Fools Play Facilitators

Jan 27 2021

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Image created by Aisha Ali

Introducing the foolish facilitators for Fools Play Online!

This 6 week course starts on 25th Feb 2021. The deadline for applications is on Monday 1st February. It is only open to people who have completed Holly Stoppit's 5-day Fools School

Each week will be led by a different member of Hollys' fooling troupe, Beyond The Ridiculous

To find out more about the course or to apply, click here. To find out about the facilitators and what they'll be offering, read on!

Ed Rapley

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Ed Rapley performing with Beyond The Ridiculous at The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol

Ed trained with Holly Stoppit and Philippe Gaulier, has made solo shows directed by Holly, and also performed with a bunch of different companies across the UK. He’s directed shows by Soap Soup Theatre and Publick Transport and is a member of

What does fooling mean to you, Ed?

Fooling is freedom: spontaneous, unique, playful.

What are you offering in your Fools Play session?

Seeing people play and learn is great fun. By the end of my session you will embrace the freedom given to you by playing to the audience's imagination.

Find out more about Ed here.

Aisha Ali

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Aisha performing with Beyond The Ridiculous at The Wardrobe Theatre

Aisha is a vocal artist, composer, improviser, producer, workshop facilitator and has co-created a company, Kiota, which aims to tackle decolonisation of Arts Spaces in Bristol. 

She has worked with Beyond The Ridiculous, Verity Standen, The Tobacco Factory Theatre, Briony Greenhill, The Brewhouse Theatre among others and has performed in various settings including festivals and art galleries.

What do you live about fooling, Aisha?

I love the rawness of fooling, that no two performances are ever the same, and that it's such a powerful and beautiful way to connect people. 

What are you offering in your Fools Play session?

I'm looking forward to exploring making sounds and the different voices we all have, thinking about how we access and express them.

Find out more about Aisha here.

Naomi Smyth

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Naomi performing with Beyond The Ridiculous at The Wardrobe Theatre

Naomi has been writing, directing and performing improvised and immersive theatre for over 12 years. 

She's created loads of strange and wonderful shows for The Invisible Circus, Shangri La Glastonbury and Boomtown Festival and taken shows to Shunt and VAULT. I've been a member of Beyond The Ridiculous since 2014. 

The common thread is that her work is playfully responsive to the audience and the context. 

Naomi is now a PhD researcher at Bath Spa University and a member of the Expanded Performance research cohort, looking at how theatre artists are using technology and creative thinking to keep their work and relationship with the audience 'live'.

What do you love about Fooling, Naomi?

I love how Fooling is just like normal life but turned up to 11. The same vulnerabilities, struggles and absurdity but instead of hiding you get to share it all and follow the thread of those impulses you might not otherwise share with anybody.

What are you offering in your Fools Play session?

I always find Fool sessions deeply nourishing. We all get to be seen and heard as well as laughing and playing a lot. My session is about playing with the fact that we're all Fooling on a screen right now. We will get to bring in some of those conventions from screen performance, tropes and styles we know from TV and film, and twist them in a playful and off the cuff way to help our Masks say and show what they need to.

Find out more about Naomi here.

Chez Dunfois

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Chez performing with Beyond The Ridiculous at The Wardrobe Theatre

Chez has toured with an array of street theatre companies and trained with all sorts of marvels, including Performers Without Borders, EverybodyDance, The Desperate Men, Pif-Paf. She is associate artist with Wyldwood Art delivering intergenerational projects and performing in community led performance. She hails from Dartington College of Arts, via Greentop Circus and Bristol College of Massage and Bodywork - combining physical performance with body knowledge. Her work is multi disciplinary and responsive to the people, the environment and what is presenting itself as important in this moment.

What do you love about fooling, Chez?

In fooling I love the rawness, the honesty, the connection. I’m looking forward to sharing play and connecting with more stories in more bonkers times.

What are you offering in your Fools Play session?

Funny bone, tiny bone, shiny bone, using touch and drawing on massage training, these sessions will land you in your body and wiggle out masks from within.

Links to previous work:

wildwood arts

Chez theatre facebook

pif paf

performers without borders in Kenya

performers with our borders in Calais

Dominique Fester

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Dominique performing with Beyond The Ridiculous at The Wardrobe Theatre

Dominique has been teaching drama and performing for over twenty years. She is a qualified teacher and held the post of drama lecturer for five years at City of Bath College as well as facilitating numerous courses and workshops. She studied English and Drama at University of London, Contemporary Dance at Rubicon Cardiff, and trained at the Lecoq School in Paris where she learnt advanced performance and theatre making. 

Dominique’s work is rooted in her belief that the language of the body and its visual impact are as important as text and voice. She specialises in delivering Lecoq-based Physical Theatre training in and around Bristol, and has been a core company member of Beyond The Ridiculous for over five years. Previously, she has worked with Verity Standen as a singer in the production ‘Hug’, and as an improviser with the all-female improv company ‘Slow Genius’. She also trained in clown with Angela de Castro at the Why Not Institute. 

A fervent believer in supporting people to find and develop their creativity, Dominique is currently in training to become a Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapeutic Counsellor at Bath Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling. Here she is deepening her understanding of our connections to one another, and the impact this has on health and wellbeing. She thrives on supporting people to turn their private passions into powerful personal expression and finds fooling to be the perfect vehicle to do this. 

What are you looking forward to with this series of workshops?

I am looking forward to this opportunity for the fools to come together again and follow the sparkle of discovery through collaborative play. 

What are you offering in your Fools Play session?

In my session we will be delving into looking at the body framed in the space. We will experiment with how we can enhance our characters’ physicality so that their unique qualities are teased out and shown off with clarity. 

Dominique's facebook page

Verity Standen's 'Hug'

Robbie Foulston

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: It's Robbie Foulston and a brick wall

Robbie is a human being exploring his full humanness and a fool doing his best to find balance. 

He has trained a good fair bit with Holly and Beyond the Ridiculous, as well as other idiots like Jonathan Kay and John Wright. He has run workshops for Leeds Playhouse, the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, and through his own company State of Play.

What do you love about fooling? 

Being more and more able to welcome in the many different parts of us all with compassion.

What are you looking forward to with this series of workshops?

Sharing some of the things I've learned from some of the many mistakes I've made! And to the learning that comes with teaching.

What are you offering in your Fools Play session?

My session will focus on remembering and strengthening the wise, grounded, middle part of us that can smile lovingly at the other masks, and then playing with the rest of them from there...

If you'd like to read more about the course and apply, click here.

If you'd like to find out more about Beyond The Ridiculous, start here.

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