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Communications, Drama and Film

Photo of Dr Pamela Woods

Dr Pamela Woods

Honorary Senior Research Fellow


01392 722505


Pam Woods is part-time teaching fellow, freelance teacher and choreographer and independent dance artist, with a professional career spanning over 30 years in the performing arts.

She commenced her studies as a theatre student at University of Birmingham in the 1970s, where she had the good fortune to work with Clive Barker as he was establishing ‘Theatre Games’. She, however, decided to follow her lifelong passion for dance. Having obtained a B.Ed in dance she went on to train professionally at London School of Contemporary Dance and performed with a number of small-scale dance companies before establishing herself as an independent dance artist. As the first dance animateur for Peterborough she established a thriving community dance programme, then went on to head dance studies at Oxford College of Further Education, all the time maintaining her life as a creative artist. Over the years she has collaborated with a wide range of visual artists, musicians, writers and other dance artists on projects.

Following an MA in Theatre Practice at the University of Exeter in 1998, during which she began to work in response to site and develop ‘Sounding Dance Improvisation’, Pam became the first postgraduate at Exeter to research towards a PhD in Performance Practice, which she was awarded in 2003.

Pam has developed an international profile as performer, choreographer and teacher. She was artist-in-residence at University of Tasmania in 2006. In 2005 and 2007 she worked with choreographer Deborah Hay on two Solo Performance Commissioning Projects, ‘Room’ and ‘The Runner’ respectively, and has performed these solo adaptations in Britain and abroad. She created a piece in collaboration with colleague Mick Mangan at the Tagore festival off-shoot at Exeter Bike Shed theatre in 2011.

A recent initiative has been to facilitate ‘dance-lab’ - experimental studio time to investigate collaborative creative practice with Exeter based artists involved in dance, theatre and music. Dance-lab Collective was formed out of this and performed 'Archive 1' at Merge festival in July 2010 at Exeter Bike Shed theatre. Subsequently they have performed versions of Archive 2 and 3, sections of a larger piece based on the group's family history archives at Merge and Watch This Space performance platforms (2011and 2013) at Exeter Phoenix, Bike Shed and Norhcott theatres. They are currently developing the work to tour community venues in Devon..

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‘Site as Source and Resource for Sounding Dance Improvisation’ (PhD Performance Practice, University of Exeter 2003): Sounding Dance Improvisation was the term Pam adopted during her postgraduate research. Her PhD investigated different relationships between movement and sound, in response to a wide range of sites of structural and acoustic interest, both external and internal. Additionally she conducted an overarching enquiry into the development of skills for improvisation in relation to physio-vocal praxis, including the role of perception.

Altogether the PhD comprised ten experimental performance projects, including ‘A La Ronde’, conducted in the intriguing National Trust house in Exmouth. The final project, ‘Falling Among the Nettles’, also incorporated ‘memory as site’.
In developing her own unique approach Pam acknowledges key influences including:

  • Patricia Bardi’s ‘Active Breath and Vocal Dance’;
  • ‘Taketina’, (Reinhardt Flatischler);
  • ‘Deep Listening’ (Pauline Oliveros);
  • Rudolf Laban’s principles, in particular ‘effort’ actions;
  • Deborah Hay’s practice, which struck a chord with her in the final stages of her PhD.

As Teaching Fellow, Pam is also research active and has presented papers and seminars, performed, and conducted workshops and projects at local and regional institutions, and internationally, including Latvia and Turkey (2003), Australia and New Zealand and South Africa (2004) and Tasmania (2006), where she was artist-in-residence at University of Tasmania (UTAS).

She has presented and performed solo adaptations of ‘Room’ and ‘The Runner’, both in Britain and abroad, within seminar, symposium and conference contexts, as well as for the general public. Some of the more recent contexts for ‘The Runner’ include: 'Performing Presence' conference, University of Exeter (2009); Adaptation seminar, University of Glamorgan (2009); 'Truth in Art' and 'Human Geography' seminars, University of Exeter (2008 and 2009); Laban International Conference, Laban Centre, London (2008); Siobhan Davies Dance Studios, London (2011); 'Watch This Space' choreographic platform, Exeter Northcott Theatre (2013)


  • 'Moments of Practice: a sense of place' (Research in Drama Education, 2007, Vol.12, 1, pp.115-118)
  • 'Falling Among the Nettles: a dancer coming to terms with the aftermath of injury' (The Open Page 9, 2004)
  • 'Diary of a Madwoman' (Contemporary Theatre Review, 2002, Vol. 12, Part 4, pp.1-5)
  • 'The Resonant Body' in 'Body and Performance' (2013), edited by Sandra Reeve, published by Triarchy Press

Book reviews:

  • 'Pina Bausch' Royd Climenhaga, 2009, Routledge (Studies in Theatre and Performance, 2010, Vol. 30, 2, pp.233-235)
  • 'Rudolf Laban', Karen K. Bradley, 2009, Routledge (NTQ, 2010, Vol. 26, 1, pp.93- 94)

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