Stanislavsky Research Centre Launch

Please join us for the inaugural event of the Stanislavsky Research Centre based at the University of Leeds.

‘The Inner Creative State: Practical Stanislavsky for the 21st-Century Actor’

A Practical Lecture/Presentation to celebrate the launch of the Stanislavsky Research Centre, by Bella Merlin, PhD.

May 7th 2019 (5-7.30pm) Alec Clegg Studio, stage@leeds, University of Leeds

In our increasingly digitized and visual industry, actors have to adapt their skillsets constantly for different media, styles of storytelling and myriad roles. How might we develop our ‘inner creative state’ so that we can remain professionally flexible, imaginatively available and emotionally thin-skinned? 

In this practical lecture/presentation, Bella Merlin draws upon recent experience in film, theatre and actor training to share how Stanislavsky’s ‘toolkit’ provides a sound bedrock for developing our ‘inner creative state’. Using the fundamental principles of Active Analysis, along with tools including a ‘constant state of inner improvisation’, the ‘creation of the living word’ and ‘dual consciousness’, Merlin addresses how practice-as-research can take us deeper into our acting processes. 

Bella Merlin, PhD. is an actor, writer and Professor of Acting and Directing at the University California, Riverside. Her publications include The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit (NHB, 2014), Konstantin Stanislavsky (Routledge, 2018), and Facing the Fear: An Actor’s Guide to Overcoming Stage Fright (NHB, 2016).

Tickets are free but registration is essential:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/stanislavsky-research-centre-launch-a-practical-lecture-by-bella-merlin-tickets-57588750503

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception with more details about the Centre’s programme of activities.

We look forward to welcoming you to Leeds.

Paul Fryer (Director)

Jonathan Pitches (Deputy Director)

Call for Papers – TaPRA 2019, Performer Training Working Group: ‘Exercise’

University of Surrey, 4-6 September, 2019

The Performer Training Working Group

The Performer Training Working Group has been meeting for thirteen years and has produced several collaborative outputs, including a variety of contributions to the thrice-yearly journal, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT), dedicated to training in all its manifestations, and this blog.

The Context – ‘Exercise’

Performer training is often conducted through and made up of ‘exercises’. These short activities, put together in a particular structure are the substance of what the trainee undertakes in the studio.  And yet, what is an exercise?  The most obvious definition from the Oxford English Dictionary is ‘a task set to practise or test a skill.’  However, the many meanings of the word imbue it with a host of connotations including physical training, military drills, or the use of one’s rights.

Exercises to train performers are documented in the Natya Sastra (500 BCE – 500CE) and Zeami’s treatise (14th Century CE) and have proliferated around the world in the wake of Stanislavski’s systemization of acting at the start of the 20th Century.  Exercises are the core of performance training; books about performance in all its forms commonly contain catalogues of exercises; workshops and masterclasses are often structured around engagement with and critique of exercises.  And yet, possibly through the blindness of familiarity, this fundamental building block of our work usually escapes interrogation.

We are seeking contributions that add to our understanding of what exercises are, the different ways they have been used in performance training, what their limits are, and what might be beyond them.

We Invite:

We invite contributions in a variety of formats from practical demonstrations and workshops (30-60 minutes), traditional academic papers (20 minutes) and provocations (10 minutes).   Practitioners and researchers without institutional support are encouraged to apply and may contact the convenors to discuss ways that we might facilitate this.  Contributors may also wish to make use of the TDPT Blog as part of their presentation.

For full details please go to the TaPRA website:

The deadline for the submission of a 300-word proposal, plus additional information, is Monday 8th April 2019.