I am Programme Leader for the MA Applied Theatre and Education. I am also a practicising artist running an applied theatre production company based in Derbyshire.
Information on my Practice as Research PhD by publication:
Three multi-disciplinary interconnected solo performances explore the by-stander role. Why do some people risk their own life to save others? What makes someone compelled to act? My methodology used a/r/tography mixed method data collection approaches. Through the roles of artist, researcher, and teacher I worked with almost 5,000 participants/audiences. These productions toured schools, theatres, festivals and academic conferences over a ten year period investigating agency and activism within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Through participation, the productions explored how we activate the by-stander or tritagonist position.
Tritagonist Theatre and the bystander: three interconnected solo performances towards rehearsal contributing to public agency
I teach on the MA Applied Theatre and Education programme
I support on the BA Theatre Arts and Joint Jonours Theatre programmes
I trained as an actor forty years ago and continue to work professionally in theatre, film, commercials and television.
I have my own production company developing new and exciting work on a range of research areas including working with children, refugees and looked after young people.
My industry professional experience includes: Artistic Director and producer co-founder of Tangere Arts in 2003, co-Artistic Director of Yorkshire Women Theatre and Central Line Touring, Artistic Programmer for Hull Truck Theatre (2010) and Associate Director for CAST Doncaster (2015). I have also worked with Derby Theatre as a Youth Theatre director, delivering training to Youth Theatre directors for NAYT, Scottish Association of Youth Theatre Directors and working on National Theatre Connections Festivals 2015, 2016.
I trained with Augusto Boal in Forum Theatre and Rainbow of Desire (1990/92). I also worked closely with Dr Dorothy Heathcote over many years delivering work to our students at University of Derby. My work has won several awards including:
2020: Winner of Children & Young People Now: Arts & Culture Award: 'Journeys of Destiny' and companion piece 'Destinies'
2006: Winner of the NHS Promoting healthy lifestyles: Diversity and Patients' Choice Award Winner: “Quality of the drama work was dynamic!”
2005: Amber Valley Health Authority and Ava Hunt won Pamela Sheridan Award for SRE (sex and relationships education) Project in Primary Schools - a national award for good practice
2001: “Best Performance” IVCA Award for “Trials of Barry Simpkin”
2000: Millennium Fellowship Award: Performance Development with Kneehigh Theatre
2009 - 2010I'm No Hero toured venues throughout Nottingham and Derbyshire. Material draws on key historical events during the Holocaust and a contemporary story in Palestine This work has continued and I am currently in receipt of Arts Council funding and University of Derby Research funding to travel to Israel and Palestine.
2013 - Research with my Applied Drama students used Michael Morporgo's book The Kites Are Flying in schools to develop ideas. I then travelled to the West Bank and worked with theatre companies: The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, and The Alrowwad Centre in Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem. I filmed and worked with children, then performed a new multi-media one-woman show based on the book and using footage filmed in the West Bank at Derby Theatre and Nottingham Playhouse.
2014 - Following on from my research in the West Bank, I was commissioned by Amnesty International to create a new one-woman show called "Acting Alone" which performed as part of the Wirksworth Festival. In 2015, the Arts Council grant funded a reworking of the piece which then toured both nationally and internationally. The piece focused on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the role of the international community.
2016 - Delivering workshops in schools looking at migration and social division using in-role Mantle of the Expert with young people and teachers in collaboration with Dr Redman in Delhi India.
2015 - 2017 - Research focuses on young refugees using autobiographical and verbatim material. Following a six-month period of international travel and research developing ideas for a new piece of theatre with artists in Australia focusing on the themes of young refugees. This research was funded by the British Council. The material has been piloted with young audiences with Derby Youth Theatre and to audiences as part of National Refugee Week (June 2017).
2019 - Continued research into refugee stories. Journeys of Destiny told the verbatim story of Syrian Saad Alkassab. This successfully toured schools and theatres throughout the region.
2019 - Real for Me is a new research piece using drama to investigate the effect of social media and pornography on young people's relationships. An article will soon be published about this project.
2021 -2019 - Destines - a co-creation piece with young people with care experience and young unaccompanied asylum seekers with Sinfonia Viva and Derbyshire County Council Virtual School. This production moved from a theatre experience to online delivery as a result of COVID19 lockdown. The piece was a filmed theatre piece that was screened at Derby Theatre as part of the Culture Cares Conference 2021.
2022 - A/r/tography Research Cluster - a new Journal will be launched later this year - working with a new editorial board.
Membership of professional bodies
British Actors Equity
Fellow of HEA (Higher Education Academy)
Diploma in Acting, The Drama Studio, Ealing
MA in Drama in Education, University of Derby
PGPLT - Teaching in Higher Education, University of Derby
PhD by publication - in progress
2015 - Politics, Protest and Performance Conference at University College of Cork, performance of Acting Alone
2015 - Performance of Hope: International Applied Theatre Conference University of Auckland, performance of Acting Alone
2016 - IFTR: International Federation Theatre Research in Stockholm, paper and extract of Acting Alone
2016 - Applied Theatre Education Conference University of New York - paper and extract of Acting Alone
2016 - Lincoln University - Political Theatre - performance of Acting Alone
2017 - ISTR - Irish Society of Theatre Research, Nottingham University presented conference paper on verbatim and participatory theatre
2018 - ADSA - Melbourne University - Conference paper on verbatim and The Learning Theatre at Derby Theatre
2019 - ASSITEJ Norway - presented paper on Mental Health Crises and Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA)
2019 - TaPRA Exeter - paper on Journeys of Destiny - refugees and social cohesion - how do we remove the echo chambers?
Experience in industry
I have worked as a professional actor, director, programmer and producer for 38 years some of the companies that I have worked with include: Shared Experience, Hull Truck Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Salisbury Playhouse, Half Moon, Language Alive, Tangere Arts, Theatre Centre. As well as my television work including: Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Touch of Frost, Dangerfield, The Royal Today, Grown Ups, Heartbeat etc.
My theatre work includes working for: Theatre Centre, Half Moon Young Peoples Theatre, Avon Touring Theatre, Yorkshire Women, Roundabout Nottingham Playhouse, Derby Playhouse, Derby Theatre. As a Youth Theatre Director, I have worked for Shared Experience, Derby Theatre, TV Workshops Nottingham.
I have created participatory drama for young people and community audiences covering subjects including: alcohol misuse, sex and relationships education, HIV/AIDS, refugees, bullying, domestic violence, young carers, knife crime, eating disorders, racism, transition, environmental issues, citizenship and aspiration.
I have extensive experience in the business/corporate sector using theatre, drama facilitation and role play.
2010 - 2011 - Hull Truck Theatre - Artistic Assistant - responsible for programming main stage and studio space with drama, comedy, music and dance. Programmed Children's Theatre Festival, Black History Month and worked with a wide range of community groups to engage and increase diversity and cultural inclusion.
2015 - Cast at Doncaster - Associate Director - responsible for community outreach, new writing rehearsed play readings, programming master classes, and liaising with Arts Council Creative People and Places funded community and theatre engagement programme supporting community cast.
2019 - 2021 - continue to work as a freelance actor in film and TV and director/producer.
1991 - 2015 - USSR, Sri Lanka, Czech Republic, Israel, Palestine, Romania
2016 - Calais (The Jungle), France, working with charities researching refugee stories for development with artists in Australia including:
Sydney Theatre Company (Creative Learning)
Belvoir Theatre (Nell Runney)
Treehouse Theatre working with child refugees
Craig Christie playwrite and musical theatre writer/composer
2017 - Dehli, India, delivering workshops in schools with teachers and young people with Dr Redman on the use of in-role and Heathcote's Mantle of the Expert
2018 - Working with Saad Alkasab in Melbourne, Australia, recording verbatim material to contribute to "Journeys of Destiny"
2020 - Vienna: CONNECT UP presented a paper with Derby Theatre and 12 European countries' theatre mediation, with artists and teachers creating access for marginalised communities
Play alto saxophone in community band performing throughout Derbyshire
In the media
I have worked television for over 30 years including: Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Touch of Frost, Dangerfield, The Royal Today, Grown Ups, Heartbeat, Grange Hill, Casualty etc
I regularly contributed to a discussion group The Loudmouths on BBC Radio Derby (2012-2015)
I am asked to comment on social issues including the representation of older women in film, TV and theatre and refugees in Calais - 2012-2018
Hunt. A (2019) Acting Alone: exploring bystander engagement through performer/audience relationship Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and performance
Braverman. D., and Hunt. A (2020) Creating Community Resilience: Theatre for young audiences and the mental health crises National Drama’s electronic journal, Drama Research: international journal of drama in education
Hunt. A., and Wooster. R. (2021) ‘Social Distancing without Emotional Distancing?, Journal of Applied Arts & Health Special Issue: Vol.12-3 Art-based Research in Health and Well-being During the Pandemic
Hunt. A (2022) Real for me: co-creation drama negotiating safer sexual boundaries, Routledge: Drama in Education: Editors Mary McAvoy and Peter O’Connor