This module is Part II of the two-part actor training in the second year. In it you will begin the application of advanced devising and improvising techniques to explore and experiment with a range of increasingly complex performance forms and styles. The work of this module challenges students' learning in early part of their BA Hons Contemporary Theatre course. You will learn to cope with unconventional performance spaces and the technical demands of productions in non-purpose built environments. You will explore and experiment with responses to the needs of audiences and learn to assess the creative opportunities and limitations of a range of potential performance venues.
You will work with a range of practitioners, both from within the School and with visiting directors, to encourage you to put your performance skills into practice under a variety of different styles of direction and, increasingly as the module progresses, in self-devised work. Students will begin to progress from the single performance showings of the early part of the degree programme to sustaining a run of performances in a variety of venues.
Students are assessed on their contribution and participation during the rehearsal process and performance of projects. As the module progresses assessment begins to focus less on processes and preparation and more on students' creative achievement in performance.
You will begin the work of this module by undertaking short blocks of work in
Commedia dell'arte mask
Modern character mask
Teachings of Grotowski and Lecoq
As part of this work you will expand your familiarity with non-naturalistic working methods and performer-led theatre. Students will further develop advanced acting and improvisation skills, including the ability to perform in 'larger than life' characterisations, advanced story-telling skills using a range of imaginative techniques and complex ensemble working. You will gain an understanding of the history of commedia dell'arte and its influence on contemporary theatre. This block of work will culminate in the creation of a fully coherent production from a pure improvisation starting point, performed at the end of the Spring Term to a School audience in the Corbett Theatre.
Forum Theatre Techniques
At the end of Terms One and Two students will undertake a one week intensive workshop to prepare for the Forum Theatre section of this module. They will decide on a topic - political or social - currently in the news, and learn how to research and address the issues to find the appropriate form in which to present this to an audience using satire, metaphor and reasoned argument. For two weeks at the start of Term Three students will work intensively on devising from current issues using Forum Theatre techniques, experimenting with ways of involving the audience in structured debate so that its members become 'spectators'.
You will explore the role of theatre as a tool for social change, developing your awareness of the world around you and of your place, as an artist, in your community. This block of work evolves from complementary work in EA225-2-FY Contextual Studies and is led by the Contextual Studies tutor. Consisting of four weeks' intensive work in total, the unit will culminate in an assessed Forum Theatre project in Week 2 of Term Three which will be studio-based for two performances and will also be given a showing in an external theatre venue, the Redbridge Theatre.
Multi-Media - Theatre Meets Film
In this part of the module students are introduced to the technical and artistic demands of multi-media performance methods. Working with outside multi-media specialists, students will investigate film styles and structures and their cross-fertilisation with theatre. You will learn the uses of film equipment in live performance and experiment with multi-media to test the strengths and weaknesses of its application to the creation of atmosphere and the development of metaphor and story-telling. Students will devise a studio-based presentation using multi-media techniques and equipment which they will perform to an invited audience of staff and students in the Chigwell School Theatre in Week 7 of the Summer Term.
Site-Specific Classic Theatre
The final block of work will bring the whole year group together to create a piece of theatre on a large-scale in a non-theatre venue. Students will work with a professional Visiting Director to stage and present a classic text (for example Shakespeare, Greek tragedy) to a public audience. Sites chosen for the presentation could, for example, be historic buildings, warehouses or naturally-occurring landscape features such as caves. You will be presented with the challenges of
working on a larger scale
a public venue that is not a purpose-built performance space
site-specific interpretation working from a classical text.
As an integral part of this module students will explore the relationship between the essence and style of a piece of theatre and the practicalities of realising this in performance, related to their practical projects through the year. Working with tutors from the Technical Department, students will explore their own design projects, working within resource limitations, both financial and physical, and assessing and applying health and safety guidelines. Assessment of Technical Studies is continuous through observation of class work and its realisation in projects.
- Module Supervisor: Uri Roodner