Intimacy practice becomes university course

Intimacy practice becomes university course

Ita O'BrienThe world’s first university-validated Intimacy Practice MFA (Master of Fine Arts) course has been launched, by Intimacy on Set and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, led by intimacy practitioner Ita O’Brien.  

The two-year course will be validated by the University of East Anglia* and will begin in September 2023. 

Now a regular contributor to film and TV productions, an intimacy co-ordinator (aka practitioner) is a relatively new addition to the industry, and one that was brought about by the growing demand for support for those involved in scenes of an intimate nature while on set. The new course acknowledges the growing importance of the role. 

O’Brien is considered a pioneer of the role of intimacy practitioner, having first started to develop best practice in Intimacy at Mountview in April 2015, invited by Meredith Dufton – who was head of movement at the time – and has since worked with production companies and organisations including the BBC, Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV, Channel 4, HBO, Sky, ITV, the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House, among others. 

O’Brien, founder of Intimacy on Set, said: “I am delighted that we are today launching the world’s first training in Intimacy Practice at MFA level, and specifically with Mountview where I taught movement some years ago. Intimacy Practice is a young profession, and whilst awareness of its existence has grown considerably in the last few years, deep understanding of good practice is missing. 

“To ensure we develop a profession which can proudly grow with excellence we need to be able to train talented individuals who can navigate the both physical and emotional journey that each actor will go on, and can responsibly and safely deliver the intimate content as envisioned by the director, the storytelling and each character. 

“Intimacy On Set are leaders in this field, whose skills and rigorous training demonstrate best practice, our goal is for our bespoke guidelines to be adopted by the industry worldwide advocating for safe, fair and dignified work for everyone. This world first with Mountview, will help ensure we can do this.”

Sally Ann Gritton, principal of Mountview, added: “We are proud that Mountview is spearheading this important industry development by offering formal Intimacy Practice training at MFA level. Our course will grow an expert network of practitioners, ensuring the provision of safe rehearsal and performance practices and encouraging further research in this area.

“It is an especially proud moment for us, given that much of the early development of this work was done in our own studios within our Movement Department together with Ita.”

(* subject to validation)

Ita O’Brien image via Nina Photography 

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