Day five at the international theatre festival workshops
Monday 28th July was Day Five; the final day of workshops for the International Theatre Festival theatre-makers. Hundreds of youth theatre companies from across the Commonwealth applied to take part in the International Theatre Festival – 10 were chosen.
The day began with a good old sing-song in an effort to warm up some achey bodies after five days of intensive workshops and energetic performances.
The group worked through a variety of vocal warm-ups, tongue twisters and scales. Equipped with technique, the singers focused on understanding the mechanism of their voice and in turn, how to control and manipulate it.
The group was then directed to build on characterisation. Much of the fear surrounding voice work is the very act of singing. What comes first, however, is the acting. That is the element that makes the singing believable. Singing can be a useful tool for any actor and any discipline. The most useful skill above all is the ability to just GIVE IT A GO!
Next up was a lesson in ‘how to jump out of a plane whilst making your own parachute’ with Aberdeen Performing Arts Youth Theatre. How often do you let go of the inhibitions in your head and just play? Through discussion and the facilitation of play, performers let their imaginations run wild.
The workshop combined verbatim theatre techniques and the collection of artefacts to provoke a discussion around gender. Members interviewed each other with questions. When have you been most manly? When have you been most girly? What should a female or a male always be?
The groups then transformed these discussions into mixed gender pieces that considered the issue of gender through the inclusion of verbatim and play.
Last but not least, was a physical workshop with Teatru Manoel Youth Theatre from Malta called ‘Hide and Speak.’ The class probed into what happens when language ceases to communicate feeling. There are stories that your body tells even when you think you are saying nothing. Non-verbal communication is just as revealing as the verbal.
A scene from the company’s production ‘CLUB’ provided inspiration for the workshop to develop their own physical vocabulary. Whilst the beginnings of the vocabulary grew out of an alternative system of sign language, the literal meaning became less relevant. The vocabulary from ‘CLUB’ was built from the words:
Teatreu Manoel created a Tin Forest physical vocabulary with the words:
What was just as interesting as the interpretation of these words was the space inbetween the non-verbal communication; the sequence which links them together. How does that contribute to meaning and delivery? What happens when you invert or reverse the movement?
A simple series of gesture became a beautiful piece of physical theatre that expressed something true and honest.
After a week of wonderful performances and workshops the companies will return home, but with new Commonwealth friends and a wealth of knowledge. Thanks to everyone who made it possible.