Transformational spaces that explore + cultivate wholehearted living


Paul Derek Robert Woodward

BA(hon) theatre, PGCE (drama), MA (distinction), currently PhD candidate researching disclosure and storytelling. I have worked in secondary and university teaching contexts for over 20 years and worked both nationally and internationally as a workshop leader and a multi-published scholar in physical performance and storytelling.

My journey so far…
I have worked as a director/performer/writer for physical/experimental theatre companies since the late 80’s. Graduating with an MA (distinction) in Theatre at Royal Holloway, I consolidated my research into body/sign systems in Theatres of Asia & its application to Sign Language Theatres of the Deaf. I remain active as a professional director/dramaturg & have most recently collaborated with Maxine Doyle (First Person dance/theatre & Punchdrunk productions) & Dr Josephine Machon (Brunel University) investigating the interface between the body, popular cultures & technology. I have delivered physical theatre workshops nationally and internationally including the international festival of therapy and theatre, Lodz, Poland and in Knysner, South Africa working with HIV positive children in the townships. I was a Senior lecturer in Drama & Physical Theatre at St.Mary’s University College for 16 years and am now currently working on a practice as research PhD investigating the performativity of HIV (dis)closure at Monash University in Melbourne after wining a double scholarship. My most recent adventure in storytelling and disclosure was in Swaziland in Africa where I worked with a choir of AIDS orphans on a performance storytelling project empowerment project.

My colleagues would describe me as…
Passionate, compassionate, empowering and deeply committed leader but with an absolute dislike of administration work, which kinda makes me a great person to do creative work with but a pain in the arse in the day to day stuff

The Quest has enabled me…
To fall in love with gay men again in all their glory and diversity through listening to their stories which make me feel that I am not alone and nor is any gay man willing to just see beyond the glittering surface.

What makes your approach different
I think we all have stories about who we would like to be and project them onto the world, but I like to think that I encourage stories about who we really are as gay men, all our victories and failures, all our hopes and our fears and loves and loves lost (and found again)… It is in the space of THOSE stories that I feel free and creative and powerful and engaged and part of something bigger than myself. In that space I see the REAL potential of gay men and of myself.

To me, community is…
Possibility, love, compassion, care , a force for change (in an ideal world)

My motto for life…
You can never really know a person until you walk around in their shoes for a little while (Atticus Finch: To Kill A Mockingbird)

Most likely to spend my down time…
I’m big on brunch at the weekend catching up with mates and laughing about the week – café culture in Melbourne rocks for that kinda thing.

Your words of wisdom for the curious but unsure
A life lived in fear is a life half lived!

Help, Im in love with a narcissist! By Steven Carter & Julia Sokol

Gotye – Making Mirrors

Currently The Newsroom (but Buffy has to be my all time favourite!)

French Cuisine

Fat Yak – it’s a thick, gloopy, strong Australian beer – a meal in itself! lol