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Hayli Clifton is an UK born Performer and political activist living in France. She works as a freelancer for many physical theatre companies and is the artistic director of Compagnie Animotion, a visual theatre company making work for both young and family audiences, and for Deaf, hearing and international audiences.
As a tango dancer she trained, amongst others, with Pablo Rodriguez, Fernando Sanchez, Marcelo Almiron, Andres Cejas and Carole Vincent-Wright.
Hayli has lived permanently in France since 2008. She is married.
Since 2002, Hayli has worked as a performer and puppeteer in the UK, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Austria, Spain, Finland and Ireland for many physical theatre and dance companies, including Horse and Bamboo, The Wright Stuff Theatre of Puppets, Dynamic New Animation, Dance company Compagnie Songes, Street Theatre companies Faceless and Compagnie Amanda Pola, Ariel Theatre company Urban Angels Circus, Improvisation group The Kelman Group and Children's Theatre company Tell Tale Hearts.
She has worked as a sign language performance artist with The Big Blue Band.
She has worked since 2005 as a voiceover artist for various recordings and children's books.
Artist in Residence
In 2006 she was invited to be an Artist in Residence for six months with dance company Compagnie Songes, in Bourg-lès-Valence, France.
During her time with the company she developed her practice by organising two week long workshops for Deaf and hearing members of the public, Sortir du Nid and Language of Silent Flight (the initials LSF correspond to French Sign Language - Language de Signes Francaise) and this is now part of her company's creative statement.
She has been one of the influences for Autojeu theatre, a new company based in the UK.
As well as the works of Compagnie Animotion, Hayli directed a solo show with Irish performer Mark Hanly in 2011. She has also worked with bands on their mis-en-scène and complicité.
Following her interest in sign language, she began to research theatre work created for Deaf audiences and found there "was very little work made for Deaf audiences in the UK". In 2004 she created Compagnie Animotion with the aim to make work for Deaf and hearing audiences, to promote sign language, to create professional opportunities for Deaf people in the arts and exchanges with Deaf and hearing artists.
It is very important to her that theatre is an intimate and shared experience, accessible to all, no matter what language or culture.
In 2009, her company was granted a three year residency in the French town of Livron-sur-Drôme, and they have created many events for and with the public including a film on the residents of the town projected onto the buildings during the winter of 2009, a Festival of Light in 2010 and 2011, a weekend Carte Blanche filled with workshops in photography, theatre, writing and shows and delivery of weekly workshops.
Challenging Professional Practice
During 2006 and 2008 she challenged her own ways of professional practice creating choreographies for Deaf and hearing performers for the Biennale of the Danse in Lyon, with the Compagnie Songes and headed a project called L'esperluette with the Compagnie Songes for Deaf and hearing amateur performers.
Her non-verbal way of working was so successful that the rehearsal space was silent for ten days, at all times of the day, as hearing participants, new to sign language used every non-verbal way of communicating that they could with their Deaf colleagues.
Choreographing with Deaf and hearing dancers, she used visual signs and physical touch as signals for changes in rhythm and music. In the second choreography in 2008, the participants were wearing masks, so could only use touch as a main signal for any changes.
She currently works as actor and director for Compagnie Animotion and works as a workshop leader with different groups in the Rhone-Alpes region, using theatre as a therapeutical tool including young adults with learning difficulties, children with behaviour problems, schools, youth centres and teacher training units.