Portrait of Paul Woodward

Paul Woodward

Paul Woodward is a director, performer and writer based in Melbourne.

Paul has worked as a director/performer/writer for the physical/experimental theatre companies Sculpture (West Midlands) and Glory What Glory (Lancaster/London). Graduating with an MA (distinction) in Theatre at Royal Holloway, he consolidated his research into body/sign systems in Theatres of Asia and its application to Sign Language Theatres of the Deaf.

Paul was a senior lecturer in Drama and Physical Theatre at St.Mary’s University College for 16 years and is now currently working full time on a practice as research PhD, investigating the useful application of performance theory and practice to HIV (dis)closure at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, after winning a double international scholarship there.

Whilst lecturing Paul remained active as a professional director/dramaturg and regularly collaborated with physical theatre practitioners Maxine Doyle (First Person dance/theatre and Punchdrunk productions) and Dr Josephine Machon (Middlesex and Brunel University) investigating the interface between the body, dance, physical theatre, popular cultures and technology.

Paul has delivered physical theatre workshops nationally and internationally including the international festival of therapy and theatre, Lodz, Poland with the Theatre of the Deaf, in Knysner, South Africa working with HIV positive children in the townships with MadAboutArt, Lilongwe in Malawi with Theatre for a Change. Most recently Paul has been working with the Melbourne based medical charity Possible Dreams International who operate projects in rural Swaziland.

Here he is leading storytelling empowerment workshops and performance with AIDS orphans and HIV+ children. His ongoing work in Swaziland was showcased in the March 2013 Possible Dreams Choir tour of Melbourne that demonstrated a powerful fusion of song and spoken word stories.

Paul joined The Quest for Gay Men in October 2011 where he has developed a unique storytelling and performance curriculum to empower gay men to tell their life stories with greater ease and confidence and fluidity. He was the acting dramaturg for an adaptation of the popular psychology book The Velvet Rage by Dr Alan Downs which was first presented at the Sarah Siddons Theatre, London in November 2012 as The Velvet Rage: Real Life Stories then adapted further as Beneath The Surface: Gay Life Stories at the Embassy Theatre at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in February 2013, and most recently an ensemble piece for gay men between the ages of 40-65 entitled The Haunting which premiered in October 2014 at the Pinter Theatre, Mile End, London.

Since moving to Melbourne in March 2012 Paul has been working with Living Positive Victoria as a health education speaker. For the organisation’s unique Positive Speakers Bureau, Paul is commissioned to visit schools, workplaces, community groups and prisons to use the power of autobiographical storytelling as a means to facilitate powerful and interactive HIV and sexual health education in Victoria.

Paul continues to be an internationally published scholar in the field of performance theatre, ritual and the body, and the potential uses of performance theatre in HIV education and is currently working on a book entitled The Performativity of (dis)closure.

Paul is working on an ongoing solo storytelling piece about his relationship with his late father entitled Fathers & Feathers that he initially developed in collaboration with the legendary US performance storyteller and gay rights activist Tim Miller in March 2013 and which was premiered in October 2013 at the Pinter Theatre, Mile End, London, and which was specially commissioned by Monash Centre of Performing Arts to be reworked and performed at the Alexandra Theatre (Clayton), the George Jenkins Theatre (Frankston), and Space 28 at the VCA in March 2014.