I shelter you

Hayli Clifton’s journey has taken her from her family’s Diaspora from Germany to naturalisation in the UK, from family settling and marrying in Thailand, Saudi Arabia and America and Europe.Her family is placed over several continents, and she herself no longer lives in the country where she was born, doesn’t speak her mother tongue at work or home, and misses being able to share her culturel references.

Her favourite part of the show is when she shelters audience members from the imaginary rain, and this feeling of warmth and humanity that they share.

She trained at Bretton Hall in the UK and with Philippe Gaulier in Paris.

Working as a physical performer for companies such as Horse and Bamboo Theatre of Masks and Wright Stuff Theatre of Puppets she asked herself if the work she was creating with other companies was accessible to Deaf audiences, and the general opportunities for Deaf performers in the arts.

In 2005 she founded Cie Animotion with the aim of creating visual and international theatre and promoting sign language and Deaf culture.

In 2006 she was invited to be artist in residence with dance company Cie Songes in the south of France and spent six months developing projects for them with Deaf and hearing professional and non-professional performers as well as choreographing for the biennale de la danse in Lyon, and again in 2008.

Having started to develop her techniques in choreography and mis-en-scene with mixed ability  performers, she started to put into place a series of projects that would continue to develop these techniques.

In 2007 she worked again with Cie Songes, creating a masked and physical theatre piece with Deaf and hearing performers, and again in 2008 with a piece of commedia.

In 2007 she created The War of The Buttons that has since toured in the UK, France, Finland and Ireland.

In 2008 she created L’enfant Lune, based on the children’s book, ‘Moonbird’ by Deaf author Joyce Dunbar, in 2009, the multi-disciplinary and homage to silent cinema, children’s show Portmanteau and in 2010 the street show Diaspora.

In 2008 she initiated and directed a knowledge transfer project with Sheffield University and Doncaster Deaf College in relation to theatre spaces and the physical effects of acoustics.

This work led her to work in a more sensorial way in her creations and to favour intimate theatre experiences.

One piece of work as a freelancer is the sensorial journey through the seasons, for one audience member at a time, Lettre d’amour aux fleurs et au vent, and she has performed with this piece in Spain, Italy and France since 2012.

In 2009 she created an homage to silent cinema, with children’s show Portmanteau. 

Working as both street performer and in intimate spaces, as a freelancer she has worked for Tell Tale Hearts (UK), Wright Stuff Theatre of Puppets (UK), DNA (UK), Faceless Street Theatre (UK), Urban Angels Circus (UK) Cie Amanda Polo (France), Cie Songes (France), Cie Bulle & Plume (France), Cie DuO des Branches (France) and Vice & Versa (France).

She has performed and taught in France, UK, Spain, Italy, Austria, Finland, Ireland and the Czech Republic, and has worked with children, adults, young people with learning and behavioural difficulties, and in universities, schools and prisons.

In 2014 she worked on two creations, children’s shows JoJo and Billie’s Tour de France and Silver Moon, as well as heading LAB+, an international artistic laboratory of creative development and exploration in visual and physical theatre.

She started her aerial-dance piece, Je m’appuie sur toi in 2014, and was supported in 2015 by Jacksons Lane (London) and Arts Council England.

She has also been developing her own pedagogy in inclusive choreography; her work has recently been followed by Reading University’s BA in Deaf, Education and Theatre Studies.

Having studied dance as part of her training at Bretton Hall, as well as following the BA Dance practical sessions, she continued her professional training at Yorkshire Dance Centre and had work experience in the education department at Phoenix Dance, assisting on the Outreach programme.

She was recently outside eye for dance company Compagnie 158 for their solo show for young audiences and early years, “Dans mon potager”.

She danced with aerial dance company, ‘DuO des Branches’ in their street show, ‘DuO d’Elles’ in 2014.

Tango dancer for over ten years, she trained with many dancers including Pablo Rodriguez, Fernando Sanchez, Marcelo Almiron and Andres Cejas, and has danced in milongas all over Europe.

Diaspora is a piece mildly inspired from the sense of culturel displacement, prejudices and discrimination she has experienced and been witness to, the stories of migration of her family over Europe and America, an effort to try and fight against xenophobia & racism and to bring people together, whatever their language, culture, religion or sexual preference.

Find out more about Hayli here.