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Intimacy Direction

In recent years, it has become undeniable that we need to do more as an industry to create a working environment free from harassment and harm, one that empowers performers to have control over their own bodies and dive into vulnerable work with confidence. I am invested in changing the culture in our rehearsal spaces, one room at a time, which lead me to train in intimacy direction. I am a Certified Intimacy Director with Intimacy Directors & Coordinators (IDC).

Scott Emerson Moyle wrote a great explainer on intimacy direction for Generator’s Artist Producer Resource, which you can read here. My job as an intimacy director is to advocate for actors, choreograph movement, and create a safer space to work so that we can tell the story of the intimacy. Learn more about intimacy direction and my process in these interviews, including a deep dive in the FRIES model of consent!

I want every actor to know that they can have boundaries, know how to communicate and receive them, and to have a nuanced understanding of consent. I am particularly interested in teaching tools to approach consent in classroom settings, where complex power dynamics are at play.

If you have questions about intimacy needs for a production, or if you think your organization could benefit from a workshop, please get in touch using the contact form below. I am based in Tkaronto (Toronto), and I am happy to travel or work virtually.

“No, but” is the new “Yes, and” — pass it on!

I had the pleasure of working with Leslie on a Fringe show I was directing, Above and Beyond. Leslie lead an ‘intro to stage intimacy’ session with our entire cast; most of whom had never worked with an intimacy director before. After the session they expressed how valuable this was — and applicable to more aspects of a rehearsal process than just physical intimacy. It also gave me, as a director, a new vocabulary to work within the rehearsal room that will help centre consent in the work I do. The work Leslie did with the actors involved in the staged intimacy helped us build a more complete narrative before and after the moment of intimacy to ensure the story the playwright wanted this moment to tell was clear. Leslie was professional, approachable, collaborative, and encouraged questions throughout the process. I can’t wait to work with her again on future projects!
Rebecca Ballarin

Director - Above and Beyond (Toronto Fringe)

I had the privilege of working with Leslie on a virtual reading of Skin A Cat, a play that demands a ton of intimacy. While I was nervous going into the process, Leslie immediately put my mind at ease by making herself available to the entire cast, and coming up with various options for all the choreography. Every rehearsal felt comfortable, collaborative and fun. The parts of the piece I was most anxious about ended up being my favourites to perform, for I was confident and excited about the ways we were telling the story!

Rebecca Ostroff

Actor

Leslie is an incredibly informed and assured voice in the rehearsal room. Her approach and instruction of intimacy direction provides actors with the safety and comfort to develop the vocabulary and choreography at their own pace, in their own space. Leslie’s intimacy work ensures that the story is being told clearly, safely, and competently.

Liam Lynch

Actor

There wasn’t a false, self-conscious, or unbalanced moment anywhere. The movement there was perfectly suited to the medium, and was handled naturally and skillfully by the (bloody fantastic) actors. Intimacy direction was a revelation of subtlety and nuance.

Jen Cornish

Audience Member - Skin A Cat

Watching her work has frankly been revelatory – she spends a lot of time talking to the actors, checking in with them, putting them in space where they can focus on the work, and helping them take chances in a safe and respectful way. She really creates a cocoon that fosters creativity and the end result is very convincing! Watching her work has inspired me to be a more thoughtful and careful director.

Victoria Shepherd

Director

I would work with Leslie again in a heartbeat. What makes Leslie special is that she places the actors’ needs and comfort first. Leslie never put me or any of my fellow actors in any uncomfortable position. She constantly checked in with all the actors and was extremely respectful and a delight to work with.

Trevor Cartlidge

Actor

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