CLIENT: Élisabeth Couture
PROJECT: Academic Bio
DATE: May 2015
For over 35 years, theatre professor Dr. Élisabeth Couture has been developing her practice of initiating and facilitating interdisciplinary performance projects constructed as healthy systems.
Influenced heavily by cybernetics as applied to human communication, a theory developed by the Palo Alto Group (http://www.creativity.co.uk/creativity/guhen/pag.htm), Couture works with rhythms and developmental phases mirrored in the natural world, nurturing both process and product. Whether as theatre director, teacher, project leader or psychodrama facilitator, Couture strives to create whole systems where there exists a continual feedback loop, allowing the systems to move and change. She crafts flexible and vigorous relationships in her projects, enabling artistic excellence to emerge from a foundation of respect and trust.
Couture earned her PhD from Laval University in 1997. As a graduate of the Centre International de Thérapie Expressive with Dr. René Marineau, she is a certified Psychodrama Director. She has also trained in Sociodrama (Rosalie Minkin and Rebecca Waters, American Society of Group Therapy and Psychodrama) and Forum Theatre (Julian Boal and David Diamond, Headlines Theatre), as well as voice (Jennifer Allen, Roy Hart Theatre) and mime, mask and movement (Leonard Pitt School of Mime).
In 1999, Couture founded the nonprofit company, L’Aquarium et le Globe (http://www.laquariumetleglobe.org/), which is still active today. The organization’s mission is to promote the diversity and freedom of expression within a cultural environment to explore new relationships between artists and communities. Through this organization, Couture piloted projects including Jonas, a collective creation at Théâtre du Maurier du Monument National in 1999; Image, Image, Dis-moi, a performance project with youth 10-16 years old at Patro le Prévost in 2005; Alerte Verte, an ensemble theatre piece developed with teenagers from Montreal Nord in 2007; and the interdisciplinary event, Germoir 1, 2, 3, 4, which sprang from artist circles Couture assembled between 2000-2004.
In 2005, Couture discovered Playback Theatre, a form of improvisational performance that strongly resonated with interest in cybernetics and creating whole systems. She began training with the Centre for Playback Theatre (http://www.playbackcentre.org/), founded the company, Promito Playback (http://www.promito-playback.com/en/) in 2009, and graduated from the Centre’s Leadership training in 2011. Promito is currently the primary vehicle for Couture’s artistic practice. Projects include: * Traverser la Main/Crossing the Main, 2013-present (https://www.facebook.com/crossingthemain)
* No More Bullying, 2012-present; and
* Differences/The Clash, 2011, funded by Conseil des Arts du Canada.
Couture has ample experience as a teacher in a variety of milieu. As a part-time faculty member of Concordia University’s Theatre and Development department since 2001, Couture teaches Artist and Community, Theatre for Young People, Audience and Performance Event, and Collective Creation, a course she designed, in which she navigates students through the development of an original performance piece. Additional teaching positions: Trainer in Drama for Inuit teachers at the Kativik School Board in Kuujjuak, Elementary School Drama Teacher at Grandes-Seigneuries School Commission and Drama Workshop Facilitator, Association des services de garde en milieu scolaire.
Couture has presented at conferences including:
* International Playback Theatre Conference in Frankfurt, Germany in 2011
* Colloque CTRA, Université Dalhousie, Halifax in 2003 and
* Conférence de l’Association canadienne pour la recherche théâtrale in 1995.