"Drama is the only art form which fully recognises our gregarious nature…"
John Hodgson was a pioneer in the world of drama and dance in education. He was a gifted and inspirational teacher, dedicating himself to encouraging the skills and passions of his students. 
The John Hodgson Research Trust was founded shortly after John’s death in 1997, to encourage research into theatre arts, past and present, by offering financial grants for individual projects in these areas.
The Foundation is administered by four trustees, whose aim is to safeguard the capital, to invest it in such a way as to generate sufficient income to support a choice of projects, to invite submissions and to select and monitor the chosen projects. It also aims to promote the work of the Trust to as wide a constituency as possible to increase the number and quality of the submissions received.

COVID Response Grants

Early in 2020, in response to the Covid 19 Pandemic, the Trustees of the JHTRT decided to offer one-off grants of £1,000 each, to support individuals working in the theatre and the performing arts. Applications were invited from anyone in these particularly hard-hit areas, to enable them to pursue individual research and performance projects during the lockdown. Candidates were asked to submit a report, podcast or Vlog describing their project, its proposed development and its potential research value.
The Trustees were impressed by the sheer range, variety and excitement of the proposals, and are delighted to be able to publish the candidates’ summaries of their projects.
Here are three new summaries:

'Towards Authenticity in Radio Drama'

Roger Elsgood
The JHTRT Covid Grant initiative provided me with a valuable opportunity to gather together strands of previously unorganised thought. It enabled me to write a piece about the prevailing  level of inauthenticity in the production of audio drama, significantly that produced by BBC Radio  drama departments. I suggested that the BBC Radio drama production model was and is based  on the accountancy-led principles of Hollywood movie production, a process in which creativity is  never the primary consideration and in which every attempt is made to bamboozle the audience  by replacing authenticity with fakery. I develop this argument amongst caveats about the  necessary complicity between all dramatic production and the audience that perceives it, in which  the suspension of disbelief remains the essential ingredient of all drama. But I suggest that a  viable alternative approach to the studio-based, SFX-saturated, quick turnaround dramas  produced by BBC drama departments exists; the process of recording audio drama on location  with, yes, actors in costume et al. This way of working draws the audience closer to the story; the  production is richer, vibrant and most importantly, more realistic and authentic to the audience  because it mirrors their life experience. I refer to David Edgar’s idea that “drama has rules and  drama-makers need to know the rules, because the rules are the possession of the audience”.  And I conclude with speculative thoughts about how audiences know how and when the rules are being broken. Audience approval is essential because approval equals applause.

'Folk Dance Forms and the Future'

Athina Vahla
In September 2019, invited by the Japanese Integrated Dance Company Kyo, I embarked on a research project and contemporary performance outcome based on the folk dances KinyaMonya and ShigesaBushi, of the Japanese islands Oki, in the north of Japan.
I realized that that project could inform a model for how to bring folk dance forms into the future:  ‘transitioning the tradition’, from ‘within’ - meaning from its source materials, so that the core of the original form remains intact.
The performance outcome took into consideration rhythms, movement, and spatial patterns, as well as, contextual elements: historical, geographical, and social.I initially looked at Western minimalist music techniques, as an interdisciplinary method. 
The performance outcome was presented in the Theatre of Amacho island and at Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, in February 2020. 
During Covid-19, the J. Hodgson Theatre Research Trust supported me, to produce a reflective report on the project experience based on diary notes, observations, creative strategies, and a SOAS collaboration.
The report forms the basis towards a global methodology for researching folk dance forms into the future, I look forward to developing.

'A New Approach to Actor Training'

Luis Gallo Madurra
Your support during the pandemic has helped me to research ways in which my didactic vocabulary in the field of actor training could be enhanced by reflecting upon my existing methodologies but also by discovering new approaches.
I believe it is my duty as educator and director to keep on revising my practice. It is most appreciated when organisations such as the JHTRT realise the importance of self and industry development outside of conventional academic settings.
In all aspects of life and in all industries we are asked to innovate; have a richer participation but we often fail to remunerate the questioning, evaluation and creation of new strategies to implement excellence and realise new outcomes.
The JHTRT’s help has allowed me to dedicate my time to move my practice forward. The findings of the research will be put to test as part of a new initiative called G.A.S.P. (Garden Acting Studio Project). 
G.A.S.P. will utilise the garden and eventually the indoor spaces of the Master Shipwright’s House, Deptford to offer actor training, R&D and support performance opportunities. 
“Thank you ever so much for your support, generosity of spirit and very encouraging words...during a difficult time. Much appreciated and very much touched. As expressed in my submission a big thank you to all of you at the Hodgson Trust. What a thoughtful and meaningful gesture to split this to smaller funds to encourage and support artists in crisis...It encouraged me to invest in a research project that I feel has a great potential for the future and good heart in it”. - Athina Valha
“The award was a most valuable initiative during a difficult period. Many thanks for the opportunity it provided.” - Roger Elsgood
“Thank you so much for the time to study, think and reflect. It has been invaluable. At the time of being awarded the grant I had lost 90% of my work and had to cancel a planned period of professional development and R&D for a new project”. - Anne Langford
"I was thrilled to receive the grant from the John Hodgson Theatre Research Trust. I used it to research and outline an Actor/Carer Scheme in the Performing Arts. I’m very pleased I contacted the John Hodgson Theatre Research Trust, and very grateful for the help I received to back such a worthwhile cause, especially in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic which has caused such damage to many in the Performing Arts industry." - Natalie Law