The Touch Diaries

Weston Studio

World premiere commissioned by ICIA

The Touch Diaries is a research project exploring touch and human connection across generations. The first phase of the project culminates with a dance film screening, a sharing of live performance work in progress and panel discussion.

Through a series of workshops and diary-studies, choreographer Lisa May Thomas has been finding out what people think about touch and how things have changed in the digital age. Even though we are super ‘connected’ isolation and loneliness are increasingly prevalent – not only for older people but also for the younger generation. How has this affected our physical interactions?

Lisa’s research has formed the basis of a short dance film The Touch Diaries. The film uses the moving body in a range of locations to express some of the ideas, stories and questions that have emerged from the workshops and written diaries. How does touch occur, or not occur in different places, what are the different codes of touch that exist between us and how do we deal with the absence of touch in our lives?

Alongside the film premiere there will be a sharing of live performance work in development and an accompanying talk with Lisa May Thomas and her collaborators; cinematographer Adam DJ Laity, producer Cheryl Pierce and performers Will Dickie, Anne Gaëlle Thiriot and Verena Schneider. They will be joined by Simone Fullagar and Stephanie Merchant from the Physical Cultural Studies Group at the University of Bath who are undertaking evaluation of the project.

The project is commissioned by ICIA, University of Bath and supported by Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts, Theatre Bristol and Activate Performing Arts, Dorset.


About Lisa May Thomas

Lisa May Thomas is a contemporary dancer and choreographer based in Bristol who has worked extensively with dance for screen. She has recently returned to live performance through her investigations into improvisation in performance applying her ‘camera eye’ to a live context.

Trained at Laban, Lisa became a founding member of Janis Claxton Dance in 2001 and has since performed nationally and internationally, working with directors in both dance and theatre. Lisa’s interests lie with somatic practice and improvisation techniques which she has directed towards education and training as well as dance film and live performance.

Her award-winning film work has been presented at international festivals and broadcast for TV. She has been supported as Associate Artist at Watershed Media Centre, Bristol Old Vic, Dance South West, South West Screen, Dartington Hall, ICIA, Arnolfini, Chisenhale Dance Space and her work has been profiled by the British Council.

She is a resident artist at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol.

All Tickets £5


Touch Diaries TRAILER



Image credit: Paul Blakemore


Stay in Bath

After seeing the Touch Diaries  you can stay in a room on campus which makes a great base to explore Bath.