New Edition of Meyerhold Classic out in Bloomsbury now


Click here to see the details of the 4th edition of Meyerhold on Theatre, edited by Edward Braun and with a new Introduction by TDPT editor,  Jonathan Pitches.


The S word symposium on Stanislavsky – new booking details confirmed


Contact Improvisation and actor training



My article “Contact Improvisation to Scene Study: Authenticity in Word and Deed” (2012) explored the use of C.I. (contact improvisation) in actor training. The following one minute video shows an example of a CI session between actors Jacob Dresch and Claire Edmunds during a training session concentrating on the use of counter balance.

Drawing on mime, modern dance and dance/theater explorations and expanding through 30 years of studio work with actors, this use of C.I. in actor training releases the physical/emotional honesty of actors. This is a training of energy and weight exchange in which the ultimate goal is kinetic and intimate responsiveness to a partner. The playful, dynamic and exhilarating shifts of counter-balance that characterize this work are reached through the practice of contact improvisation. Basic tumbling, energy exchange exercises and partnering dance lifts are its fundamental building blocks. Text may also be used in a contact session and this allows the spontaneous physical language of the actors’ bodies to parallel the spoken dialogue. Without consciously imposing objectives actors inter-relate spontaneously, dynamically and elegantly; and the outcome is an imprinted ability to deliver emotional and physical honesty in a scene. Counter-balance Theater (my physical theater company) uses this technique to train performers within the company, in classes at UCI, and in workshops for the wider public. The physical techniques in leveraging, complicit interchange and trajectory of motion, are used to create the imagery scored in the Counter-Balance scripts.



Commotion– a documentary film

Commotion is a partnership of creativity researchers, professional theatre artists, high school drama teachers and youth from Niagara, Canada. We formed to discover the ‘best practices’ that would enable students to find their voice and create their own theatre. In this ‘How-To’ educational documentary, the group experiences the creative devising process, RSVP (originally developed by Lawrence and Anna Halprin). Students play with resources and, through improvisation, they discover story, characters and issues. Together the group evaluates and selects meaningful moments that make up their theatre. Over Commotion’s twelve-week program, guided by team facilitators, the youth weave the moments into one-act plays. This film documents our ninety young creators at work, our ten original plays being made, and the twelve key exercises that we used.
Music by John Metcalfe.




Technology for Mime Training and Devising of ‘There is No Silence’

There Is No Silence is a two-hour interdisciplinary multimedia performance about the life and work of the French mime artist, Marcel Marceau (1923-2007). It was collaboratively created through a year and half long devising process led by Jeanine Thompson, conceiver and director; Vita Berezina-Blackburn, animation specialist; and Alex Oliszewski, multimedia specialist. It was a partnership between The Ohio State University’s Department of Theatre and the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, and was performed by the MFA Acting students in April 2014.

The video below is an excerpt of the show featuring the setup that included an onstage motion capture system (Vicon, 12 cameras mounted on truss columns) and rear projection screen above the stage that provided the actor with the visual feedback of their performance. Optical mocap markers were incorporated into the costume of the actress, Sarah Ware.

This video demonstrates one of the goals of this work: to create mime choreography that stands on its own merit, visible in the body of the performer, as well as in their driving of the simultaneously projected virtual avatar. Students were also trained in working with technology as an acting partner including motion capture, animation, video and live silhouette.

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