In July 2014, Bess collaborated with A Company of Girls (whose mission is to strengthen and empower girls and their families and foster community through the arts) to pilot a seven-day creativity residency called the Big Mouth Collective. Bess facilitated writing and acting activities with ten girls (10-14 years old) exploring the concept of the inner voice character, how it can function as a critic, and what creative tools we can use to find an inner ally.

Up Next:
Critic as Character Workshop
Saturday, February 7, 2015
1:30-4:30 PM at Portland Stage Company

This dynamic, interactive, creative workshop focused on exploring the Inner Voice Character will be offered on a donation basis (pay-what-you-like) and is made possible in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission. Participation is limited to 10 adults (16 and over). Please see the description below. For more information or to reserve your spot email bigmouththunderthighs.

Here's what some past workshop participants have to say:

"Very open and welcoming."
Critic as Character Workshop
Critic as Character Workshop participants with their critic creature creations.

"I had a fun time and it was helpful for me to take a look inside myself."
"Friendly, safe, respectful."
"So much offered in a short amount of time."
"Positive, caring and supportive environment."
"I got to use a creative side I almost never use."
"Motivational and inspiring."
"Good sense of humor."

So what is this Critic as Character Workshop anyway? Here's facilitator Bess Welden's answer:

Have you ever wondered who that voice in your head really is? And why s/he feels the need to constantly criticize? I had always thought my inner critic was just me talking to myself, but then I had what you might call an “aha” moment when that voice materialized into a character separate from myself.

I have designed the Critic as Character Workshop as an interactive creative exploration based on the essential ideas and exercises I used to get to know my own inner critic working on Big Mouth Thunder Thighs. During the three-hour session, I'll lead you through a visualization process to discover how your inner critic looks and sounds, we'll use some simple art supplies so you can manifest your critic outside of yourself, and then I'll guide you with some questions to help start your face to face dialogue.

You absolutely do not need any previous writing or acting or visual art experience of any kind to participate. You only need to be willing to allow yourself to tap into your imagination and get curious about the who, what, and why of your inner critic.

The workshops will be limited to 10 participants, 16 years and older. Please make a reservation by emailing, and indicate if you'd like to come February 22 or March 1.

We will work directly with you to tailor an interactive program to enhance the Big Mouth experience for your audience/ group/ students. None of the workshops require previous acting or writing experience.
  1. Post-show Talk Back. It is our goal that every performance will be followed by a facilitated discussion led by a member of our artistic team. These sessions can last from 20-45 minutes and are designed to create a safe, inclusive environment that ensures each participant is heard.

  2. Critic as Character. In this workshop (1/2 day to 1 full day), Bess leads participants through a process of identifying, creatively manifesting and then dialoging with their inner critics.

  3. Solo Performance Master Class. In this workshop, (1/2 day and up to 3 full days) Bess introduces building blocks for developing your own solo work based on the creative process she has used to create five solo shows of her own. The interactive sessions include special prompts to begin the writing process as well as techniques for moving your story from the page to the stage.

  4. Big Mouth Collective. In this creative residency (one to two weeks), Bess, Jennie and/or Reba will work with a group (anywhere from 4-20 people) to develop a performance piece based on exploration of the inner critic. We will experiment with words, movement, and sound to create a unique offering to share with an audience in your own community.

Please contact us for pricing and details: