Researching a world theatre tradition

For the last 12 years I have been researching Kathakali, and as time goes on I see more and more ways to find out about the history of a tradition. Also, as time goes on I come across more and more conflicting pieces of information. It is therefore essential to cross reference all your information, find a range of sources to refer to and also check, double check and triple check you understand what you are reading before you choose ...

The process of learning

In July and August 2019 I was lucky enough to be preparing for a Kathakali performance that would take place in the Kerala Kathakali Centre, India. Having studied Kathakali for over 10 years it was now time for me to perform in one of the most perfectly structured Kathakali plays ever written. I was going to be playing the role of Panchali in "Kalyanasaugandhikam" ("The Flower of Good Fortune"). Panchali in Kalyanasaugandhikam   As I was going through my own process of ...

Theatre and Mindfulness

This month in the UK there is a focus on wellbeing and mental health, which of course links to mindfulness, which is what many schools are embracing as part of their Advisory programmes. Soon I am going to be running a workshop in my local community on wellbeing and creativity, so I have been reading up about creative mindfulness. The blog this month is going to share some mindfulness exercises that you can try out with your students, but I ...

Devising Companies to Explore

When you start looking for a devising company that you want to explore, it helps to know a little bit about them and also have some videos of their work to watch. Over the last few weeks I have been gathering ideas from many teachers about companies they would like to explore with their students, so here are a few that you may want to look at yourself or as a class. I hope that some of these companies and ...

Capturing Audience Response

Recently I have been running Category 3 IB Theatre training that focused on the Collaborative Project. During the training, my teacher participants worked as small devising companies developing their own approaches to developing theatre and then performing their work to determine if they had achieved their intentions and intended impact. This blog will list all the ways that they gathered audience feedback to evaluate their impact on the audience. I hope that you will find this useful and have time ...

How to Assess IMPACT on Your Audience

Recently I have been working with small devising companies to explore how they can obtain meaningful and accurate data to assess audience impact. I am going to give you three scenarios of their process of evaluating impact, and then how they re-worked this data gathering the second time they performed. The first performance was a ‘soft’ sharing or rather a ‘work in progress’, which is common practice for many devising companies, so they can evaluate their work before it is ...

Making an entrance – TEAM

This week I have been running a Theatre Laboratory with my grade 10 and 11 students on what we bring when we enter the stage. We are moving onto exits next week, but I thought I would share with you what they explored with entrances for this blog. We discovered that with an entrance you can establish: character mood motive environment relationships objects in the environment status atmosphere conflict story backstory other characters off stage foreshadowing subtext and more... When you are ...

Ways into Psycho-physicality

Three weeks ago I started working at a new school with a new group of IB Theatre students in their first year of the course.  As they had not heard of Stanislavsky and were not familiar with theatre theory I thought it would be good to immerse them in some practical work to understand The System. We stared with Psycho-physicality leading to MPA (Method of Physical Actions) and then they made their own connections between inner feelings and outer communication ...

Your responsibilities as a creator of theatre

The other day I went to the theatre to see the culminating performances of theatre students that had been studying devising and theatre creation at my local University. I was excited to see what they would come up with. Having spent many years working with High School students on devising processes I was intrigued to see how University level students were different in terms of choices of themes, influences, techniques, styles and use of space and production techniques. To be honest, ...

Your role as a teacher

The last month I have been assisting examiners with how to mark the Research Presentation, watching Research Presentations from around the world, then awarding the student with the fairest marks possible. Some students are excellent - enthusiastic, well prepared, engaging with their moment of theatre (clearly communicating their convention in performance), and informative. Other students are difficult to mark because we cannot hear them very well, see their moment of theatre (a tiny shadow screen a long way from the ...