This class is a proposal for a collaboration between Sadie Berlin and those interested in cultural dramaturgy. The goal is to lay a foundation for the practice of cultural dramaturgy, a way of holding space for artists working through material that tackles trauma, homophobia, racism, ableism, transphobia, et cetera. Think of it as the cultural equivalent of an intimacy coordinator but as a practice integrated into dramaturgy. Successful applicants will be contributory writers to a document with a set of principles/guidelines/manifesto and create a tool kit for this emerging form.
We will begin with readings on and around cultural dramaturgy. We will alternate between Zoom break out rooms for brainstorming topics and some group writing and spend a great deal of time debating what shape this could take. There will be homework in between seminars. Prior training or practice of dramaturgy is not necessary.
Classes on Fridays
Jul 17 to Aug 14, 2020
Classes are free - but we gratefully accept donations on our 'Support' page.
Applications for this class will close on Jul 2 @ 5:00pm EDT
Reviving Your Story in Song
Want to dust off your party piece? Want a fresh way into that song you've sung forever? Want to establish clear goals in your song? Whether for future auditions or future roles. We don't always strip down our songs like we do our monologues. A lot of the time, with the scene partner of a score, the choices can seem obvious. Join me, and let me help break the text down to find fresh, clear new light for your ultimate song and character discovery.
Break down a musical theatre piece through text and character analysis. Tell the clearest story through song. Every comma, adjective, period, breath mark, pause, can change the intension, story, character drive. Let's tell a story together!
Pivot has been my word for this time were in. Especially artists. Were all on hold right now, but we are still essential. We are essential storytellers, healing and educating people and hearts through theatre. We need to be ready when it's safe to be back in the room. Don't put your rep books away and wait. Pivot with me!
Classes on Mondays
8 Participants , Audit Spaces Available
Aug 10 to Aug 31, 2020
Classes are free - but we gratefully accept donations on our 'Support' page.
Applications for this class will close on Jul 20 @ 5:00pm EDT
For directors, playwrights, actors and designers. All disciplines welcome.
Celebrated Canadian Theatre and Opera Director Peter Hinton-Davis leads a 5-week Seminar for theatre-makers, exploring the process of incorporating big ideas into daily practice.
Inspired by a collection of essays by Jeanette Winterson called Art Objects, participants will interrogate the contiguous relationship of classical, contemporary and intercultural texts, and examine the discipline of considering text for the theatre like a score or map for devised, directorial theatre and performance.
Wintersons book is subtitled; Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery, a provocative lens through which to examine theatre. The title plays on the double possibility in the word, objects. It can mean OB-jects, as a thing, a noun, an artifact. Or it can suggest ob-JECTS; as an action, a verb, the language of resistance.
There will be 5 seminars which refer to works both in and left out of the performed canon; ranging from Oscar Wilde to Mae West, Ted Hughes to Langston Hughes, Stevie Smith and Zadie Smith, Shakespeare and Soyinka, Marie Clements, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Christopher Marlowe, Northrop Frye and Toni Morrison. It will require reading, but can also be used as a sampler or survey to build personal reading lists for further study. Participants are welcome to purchase the book, Art Objects by Jeanette Winterson, (its available online for about $6) but having the book is not necessarily a pre-requisite. The seminars are planned to combine lecture and Q and A to look at ideas deemed academic and how these ideas can be merged and shared into practical applications.
The Seminars planned are:
1.) WORDS: Why we speak in the theatre? Language as disagreement.
2.) PUNCTUATION AND 5 ACT STRUCTURE: How can we use Aristotle as a tool, not as a rule.
3.) GENRE: What is Mythos and its meaning? How do different works speak to each other?
4.) THE SUBJECTIVE AND THE IMPERSONAL; How to use I in theatre, and the rise of the
confessional in modern social drama.
5.) BEFORE INTERPRETATION: What is the process to arrive at interpreting a text, through a vital interrogation and exploration of its codes.
A curated reading list of the so-called western canon will be provided to all participants, and a primer entitled; What You Need to Read If You Are Reading Shakespeare, (With Contemporary Interpretation and Translation). I will also share a personal 100 play reading list of works created outside the White, English speaking repertoire. Again, it's not meant as definitive but a provocation to each artist to build and share their ongoing reading knowledge and the expand the compendium of how we think about the classics of literature.
Classes on Thursdays
Building the Actor/Director Relationship
You Gonna Do It Like That/You Want Me To Do What?!
Class is limited to 12 participants: 6 actors and 6 directors. This class is not open to auditors.
How do you establish a relationship with a director in the very first rehearsal? How do you connect with an actor right away, so you can start to build a shared vocabulary?
This unique team-taught class uses the task of preparing a monologue to explore the early stages of that fundamental relationship, the collaboration between actor and director. Actors will investigate what it means to make a juicy, high stakes choice, and will be empowered to bring their creativity to the rehearsal process. Directors will be challenged to use every instinct and skill to notice and respond to what the actor offers.
The class includes group sessions and individual work with instructors. The heart of the activity will be two working sessions on Zoom in which each actor will be paired with a director to rehearse a monologue, while the instructors observe. Through group discussion and individual feedback, well explore principles, tools, and insights to help forge dynamic and joyous creative relationships with our collaborators.
Note: by June 23 acting participants must provide an electronic copy of a contemporary monologue (premiered in 1980 or later), which is under two minutes long. Seek active speeches in which one character is trying to affect another. You must also have access to an electronic copy of the full script that you can distribute to others. Directors will be required to read that full-length script by first day of class, Monday July 6
Classes on Mondays
For the Actor Who Sings
(and Wants to Sing More)
When asked in an audition, "are you an actor who sings?" do you wish you could answer with a resounding "yes!" Are you looking for concrete ways to approach singing and interpret a song that are authentic to who you are as an actor? Then this is the class for you. Dora-award winning star of Broadway and Stratford, Bruce Dow, will guide you through exercises to help you explore your own sound, your approach to the work, and your appreciation of what other singing actors are actually doing.
This will not be a traditional singing class-much of the work will happen outside of class time.
Classes on Wednesdays
Blues Pentameter: An Exploration of Wilson's World
A four-week, online class in text analysis
This digital gathering place is a table work excavation of pieces of the twentieth Century in black America through the eyes of one of its greatest playwrights, August Wilson.
Join a company of some of Canadas finest Afro-Canadian actors as they dig into the dramaturgy and be a part of the table work discussion that arises around themes and cultural/political resonances and legacy of August Wilsons seminal work, Fences. As Wilsons work is not frequently encountered in Canada, this is an opportunity to experience the work intimately in a rehearsal setting, and fall in love with the raw poetic wealth of this extraordinary playwright.
Troy - Allan Louis
Bono - Andre Sills
Rose - Cherissa Richards
Gabriel - Peter Bailey
Cory - Ngabo Nabea
Lyons - Christopher Bautista
Raynell - Amaka Umeh
A four-week online class in ridiculousness
Starting May 13 through June 3, Wednesdays 1pm to 2;30pm EST
For theatre professionals and performers (actors, dancers, musicians, writers, rule-breakers etc). Emerging and mid-career artists are encouraged to apply. No previous clowning experience necessary.
In the spirit of serious playfulness, Charlotte Gowdy leads the group through various tasks and exercises to generate ideas, personas, and content suitable for crafting a clown performance. Participants are given the opportunity to practice basic principles of clowning (lazzi, fixed point, the flop, etc.) both as individuals and in small groups. The techniques particular to clowning online are explored with several tips and tricks along the way. This class is aimed at anyone who wants to develop their clown ideas, no matter which stage of development they are at.
Curiosity required. Laughter guaranteed.
How do I Steer this Thing?
A three-week, online masterclass in theatre directing.
Starting May 18, through June 1 Class is limited to 12 participants - with room to audit.
For theatre professionals, and emerging artists, (including those making a lateral move from another discipline, or theatre students, or young, fresh talent looking to move into this area for the first time) with little or no experience in directing but an interest in exploring the field.
Each of the three sessions will explore a different aspect of the expectations typically associated with the job of director. Through discussion and study-group exercises, participants will develop insight into the challenges and demands of preparing to direct a professional production.
Session 1: How to prepare for rehearsal. What is required in pre-production? What do I need to do to be ready for the first day?
Session 2: The people, the team. How to work with team members (designers, choreographers, music directors, assistant directors, etc), as well as approaches to auditions and casting.
Session 3: Rehearsal planning. How to break down rehearsal hours, read a production schedule, work with the stage manager, etc. This session also includes a glimpse into best communication practices with actors.
e people, the team. How to work with team members (designers, choreographers, music directors, assistant directors, etc), as well as approaches to auditions and casting.
Moving the Target
A four-week online class.
This 4 session class will explore an approach to acting based on principles of argument and rhetoric. Using Elizabethan text as source material, Dion Johnstone will guide students through strategies to move their target in a scene, using tools of ethos, logos and pathos (ethics, logic and emotion). While Shakespeare will provide the launch pad for Dions exploration, the concepts practiced here will bolster all scene work, through honing the actors imaginative and communicative abilities. This is an introductory class for professional actors.
An eight-week, masterclass in playwriting.
For theatre professionals (actors, directors, designers, stage managers, etc.) with at least five years in the business who have little or no experience writing plays, but are very eager to give it a try.
This class is an invitation to for theatre professionals trained in other disciplines try their hand at playwriting. Through a series of exercises in premise, character, conflict, plot and structure, this class will build upon participants theatrical knowledge to release their inner writers. During these eight weeks, participants will write. A lot. By the end of this class, participants will be well on their way towards a first draft of a new play.
Shakespeare: Be Not Afeard
A six-week, masterclass in acting.
A Shakespeare Masterclass for actors who have at least three years in the profession and who wish to be on better terms with that sometimes intimidating playwright, William Shakespeare. This class will advance your ease with Shakespeare through a mix of group exercises, monologue work and shameless tricks. Over six sessions, Seana McKenna will address your specific questions about the text, particularly verse, and enable you to lift Shakespeares words from the page to the stage with confidence and respect, but without crippling reverence.
Visioning a Production
Produced in partnership with the National Arts Centre English Theatre
A six-week online class
Using Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, students will take a script from text on a page to a blueprint for a full production. Applying collaborative web programmes like Google Docs and Trello, participants will infuse a script with concept proposals for all sound, lighting, set, costume, choreography, and dramaturgial ideas, so that weve got a working version of a production by the time we would get to first day with the actors. With a group of 8-10 directors, designers or producers, we will bring an idea from nascent to poised to produce on a doc filled with pictures, sound and stage directions.