people. My images are a consequence of my encounters with my subjects, a brief record of what has happened. Together we transform and play, cry and laugh.

Some of my personal projects are about the individual in public spaces while others explore the private and intimate space of an individual.

In both cases movement, music, mirrors, objects and clothes, are some of my “materials” of choice when looking for lyricism and subjectivity, when looking for the self.

My work has featured in a number of group and solo shows in the UK and abroad and together with my reportage work has been published in various magazines such as the Sunday Times, The Independent, Telegraph, Marie Clarie, Colors and others. She has received various awards and grants for her work among them the Ian Parry Award, Arts Council Grants for the Arts and an IPRN fellowship.

My socially engaged work with Brazilian street girls was published in a book - 'Invisible Lives' (Vision On, UK, 2000). Work has been included on books on the history of Latin America and Brazilian photography among others.

Working with Lisa, the dancers and participants of Soma was a perfect fit for me and an enjoyable experience. From early on Lisa was open to see what we could achieve in terms of images and how we could translate, even if in small ways as a still image, the sensations and physicality of being part of the Soma experience. As an enthusiast of somatic experiencing and other forms of body work, I felt completely free to explore the boundaries of mine and others bodies. Not minding if a photograph was "imperfect", dark or unfocused. I hoped to make the camera an extension of my body and the images a consequence of the interactions of all bodies in the room.