Workshop Opportunity

If you’re quick you might still have time to apply for Sarah Baxter’s LeCoq workshops, happening in the new year. Email a CV, a photograph and a brief letter explaining why you would like to take part to:

A few of my teachers at Brunel and beyond were LeCoq-trained and I really enjoyed it as a way of playing and finding characters. A really simplistic way of describing it – the way I think of it – is that it is the opposite of Method Acting. Where Method is all about tapping into the “right” emotional response and building the actor from within, LeCoq is about creating the character physically and then finding the feelings from that physicality. (Bear in mind, I’m six years out of college – I’m sure there is loads more to it than that, but that’s how I remember it.)

Sarah has worked with Landmark Productions who produced Ballyturk this summer. If you saw that show, you will remember Mikel Murfi’s physically as he portrayed the various inhabitants of Ballyturk. (Along with Cillian Murphy in his underpants!) Murfi trained with Jacques LeCoq in Paris and is a very physical performer.

(Sidenote: Mikel Murfi did a Directing Masterclass with us on the MA in Galway and talked about his part in the first production of The Walworth Farce by Enda Walsh. It sounded like the maddest play. Just from his description of performing it, I was eager to see it and I’m delighted that Landmark are producing it next
year. This is the Gleeson play, as I have heard it described!)

These workshops are really good value and I think the performers will have a lot of fun. Plus I bet Sarah has some good stories from her work with Landmark!

Deadline is today so email now. All the details are below.

WORKSHOP OPPORTUNITY: Physical Theatre and Devising for Performers

An eight day intensive workshop (Monday-Thursday over two weeks) for performers in LeCoq based physical theatre, ensemble play and devising for performance. Facilitated by Sarah Baxter (assistant director on Landmark Productions Howie The Rookie), participants will be invited into a space of discovery, rigour and play all accessed through a fully alive body. Over the eight days participants will partake in yoga, movement analysis, full mask work, physical expression, ensemble skills and devising techniques.

Workshops are open to all (18+) performers (actors, dancers, musicians and those from other performance backgrounds).
Cost: 100€ / eight day workshop

Workshop 1: January 5-8 and 12-15
Workshop 2: January 19-22 and 26-29
Workshop 3: February 2-5 and 9-12

Sarah is a director based in Dublin. She is a graduate of LISPA- London International School Of Performing Arts (led by Thomas Prattki, former pedagogical director of Ecole Jacques Lecoq). She has worked in London and Dublin as a director, performer, mask maker, movement director and facilitator. She has worked with companies and organisations such as Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre Company; Landmark Productions; The Gate Theatre; Young Vic Theatre and Field Day Theatre Company.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Sarah to another actor. She is intelligent, astute, has true integrity, and above all else a fierce passion and love for the theatre and the arts. A true artist.” – Tom Vaughan-Lawlor

Applicants should email a CV, a photograph and a brief letter explaining why they would like to take part to:

Workshops will take place at The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin. Spaces are limited. Please indicate your preference of which workshop date you would like to attend.

Closing date for applications 30.11.2014.

All applicants will be notified shortly thereafter as to whether they have been allocated a place.

These workshops are kindly supported by Dublin City Council

Body, Voice & Imagination Workshop

A few years ago I did a series of workshops with Actors Training Ireland. The workshops were in voice and movement and they activated my entire body and my brain. I really enjoyed them. They included movement work, some improv, working with text, working with the breath and exercises to wake up your body and your voice. Every week I learnt something or realised something new about my body, in an environment that was friendly and supportive. The workshops were run by Andy Crook and Helena Walsh who both taught at Trinity, as part of the acting course there. Now Actors Training Ireland has morphed into Articulate Anatomy Theatre and have lots of plans in the pipeline, including a 4-day workshop next month.

I really can’t recommend them highly enough. More information about the workshop and the teachers is below. To get a place in the workshop or just to get on their mailing list, email ArticulateAnatomyTheatre (at )



The Creative Actor
(Body, Voice & Imagination Workshop)
With Helena Walsh and Andy Crook.

Date: October 29th – 1st November. (Wednesday – Saturday)
Time: 10.00 – 17.00; Course Fee: €250
Venue: The Lantern Centre, 17 Synge Street, Dublin 8

This unique workshop is a practical training and investigation into the integration of body, voice and imagination; exploring how we can develop our creativity, have more choices available to us as actors and become more self-aware and less self conscious in our work.

The workshop will energise the actor, create greater presence and develop a simple and direct means to opening up text and accessing our creative self.

The work explores aspects of voice (Roy Hart and Fitzmaurice Voicework), physical training (Jacques Lecoq and Phillip Zarrilli) as well as utilising aspects of Stanislavski and Chekhov. It centres around body, breath and physical action.

Helena Walsh is one of Ireland’s leading voice specialists and teaches nationally and internationally. She is passionate about voice work and encouraging each individual to discover their authentic voice through artistic expression. Her approach to voice is an integration of voice / body and imagination (text), making it easier for the young actor to build a bridge from their acting to their voice work. Helena holds a BA in Classics from University College Dublin and has trained and performed as an actress and singer both nationally and internationally. In 2003 she was awarded an Arts Council bursary to pursue professional mentorships at the Abbey Theatre under Voice Director Andrea Ainsworth and at Trinity College under Kevin Crawford, founding member of The Roy Hart International Voice Centre, France. She is currently doing a Teaching Certification in Fitzmaurice Voice work at the International Centre for Voice at Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London and will be the only teacher of this method in Ireland. Helena teaches voice on the full time actor-training programme at The Gaiety School of Acting, on the three-year theatre studies programme at Inchicore V.E.C and on the BA in Liberal Arts at The American College, Merrion Square.

Andy Crook is a teacher and maker of theatre who is presently based in Dublin, Ireland. He trained at the internationally renowned Ecole Jacques Lecoq and has worked as a director, performer and teacher throughout Europe and the USA. He was associate course co-ordinator on the Professional Actor Training Programme at Trinity College, Dublin and has taught in several drama schools in the UK. He has been an Associate Lecturer on the Drama and Theatre Studies programme at University College Cork and is a regular tutor on the MFA in Physical Theatre at the Accademia Dell’Arte, Arezzo, Italy. He has recently been teaching and directing at Rose Bruford College and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts both in London. Much of his recent performance work in Ireland and the USA has been with either with company, Articulate Anatomy, or with well-known psychophysical theatre director Phillip Zarrilli (The Llanarth Group).

Andy’s work is inspired by and developed from his training with Jacques Lecoq and nearly 30 years of working as a director, performer and acting teacher. It explores the dynamics of play by developing the actor’s energetic physical connection, awareness of space and active engagement with fellow performers. This exploration leads to the discovery of a new freedom, sense of creativity and means of physical expression.

Four-day Workshop with Actors Training Ireland

Acting Training Ireland, who I have done workshops with and am very enthusiastic about are doing a four-day workshop in voice and acting at the beginning of June. It’s €200 for 4 full days which is a little bit out of my price-range at the moment but they are very, very good. If you do get a chance to go along, please let me know how you get on!

Here are all the details. Contact details here.


A four-day workshop

with Helena Wash and Andy Crook

Tuesday 5th June – Friday 8th June

10.00 – 17.00


City Centre Location

This workshop is an exploration of acting using text, voice and improvisation combining the ideas of Jacques Lecoq and Roy Hart. It will be highly physical and playful using the energy of the individual working within the ensemble to challenge and encourage each participant to explore more deeply their craft and purpose as a performer. It will look at how we can be alive and spontaneous whilst being true to a text and connecting and responding to those around us.

Learning to work with our whole body and mind together produces work of depth, colour and great sensitivity. We will focus on wakening ourselves up physically and mentally, sensitising ourselves with others and then connecting to text and to playful situations.

The first part of each session will focus on physical and vocal technique that will open up the body and voice, grounding the actor and preparing for improvisational ensemble work in the afternoon. Techniques are inspired from Feldenkrais, Astanga yoga, Lecoq and Roy Hart.

The second part of each session will be spent on understanding acting through choral voice and sung pieces and through active imaginative play and work on text. Songs will be used to encourage a greater range of expression in the spoken voice and choral pieces will be sung and spoken. The emphasis will be on the physicalisation of song and the word. We will learn to embody the gesture of a phrase, or ground the feeling of a word through clear energised thought and a dynamic articulate and expressive body. This is taken through to the acting with text and improvisation work allowing physical action to take us into the discovery of situation and meaning.

This is a course that is suitable for anyone with some acting experience. Having a trained singing voice is not necessary and the course is designed for actors who would like to explore moving freely from spoken to sung text . The work is challenging but always fun.

Theatre Production Courses July 2011

Here’s another workshop happening in Dublin this month on theatre production. I did a this workshop with Leonor a couple of years ago and found it very useful. I did it with a small group, and there was a relaxed, informal feel to the workshop which I really liked. It meant it was easy to ask questions and talk about your own work and find out what other people were up to. I got a great deal out of Leonor’s workshop and I also learnt something from the other participants.

I came away with lots of useful, practical information about budgeting and project management, but I also got a sense of what it is like to work as a performer in Dublin. I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about putting on a show but doesn’t know where to start. E-mail for more details.

COURSE CONTENT: Project Management,   Budget & Finance, Dealing with the Press,  Networking for Success,  Front of House, Stage Management, Poster Design, Funding Applications, Applying to Festivals, and Making the Most of Your Show’s Future Opportunities, Touring.

Participants are given handouts on the content, templates of all tables & lists discussed in the course.

The course is delivered over 2 afternoons:
Course 1: July 23 & 24th 2pm to 6pm
Course 2: July 30th & 31st 2pm to 6pm

Cost: €80 (Reduced fees if more than one person from the same production attends. Anyone who has taken the course before is welcome for a refresher at half price)
If you are unemployed, please note FAS has funded previous participants.

Location of courses:  Dublin City (address TBC)

Limited places.

To apply for a place in this course, please email a short biography and brief description of your production plans to:

Course Tutor:  Leonor Bethencourt

Talking Texts

A couple of weeks ago I went to my second ‘Talking Texts’ workshop at the Abbey. The Abbey runs these voice workshops every now and again, always in connection with whatever play is on the main stage. The first one I went to, about a year ago, was based around Measure for Measure. The more recent one was another Shakespearean text – Macbeth. The workshop involves three hours doing voice work on the Abbey stage with Andrea Ainsworth, Voice Director at the Abbey, then there’s a break for lunch (tea and sandwiches are provided in the bar upstairs) and in the afternoon you go and see the play. It’s a really nice way to spend the day and I’ve enjoy the two workshops I’ve done.

It’s a big group (about 20 – 30 people) and there is no experience necessary so you get a wide range of abilities amoung the attendees, so the workshop is very much a basic introduction. Andrea leads a vocal warm-up and then goes through different exercises using a piece of text from the play. For the Macbeth workshop, we used Macbeth’s soliloquy from Act 3, scene 1, where he is about to send a couple of hit-man after Banquo and his son. (See the text here) It’s a nice meaty piece of text and it was useful to go through it in detail with the group and talk about what each line means and what sort of images the words bring to mind.

Thw workshop combines the two types of voice workshops that an actors requires -physically warming up the voice to get it ready to work, and the more intellectual side of unlocking the text and finding a way to make it make sense.

After the vocal warm-up, Andrea does a couple of these exercises with the text. Not all of them will work for everybody and not all of them would be suitable for every piece of text but they are a good starting point. It’s useful to try out the different ideas and exercises from her, and pick and choose what might be useful in the future.

In the Macbeth workshop, we were told to pick out all the people mentioned in the text – the witches, Duncan, Banquo, Banquo’s son – and imagine them standing around you as you say the text. When they are mentioned in the text, you have to point to them; and when Macbeth is speaking of himself, you point to yourself. It was an interesting exercise because you start identifying the feelings you have about each person. It’s also interesting to note how often each person appears in the text, Macbeth refers to himself a lot and gradually becomes more obsessed with Banquo’s sons.

After lunch and a bit of a chat with the other workshop participants, we headed back into the theatre for the matinee performance. I did Macbeth for my Leaving Cert (way back in 1999) so I am intimiately familiar with the play. It was a good show – the usual mad women but not too much blood and gore. There was a nice bit of lighting used for the ‘Is this a dagger that I see before me’ scene and I really enjoyed the Porter’s scene.

The next Talking Text workshop is on Saturday 4 September, and the text is The Plough and the Stars.

And, in case you were wondering, I didn’t notice anyone shying away from saying the dreaded ‘Macbeth’ word inside the theatre. And nothing bad happened!

Workshops and classes

I didn’t see that many shows in the Dublin Theatre Festival but I did get to see Freefall by Corn Exchange and I loved it. I like Corn Exchange a lot and I was raging when I missed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof last year so I had pretty high expectations for their new show. I wasn’t disappointed. It was fantastic; wonderful actors and a great story, beautifully told. I found it a bit of an emotional roller-coaster of a show and felt drained by the end of it but there was still some very funny moments and a few moments which were painfully, tragically funny. I don’t know if they are touring the show, but if you get a change to see it – I highly recommend it.

I did a workshop with Corn Exchange about seven or eight years ago and I really enjoyed it. It was three evenings classes and we got to build our own Commedia del’Arte character each evening, picking out clothes for them to wear and painting on own mask. We spent the rest of the class creating scenes with our characters.

I have been dying to do another workshop with them ever since but whenever they came around, I either didn’t have the money or I couldn’t get time off work or I was in England. Even just a few months ago, I didn’t have enough days leave left to take the week off work and go and do yoga every morning instead. Maybe 2010 will finally be the year that I get to do another Corn Exchange workshop!

At the moment, I’m doing a voice class with Actors Training Ireland, who I would also highly recommend. I did a weekend workshop with them in July (it included voice, acting and moment work, as well as some singing). I enjoy it and got a lot out of it. It’s not really a beginners class; the aim is to remind you about the things you already know and maybe pick up a few new skills. Acting is something that you need to practice but unlike other performance arts like playing an instrument or singing, it’s very difficult to practise on your own. You need other people, you need an audience. Going to class let’s me practice and remind myself what I’m trying to do. It also helps me to feel like an actor, even though I spend all day in an office.