Tag Archives: Actor training

The Creative Actor Workshop – a review from Neema Lahon.

“I’ve been working as a professional actor in Barcelona for the past 6 years. In every project I’ve been involved with, I’ve heard the Actors Space brought up in conversation. Intrigued, I decided to ask previous students about their experience and received a barrage of positive reviews. I decided to do the Creative Actor to freshen up my acting skills and learn a new technique.

The moment I arrived I can see why everyone sang the Actors Spaces’ praise. Situated on the most idillic private grounds and surrounded by nature, a sense of calm washes over you. This place has an incredible energy that clears the stress of hectic city life and prepares you to dive into an artistic realm.
The Creative Actor course was much more than I expected. It takes your skills as a practitioner to another level. The course is designed to start simply, as each day you build on techniques you’ve explored the day before. By the end of the course you have created layered and sophisticated work using all the elements such as levels of tensions, mask work, physicality and improvisation, to name but a few. I learnt an immense amount in just the week I was there. Despite being an experienced performer I found this course eye-opening because it helped me understand the essence of performance.
During the course I discovered that I had comic skills that I wasn’t aware of. In the 10 years of studying and performing in theatre I had never been given the creative freedom I experienced at The Actors Space which enabled me to make that discovery.
I will be forever grateful for Simon and Marian’s inspirational teaching, encouragement and support”.
Neema Lahon, London.

Celebrating 20 years at The Actors Space

Come and celebrate at The Actors Space, near Barcelona!

Dramatic Writing 24th-29th July (fully booked)
The Creative Actor 2nd-10th August
The Art of Comedy 14th-22nd August
Screen Acting 26th August-3rd September (only a few places available)

 

About The Art of Comedy Workshop

 

Last summer was my first time at the Actors Space doing ‘The Art of Comedy’ and it was for many reasons the most magical and constructive experience. In this generous, safe place that Marian & Simon have made, I learned to strip away my judgment and quieten my overthinking in order to really listen and react in the moment. To trust my instinct and to make brilliant ‘mistakes’.

I sometimes find the idea of remembering the joy a little silly, I create because I love to. But actually so often day to day and specifically in auditions since the workshop I find myself actively making the decision to relax, to have fun and to revel in playing. It’s a treat.

The course has given me the confidence to begin to create my own work and further explore my clown. It’s exciting. It has made my approach to working with others far less fearful. The wonderful structure of the course, the intelligent and spot on teaching and the beautiful setting made for a hugely positive time. I really couldn’t recommend it more. Thank you to the Actors Space. Words will not do you justice but you have stayed with me and I will be back.
Anna Brooks-Beckman, UK

Find out about The Art of Comedy Workshop

 

About The Creative Actor Workshop

I first discovered The Actors Space whilst on The Certificate of Higher Education course at East 15 Acting School. Whilst there I became interested in a more physically expressive approach to theatre, one where the emphasis is on visual storytelling and movement. I was recommended The Actors Space by a friend of mine who is currently on the BA Physical Theatre course at East 15 and who had been on The Creative Actor course the previous year. He praised The Actors Space for being an extraordinary place for actor training and for creative freedom and liberation. Eager to gain knowledge and experience in this newly found form of theatre I enrolled on The Creative Actor workshop. Whilst there, I learnt more about being an artist than I ever thought possible. The Creative Actor course gave me the space to explore my creativity and allowed me freedom to discover new areas of my art without restrictions, whilst in an encouraging and open environment.

Upon arriving at The Actors Space I was taken aback by the picturesque location of the Catalan countryside and the beautiful 16th century farmhouse where I would be creating theatre and living in for the week. Because the workshop is residential, there is a special trust and bond that is made between all the participants, which was essential when creating this kind of collaborative work with an ensemble of actors. Being interested in the teachings of Jacques Lecoq, I was excited that the course focussed primarily on the techniques he developed and that the teachers, Marian and Simon, both were taught by Jacques Lecoq at his international school in Paris. Marian and Simon nurture every participant to help their individual creativity flourish. Not only is your deepest imagination enriched every day, they guide you on your own artistic journey with their 20 years of professional experience and their passion for what they do. Over the week, they constantly encouraged me to challenge myself, take risks and explore new avenues of creative expression in my art, which in turn allowed me to discover new things about myself and the field I am passionate about.

The course is very intense, but nonetheless, fun. Meaning there was a lot that was covered in such a short space of time. This included Mask Theatre (and mask making during the evenings), the observation and Re-Play of Daily Life to create truth and authenticity whilst on stage, The Child which allowed us to be imaginative and playful to create endless possibilities in our work, which finally developed into devising our own dramatic and comic scenes and situations. Whilst all along finding the poetic depths to our work and asking ourselves, “What is it we want to say?

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I was able to take all the skills and techniques I had learnt whilst at The Actors Space back home and put them into practice. The overall experience was empowering and I feel very privileged and grateful for having had this experience. I cannot recommend this course (and The Actors Space in general) enough. For anyone wanting to explore their full physical potential as a performer, learn new techniques and skills or to generally rediscover their passion for acting (and life) – you will not be disappointed and I can guarantee anyone who embarks on their journey here will make everlasting friendships, have the time of their life and will want to return. I know I will definitely be returning again.

Chantelle Oddie, UK.

Find out about The Creative Actor Workshop

About our approach – how we teach at The Actors Space, Barcelona

Marian Masoliver talks about The Actors Space approach to teaching (excerpts from the website).

Our aim is to empower the actor to be fully free to play. This, to me is the most important thing. Without play there is no need for technique – as then the performance may look good but is just an empty vessel.

Many things are involved in acting; The fun and the freedom that one can experience through acting are essential for the delivery of a strong performance. We know that to get to that place where the actor is free to play we have to cultivate a strong sense of trust and a solid foundation of fun and safety…

 

Our feedback is honest and truthful, yet always constructive. In this environment the actor feels supported, safe and not judged.

Throughout these acting courses we develop a relationship with each individual, taking them through their own personal journey. Everyone has different needs; we ‘read’ those needs and give each student the necessary tools when required.

This approach gives the actor a chance to try new things without fear and even to get it wrong. Through encouragement, enjoyment of the work and the right techniques, each individual is guided to a place of genuine creation.

As actors and teachers we have a very high standard of work, which helps the group learn and develop quickly. In a short period of time the students create great work.

Working in this way we have seen participants blossom time and time again!

Find out more  about our International Theatre and Film Workshops. Some Early Bird places still available!

 

 

Our teaching – The Actors Space, Barcelona

Marian Masoliver, teacher, talks about the pedagogy involved in the training.

What I like most about our pedagogy is that it nurtures the creativity of the performer and places the actor at the centre of dramatic creation. What is essential in the training is to get the participant to engage with ‘Le Jeu’ (or ‘Play’). Lecoq defines ‘Le Jeu’- “When, aware of the theatrical dimension, the actor can shape an improvisation for spectators using rhythm, tempo, space and form”.

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‘Play’ is connected with making the most of any particular moment dramatically. It is about rendering the moment fully into life on stage. To achieve this the actor has to train their body, imagination and creativity. We do this by exploring the actors dramatic and comic presence and the nature and dynamics of conflict; The push and the pull, contraction and expansion, crescendo, rhythm, space, event… The work focusses in like a microscope to reveal the essence of comic/dramatic situation. We work with the ‘motor’ of each scene. With this awareness  the actor is free to play.

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Also, we ask the question “What do you want to say”? To develop style with no content is a fruitless act. We encourage  artistic risks to be taken and together we seek poetic depths to be explored. We are after all creating work that mirrors life itself.

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We are practitioners who teach. The techniques we share at the Actors Space have been developed from over 50 years of combined professional experience as actors, directors and teachers. What we offer is hands on physical theatre and screen actor training which at it’s core, is inspired by working with Jacques Lecoq at his international school in Paris.

Ultimately our aim is to empower the actor to create meaningful work. We do this by developing their understanding of all the elements involved, the writing, direction and acting. We call this the ‘creative triangle’.

To find out about our summer workshops click here.

 

Some acting tips that you will hear from us when you come to The Actors Space (just some…)

Be subtle, connect with the truth and find the depth… Don’t “act”. Whenever someone “acts” it is visible and the audience doesn’t buy it. Remember to listen to the other character (or the space…), this will CONNECT you inside and outside. And of course, STUDY the scene. Who is this character? What do they WANT? What is the OBSTACLE that is not letting them get what they want? What are the antagonistic forces – let them push and pull the character. Look for the conflicts and let the character live in the uncomfortableness. Put the character in the most uncomfortable position and there will be Drama or Comedy (just depending on the register you will play in, or the Play is in).

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Actor Space

During The Creative Actor Workshop

Less is more. If in doubt do less. Listen. Be in the space. Connect with what is going on. Trust. Don’t “look” for the feeling, the feeling IS there. Trust…

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During the Screen Acting Workshop

Some places still available on these Summer International Theatre & Film Workshops

For more information contact info@actors-space.org

 

The Actors Space in Ecuador and more…

In February 2016 I was lucky enough to go to Northern Ecuador with my partner Simon Edwards, with whom 18 years ago, we co-founded The Actors Space, an international centre of research, training and creation for the Dramatic Arts, near Barcelona.

In the Andean city of Ibarra, province of Imbabura, we worked with ‘Calle Paz y Respeto’ a collective of gang members who after experiencing real tragedy decided to turn things around – see the trailer of the documentary ‘Peace is Inevitable’ about their change, produced last year in Ecuador and co-directed by Simon Edwards.

Radio Publica Ecuador’s director Giovanna Tassi, was so impressed with their change that she gave them a Nationwide Radio Program to tell their stories and to promote Peace.

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Simon and I, in association with The Prem Rawat Foundation, were working with these young people for two months, directing and helping produce their weekly Radio Show ‘Reacciona’, dramatising stories and coaching the performers as we created together radio Theatre Plays aimed at vulnerable young people. These plays are universal stories with a message of Peace filled with drama and comedy.

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The experience has been challenging and wonderful at the same time… and so fulfilling that we are still writing scripts and giving feedback on their show from our centre near Barcelona.

The adventures don’t stop! We have an action packed month, filming at the British Film Institute in London and at the end of the month we are going to the Canary Islands to shoot yet another short film.

And of course we are looking forward to this summer’s International Theatre and Film Workshops here at The Actors Space. This is going to be the 18th year of these special workshops, with people coming from all over the world to train and push the boundaries of dramatic and comic creation. There are still some places available.

Welcome to The Actors Space Blog

Marian Masoliver- Teacher, Director.
When I was little I wanted to be a dancer until I discovered the power of theatre and how good it felt to be angry on stage. At primary school I had a fantastic drama teacher, Joan Anguera (today a renowned Catalan actor). My big success came when I played Satan at the age of 8 for the school Christmas play.

During my childhood I spend a lot of time at my family’s farm. I remember the Shepard, an old man with a wrinkled, dark face and huge ears. He was wild, knew about the weather and had a female dog that looked like a black sheep. One day I found her breast feeding a piglet! One of my favourite things was to put my hand inside the mouth of the baby calves, they didn’t have any teeth and would suck and suck onto my hand…It produced a feeling of both danger and pleasure in me (something I also experience in performance)…

At 17 I went to study Theatre in Barcelona and from there to Paris to train with Jacques Lecoq at his international theatre school. There I met my partner Simon Edwards.

Lecoq was followed by 10 years of working as an actress: I travelled across half of the planet and had a thrilling bohemian lifestyle. At 22 I was hanging naked from a crane in the middle of ‘les Rambles’ in Barcelona with The Theatre Company ‘La Fura dels Baus’. While touring with Kneehigh Theatre in one of the shows that Simon directed, I ended up in the township of Soweto in South Africa. In New Mexico I played in community centres and old peoples homes with the Puppet Theatre “Los Titiriteos”  (which my dear sister runs).

One day, as if by magic, the animals of the farm left. And the actors came…!!!

Simon and I rolled up our sleeves and transformed this place into our artistic adventure.

It’s been 14 years and I feel that The Actors Space is more alive than ever. We must have done around 50 international workshops, with approximately 1000 participants from over 50 different countries (you can click here to find out about this years workshops).There has been a lot going on here, Theatre, Film, Clowning (of course), Artists, Musicians, Flamenco, Magicians and Feldenkrais to mention some. Many shows and films have been made. One thing I know: it’s been fun! My future plans? To continue walking the path of artistic creation, and, hopefully, say something worth saying to the world.

I am now directing an outdoor Mask Theatre Show. It will be performed during Carnival to an audience of 4000 people. Fun, fun, fun!…

Simon Edwards- Teacher, Director.
A blog? What exactly is a blog, it sounds like something my cat might do in the corner of the room if she were locked in all night.

You will have to forgive me, I think Im suffering from cabin fever (not to be confused with cabin phobia which is fear of small buildings, two completely different things).

OK,  so the plan is to share on this ‘blog’ some of our creative adventures and experience, including tips, techniques and videos so that this can be a further resource for training and creative expression.

This is a little taster of something I am working on at the moment.

I’ve been creating shows for more than 30 years and I have to say that something extraordinary is happening. A revolution is unfolding in the way that we connect and communicate with each other. This phenomena is clearly visible (on the political side of things) with those recent shifts of power around the world. From an artistic point of view new horizons are appearing. As Jung pointed out we are way too dependent on science and technology, civilisation needs art to help guide the way…. This more so than ever in this age, as we risk becoming corrupted by the art of power rather than freed by the power of art.

It’s a very exciting time to be creating work, with the new technology for making and sharing dramatic art now being more accessible than ever. It’s time to get into action, to get going with all those creative projects that we have only been able to dream about until recently. There is an opportunity for creative artists to get their work across to a previously unimaginably huge audience, by passing the established hierarchies of tv and film and being able to share directly with ‘your’ audience. This of course also applies to theatre artists, as by engaging online with the audience you can get them to know about the next show and share when they can see it.

It all comes down to two things WHAT do you want to share and HOW? How creative do you want to be?

For Marian and I The Actors Space has been a dream come true and as we continue to realise that dream we aspire to help other artists realise their creative dreams also!

If you have any comments or questions to ask (personal or professional) please post them below and we will try to answer as swiftly as possible. Happy new year of the Dragon!!!

The Actors Space is a centre dedicated to the professional training and development of the creative actor. Now taking bookings for the 2012 Summer Workshops