Dr Deborah Middleton
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Deborah Middleton is Co-director of the Centre for Psychophysical Performance Research at the University of Huddersfield. Under the pen-name, Deborah Templeton, she is also a Contemplative Writer, a yoga teacher, and a facilitator of workshops and courses in the Yoga of Creativity.
After her first degree, Middleton worked freelance in theatre before going on to doctoral research at the University of Hull. Her PhD explored relationships between mind and body in the performer and opened up her later research and practice in the fields of psychophysical actor-training and ritual theatre.
In 1993, Middleton met Nicolās Núñez of the Taller de Investigación Teatral (UNAM, Mexico City) and began an enduring research relationship which has involved her participation in numerous projects in Mexico, Ireland, Spain and the UK. She was the first British-based practitioner authorised to teach Núñez’s training form, Citlalmina, and has since trained two further authorised practitioners.
Since 1999, Middleton has studied the Alexander Technique with Dr. Don Weed of the ITM (Bristol, UK). Alexander’s ideas underpin all of her teaching and practice.
In 2010, Middleton was a Visiting Scholar at Naropa University (CO), where she practised Mudra Space Awareness with Prof. Lee Worley, as well as pursuing a study of Tibetan Buddhist Meditation (shamatha/vipashyana). In 2012, she trained as a Kripalu Yoga Teacher, under the direction of Devarshi Steven Hartman.
Middleton’s contemplative practices of yoga and meditation form the foundation for her artistic work as a writer of short fiction and performance texts. Produced under the pen-name, Deborah Templeton, her work has been performed in Mexico, China and the United Kingdom.
Research and Scholarship
Dr. Middleton’s research, practice and scholarship is concerned with issues of personal change, transformation and cultivation. In 2015, she is leading a research team dedicated to the exploration of Mindfulness and Performance. Since her PhD research into relationships between mind and body in the performer (1993) she has consistently researched models and understandings of psychophysicality. Her research has extended beyond the work of the actor to pedagogical questions of artistic and creative process more generally. As a long-term meditator and Kripalu Yogi, her research is informed by Buddhist and Yogic thought and practice, and is increasingly located in the emerging field of Contemplative Studies.
From 2006 to 2009, Middleton directed a University-wide ‘research into practice’ project in Building Creative Capacity, which delivered workshops, presentations and performances to staff and students across the University’s seven Schools. This work was later developed through Middleton’s research into contemplative education. She has presented papers on contemplative approaches to creativity at conferences of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (USA).
Middleton’s current research focuses on relationships between mindfulness and performance practices. Her artistic work is focused on the development of contemplative approaches to writing, and on the production of contemplative performance texts.
Publications and Other Research Outputs
Templeton, D. and Adkins, M. (2016) ‘Borderlands: an Exploration of Contemplation in Creative Practice’ Liminalities : a Journal of Performance Studies , 12 (2). ISSN 1557-2935
Middleton, D. and Moss, T. (2015) ‘'Beware the Danger of Merging': Conceptual Blending and Cognitive Dissonance in the work of IOU Theatre’ Journal for Artistic Research (8). ISSN 2235-0225
Chamberlain, F., Middleton, D. and Pla, D. (2014) ‘Buddhist Mindfulness and Psychophysical Performance’. In: International Symposium for Contemplative Studies, October 30 - November 2 2014, Boston, MA
Middleton, D. and Adkins, M. (2014) Borderlands [Artefact]
Gibson, I., Middleton, D. and Adkins, M.(2014) Borderlands CosMixed [Show/Exhibition]
Middleton, D (2012) ‘Arriving with Others: A Contemplative Approach to Ensemble Creativity’. In: Fourth Annual Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education Conference Contemplative Approaches in the Diverse Academic Community: Inquiry, Connection, Creativity, and Insight, 21st - 23rd September 2012, Amherst, MA, USA
Middleton, D. and Chamberlain, F. (2012) ‘Entering the Heart of Experience: First Person Accounts in Performance & Spirituality’ Performance and Spirituality , 3 (1). ISSN 2157-4049
Middleton, D (2012) ‘Cultivating change: personal challenge in psychophysical training’ Theatre, Dance and Performance Training , 3 (1), pp. 41-54. ISSN 1944-3927
Middleton, D (2011) ‘Towards A Contemplative Creativity’. In: Third Annual Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education Conference: The Contemplative Campus, 11th - 13th November 2011, Amherst, MA, USA
Middleton, D (2011) ‘"Sacralidad secular" en el teatro ritual delTallerde Investigacion Teatral de la UNAM [Secular sacredness]’. In: Jerzy Grotowski. Miradas desde Latinoamérica. : Universidad Veracruzana. . ISBN 978-607-502-079-2
Middleton, D (2009) ‘From Poland to Huddersfield via Mexico’. In: British Grotowski Conference 2009: 'Grotowski: Theatre and Beyond', 11th - 14th June 2009, University of Kent
Middleton, D (2008) ‘Secular sacredness in the ritual theatre of Nicolas Nunez’ Performance Research , 13 (3), pp. 41-54. ISSN 1469-9990
Britton, J., Elliott, H., Middleton, D. and Moss, T. (2008) ‘Writing the Body, Dancing The Mind’. In: 'Writing the Body, Dancing The Mind workshop, July 2008, National University of Mexico
Middleton, D (2007) Electrical Kites and Fire in the Head [Video]
Middleton, D. and Moss, T. (2007) Cowboy Manifesto: A Writers Guide to the Wild West [Video]
Middleton, D (2004) Book Building: Being A Treatise on Building, Canvassing, Sailing, and the General Management of Books and Other Artistic Craft in Storms and Heavy Weather [Performance] In: The Second International Conference on the Future of the Book, 29-31 August 2004, Beijing, China
Middleton, D (2004) ‘Precious’. In: Lost found time. Manchester: Apple Pie. . ISBN 978-0953936724
Middleton, D (2004) Electrical Kites and Fire in the Head [Performance] In: Electrical Kites and Fire in the Head, 2004, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield
Middleton, D (2001) ‘At play in the cosmos: the theatre and ritual of Nicolas Nunez’ The Drama Review , 45 (4), pp. 42-63. ISSN 1054-2043
Middleton, D (2000) ‘Flight of the Heart’ Total Theatre Magazine , 12 (4). ISSN 0960-6106
Middleton, D (1996) ‘Theatre in the Cosmos’ Total Theatre Magazine , 8 (3). ISSN 0960-6106
Middleton, D (1996) ‘Foreword’. In: Anthropocosmic Theatre: Rite in the Dynamics of Theatre. Amsterdam: Harwood. p. xiii-xv. ISBN 9783718657100
Research Degree Supervision
Deborah Middleton is happy to supervise research students (MA by Research, MPhil, PhD) in the following broad areas:
- Actor Training, particularly psycho-physical, body-based or pre-expressive methodologies;
- Creativity – models of understanding and managing creative processes and creative states of being;
- Theatre and Ritual, including shamanism and theatre, and altered states of consciousness in performance practice.
Deborah’s current research students are conducting projects on: Concepts of ‘Neutrality’ in Actor Training (Karoliina Sandstrom); Principles of Rhythm in Actor Training (Eilon Morris); Proprioception in Physical Theatre Training (Laura Haughey); Performance Magic (Nik Taylor); Movement Improvisation as a Performance Site of Generative Possibility (Hilary Elliott).
Deborah has previously successfully supervised a PhD exploring Ritual Aspects in the Performance Art of Hermann Nitsch and Genesis P. Orridge.