Intimacy coordination on stage

Reactions to the workshop with actress Julia Effertz
Intimacy coordination - what does that mean? Teaching formats that deal with the scenic representation of intimacy, nudity, eroticism, various forms of sexuality and sexualised violence are very rare at arts universities. The actress and intimacy coordinator Julia Effertz gave a two-day workshop with students for the first time in November 2023 and gave a public lecture on the professional coordination of intimacy on the film set or on stage.

According to Julia Effertz, techniques that can be used to create mutual consent mean that students are less afraid of intimate and shameful scenes and know better how to communicate their physical and emotional boundaries. "As a safe learning space, the university really is the best place to work on intimate scenes with future artists so that they can then realise them later in their careers - well prepared - more naturally and routinely. (...) If all art colleges had a professional working process with consent practice, then this would also become widespread in the industry in the medium and long term."

Such an intimacy workshop should be "mandatory for all people who have scenic responsibility on and behind the stage", one directing student said in retrospect. For example, "recognising and verbalising one's own boundaries and the perception of responsibility" is absolutely essential for dealing confidently with intimacy on stage. Some voice students were also breaking new ground when it came to intimate scenes. However, the technical tools would hopefully enable a more confident and self-assured approach to rehearsals in the future.

Among the many voices of the students in the feedback, there is a strong desire to continue this work regularly in scenic projects or in lessons at the Eisler in order to minimise unintentional border crossings on the one hand and to be prepared for this type of scene in professional life on the other.

Collaboration with intimacy coordinators was therefore enshrined in the Eisler's equal opportunities concept, and after this positive première, it should be firmly established. Prof Mara Kurotschka, who is a visiting professor for scenic teaching at Eisler, initiated this workshop together with the university's Women's and Gender Equality Officer, Antje Kirschning.