Hayli Clifton trained at Bretton Hall and with Philippe Gaulier in Paris.
Working as a physical performer for companies such as Horse and Bamboo Theatre of Masks and Wright Stuff Theatre of Puppets she asked herself if the work she was creating with other companies was accessible to Deaf audiences, and the general opportunities for Deaf performers in the arts.
In 2005 she founded Cie Animotion with the aim of creating visual and international theatre and promoting sign language and Deaf culture.
In 2006 she was invited to be artist in residence with dance company Cie Songes in the south of France and spent six months developing projects for them with Deaf and hearing professional and non-professional performers as well as choreographing for the biennale de la danse in Lyon, and again in 2008.
Having started to develop her techniques in choreography and mis-en-scene with mixed ability performers, she started to put into place a series of projects that would continue to develop these techniques.
In 2007 she worked again with Cie Songes, creating a masked and physical theatre piece with Deaf and hearing performers, and again in 2008 with a piece of commedia.
In 2007 she created The War of The Buttons that has since toured in the UK, France, Finland and Ireland.
In 2008 she created L’enfant Lune, based on the children’s book, ‘Moonbird’ by Deaf author Joyce Dunbar, in 2009, the multi-disciplinary and homage to silent cinema, children’s show Portmanteau and in 2010 the street show Diaspora.
In 2008 she initiated and directed a knowledge transfer project with Shefﬁeld University and Doncaster Deaf College in relation to theatre spaces and the physical effects of acoustics.
This work led her to work in a more sensorial way in her creations and to favour intimate theatre experiences.
Recent work as a freelancer is the sensorial journey through the seasons, for one audience member at a time, Lettre d’amour aux ﬂeurs et au vent, and she has performed with this piece in Spain, Italy and France, and dancer with aerial dance company, ‘DuO des Branches’ in their street show, ‘DuO d’Elles’
Working as both street performer and in intimate spaces, as a freelancer she has worked for Tell Tale Hearts (UK), Wright Stuff Theatre of Puppets (UK), DNA (UK), Faceless Street Theatre (UK), Urban Angels Circus (UK) Cie Amanda Polo (France), Cie Songes (France), Cie Bulle & Plume (France), Cie DuO des Branches (France) and Vice & Versa (France).
She has performed and taught in France, UK, Spain, Italy, Austria, Finland, Ireland and the Czech Republic, and has worked with children, adults, young people with learning and behavioural difﬁculties, and in universities, schools and prisons.
In 2014 she worked on three creations, aerial-dance piece, Je m’appuie sur toi and children’s shows JoJo and Billie’s Tour de France and Silver Moon, as well as heading LAB+, an international artistic laboratory of creative development and exploration in visual and physical theatre.
She has also developed her own pedagogy in inclusive choreography, and her work has been followed by Reading University’s BA in Deaf, Education and Theatre Studies.
Having studied dance as part of her training at Bretton Hall, as well as following the BA in Dance’ practical sessions, she continued her professional training at Yorkshire Dance Centre and had work experience in the education department at Phoenix Dance, assisting on the Outreach programme.
She was recently outside eye for dance company Compagnie 158 for their solo show for young audiences and early years, “Dans mon potager”.
Tango dancer for over ten years, she trained with many dancers including Pablo Rodriguez, Fernando Sanchez, Marcelo Almiron and Andres Cejas, and has danced in milongas all over Europe.
When she’s not dangling in the air or writing funding applications, she plays the role of Bessie in this show, bakes biscuits for the crew, is in charge of football practise during lunch breaks for the company (generally ending in someone losing the ball over a wall), oversees team massages, group hugs, and is generally quite splendid.
You can read more about her here.
Photo : Laurent Quinkal