WHISTLE-STOP STAGE SCHOOL
A bitesize taster of the techniques taught at drama school and typically employed within the profession. This workshop begins with vocal warm ups which release the breath, work the articulators and engage the centre. It then touches upon the more traditional, Stanislavskian techniques using scene studies in which students explore the effect of changing the objectives, obstacles and given circumstances of a piece of dialogue. Whole group exercises build on this and teach how one character’s objective can sometimes be thwarted by another’s!
We then move to less mainstream practitioners, using Meisner to unlock the students’ sensitivity to one another as actors and Laban to build character. For example, the Laban efforts are explored in depth so that, when each effort (dab, wring etc) becomes physically embodied by the students, they can see a very direct application in creating character. Is this person light and sustained? Are they heavy and sudden?
We then end with tips and trick for auditions, how to prepare a script and a Q and A on life out there in the professional world!
Please see my homepage for what I am up to currently. However, pertinent to this particular workshop, is the fact that I learned Laban under the tutelage of Vanessa Ewan, who wrote ‘Actor Movement: Expression of the Physical Being’. Along with Debbie Green, Vanessa revolutionised the way movement is explored in drama schools and she now works both on the West End and with high profile movie stars alike (ever wondered why Andrew Garfield made such a convincing spider?). Similarly, I studied Meisner technique with Nick Moseley, who wrote the book on Meisner (quite literally! see his guide entitled ‘Meisner in Practice’).
IMPROVe YOUR ACTING!
Learning to be responsive and alive within the moment is so important for an actor and what better way to do that than through improvisation! With exercises which cover both the funny and the serious, I teach students the techniques they need to master the art of improv. Thinking on your feet is essential in the world of acting and this workshop therefore provides invaluable tools for IMPROVing your craft and loosening up onstage!
This workshop also teaches students to be open to new ideas, to always say yes, and to listen to their fellow actors. Improv is for life, not just for comedy!
I performed with and wrote for the Cambridge Footlights during my time at the university. In addition to numerous Footlights Smokers (comedy sketch show evenings), I appeared with them as Watt the Devil in their pantomime version of Faust, as Babushka in Will Sharpe’s Hang on Mister Bugson, as Grandma in the Harry Porter prize-winning play, Dad, and as Judy in Punch and Judy.
After training for three years at Central, I returned to pursuing my interest in comedy and wrote and performed my one woman stand-up show Those who can’t….LEARN! at various London Fringe venues. It transferred to the Canal Cafe, before enjoying a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Upon my return, I went straight into rehearsal for News Revue (the longest running comedy show on the planet!), and the company continue to use my sketches. I now perform regularly with improv troupe Absolutely IMPROV-able. A group of former members of the Footlights, we improv all over the city.
I am currently writing a web-series in which Candace Morgan, the protagonist of Those Who Can’t…LEARN turns detective! Watch this space…..