Deborah Templeton is the pen-name of Dr. Deborah Middleton, a writer and researcher. Her creative writing includes commissioned performance texts, audio and radiophonic work, installations, and collaborations with composers. Her writing explores both inner and outer landscapes, is informed by research, including archival, and is often designed to create factually precise, sensory-rich experiences for readers and audiences. She is highly experienced in writing to commission briefs, and for specific locations. Since 2016, she has been developing writing that responds to 'place', including forest and woodland environments, and to heritage briefs. She also writes short fiction.
Deb co-founded the Performance and Mindfulness Research Project at the University of Huddersfield, and is a founding co-editor of the Journal of Performance and Mindfulness. She has published and delivered keynote academic papers on meditation and the arts, and her expertise in contemplative practice often underpins her writing projects. She occasionally offers supervision and mentorship to both creative and academic writers and researchers.
SELECTED WRITING PROJECTS
Water's Edge (2023) Short story and radiophonic audio, published by Confingo Press, Manchester.
Echoes of Appin (launch date: October 2021) Commissioned by Appin CIC. Brief: a series of audio experiences, relaying factual information about local history and environment through an artistic collaboration with composer Jamie Smith. Narrated by Kelly MacDonald.
Woodland Mindfulness Trail (2021) Commissioned by Sprytar for the Love Exploring app. Brief: an 8-stage audio trail for parks and woodlands which delivers mindfulness content through an artistic strategy.
one thus gone: contemplative woodland trail (2019, permanent exhibition)
Commissioned by the National Trust at Hardcastle Crags, W. Yorkshire. Brief: to write a series of short poems for installation on a woodland trail, designed to inspire mindfulness and enhance visitor engagement through an integrated arts/well-being strategy. Also published as a chapbook by Templeton's micro-press, Macushla Books.
Water's Edge/Na Okraji Vody (2018)
Commissioned by Czech Radio Vlatava. Co-created with the composer, Monty Adkins, and premiered in an abridged Czech translation on Radio Custica on 26 December 2018. Brief: 40-minute radiophonic work, referencing folk tradition. Publication of the full text and accompanying audio in English is forthcoming with Confingo Press (currently postponed due to the pandemic).
The Dreaming of Trees: Audio Experience (2018)
Co-created with composer, Julio d'Escriván, and published as book and audio in a fine, limited edition by Leonora Press. Presented as a sound installation at Wild Within exhibition, curated by La Wayaka Current, at Guest Projects, Shonibare Studio, London, 21 July - 8 August 2018; and at the Evolving the Forestconference and exhibition, Dartington, 19 June - 4 September 2019. Audio available at: https://soundcloud.com/descrivan/the-dreaming-of-trees-published/s-sgQPW
Clouds in the Cotton Weave (2018)
A contemplative and interactive performance experience created in collaboration with sustainability researchers at the University of Huddersfield. Premiere: September 2018, University of Huddersfield.
El Ensueño de los Árboles: woodland performance text (2017)
Commissioned by Nicolás Núñez, Taller de Investigación Teatral, UNAM, Mexico City; created on location in indigenous Panama; funded by Arts Council England & British Council International Artist Development Fund. Brief: to co-create an interactive woodland performance experience for public audiences through writing informed by indigenous knowledge. Premiere: Dir. Nicolás Núñez, Taller de Investigación Teatral, July 2017, Quinta Colorado, Chapultepec, Mexico City.
Puentes Invisibles: interactive performance text (2016)
Commissioned by Nicolás Núñez, Taller de Investigación Teatral, UNAM, Mexico City. Brief: a contemplative performance text for interactive theatre based on Núñez's writings on Tibetan culture in his book, Anthropocosmic Theatre. Premiere: Dir. Nicolás Núñez, Taller de Investigación Teatral. Premiere: 4 November, 2016, Casa del Lago, Chapultepec, Mexico City.
Borderlands: audio performance/installation (2014)
Commissioned by IOU Productions for the installation, Totum One: a 360 degree audio-visual laboratory. Co-created with Monty Adkins (composer). Brief: to create an audio experience in response to an immersive installation environment. Premiere performance in Totum One, The Junction, Goole, UK, 18- 20 September 2014. Full audio performance and contextual essay published online in Liminalities journal, vol. 12, issue 2, 2016. Audio available at: http://liminalities.net/12-2/borderlands.html
Tender Light (2014)
Commissioned by the composer, Monty Adkins. Brief: to produce a short story in response to a 'psychogeographical exploration of places and how they impact on our identity and feelings'. Published in the interactive ebook: Adkins, Harvey, Payne, Templeton, Deborah (2014) Rift Patterns. Audiobulb. http://www.audiobulb.com/albums/AB051/AB051.htm
Stolen and Other Stories (2012)
A chapbook of short poetic fiction, exploring folk motifs in contemporary form, published by Templeton's micro-press, Macushla Books.
Stolen Performances (2012-13)
The stories collected in Stolen have also been realised as performance texts:
- The Dream Shedding (May, June 2013) Wild Goose Theatre Laboratory, various venues in the north of England; (December, 2015). Dir. Tray Wilson, University Centre, Oldham.
- El Faro (2014) Chor. Eva Keijzer, Estudio de Ballet Tecamachalco, Mexico City.
- Bluebeard's Daughter (2013). Deborah Templeton and Chris Coe, in Myth, Fantasy and Fairy Tales in Literature and the Arts Conference, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. November 2013, and at various venues in the north of England (2012-13).
EIGHT BELLS: on silence, theatre & meditation (2023) Invited international guest paper at XII Simpósio Internacional Reflexões Cênicas Contemporaneas 2023, Teatro Lume, Campinas, Brazil. Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mudY8qvJSs
A HUGE SILENCE (2021) Presented at the 2nd Seminar on Performing Arts and Contemplative Practices: Performing Arts, Contemplation and Coexistence, Available at: https://www.grupotradere.com/keynote
AWAKE IN THE WORLD: Contemplative Arts as Mindfulness in Action (2020) Presented online for C.A.F.E 229, Tzu Chi Center, New York. Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxhRWddCRi4
SELECTED ACADEMIC WRITING
Middleton, D. K., (2023) 'A Huge Silence: And the Way of Words', Performance and Mindfulness 5(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/pam.1267
McEachern, M., Middleton, D. & Cassidy, T. (2020) 'Encouraging Sustainable Behaviour Change via a Social Practice Approach: A Focus on Apparel Consumption Practices' in Journal of Consumer Policy, 43, 2, pp. 397-418.
Núñez, N., Middleton, D. (ed.) & Chamberlain, F. (ed.) (2019) Anthropocosmic Theatre, 2nd ed. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield Press. [Chapters authored by Middleton: 'At Play in the Cosmos: The Theatre and Ritual of Nicolás Núñez'; 'Case Study: The Flight of Quetzalcoatl - Teotihuacan, Mexico (2000)'; 'Defining the Dynamics'; 'Secular Sacredness in the Ritual Theatre of Nicolás Núñez'.
Middleton, D. & Plá, D. (2018) 'Adapting the Dharma: Buddhism and Contemporary Theatre Training' in Journal of Global Buddhism, 19, pp. 113-125].
Middleton, D. & Núñez, N. (2018) 'Immersive Awareness' in Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 9, 2, pp. 217-233.
Middleton, D. (2017) 'Mapping Mindfulness-based Performance' in Journal of Performance and Mindfulness, 1, 1.
Templeton, D. & Adkins, M. (2016) 'Borderlands: An Exploration of Contemplation in Creative Practice' in Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies. 12, 2.
Middleton, D. & Moss, T. (2015) 'Beware the Danger of Merging: Conceptual blending and cognitive dissonance in the work of IOU Theatre' in Journal of Artistic Research, 8.
Middleton, D. (2012) 'Cultivating Change: Personal Challenge in Psychophysical Training' in Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 3, 1, pp. 41-54.
Middleton, D. & Chamberlain, F. (2012) 'Entering the Heart of Experience: First-Person Accounts in Performance and Spirituality' in Journal of Performance and Spirituality, 3, 1, pp. 95-112.
Middleton, D. (2008) 'Secular Sacredness' in the Ritual Theatre of Nicolás Núñez' in Performance Research, 13, 3, pp. 41-54.
AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
International Artist Development Award, Arts Council England (2017).
La Wayaka Tropic Residency, Panama (2017).
Hemera Contemplative Artist Award (2017).
Kone Foundation Award (2016).
Saari Residency, Finland (2016). With Karoliina Sandström and Monty Adkins.
Vermont Studio Centre Residency, USA, (2016).
University of Huddersfield Research Development Fund (2015). Mindfulness and Performance Project.