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How to… perform naked

Adam Scott-Rowley. Photo: Bessel McNamee

1. Believe in the piece

There’s probably not much worse than having to get your kit off in a show that you don’t believe in. Luckily for me, This Is Not Culturally Significant is a piece I wrote myself and so there aren’t any creative disagreements when it comes to the nudity. I think the only way to be comfortable on stage when completely naked is if there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever in your mind that the nudity is justified, necessary and contributes to the piece or performance more than being clothed would.

2. Acclimatise to the space

Make sure you spend a decent amount of time acclimatising to the performance space before the audience comes in. A good time to do this would be during your warm-up. Just make sure you’re comfortable, at peace with the performance you’re about to give and mentally prepared. I often find it useful to sit in the auditorium and visualise my performance on the stage. Apologies to whoever ends up in that seat.

3. Treat it no differently to any other performance

The performance itself shouldn’t be treated any differently to a clothed one. If you’re focusing on the play and your intention, then you will soon forget that you’re naked. There’s also that wonderful thing that happens after five minutes or so when the audience gets accustomed to a naked body (you can tell when this happens as their gaze usually rises a little) and it becomes as if you were doing any other performance – clothed or not.

Adam Scott-Rowley is performing in This Is Not Culturally Significant at the Gilded Balloon at the Museum, Edinburgh, [1] until August 26. He was talking to John Byrne