Opening the Body ~ Unleashing the Voice ~ Performing the Poets You Love

Objective: In this workshop, artists will explore the language landscape of a contemporary poet of choice in order to invite its words, images, and themes into a performative practice. Multi-hyphenate artist and educator, AeJay Antonis Marquis,  will guide students through text play, movement scores, and vocal experimentation to support the devising of new solo or duet performances for the stage. All theater makers looking to find new ways of exploring poetic text on stage are welcome. Some experience in devising solo work may offer support, but is not required for participation.  This workshop will invoke practices of Pearl Primus, Meredith Monk, Irmgard Bartenieff, and Jacques Lecoq as we explore the limitless possibilities in poetic language.  We also invite you to bring in the poetry you love on the page and want to further explore as a theater maker. From Claudine Rankin to Ada Limón, Ocean Vuong to Fatima Ashgar – whose language ignites your drive to create?

The workshop will be taught in six sessions with an invited performative opportunity in the new MSC Theatre at 514 Fourth Street, San Rafael.

Session 1: Introduction and Unlocking the Text, January 23

In this session, we will discuss who we are, the poets that inspire, and the language in which we hope to play. We begin to define images and detail, collectively breaking open each poem to find its contemporary urgencies.

Session 2: Gestural Repetition: A Language Study, January 30

In this session, we begin to explore the architecture of language. How does each sound influence, manipulate, inform, and destroy our current understandings? In what ways does it awaken us? How does it annihilate expectations of what is deemed accurate? Derrida and Benjamin might arrive here.

Session 3: Flow, Staccato, and Stillness: A Movement Study, February 6

In this session, we will explore the movement realities found in the shape of poetry. From periods to ellipses, capitals to vowels, how does the world of the poem invite our bodies to devour the space? Lecoq and Bartenieff will be invited here.

Session 4: An Elongated Note: A Vocal Study, February 13

In this session, we will explore the songs of freedom or containment found in our poetry. Using the influence of Monk and Afro-centric Call and Response, we will explore pathways towards rhythmic recitation.

Session 5: Offering an Hypothesis, February 20

In this session, we will begin to paste pieces of exploration into a sort of series, offering an hypothesis on what this new work in progress may be. Peers will offer feedback and ideas.

Session 6: Refining the Research, February 27

In this session, we will consume what tastes delightful and expel what wants to live elsewhere. This is a practice of allowing a choice to live without a value judgment. Peers may offer collaboration and play.

Session 7: A Reconstruction or What you Will, March 5

In this session, we will invite a chosen community to witness our reconstructions. Placing the work in the air, and allowing it to simply live there.



Tuition assistance available. We aim to open our doors, always.

Inquire at:


Tuesdays from 7 – 9 pm beginning January 23 through March 5, 2024


Marin Shakespeare Company, 514 Fourth Street, San Rafael

AeJay Marquis Mitchell (They/Them) is a multi-hyphenate performance artist, scholar, educator, and activist whose work centers the decolonization of the theatrical canon, the black avant-garde, and queer political performance practice. They were recently witnessed in the critically acclaimed The Ni¿¿er Lovers at The Magic Theatre and served as the co-director, choreographer, and vocal arranger for the world premiere of Ryan M. Luevano’s Dance Plague. Some of their favorite creative projects include Antigonick and Marisol with The Black Box @ SPA, The Legend of Pink, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Sister Act with Theatre Rhinoceros, as well as Robert O’Hara’s Booty Candy and American Ma(ul) at the Brava Theatre with BACCE. They serve as an Artistic Producer at Playwright’s Foundation, and they are a member of the Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience collective, Omega Delta Kappa Honor Society, Literary Manager and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and Actor’s Equity.