Our Approach to Acting
We strive for equilibrium between technique and emotional freedom. This had been a constant battle in the training of actors for half a century, from Edmund Kean to the Moscow Art Theatre of Constantine Stanislavski and the American Actors in New York.
In the UK, pressures from the acting profession – two weeks or sometimes days of rehearsals – puts enormous demands on the actor and often forces them to work from the ‘outside-in’. Drama schools can fall down here, pandering to these demands.
We see the actor as a whole person, and not as a competitive machine, re-awakening their emotional and sensual discovery and their ability to improvise.
The Circle Approach
The circle development approach has been invented and designed by George O’Gorman. It is a fresh and unique approach into the inner workings of the actor as they prepare their craft.
“You can tell yourself to love or hate” but here at the NW5 Theatre School you are guided through an emotional discovery programme that enables you to know where your love and hate pulses are.
The Circle Development
This is the memory of feelings explored through chair work over a period of eleven weeks, in which you learn to bond with your fellow students and gain a trusting respect for each other – giving you energy and strength.
Young actors often think, quite wrongly, that their past feelings will not be worthy for the roles they are given to play. From Hamlet to Hedda Gabler and the challenge of Wilde, Ibsen, Churchill, Osborn, Shaw and Beckett (to mention a few), every great artist and writer throughout the centuries has worked from memory.
Your sensual discovery classes will bring your lazy senses flooding back. These classes will allow you the time and pleasure to ‘re-sense’. The class is a journey of discovery of your five senses, so when you find yourself confronted with a script – your first impulse is not just to learn the lines and ‘act’ out the role.
We concentrate intensively on improvisation throughout the courses, yet there often has not been a link for the drama student or the professional actor between improvisation and performance.
The Voice Programme
The voice programme at the school is designed to discover your natural voice and all its’ qualities and then to strengthen it and give you all the confidence to use it as an instrument that can play to the tune of any character you will be required to study. It is never our intention to change your voice, only to develop it. Your voice teacher will focus strongly on the works of two voice specialists. Cicely Berry and Kristin Linklater.
Cicely Berry is the voice coach to the Royal Shakespeare Company. She sees the voice teacher as involved in all aspects of the theatre’s work and would never try to separate the sound of the words from their living context, for her the two are inseparable. This is what makes her approach to your voice so necessary and valuable. She never departs from the fundamental recognition that speaking is part of a whole – ‘an expression of inner life’.
‘Freeing the Natural Voice’ is the title of Kristin Linklater’s work. Her approach is to liberate the ‘natural’ rather than develop a vocal ‘technique’
Both teachers repeat the same language that we ourselves have found advising young actors – to discover their own voice. Voice classes must be a happy and rewarding occasion and our voice teachers strive to achieve this at all times.
Actors have always needed the ability to move and adapt as the period dictates. However, today there is a growing emphasis on the physical performance. Some major companies now even employ specialist movement directors.
Other Areas of Study
Dance (Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Classical), Tai Chi, Alexander Technique, Mime.
Sight-reading, Verse Speaking
Scenarios, Devising, Acting surgery, Acting technique, Analysis, Text study, Rehearsal exercise, Action, Audition technique, Direction
Makeup, Costume/history, Study trips, Street observation, Zoo study
Throughout any course there are continual group discussions and appraisals as and when the need arises. Each term there will also be personal tutorials.
Great emphasis is placed on the importance of working towards the formation of a cohesive group for the mutual benefit of all.
The 'NW5 Theatre School' is a registered charity. Reg No: 1051483
Registered in England and Wales. Reg No: 3132874
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