Paul Clayden

Personal statement

Paul Clayden joined the Dance Department faculty at Bath Spa in 2004 as a Senior Lecturer in Dance Techniques and Performance. He has been integral to the creation and integration of the Dance course currently taught at Bath Spa.

He has worked as a performer with numerous dance and physical theatre companies since 1980, including Mantis Dance Company, DV8 Physical Theatre, Siobhan Davies Company, Yolande Snaith TheatreDance, Extemporary Dance Theatre, Motionhouse and Rosemary Butcher. He has a wealth of experience with small-scale independent projects and international touring companies. He was a guest rehearsal director for the Ludus Dance Company and re-mounted Siobhan Davies work 'Rushes' on the Rambert Company in the late 1980s. As a performer, he is experienced in a diverse range of techniques: the codified dance techniques of Cunningham, Graham and Classical, and the experiential techniques of Release and Contact Improvisation. His creative knowledge is in the areas of physical theatre techniques, dance and theatre improvisation, choreographic sourcing and devices.

In the 1980s he formed the ACGB funded companies "Paul Clayden Dancers" and "Rubberneck". His choreographic CV lists over 30 works for stage and film, commissions by companies such as Modern Dance Turkey, Silesian Dance Theatre, Helicon Dance Company, Biserk Dance Company, Arcadia Spectacular and The Lords of Lightning.

He has created works for dance and theatre Institutions which include DeMontfort University, London Contemporary Dance School, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Yildaz University of Istanbul, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and The Laban Centre.

He has taught for the last 30 years to a broad spectrum of abilities; in the early 1990s he was a lecturer at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance where he had an active role in the creation of the degree course. He is regularly invited to teach at the Laban Centre and the London School of Contemporary Dance and has worked at other leading universities for dance and performance.

His research is in the related areas of the understanding and teaching and learning pedagogy of performance and creativity:

  • Investigation into the sources of action and movement, the exploration of impulse in relation to codified techniques and theatricality. This has developed, since teaching at Bath Spa, into the exploration of the balance between spontaneity and impulse, and the facilitating of the source of ideas with the preconceived and analytical processes that may guide or inhibit the creativity of improvisation and the subsequent structuring of choreographic work.
  • Developing of strategies within the studio to facilitate performers understanding and creative appreciation of their personal boundaries, working towards developing a broader understanding of the performer's role and place in relation to developing technologies and the ever shifting focus of dance theatre.
  • Exploration of the relationship betwee training and body culture, between the genres of dance, physical theatre and circus/street theatre.

Paul was Head of Creative Movement at Circomedia and contributed to the writing and implementation of the two year foundation degree in Circus and Physical Theatre.

Professional memberships

  • Bristol City Council steering committee for Arts Council South West initiative for dance for Bristol. 

Other external roles

  • 2013 - Mentor: Jilted Pig
  • 2012 - Mentor: Annabelle Holland, Theatre Director for the work "The Bed"
  • Mentor/guest director: Boom for their touring production "Floored"
  • 2011 - guest director: Circus performer, "Tao" preparing a Chinese Pot act.

Teaching specialism

Experienced lecturer in Dance Techniques with a working knowlege of:

  • Release
  • Cunningham
  • Graham
  • Ballet
  • Contact improvisation
  • Performance studies
  • Repertory and physical theatre improvisation.

External examiners

  • 2014 - 2016 Bristol City College
  • 2017 Academic Examiner for Chichester University (Periodic Review).

Current scholarship

  • Researching the practice and relationship of Creativity and Learning between Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus
  • Research in the development of Dance Performance methodology relating to physical techniques and creative performance
  • Developing computer based skills in video, web and music technology
  • Creating and ongoing development of methods of practice and updating of current university modules
  • Currently looking at the understanding of source and impulse in relation to spontaneity and analysis. Developing the appreciation of the balance between the constituent ingredients that inform creativity and communicate through performance.

Recent professional updating

Formed the performing company, The Bureau of Random Acts both at Bath Spa with students and in Bristol with professional performers specialising in Alternative Cabaret and Theatre walkabouts. The Bureau performed a variety of works at over 10 Festivals in the Summer of 2010. Paul has developed closer links with the renowned Group based in Bristol The Invisible Circus and co-directed their Show The Carny Village.

Paul was Creative Director on the Arcadia Spectacular presented in the Arcadia field at Glastonbury and Bestival. In 2015 he has been collaborating with Arcadia and the Lords of Lightning on productions that incorporate Tesla technology with music and performance/dance. This has been performed in Macau and Glastonbury Festival.

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

Lords of lightning

Clayden, P (2015) Lords of lightning. The Venetian Macau, MSAR, 14 April 2014.

Tarantino Cabaret

Clayden, P (2014) Tarantino Cabaret. In: Shambala Festival, Northamptonshire, UK, 21-24 August 2014.

La luna cabaret

Clayden, P (2013) La luna cabaret. In: Shambala Festival, Northamptonshire, UK, 22-25 August 20013.

Chimp juice

Clayden, P (2011) Chimp juice. In: Maker Festival, Cornwall, UK, 2011.

Granthology (The Bureau of Random Acts)

Clayden, P (2011) Granthology (The Bureau of Random Acts). In: Larmer Tree Festival, Salisbury, UK, 11-15 July 2012.

Familia (Bureau of Random Acts)

Clayden, P (2011) Familia (Bureau of Random Acts). In: Maker Festival, Rame, UK, 1-3 July 2011.

Carny Ville

Clayden, P (2010) Carny Ville. The Island, Bristol, UK, 2010.

Brideschool (Bureau of Random Acts)

Clayden, P (2010) Brideschool (Bureau of Random Acts). In: Larmer Tree Festival, Salisbury, UK, 14-18 July 2010.

Arcadia Spectacular

Clayden, P (2010) Arcadia Spectacular. In: Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, Glastonbury, UK, June 2010.

Force of substance

Clayden, P (2003) Force of substance. Touring production, 2003.

Inertia reel

Clayden, P (2003) Inertia reel. Touring production, Turkey, 2003.

Why we save ourselves

Clayden, P (2002) Why we save ourselves. Touring production, 2002.


Clayden, P (2000) Bodyheat. Touring production, 2000.


Clayden, P (2000) Spectre. Touring production, 2000.

Tiny downfalls

Clayden, P (1995) Tiny downfalls. Touring production, 1995.

Departing harbour

Clayden, P (1995) Departing harbour. Touring production, 1995.


Clayden, P (1993) Crocodile. Touring production, 1993.


Clayden, P (1990) Subterranean. Touring production, 1990.


Clayden, P (1988) Rubberneck. Touring production, 1988.


Clayden, P (1987) Dangerfield. Touring production.


Clayden, P (1987) Glances. Touring production.

Adverse camber

Clayden, P (1986) Adverse camber. Touring production, 1986.

Full tilt tour

Clayden, P (1986) Full tilt tour. Touring production.


Clayden, P (1986) Sideshow. Touring production, 1986.


Clayden, P (1985) Deadlining. Touring production, 1985.

Nettle city

Clayden, P (1984) Nettle city. Touring production.

Drunk alert

Clayden, P (1984) Drunk alert. Touring production, 1984.

Creepy dub

Clayden, P (1984) Creepy dub. Touring production, 1984.

Dandelion dangle

Clayden, P (1983) Dandelion dangle. Touring production, 1983.

Dandelion dangle 2

Clayden, P (1983) Dandelion dangle 2. Touring production, 1983.

Meanwhile....Nettle City offers a dandelion dangle to the over-ripe blossom

Clayden, P (1983) Meanwhile....Nettle City offers a dandelion dangle to the over-ripe blossom. Touring production, 1983.

Donut plains

Clayden, P (1982) Donut plains. Touring production, 1982.

We call it acieed

Clayden, P (1988) We call it acieed.

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