Nicole Vivien Watson, Director and founder of Surface Area Dance Theatre CIC, Est. 2007.

As a passionate learner, Nicole places investigation at the centre point of practice, within which are multiple and diverse, interdisciplinary processes. When asked to describe her interests, Nicole consistently refers to an understanding and empirical knowledge of Butoh, which can be described as a contrastive spectrum of philosophy, performance and socially concerned activities.

Equal to her knowledge of Butoh is a persistent consideration of non - verbal communication. Nicole began studying British Sign Language (BSL), seven years ago with support from the Royal Ballet Benevolent fund. Nicole is a British Sign Language advocate and communicator to the Deaf artistic community in Northern England and London. Butoh and BSL occupy a generative importance within her practice, described by Nicole as “Luminous pillars, holding the support of continued personal and professional development”.

Recent endeavours; nominated for One Dance UK's "Jane Attenborough Award" for contributions to improving accessibility. Nicole is currently an MA scholar in Japanese Studies, at the School of African and Asian Studies, (SOAS) London University, (2018-20). Present research include; The Other Side of Me, (2018) in partnership with Northumbria University and Aycliffe Secure Centre in County Durham, UK. Video: Cold Colour, (2018) working within the genre of experimental video and featuring an original score by Adam Denton. The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed & Raft, (2017-18) supported by Arts Council England and performed at CCA: Glasgow, Workplace Gallery and Berwick Visual Arts (UK). Where our Roots are Planted, (2017) in partnership with Antoine Hunter SFO, Paul Miller and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (UK), supported by Arts Council England.

Past works; Project Godie Publication Launch, (2017) in partnership with; Cococara Art & Space, Tokyo and supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund,  Japan Local Government Centre and The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. Auricular, (2017); supported by Arts Council England and performed in partnership with CCA: Glasgow, Berwick Visual Arts and Turner Contemporary (UK). Project Godie, UK, Japan, NYC, (2016-18); supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund.

Project Godie: Revealing a Forgotten Chapter of North-east History (2017-18); In partnership with the Discovery Museum and the Laing Art Gallery, (UK) A Mountain of Black Stones, (2016); made in collaboration with Yorgos Maraziotis (GR) and Klunks, presented at Beton7, Athens.

Past performances and exhibitions; 伯父 UNCLE, (2017); exhibited at Dance City, Newcastle upon Tyne, (UK) and supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio, Dance City and Japan Local Government Centre. BushBash - Tokyo, (2016);  The Institute for Creative Arts Practice - Newcastle University, (2014); Space In Between, in collaboration with the ARKA Group, London (2014); BALTIC 39, Newcastle upon Tyne, (2014); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (2013); Battersea Arts Centre (2013);  La MaMa, East Village, NYC (2012); Brooklyn Arts Exchange, (2012); Movement Research at Judson Memorial Church, NYC (2011).

Residencies and research periods; Action Learning (2018), Facilitated by Independent Dance and Dancers Career Development, with support from the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund and Siobhan Davies Studios.

International research; Investigation of the life and cultural legacy of Lafcadio Hearn – Koizumi Yakumo (1850–1904), writer, translator, and journalist. Taking place in Northwest Japan and Northern England (2018 - 19).

International residencies; The New York Butoh Institute, 2018. The Ohno Studio Japan, Yokohama (2007, 2009, 2016 and 2017); Japan Deaf Theatre, Tokyo, (2017); Greek Deaf Theatre, Athens, (2016);  Movement Research, NYC, (2011) and São Paulo, Brazil, (2010).

Awards; Artists International Development Fund - Arts Council England and British Council, in support of a research visit and performances, co-supported by the New York Butoh Institute, (2018). The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation supported artist, (2016 - 17), Artists International Development Fund - Arts Council England and British Council, (2016 - 17), Royal Ballet Benevolent Award, (2015) Daiwa Anglo-Japanese bursary holder, (2015 - 16).


paul miller

Paul Miller, Co-Director and founder of Rory’s Studio and as a Deaf British Sign Language user, he strives to illuminate Deaf Culture within mainstream forums. Paul began his professional career as an illustrator, working in collaboration with writer Julia Donaldson. Since then he has worked extensively as an ambassador for Deaf awareness. In 2012, Paul was invited by the Paralympics to produce and direct Driving Inspiration, a live action short film that included disabled children from across the UK.

Paul was appointed a Director of Surface Area Dance Theatre CIC in 2015 and performed in the company's national tour of Auricular (2017)   CCA: Glasgow, Berwick Visual Arts and Turner Contemporary. In May 2017 Paul and Nicole travelled to Tokyo to collaborate with Japan Deaf Theatre, this is an ongoing international collaboration.

In September 2017, Paul and Nicole were invited by BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (UK) to work as guest producers for “Where Our Roots Are Planted” a participatory project led by internationally renowned deaf choreographer Antoine Hunter. Paul is currently researching the concept of a new theatre production which will tour nationally in 2019.



Christopher Fonseca, Associate Artist and British Sign Language Advisor

Chris Fonseca is a professional dancer, choreographer, teacher, and global deaf ambassador, specialising in Urban dance and is based in central London, he works extensively across the UK, and overseas, often receiving international invitations and commissions.

It can be said that Chris’s earliest inspirations are credited to actor Michael 'Boogaloo Shrimp' Chambers, and old Skool dance techniques such as; Electric Boogaloo, Popping, locking and B-Boying.

Chris is a founding member of Def Motion (2011-13), an all-deaf dance group affiliated to Deaffest - the UK's annual Deaf Film Festival, during this time Chris graduated from the University of Wolverhampton with a degree in Graphic Communication. The proceeding eight years has offered Chris a diverse spectrum of experiences and accomplishments. In 2012 Chris appeared in the Paralympics opening ceremony (London 2012, UK) illuminating Chris’s talents as an accomplished dance artist and creator. More recent activities include; The Black Collective: Black History Month, (2015) Smirnoff: Ice keep it moving campaign, LinkedIn Chase the great campaign (2016), SKY1 what’s up TV BBC: The one show, (2017), BBC THREE: Amazing Human JBL: Sound to See, campaign (2018). Chris is currently leading a participatory community activity involving members of the Deaf, H/hearing and hearing community in London, taking place at Studio Wayne Mc Gregor, with support from Arts Council England.



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