‘Transformation through education’ has been the guiding principle which has under-pinned Gill Foster’s career as an actor, director and teacher of drama and theatre. Witnessing the transformative impact of education in her father’s life inspired Gill to dedicate her own working life to providing others with similar life-changing opportunities. As a teacher-practitioner Gill has devoted her career to developing students’ artistic excellence in theatre practice whilst insisting on inclusivity and access throughout.
Gill's pedagogic research centres on an exploration of interdisciplinary performing arts practice in education and in particular, developing new methodologies for delivering language and cultural education through drama and movement practices. Her work on developing trans-national creative partnerships has earned her an international reputation and created numerous professional and educational opportunities for the students involved.
Impact of work
Through her work in higher education, Gill became acutely aware of the challenges facing young people – often from non-traditional backgrounds – who wish to work in the creative industries. In response to this, Gill developed a unique work-based learning programme which is embedded within the curriculum to enable her students to work with major theatre companies and directors whilst studying at university and many of her students are now working successfully in the industry – and often credit her as the catalyst for their careers.
Gill was a founding member of the action research project, Animarts investigating the artistic discourse between practitioners and educators and promoted the central role of creative partnership in effecting change through the arts in the education and the community.
Plans for the future
From the early 2000s onwards she has developed a series of innovative, inter-cultural theatre projects working in China, Europe, the US and Canada. Earlier this year, Gill pioneered a ground-breaking model for inter-generational theatre with Southwark Playhouse and the New York Theatre Workshop and her latest work, a new play entitled Crossing Borders created in collaboration with staff and students of Ryerson School of Performance, will open in LA and Toronto later this year.
Associate Professor Drama and Performance
London South Bank University