TDPT 11.2. Training for Performance Art and Live Art

We are delighted to announce the publication of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training 11.2, Training for Performance Art and Live Art, guest edited by Heike Roms (University of Exeter).

The view that one can only practice and not practice for performance art and live art has persisted since the emergence of time-, body-, and action-based performance artworks in the 1960s. After all, to speak of ‘training’ evokes ideas of technique, mastery or tradition, ideas that the artists engaged in performance art and live art have frequently sought to challenge or altogether abandon. However, many of the artists who have shaped the history of performance art and live art have also been committed teachers; pedagogical approaches to performance practices emerged at the same time as the practices themselves; educational institutions have frequently offered material support for the making of performance works and provided a living for artists; and artist-led, non-institutional training spaces have adopted events and publications as alternative forms of curricula. Acknowledging the importance of training not just in the formation of a performance artist but as part of their continuing practice also means to value experience, expertise and professional standing as part of the work of performance art and live art.

This special issue brings together contributions that address the theme of training for performance art and live art in reference to different histories (covering the 1960s and 1970s as well as the recent present); diverse geographies (examining developments in the UK and in Portugal); institutions and anti-institutions (covering art schools, summer schools, festivals and workshop programmes); and varied approaches to teaching and training as a performative inter-generational transaction.

Gavin Butt’s ‘Without Walls: Performance Art and Pedagogy at the “Bauhaus of the North”’ traces the impact of libertarian teaching in the 1970s at arguably the most influential teaching institutions for the history of performance art in the UK, Leeds Polytechnic. In ‘Lessons from Outside the Classroom: Performance Pedagogies in Portugal, 1970-1980’, Cláudia Madeira and Fernando Matos Oliveira recount approaches to performance training as they developed in Portugal in the wake of the 1974 revolution outside of formal institutions.

Deirdre Heddon’s ‘Professional Development for Live Artists: Doing it Yourself’ explores the history of the DIY professional development scheme as an example for how training practices are being reimagined as live art practices in themselves. In ‘Training for Live Art: Process Pedagogies and New Moves International’s Winter Schools’, Stephen Greer examines the New Moves International (NMI)’s winter school as another key example for an artist-led scheme that made productive live art’s resistant relationship to established forms of performer training.

In ‘“I’ve been as intimate with him as I have been with anybody”: Queer Approaches, Encounters and Exchanges as Live Art Performer Training’, Kieran Sellars identifies in the cross-generational performance collaboration between Sheree Rose and Martin O’Brien a form of queer embodied discipline that draws on BDSM as well as Live Art lineages. And in ‘Curious Methods–Pedagogy Through Performance’, Leslie Hill and Helen Paris document the close ways in which their training methods have reflected on and contributed to their creation of live performance work.

The Training Grounds section (edited by Bryan Brown) supplements this with a collection of shorter essais, postcards, and a book review (edited by Chris Hays). Will Dickie’s expanded essai (accompanied by videos available here on the TDPT blog) investigates the application of psychophysical actor training to live art. In the issue’s second essai, a trio of practitioners (Áine Phillips, Dominic Thorpe and Tara Carroll) offer insight into three generations of Irish live art practice by detailing transformative encounters with their teachers. The two postcards for this special issue (by Sara Zaltash and N. Eda Erçin) wrestle with the entanglements of live art practice, life and communities. And Campbell Edinborough’s review of Marina Abramović’s memoir Walk Through Walls furthers the discussion of how a live artist’s work is their life while querying the ability to turn that life into a method.

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Phillip Zarrilli — Kaite O’Reilly’s Letter

Below I have posted a letter from Kaite O’Reilly regarding the recent passing of Phillip Zarrilli. While this may not be news to some of you, I wanted to pay tribute to Phillip on this platform in the most fitting way. In the coming months, we will be posting reflections on Phillip’s work from some of his alumni, and if you would like to contribute, please feel free to comment on this post or contact me at jimmyacademy@gmail.com if you would like to write a stand-alone post from your own perspective. Rest in peace Phillip.

Kaite’s Letter:

On 9th March 2020 when Phillip received the news from his oncologist that the cancer he had been living with for fourteen years had begun to ‘seriously party’ (his words) he said to me ‘this is our last adventure together.’

I have been so fortunate, having this great mind, this gentle and generous man as my companion in so many ways – loving, working, living, travelling, thinking, writing and making performance alongside him for twenty one years, with and without The Llanarth Group. The journey may continue, but now it is in parallel, perhaps, not our accustomed hip-to-hip together.

Phillip died on 28th April 2020 at 13.52 UK time. He rode out on a breath – like so many times in his teaching he spoke of riding the breath to that moment of completion at the end of exhalation – the space in-between at the end of one cycle before the impulse of the next inhalation begins. This time came no inhalation.

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AntigoneNOW: rehearsing, making and performing Antigone online

Sinéad Rushe, May 2020

24 hour streaming on 22 May, 2020
midnight (22) to midnight (23) Pacific Standard Time

I was invited as the Spring 2020 Granada Artist in Residence to the University of California Davis to direct a stage production of the Greek tragedy, Antigone, at the Wyatt theatre, in the Seamus Heaney translation. With lockdown, when it was becoming clear that I wasn’t going to be able to go, my American collaborator Margaret Kemp and I started to imagine what we could do instead. Given that we were in a world pandemic, a global crisis, it felt essential to try still to do something. How could we follow through on our collaboration, creativity and community engagement in this unprecedented moment in history? How could we create a piece that would speak to this crisis? We decided to make a performance film instead, rehearsing online, creating it online and performing it online.

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10 Free-to-Access Articles to Celebrate 10 Years of TDPT

In the middle of last year when we were considering how best to celebrate 10 years of TDPT, we focused in on the idea of 10 free-to-access articles representing the last decade of the journal’s activity: A Desert Island Discs, or Training Top Ten.

That was before the profound changes brought about by the global pandemic, an event which seems to have carved history into two: BEFORE and AFTER. Then, in the blissful period of BEFORE, we had no idea how precious online resources would be, how far the digital space would become home for so many of us, so quickly and involuntarily. 

Now in the deeply unsettling and unknown period of AFTER, this selective retrospective of the Journal’s activity since 2010, joins an unprecedented landscape of free digital resources and innovative online endeavour gifted to the world. In our selection, editors, Libby and Jonathan have tried to represent the international and intellectual diversity which has characterised contributions to TDPT from the very beginning. In doing so, we have had to leave out the vast majority of the excellent contributions we have published over the years.  What we offer here, then, is a snapshot of TDPT’s sizeable intervention into the field of Performer Training, one produced in what now seems a different world.  If you can, please read every one of the free to access articles, and engage with us and the authors, in the comments box on the blog. Why not start, where it all began in 2010, with Marijke Hoogenboom’s, ‘Building with Blocks’ article? Her final words, turning Kafka on its head, are more pertinent than ever: ‘We are here, so there is hope’.

By Jonathan Pitches

A number of the authors of these articles are writing reflections on their work from their current perspective. These will be posted on this Blog in the coming weeks. The first of these is Roanna Mitchell’s reflection on her 2014 article, ‘Seen But Not Heard’, ”Seen But Not Heard’: Some thoughts on the actor’s aesthetic labour six years on.’

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The Diaphragm in Performance — Postcard from IPPT Kent 2020

A short video postcard from the International Platform for Performer Training, Kent, January 2020.

TDPT Issue 11.1 published — celebrating 10 years of the journal

We are delighted to flag up the publication of 11.1 – the open issue of TDPT and the one that marks the completion of 10 years of the journal. It was disappointing to have to postpone TDPT birthday celebrations, due to Covid-19, planned for Leeds earlier in the month. However, the flood of appreciative emails that came in marking the 10th Birthday were heart-warming and inspiration for the next decade.

When you have had a chance to look through the contents do feel free to respond in our Comeback pages of the blog. We’d love to hear reactions to this diverse and lively collection of contributions.

Volume 11 Issue, 1 March 2020

CONTENTS

Editorial
Libby Worth, Jonathan Pitches and Thomas Wilson

Articles

Student and teacher attitudes towards overtraining and recovery in vocational dance training
Peta Blevins, Shona Erskine, Gene Moyle, and Luke Hopper

From bodymind to bodyworld: the case of mask work as a training for the senses
Frank Camilleri

Essai
On horses and contact
Thomas Wilson

Articles

How might Embodied Cognition, Contact Improvisation and Meisner’s Standard Repetition Exercise together illuminate actor movement training? Tine Damborg

The first class: Harold Lang and the beginnings of Stanislavskian teaching in the British conservatoire
Vladimir Mirodan

Emotional character: the prospects for a personality-based perspective on embodied learning in dance
Edward C. Warburton

Examining the pedagogy of theatre lighting
Kelli Zezulka

Events Review
Michael Chekhov Advanced Masterclass at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance July 15th–19th 2019, led by Lisa Dalton and Janice Orlandi
Aiden Condron

Reviews

Performing Architectures: Projects, Practices, Pedagogies
Tessa Rixon

Creativity and the Performing Artist: Behind the Mask
Mark Seton

Correction
I Correction

Notes on Contributors

The Editors

Jonathan Pitches is Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Leeds in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries. He specialises in the study of performer training and has wider interests in intercultural performance, environmental performance and blended learning. He is founding co-editor of the TDPT and has published several books in this area: Vsevolod Meyerhold (2003), Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting (2006/9), Russians in Britain (2012) and, Stanislavsky in the World (with Dr Stefan Aquilina 2017). His most recent publications are: Great Stage Directors Vol 3: Komisarjevsky, Copeau, Guthrie (Sole editor, 2018) and the monograph, Performing Landscapes: Mountains (2019).

Libby Worth is Reader in Contemporary Performance Practices, Royal Holloway, University of London. She is a movement practitioner with research interests in the Feldenkrais Method, physical theatres, site-based performance and in folk/traditional and amateur dance. Performances include co-devised duets; Step Feather Stitch (2012)and dance film Passing Between Folds (2017).She is co-editor of TDPT and published texts include Anna Halprin (2004, co-authored), Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist (2012, co-edited), Jasmin Vardimon’s Dance Theatre: Movement, Memory and Metaphor (2016). Chapter contributions include on clog and sword dancing for Time and Performer Training (2019, she co-edited) and ‘Improvisation in Dance and the Movement of Everyday Life’ for the Oxford Handbook of Dance Improvisation (2019).

Training grounds editors

Aiden Condron has been an actor, performance maker and actor trainer for over twenty-five years working across the UK, Europe and the US. He is a Lecturer in Acting at The Institute of the Arts Barcelona (IAB). Aiden was founding artistic director of Nervousystem, a Dublin-based international performance laboratory from 2002–2012. Recent theatre work includes performances in a number of works by Samuel Beckett including Westward Ho, Ohio Impromptu and That Time, performed in Japan and Russia. Aiden’s current teaching and research activity investigates processes and practices of actor and performer training within the domain of presence, play and action, examining the actor’s dramaturgy as a field of autonomous creation.

Chris Hay is Lecturer in Drama in the School of Communication & Arts at the University of Queensland, Australia. Prior to this position, he held appointments at the University of New England, the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), and the University of Sydney, where he completed his PhD in Theatre & Performance Studies in 2014. He has published on Australian theatre history and creative arts pedagogy, including his book Creativity, Knowledge & Failure: a new pedagogical framework for creative arts (2016). His current research projects examine the origins of Australian government arts funding, and Australia’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Thomas J. M. Wilson is a Module/Year Coordinator for BA (Hons) European Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Initially training in Equestrian Vaulting he competed at European-level in the mid-1990s. Subsequently he has engaged in practices rooted in the intersection between dance and theatre methodologies, working as both a performer and director/choreographer in a range of contexts. Thomas served on Oxford Dance Forum’s Steering Group (2008–10) and has regularly contributed to Total Theatre Magazine since 2001. He is an Associate of Gandini Juggling working as their Archivist and Publications Author. He is the author of Juggling Trajectories: Gandini Juggling 1991–2015, which was shortlisted for The Society of Theatre Research Book Prize 2016.

The Contributors for 11.1

Dr Peta Blevins is a sessional academic at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and works as a freelance dance educator, researcher, and performance consultant specialising in dance and performance psychology, safe dance practice, and mindfulness skills for performance. Her research interests include enhancing psychological recovery in dance, mindfulness and performance, and health and wellbeing in the performing arts. Peta is a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, and is currently a National Executive Committee Member of the Australian Society of Performing Arts Healthcare.

Frank Camilleri is Associate Professor in Theatre Studies at the University of Malta where he also directs the School of Performing Arts’ research group for 21st Century Studies in Performance. He is Artistic Director and founder of Icarus Performance Project, which serves as the main platform of his practice as research (www.icarusproject.info). He has performed and given workshops since 1989, and has published various texts on performer training, theatre as a laboratory, and practice as research. He is the author of Performer Training Reconfigured: Post-psychophysical Perspectives for the Twenty-first Century (Methuen Drama 2019).

Tine Damborg (DK), graduated as a Master of Fine Arts in Movement: Teaching & Directing, from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (2016-2018). She holds the equivalent to a BA in Contemporary Dance from The Danish School of Performing Arts (1992-1995) and has worked as a freelance dancer and performer in dance shows, performances, rock-musicals, touring children’s theatre, and site specific works. In 2005 she began to develop her dance, movement and yoga -teacher practice. In 2005 she founded the Danish youth contemporary dance company, “U-kompagniet” and works as a movement specialist at The Danish School of Performing Arts, Acting department in Odense. (EDITED BY EN)

Dr Shona Erskine is a registered psychologist in private practice and an Adjunct Lecturer at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University. Dr Erskine has an expertise in delivering psychology for performing artists through professional companies, universities, and in private practice. Dr Erskine has developed curriculum in areas of mental wellbeing and creativity with an interest in disseminating best practice models to performing artist, teachers, and directors.

Dr Luke Hopper is a lecturer and Director of the Dance Research Group at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Dr Hopper has published over 20 papers in the field of performing arts health in collaboration with major ballet companies and industry partners. In the interests of disseminating of health evidence which prevents injury and illness in performing artists, Dr Hopper has served on the Board of Directors (2014-2016) of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science and as President of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare.

Vladimir Mirodan, PhD, FRSA is Emeritus Professor of Theatre, University of the Arts London.  Trained on the Directors Course at Drama Centre London, he has directed over 50 productions in the UK as well as internationally and has taught and directed in most leading drama schools in the UK.  He was Director of the School of Performance at Rose Bruford College, Vice-Principal and Director of Drama at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Principal of Drama Centre London and Director of Development and Research Leader, Drama and Performance, Central Saint Martins. He is currently the Chair of the Directors Guild of Great Britain Trust and of the Directors Charitable Foundation.

Professor Gene Moyle is a graduate from the Australian Ballet School and QUT Dance, retraining as a sport and exercise psychologist following a brief career as a professional dancer. Gene has focused upon both the application and research of performance psychology and performance enhancement, particularly within the performing arts and has significant experience in working with and leading multidisciplinary teams within high performance settings (i.e., Olympic programs). She possesses specific expertise in the area of career development and transition in both elite sport and the performing arts, and contributes regularly to the literature on the ethical considerations of sport, exercise and performance psychology practice.

Edward C. Warburton is Professor of Dance at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Warburton received early training at the (U)North Carolina School of the Arts and danced professionally with American Ballet Theater II, Houston Ballet and Boston Ballet. His interest in cognitive dance studies began when studying for a doctorate in human development and psychology at Harvard University. A widely published author, his research explores the relational practices and cognitive processes that support (or undermine) the doing, making, and viewing of dance. Warburton is the recipient of several awards including UCSC’s Excellence in Research (2012), the U.S. National Dance Education Organization’s Outstanding Dance Researcher (2016), and Teachers College’s Sachs Distinguished Lecturer at Columbia University, New York City, NY (2017).

Kelli Zezulka is a postgraduate researcher in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at University of Leeds. A practising lighting designer, she is also a non-executive director of the Association of Lighting Designers and editor of its bi-monthly magazine, Focus. Her research interests include theatre lighting education, creative collaboration, early lighting designers in the UK (1950s to 1960s), trans-languaging and code-switching, and interactional sociolinguistics.

Extended Deadline for Proposals: TDPT Special Issue: Independent Dance and Movement Training

Dear Colleagues,

Given the Covid-19 dramatic changes to life over the last weeks, we have extended the deadline for proposal submissions to the guest editors for the special issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training on ‘Independent dance and movement training to 24th April 2020.

Please would you circulate widely amongst Independent Dance and Movement academics and practitioners?

Many thanks,

                         Libby

Please see the updated Call for Proposals here:

CfP: TDPT Special issue: Performer Training in Australia

Special issue on Performer Training in Australia to be published as TDPT Vol 12.3 (September 2021)

Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors

Guest editors:
Dr Chris Hay, University of Queensland (chris.hay@uq.edu.au)
Professor David Shirley, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University (d.shirley@ecu.edu.au)
Dr Sarah Peters, Flinders University (sarah.peters@flinders.edu.au)
Training Grounds editor:
Dr Soseh Yekanians, Charles Sturt University (syekanians@csu.edu.au)

Conjoined with blood and tears, the axiomatic price of supreme rigour and achievement. Sweat (water, ammonia, salt, sugar) is deemed a noble and miraculous secretion, yet we habitually strive to disguise it. […] In the unapologetic seclusion of the training space, it becomes the proof of our proud status as grafters, as corporeal, visceral, present, working.

As described in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training’s “A Lexicon of Training Terms” (3.1), sweat is a constituent part of training — a synecdoche for the tension and effort that underpin it. Sweat is also a precondition of living and training in Australia, from our corporeal engagement with a heating continent to the metaphorical ‘she’ll be right, mate’. This no sweat, laissez-faire acceptance of the status quo finds its way into training through “a willingness to ‘have a go’; a refusal to be cowed by received authority […] a characteristically Australian suspicion of influence” (Maxwell 2017, p. 326).

The image of sweat also brings with it metaphors of fear, tension and anxiety, often drawn out or extended. This sense of determination over time pushes back against a conception of Australia as the rushed continent, whose artists seek to take short cuts to success. Hugh Hunt, the inaugural director of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, cautioned as much in a 1959 public lecture:

We sometimes expect theatre to be made too quickly. Australians are impatient people, who would like their theatre to be made as quickly as wool grows on a sheep’s back. It takes many years to make it; it takes time to train and develop actors and producers. (Hunt 1960, p. 4)

What has changed since Hunt’s proclamations? What is the labour of training in Australia, and how do we train an “impatient people”? In a country where sweat comes easily, do we mistake the by-product of hard work for the work itself? Hunt, like many others in Australian performance history, speaks only for white Australians: how do (or might?) the distinctive temporalities, collaborative modalities, and lineages of practice of First Nations training and performance inflect performer training in Australia?

Despite the diversity and range of its performance ecology and the prestige in which its major training institutions are held, Australia’s influence in and contribution to key debates has, until fairly recently, remained surprisingly marginal. While much doctoral-level work has considered training in Australia, there is no authoritative, published history of Australian performer training. The history of training is thus another iteration of what Ian Maxwell terms “Australian theatrical bricolage” (2017, p. 338), its history an assemblage of sometimes contradictory facts, uncertain pathways, and unsubstantiated anecdote. In this special issue of TDPT, we endeavour to provide an update to Meredith Rogers and Elizabeth Schafer’s special issue of Australasian Drama Studies “Lineages, Techniques, Training and Tradition” (vol. 53, 2008). We also seek to curate a companion to the roundtable discussion “Training in a Cold Climate”, published in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training 5.2, by considering training in a hot climate.

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Words In, Of and For Performer Training

Reflections on the 2020 International Platform for Performer Training

For three days in January 2020, the University of Kent’s drama department hosted the 7th edition of the International Platform for Performer Training with a focus on how words operate in performer training. The platform was organised and led by Paul Allain, Professor of Theatre and Performance, Stacie Lee Bennett-Worth, PhD candidate at De Montfort University and Honorary Research Associate at Kent, Alicja Bral, PhD candidate at Kent, and Dr Roanna Mitchell, Lecturer in Drama and Theatre also at Kent. The event involved some 50 participants, mostly from across Europe, in a lively mixture of short workshops, presentations, talks and discussion.

Sessions focused on community-based applications of training, voice and text work, languages used in training pedagogies, speaking dreams and inhabiting avatars, verse-speaking and the breath, ideas drawn from Russian and Polish theatre and Grotowski especially, using film for training and how circus tends to ignore the voice. The journal Theatre Dance and Performance Training had a continual presence at the platform, offering itself and this blog as spaces for continuing our physical and vocal dialogues. Here we take up this challenge.

Bennett-Worth created this collage to visually and textually though silently activate some of the energy, ideas and words circulating during the platform, also depicting many of the people involved.

Please click the image below to open in a new window which will allow you to zoom in.

The orginal event call out reads as follows:

Why does Movement Matter?

Explore the past and future of movement as a maker of meaning in theatre. Join world-leading industry professionals including performers, practitioners, directors, teachers and movement influencers for a series of workshops, presentations, discussions and observations.

This one-day symposium will explore the wide-ranging influences that movement has within today’s leading theatres and institutions and will look in more detail at the variety of practices that are now available. We will instigate conversations about the vital contribution movement practice and movement direction make to the industry. There will be open discussion, professional networking and the chance for emerging and established artists to share their work.

This event interrogates and celebrates how this powerful aspect of storytelling in theatre, film and television continues to shape developments in productions and training.

Booking

Tickets £50. Booking is made online, once you have booked your place at the event you will be sent an email requiring your choice of workshops.

https://www.rada.ac.uk/whats-on/movement-symposium/

Schedule

  • 9.15am Registration and welcome breakfast
  • 10am Keynote speaker
  • 10.30am Theatre industry panel
  • 11.45am Masterclass or two short workshops
  • 12.45pm Lunch provided
  • 1.30pm Keynote speaker
  • 2.15pm Industry practitioner panel discussion
  • 3.15pm Masterclass or two short workshops
  • 4.30pm Plenary session
  • 6pm Networking and drinks

Location: RADA Studios, 16 Chenies Street, London WC1E 7EX

Speakers, workshop leaders and panel members include:

Clare Brennan, Mike Alfreds, Vladimir Mirodan, Christina Fulcher, Ruth Anna Phillips, Ita O’Brien, Ingrid McKinnon, Lizzie Ballinger, Paul Christie, Nicola Herd, Hannah Garner, Pascale Lecoq, Jos Houben, Sue Lefton, Jane Gibson, Toby Jones, Nancy Meckler, Annabel Arden, Peta Lily, Vladimir Mirodan, Korina Biggs, Paul Christie, Niamh Dowling, Kate Flatt, Struan Leslie, Tine Damborg, Lizzie Ballinger, and Ayse Tashkiran.

Convenors: Shona Morris (Lead Movement Tutor, RADA), Mark Evans (Professor of Theatre Training, Coventry University)

The Makings of the Actor: The Actor-Dancer

International Conference, Athens 13-24 July, 2020

Hosted by Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation Alkmini Theatre  –   Cartel

Conference Venue: MCF, Alkmini Theatre, Cartel , Athens

The Makings of the Actor: The Actor-Dancer is an international conference held under the auspices of the Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama,and the Labanarium, organized by Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni.

Conference Venue: MCF, Alkmini Theatre, Cartel , Athens

The Actor-Dancer conference will be the first of a series of international events under the aegis of The Makings of the Actor. The mission of The Makings of the Actor project is to gather international practitioners and researchers, from diverse fields of performance practice and scholarship, to develop and disseminate (through conferences and workshops) an evolving performance pedagogy that addresses the needs of present and future actors.

For info and booking please visit https://mcf.gr/language/el/%CE%B5%CE%BA%CE%B4%CE%B7%CE%BB%CF%8E%CF%83%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%82/the-makings-of-the-actor-the-actor-dancer/ or email kiki.selioni@cssd.ac.uk

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Vladimir Mirodan FRSA, Emeritus Professor of Theatre

Prof. Rob Roznowski  Head of Acting & Directing, Department of Theatre, Michigan State University

Prof. Frank Camilieri Associate Professor of Theatre Studies, School of Performing Arts, University of Malta.

Juliet Chambers-Coe  Director of Labanarium; Laban tutor Rose Bruford College (FDS); Drama Studio London (FDS); PhD researcher University of Surrey  www.labanarium.com

Katia Savrami Associate Professor of Choreology at the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Patras, Greece.

Ramunė Balevičiūtė Associate Professor in Theatre Studies, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre

Dr. Evangelos Koudigelis Med. Orthopadisch-Traumatologische Darstellung in den epen homers, University Essen Germany.

Dr. Kiki Selioni Affiliate Research Fellow Royal Central School of Speech and Drama University of London.

Call for papers, teaching demonstrations and performances

Stanislavsky asserted: “[o]ur kind of theatre is fragile and if those who create it don’t take constant care of it, don’t keep moving it forward, do not develop and perfect it, it will soon die.” (qtd. in Toporkov, 2004:106). The Makings of the Actor project seeks to explore how those who create theatre can continue to move it forward and develop it, with a particular focus on the training of the actor.

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CfP: TDPT Special issue: Independent Dance and Movement Training

Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors

Guest editors:

Henrietta Hale and Nikki Tomlinson, Independent Dance, info@independentdance.co.uk; Gitta Wigro, independent, gwigro@gmail.com

Training Grounds Editor: Dr Sara Reed, Coventry University ab5421@coventry.ac.uk

Independent Dance Training (Issue 12.2)

This special issue guest edited by Henrietta Hale, Nikki Tomlinson and Gitta Wigro draws from our roles at Independent Dance, an organisation that supports and sustains independent dance artists to develop dance as an art form. The ‘independent dance artists’ that ID engages with can be many things. They may produce or perform in choreographic works in theatres, galleries, digital formats or outdoor / informal sites. They may work as facilitators or teachers with other professionals or in community settings, engaging untrained people in dance. Or they may be practitioners from other disciplines such as fine arts, architecture or science who engage in an embodied movement practice to complement and bring new knowledge to their field.

The aim of this issue is to consider and map how movement practices that have evolved from specific traditions or situations are used and re-articulated for other purposes; and show how this plays out in inter-related, international networks of practitioners.

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An Actor in Training – Endings and Beginnings – Part II

By Harri Pitches

This is the second of two posts that return to the serialised account of a First Year BA Acting student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS).  It is a first-hand account of the experience of a student emerging into the industry from three years of sustained actor training.

After RCS

We graduated as the BA Acting Class of 2019 on the 4th of July, alongside alumnus and Honorary Doctor, Richard Madden. Rubbing shoulders with one of the high-flyers from our course on the day that we were finally unshackled and let loose upon the world to seek our fortunes was a most strange feeling. There we were, standing proud, smiling and chatting to someone who represented the peak we could aspire to, just as we were now embarking on the odyssey ourselves. Drama school prepares you for untold challenges as an actor, but there is no etude or vocal warm-up that can get you ready for the daunting mystery of life after the cosy bubble of higher education. I spent my graduation day utterly elated in celebration of everything I and my classmates had achieved, but I was not without fear and anxiety for the future – while it was a wonderful, freeing feeling to escape the shallows of RCS, the ocean beyond seemed unfathomable. It was only when feeling this uncertainty that I was able to reflect on how I felt in the weeks before I started at the RCS – I left my high school with the same sense of foreboding for the much larger pool of fish I was about to enter. However, three (all-too-short) years later, I am a much more natural and confident performer, very much at home at RCS, and eager to learn more. It stands to reason then, that the new proving ground of working life will soon feel just as much like home as my alma mater. Now, as the weeks after graduation become months, I am slowly but surely finding my feet as a jobbing actor.

While I was in two minds about leaving drama school and entering the world beyond, I was blessed to have very little time to think about it, as I was immediately thrust into rehearsals for a children’s theatre production at the Shakespeare Rose Theatre in York. I completely appreciated my luck in securing acting work straight away after leaving RCS, and energetically and enthusiastically buried myself in my first proper job. I was the new kid on the block for the first time in three years, and I definitely felt that I had something to prove. My need to validate and cement myself as a professional in my first job was a very useful impulse – I conducted myself with utmost care, I was punctual, I was off-book within the first week, and I was  endlessly eager to demonstrate that my training had made me an efficient and indispensable utensil. I was the pen through which the director shaped the story, and it made my rehearsals deep, cerebral, and hard work. Although I have no doubt that I came off as a little green, and can probably afford to be less of a ‘Yes-Man’ in my next jobs, I think that the feeling of having something to prove brought enhanced attention to detail, sharpened performative senses, and a tighter control over my abilities. These are all qualities I would be loath to lose in any future acting employment, no matter how long I’ve been working or how comfortable I feel.

With the job itself came new challenges that were alien to me upon leaving drama school, revolving around the need to audition for Autumn and Christmas work while in the middle of performances for my current job. This was something I had never even had to think about during my time at RCS. For instance, in my third year, which was essentially theatre in rep, I would finish one performance and glide seamlessly into rehearsals for the next, having auditioned for parts in these plays many months prior. Not so in the real world. At its most hectic, we opened the play in York, I awoke at four o’clock the next morning to get to Norwich by eleven for a recall for a Christmas job, and then hopped back to York the same day ready to rouse myself at five o’clock the next morning to start the get-in for my current job. Needless to say, I was burned-out before I had even really begun. Although I was a waking ghost, appearing zombified and monosyllabic to my family in the mornings, I could only be grateful that I was busy enough to be so tired. This was all part of a learning curve that I was lucky enough to be following, as I began to navigate the new relationship between actor and agent. Indeed, in these first few months that I have been signed, I have sought to strengthen this relationship by taking a firm hold of each and every opportunity that has come my way. I think this is borne from a similar urge as my need to cement myself as a professional in the eyes of my director. It is a relationship that I am becoming ever more comfortable with, and I look tentatively but determinedly forward to the months to come.

I feel a distinct need, especially at the end of one of life’s chapter’s, to immediately keep the story going – to find a home outside the familial house, and to venture to new places beyond the boundaries of the home county and make them my own, in whatever small ways I can. Glasgow and Scotland are without question those places for me, and even while in gainful employment, I grew restless while living at home over Summer. The decision to move back up was not a difficult one – after all, I have spent the last three years building a life for myself up here. My friends, my partner, my agent, and indeed, the ethos that being at the RCS has imbued my life with are all part of this wonderful corner of the world.

As it stands now, I am currently ‘resting’ – living the indefinable and purgatorial state between acting jobs. It is not easy. I am a creature of endless internal disquiet, and only when I am working is some of my innate turbulence quelled. At school, it was easy to fight the pangs of jealousy that crept into my consciousness, for drama school is its own little bubble, and what happens inside it is inconsequential to life on the outside. It is harder now – the playing field is levelled, and thus there is little certainty of work in any creative capacity. I have found myself working as a bartender, more because I am in desperate need of something to do that will put an end to my ceaseless refreshing of the Spotlight Castings webpage than for any financial benefit. However, luckily, the aforementioned early morning dash to Norwich reaped the reward of an exciting Christmas job for which rehearsals begin in mid-November. So in reality, I have just over a month to spend in limbo before I tread the boards once more. I would do well to remember this when I feel the green-eyed monster crawl its way to my door again. I am sure that this period of uncertainty is not the last I will ever experience. It is the first of many, many, many more, and tackling it with gusto and honesty is perhaps the key to dealing with the others that undoubtedly lie in wait. What will be, will be, and as long as I am doing everything I can to keep active, engaged, and productive, then these periods will be fewer and further between. So. Lots to think about, and lots of time to do it. My drama school journey was hard; often disappointing and frustrating, but it was also magnificent and mind-blowing. It was long and full of doubt, both in myself and in the profession I had chosen, but it also built me up and strengthened my character and confidence in ways I probably don’t even realise yet. It was desperately sad, and it was the happiest I have ever been in my life. If I have learned anything in my time there, it is that you cannot have one half of things without the other – drama school is a balance; unsteady, swinging from floundering in confusion to clarity and assuredness in a heartbeat. It is how you decide to walk this tightrope that defines who you are on the other side of the chasm. For me, I think I can be proud of the person drama school, and indeed Scotland, has moulded me into. I arrived here at once a scared little boy, and at the same time arrogant, spiteful, and honestly, not very nice. I return here – for good – warm, kind, open, and as my Dad would say, ‘with a feeling of ease’. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Harri Pitches, January 2020.

An Actor in Training – Endings and Beginnings – Part I

By Harri Pitches

This is the first of two posts that return to the serialised account of a First Year BA Acting student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS).  It is a first-hand account of the experience of a student emerging into the industy from three years of sustained actor training.

My final year of training has without question been my favourite. I had a difficult start to the year, battling very poor mental health, which led me to question my worth as an actor and my place in the cohort. Seven months later, I feel like a new man – I know exactly who I am, exactly what I can do, and, while I have not been without disillusionment in my third year, I feel like I am ready to leave The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) as a professional actor in control of their abilities practically and professionally. In this blog entry, I talk about this growth.

This year has been one full of opportunity to develop and hone my professional skills, from showcase, to meeting agents, to auditioning in the latter half of the final year. Personally, I feel that in terms of my professional conduct, I’m pretty good. I feel like I come across well in auditions and interviews; I’m always very polite and open without being disingenuous and labouring. I do feel that this want or perhaps need to be liked comes at the cost of confidence sometimes – I am not naturally a very confrontational person, and I default too often to subservience. It has often been reflected in the characters I’ve played at drama school! This will not serve me well when fighting for jobs or standing out to casting directors, or even as I develop my working relationship with my agent – I need to be more pushy and more ready to say what I want rather than to immediately compromise, or at worst, simply do what others tell me. This is an industry that will take advantage of me if I continue this sort of behaviour.

However, I do feel that my having an agent gives me a great opportunity to start to change this. I have been offered a chance to act with more agency, and will lose out if I don’t start doing this. My training has well prepared me for the working world; particularly the discussions with Casting Directors like Simone Perreira Hind and Laura Donnelley that have made me far more aware of the kind of attitude I need to have in interviews and castings. I of course don’t mean that I now need to be self-absorbed and bratty, but that I need to have a better grasp of my own worth in these situations if I am to be successful. Currently, things are going well – through auditions I have had I am now fortunate to have work set up for the whole summer and will graduate and go straight into a two-month long job in York. I strongly believe that without this ‘go-getting attitude’, I would not be in this position. I am improving in this aspect of the industry, but I know there is a way to go.

The job of an actor is not an easy one, and I feel like I have never been under any illusion as to how difficult it could be. I know that I will not always have work lined up, and so have sought to make myself as castable as possible in order to stay in work for as long as I can. Throughout my training, it has been made abundantly clear to me that the 21st century performer cannot be simply one thing; one must be multi-faceted in order to stay in work. Accordingly, I have developed my skills as a musician in my free time during drama school, and can now play three instruments; ukulele, guitar, and cajon – the latter two to a high standard. Where possible, I have used my talents as a musician in my own devised work, and in productions outside of RCS that I have been in while in training. I feel confident talking about myself as an actor-musician, and believe that this is what I need to be in order to be successful.

I have also used my training to hone my skills as a writer – I wrote a play for On The Verge Festival of New Writing at the Citizens Theatre in second year, and am continuing to write and devise new projects that I am eager to produce. From discussions with graduate actors and through talking with Vanessa Coffey, Professional Practice Lecturer at the RCS, I understand what to do to get my work seen in Scotland. I believe that the RCS has fully prepared me for a portfolio career; I understand that the nature of my work may change, and I may not always be an ‘actor’ in the traditional sense. However, I find that I do not particularly want to be – I feel most at home when I am stretching multiple creative muscles, and think that the challenge of employability will be best tackled by me while I am doing this. I am already seeing the benefits of this – over summer, I am first working as a deviser for a festival, and then as an actor-musician. I am keen to keep developing my skills in these areas, and my ideal career will allow me to do this.

I do worry that I have been at a disadvantage as an English actor training in Scotland, and that this will translate to my professional career. I want to build my career in Scotland and make use of the myriad of connections that training at RCS has allowed me to make, but fear that the Scottish-centric nature of the industry will not let me do this. For example, I have a strong ability for accents and can do plenty of specific Scottish ones. At my recent audition for the Dundee Rep, I was asked to perform specific Scottish accents, but I do not feel like I have been considered for Scottish parts with the same seriousness as a native Scottish person would be. I do however realise that my casting doesn’t exactly scream ‘Scottish.’ Regardless of this, I feel like Glasgow and Scotland is the place I want to be – the theatre scene is very exciting for new and devised work and there are a myriad of roles for multi-faceted performers like myself. I think I would be foolish to have spent three years making connections with acting role-models such as Dan Cameron and Finn den Hertog and not try to build on them. Ultimately, I just want to be comfortable and creatively fulfilled, and I feel like my training has set me up properly to achieve this. I am ready to take the leap of faith… and see what happens next.

Individual Acting Coaching by Sinéad Rushe

To complement the publication of her book, Michael Chekhov’s Acting Technique: A Practitioner’s Guide (Bloomsbury, 2020), Sinéad Rushe, theatre director and Senior Lecturer in Acting and Movement at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London is now offering individual acting coaching sessions for professionals in north London.

These include:

  • Character development on a specific role
  • Script analysis
  • Acting technique
  • Unlocking obstructions
  • Dramaturgical development on devised ideas

Sessions cost £75/hour and are tailor-made. Skype sessions are also available.

To book, contact: sinead@sineadrushe.co.uk

Sinéad draws on the methodologies of Michael Chekhov, Stanislavsky and Vsevolod Meyerhold, as well as on her own experience as a director and devisor.

Sinéad studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the École Normale Supérieure, Paris before training as an actor at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. Her directing credits include Night Just Before the Forests (Macau Arts Festival, China 2019), Concert (The Pit, Barbican, London, Baryshnikov Arts Centre, New York & international tour; Gradam Comharcheoil TG4 2018 Award-Winner), Out of Time (The Pit, Barbican, Baryshnikov Arts Centre, New York & international tour; nominated for Olivier and Dance Critics’ Circle Award), Gogol’s Diary of a Madman with Living Pictures (Sherman Cymru, Cardiff, & international tour) and Something or Nothing with Guy Dartnell (The Place Theatre & tour), commissioned by Sadler’s Wells.

She has directed four shows with her own company, out of Inc: Loaded (The Old Rep, Birmingham, Jacksons Lane, London), Night-Light (Oval House, London, Bristol Old Vic & tour), Life in the Folds (BAC, London & tour), and An Evening with Sinéad Rushe (BAC, London), all supported by Arts Council England. www.sineadrushe.co.uk

A New York State of Mind: The Accumulated Baggage of my Meisner Technique

I have found that the histories of trainings are incredibly important, sometimes more significant than the results that they are trying to achieve in the performer.  From 2002-2004 I trained in the Meisner Technique of acting under Michael Saccente in Auckland, New Zealand.  Michael is a New Yorker by birth and culture and underwent the full Neighborhood Playhouse training with Sanford Meisner.  When he found himself in New Zealand, Michael began training professional actors in the technique.  These classes provoked the spontaneity and impulsive behaviour that I was looking for in my performance work at the time.

However, just as in the case of Meisner’s teaching, the personality and behaviour of Michael was vital in the way the training was transmitted to us.  His small stature was more than compensated for by his loud, machine gun repartee and his neurotic, wound-up rants at anything that got under his skin.  His character wouldn’t have been out of place in a David Mamet play, and as I began to reflect on the classes, I realized that our acting was picking up Michael’s particular New York state of mind (and expression) at the same time as we were learning to read each other’s behaviour and Repeat.

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Feldenkrais Research Journal Volume 6 Launched

New format for journal features articles on Feldenkrais Method, arts and creative process.

The International Feldenkrais Federation is pleased to announce the publication of Volume 6 of the Feldenkrais Research Journal (FRJ). It is on the theme ofPractices of Freedom: The Feldenkrais Method and Creativity, and offers a critical forum for scholarship, articulation and evaluation of creative practices and pedagogies which are informed by the Feldenkrais Method.

This volume features eleven articles. Several explore the challenges of bringing Feldenkrais-based practices to the context of higher education in music, dance, theatre and performance generally – how to introduce professional and performance-oriented students to the potential of somatic learning. Hypothesis and theory articles explore embodied cognition in dance and math, and include text of a performed piece on a variety of theoretical constructs linked to Feldenkrais Method practice. There is also an article linking Feldenkrais theory to piano technique. Also included are reviews of a recent book on Feldenkrais for Actors, and of theatre works by choreographer Ohad Naharin. The Research in Progress section previews interactive research design investigating active sitting.

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International Platform for Performer Training (IPPT) 7th edition: 9-12 January 2020

Department of Drama and Theatre Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK



‘In the beginning was the Word…’  John 1.1


Words in, of and for Performer Training

In the Bible, Words came first. In performance practice, words probably followed movement, dance, art and sounds. Who knows….?  Exploring what comes next, this seventh edition of the International Platform for Performer Training will investigate how words function in, of and for Performer Training across three broad areas:

  1. How the denotative or nonsemantic properties of words in performance are explored through training, and how movement, voice and text can be combined to achieve an integrated mise-en-scène (or not)
  2. How trainers use words in training practice, in order to exhort, encourage, clarify or instruct as well as what they do and don’t say, to whom and when; 
  3. How words that are written about training, be it our own practices today or that of others past or present, might document or act as inspiration for practice. 
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Emotion-Action/Musiciality as a practical tool for investigate and creating the invisible space.

Bred In The Bone is a multilingual and culturally diverse company of theatre creators. Musiciality, physical practise and development of the body, ear and voice as an eternal ever-inspired instrument, are at the core of our training.


The idea that there should be a practice of ‘scales’ for the actor is arguably an ancient endeavour, and it remains the best description of what we developing, both in our rehearsal work and in what we implement in our training and our teaching.

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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.

Embodied/Embodying Performer Training: Practices and Practicalities

TaPRA Performer Training Working Group Interim Event

24th April 2019, University of South Wales, Cardiff Campus, The ATRiuM

Call deadline: March 15th

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Call for two Training Grounds Editors: Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, Routledge

Now in its 9th year, the Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training runs to three issues annually and attracts contributions from scholars and practitioners across the globe. As part of our tenth birthday celebrations, we are planning to grow to four issues per year and these two appointments reflect our expansion both in ambition and audience reach. The journal’s co-editors Professor Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds) and Dr Libby Worth (Royal Holloway, University of London) are seeking to recruit two Training Grounds Editors to work closely with them and with the rest of the Training Grounds (TG) editorial team, on this very successful journal, published by Routledge.

We seek two highly creative, motivated, organised and collegiate individuals with demonstrable specialisms in theatre, dance and/or performer training to join the rest of the TG team at this exciting moment in the journal’s growth. For the last nine years, we have been proud of the diversity of materials and innovation of writing forms offered within the pages of Training Grounds and with this set of appointments we hope to build on this track record, taking the spirit of the experimental backpages section into the journal’s main body. Continue reading

New Blog Artist Awards

Following the success of the first TDPT Blog Artist Awards, we are delighted to announce a call for a new round of these awards.

The first TDPT Blog Artist Awards were launched to help artists, practitioners, students and freelance performance-makers to engage with the blog.  We aimed to mitigate the financial barriers facing those who did not have the institutional support that university academics are accustomed to.

Accordingly, with the generous support of Routledge and the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal, we were able to offer small pots of money (£50-150) to support artists who contributed to the site by investigating an area of performer training of interest to the wider community. Continue reading

Welcome to New Blog Team Members

Maria, Bryan and I are delighted to welcome three new members to the blog team.

Our new team members enhance the geographic diversity and the range of expertise of the existing team, broadening the blog’s diversity.  Our two new editors are Sarah Weston, a recent PhD graduate of the University of Leeds and I-Ying Wu, a self-employed artist and freelance researcher based in Taiwan and Canada who recently completed their PhD at the University of Northampton in the UK.  We also have a third new team member, Nazlıhan Eda Erçin, an advanced PhD candidate at the University of Exeter, who will be occupying an Assistant Editor role as she has just moved to the USA for a new post. Continue reading

Call for Proposals for Global Improvisation Initiative Symposium 2019: “Awareness”

In sectors across the business and creative worlds, old models of cause and effect are becoming obsolete. We are beginning to acknowledge the complex and chaotic nature of the systems that surround us. Flexibility, fluidity, spontaneity and real time responsiveness are the essential qualities needed for this accelerated world. The future will belong to those who can improvise best.

      –  Lee Simpson & Phelim McDermott, Artistic Directors Improbable

The Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) was launched in 2016 to activate an international exploration into the art and impact of improvisation in depth and collectively, appreciating the rich history and diversity within our field in order to best serve the infinite possibilities of our future. The first GII Symposium took place in 2017 at both University of California at Irvine and Chapman University and served as an intellectual and artistic nexus for sharing, producing, and documenting new knowledge about improvisational processes happening within the performance arts industries and beyond. The first symposium brought together an international gathering of scholars, practitioners, educators, activists, and players all promoting the evolution and advancement of improvisation for future generations. Continue reading

Reminder – Call for a co-editor of this Blog – Deadline 9 April

Dear All,

Applications for a co-editor for the TDPT Blog close this Monday, 9 April.  Please apply or pass on to those who might be interested.

It might be particularly of interest to those Early Career Researchers looking to develop their networks of academics and practitioners.

Wee look forward to hearing from you!

Best Wishes,

James

View the original advertisement here

Call for a co-editor of this Blog

We are currently seeking a new member to join the editorial team of the TDPT Blog, www.theatredanceperformancetraining.org.

Associated with the influential journal, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, published by Routledge, the blog’s interactive presence is designed to encourage a growing community of artists, academics, practitioners and researchers to share practice and debate issues that are currently alive within the disciplines of theatre, dance and performance training.

Now entering its third year, our blog has been highly successful in engaging new audiences for the TDPT journal, creating an online space that promotes spontaneous and productive conversation and debate. As we grow further it will represent a productive and discursive teaching ‘tool’ – or forum – within all levels of education and training preoccupied with dance, performance and theatre.

This opportunity will offer the chance to develop your own networks with scholars and practitioners, as well as contribute to the shape and direction of contemporary discussions on training.

We invite applications from researchers from any stage of their career, but especially Post-Graduate Research Students and Early Career Researchers who are actively seeking to develop their research and practice networks.  We also encourage those with an active interest in Practice-based research and/or Live Art, and those who have familiarity with editing audio-visual material.  As we are seeking to broaden our outlook and audience, we are interested to connect with scholars who reside outside England but above all we are looking for a team member who is highly organised, can work well in a team, and has a passion for the field of theatre, dance, and performance training.

The successful applicant will participate in regular Skype meetings with the Blog team to discuss the administration of the site and curation of posts.  They will also seek out new content from practitioners and scholars and liaise with these authors throughout the content-making process.  Such content may take the form of writing, photo essays, audio-visual files, and/or other innovative approaches. Applicants should be comfortable with editing and curating such content.

For further information, please contact blog editors, James McLaughlin, jimmyacademy@gmail.com (University of Greenwich), Bryan Brown, B.Brown@exeter.ac.uk (University of Exeter), or Maria Kapsali, M.Kapsali@leeds.ac.uk (University of Leeds).
To apply, please send a one-page statement of your relevant skills, interests and aspirations for the journal with an accompanying CV to James McLaughlin, jimmyacademy@gmail.com by Monday, 9 April, 2018.

Michael Chekhov: New Pathways, Research Project Report

In 2013, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training published a special issue (4.2) on the work of Michael Chekhov, edited by Franc Chamberlain and Andrei Kirillov with Jonathan Pitches. It included interviews, conducted by Cass Fleming, Sinéad Rushe and me, with prominent UK-based Chekhov practitioners Graham Dixon, Sarah Kane and Martin Sharp (‘Interview: the MCCUK Past, Present and Future’). Between them, Dixon, Kane and Sharp had been in responsible, in 1995, for setting up the Michael Chekhov Centre UK, now reconfigured slightly as Michael Chekhov UK, a network of artists ‘who are inspired by and working in a variety of ways with the ideas of the Russian actor, director and teacher, Michael Chekhov.’ (http://www.michaelchekhov.org.uk/).

The interviews grew out of a series of conversations between us, as two generations of practitioners working with Chekhov’s technique, at what felt to us to be a transitional moment in the history of Michael Chekhov’s work in this country (for an account of that history, see Jerri Daboo’s chapter in Jonathan Pitches (ed.), Russians in Britain: British Theatre and the Russian Tradition of Actor Training (Routledge, 2011)). Following the publication of these interviews we decided that there was a compelling case for research that built upon historical analyses of Chekhov’s ideas and explorations of his legacy in contemporary actor training towards a consideration of the future of his technique.

To this end, in 2013 we began a project asking, ‘How can Chekhov’s techniques be used in the 21st century in contexts other than actor training designed for the interpretation of existing dramatic literature?’ We undertook practice research into the use of Chekhov’s technique as part of theatre-making processes that blur conventional distinctions between writers, actors and directors, and took his work into areas of theatre practice he had not taught himself: voice, movement, dance, design, applied theatre and therapeutic practices. We also initiated conversations with Chekhov practitioners in other parts of the world.

That project came to an end in September 2016 with an event at Goldsmith’s featuring over 120 participants and the production of an edited collection: Michael Chekhov Technique in the Twenty First Century: New Pathways (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama), edited by Dr Cass Fleming and Dr Tom Cornford, which will be published in 2018. The attached report offers an overview of the research undertaken to date and of our future plans. We hope that you will find it stimulating and encourage you to engage either with us directly or with Michael Chekhov UK here.

Please click here to download a copy of the New Pathways, Research Project Report.

Dr Tom Cornford

Lecturer in Theatre and Performance, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

 

Launch Event: ‘Training the Popular Performer’ by Oliver Double, University of Kent.

 

The special issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, entitled ‘Training the Popular Performer’, was launched at the University of Kent on 6th November. The event drew a varied crowd, including lecturers, postgraduate research students and even undergrads. The special issue was launched alongside Popular Performance (Bloomsbury), a collection which was edited by the same team as the special issue of TDPT: Adam Ainsworth, Oliver Double and Louise Peacock. Adam and Olly talked about both publications in the context of popular performance more generally, and Sophie Quirk, who wrote a chapter for the book, also spoke.

The evening finished with a caption competition, in which punters were invited to write jokes to accompany one of the illustrations. The crowd voted to decide which captions were the funniest, and the best three won copies of the TDPT special issue!

 

Artist Award announcement, and a new milestone of readership

We are delighted to share that the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training blog has now surpassed 20,000 views. Whilst this is only one measure we hope this is indicative of the many fine posts and comments being contributed to our site and we thank all the contributors who have made content for us so far.

To add to our growing community we have been supporting a handful of contributors through our Artist Awards. This week sees a new post by The Wardrobe Ensemble, our first Artist Awards recipient and the first post by Asha Jennings-Grant, who received the third Award.

The Artist Awards were conceived to highlight and support the most innovative creative practice in the field of performance training. Accordingly, we are excited to share Wardrobe’s reflections on the work that Complicite say, ‘fills us with joy and reminds us of why we love working in theatre.’

The two posts from The Wardrobe Ensemble trace two weeks in the development of their most recent show, Education, Education, Education, and the way training informs their remarkable ensemble dynamic.

Our second Blog Artist Award takes us to a territory that has remained relatively uncharted in the field of performer training. Please join dance artist Marie Andersen on a series of posts on Motherhood in/as training exploring a number of perspectives, including female artistic identity and embodiment, training beyond disciplinary boundaries, and training when there is no time.

Marie has currently posted two of a series of three posts that combine creative video and reflective writing in an innovative approach to this neglected topic.  The two posts published have already elicited stream of comment and discussion.

Finally, Asha, in her first post introduced the work she is developing on movement training for Motion Capture and will continue to post in the next coming months on the workshops she will be leading.

Visit the TDPT blog to follow this and other engaging threads, join the conversation by commenting on any of the posts, or even submit your own piece of writing to the blog to share your own practice.

Also look out for a series of reviews of the meeting of the Performer Training Working Group at the TaPRA Conference (Theatre and Performance Research Association) in Salford in September 2017.

The TDPT blog was launched in November 2015 to encourage a growing community of artists, academics, practitioners and researchers to share practice and debate issues that are currently alive within the disciplines of theatre, dance and performance training. One of our aims was to engage a new audience for the TDPT journal while also creating an online space that encourages spontaneous and productive conversation and debate.  With one milestone reached, these aims are becoming a reality and we hope that the TDPT blog is achieving its aim of offering a vibrant and engaging hub for discussion of the leading edge of theatre, dance and performance training.