Improve Self-Awareness With Acting Classes

Will, Awareness and Self-Trust should be the aim of any performer, but the most difficult of these to manage is AWARENESS – more specifically non-judgmental self-awareness. This means that as performers, we should develop the skill of listening to what we are doing in any given moment (performance, rehearsal or otherwise). With true awareness, we are able to evaluate and assess what we have done with kindness and decide what went wrong and how to improve next time instead of the harsh and often brutal self-assessment we give ourselves for no real reason.

The world of acting is so submerged in different styles of teaching and techniques that the actor often finds themselves lost in what is right and what is wrong. But more importantly, these teachings only focus on the outward skills an actor might need and neglect the inner game that is happening inside, neglecting the battle the actor finds themselves in – when their mind turns on them, saying they have failed, or that they are worthless, or that maybe acting isn’t for them.

The skill of non-judgemental self-awareness is so vital to the actor that without it, there is no hope to fulfil the potential they have. Audition after audition and role after role, they will criticise themselves with no real base point of reference. That is, they are certain they have made terrible mistakes when in truth, they don’t really know how to judge whether they really were mistakes in the first place.

With proper coaching and a commitment to challenging long held personal beliefs about our own level of skill, any performer can develop the ability of SELF-AWARENESS. With time, the voice inside us that is so convinced we have done everything wrong will quieten and in its place will be a professional who can perform to maximum efficiency and afterwards, perform a self evaluation that is free of negative self-talk and harsh criticism.

Coping with Presentation Nerves

It is entirely natural to feel nervous before making a presentation. Many seasoned teachers, lecturers and other presenters feel nervous beforehand despite having given hundreds of presentations. The same is true of actors and actresses, celebrities, politicians, preachers and other people working in the media or in the public eye. 

Being nervous is not a problem or a weakness, you just need to channel your nervous energy wisely. On the other hand, being over-confident and not nervous could be a weakness! The symptoms of nerves can include "butterflies" or a queasy feeling in your stomach, sweaty palms, a dry throat and the panic that your mind has gone blank about your opening lines.

Fortunately, there are some tried and tested strategies and techniques to manage your nerves so that you can concentrate on delivering an effective and engaging presentation.

These techniques will not get rid of your nerves; instead they will help you to use your nervous to your advantage. When you are in a heightened state from the adrenaline that is being pumped around your body, you can use that energy to communicate enthusiastically, convincingly, and passionately.

Practise deep breathing. Adrenalin causes your breathing to shallow. By deliberately breathing deeply your brain will get the oxygen it needs and the slower pace will trick your body into believing you are calmer. This also helps with voice quivers, which can occur when your breathing is shallow and irregular.

Smile. Smiling is a natural relaxant that sends positive chemical messages through your body. Smiling and maintaining eye contact also help you build rapport with your audience. Drink Water. Adrenalin can cause a dry mouth, which in turn leads to getting tongue-tied. Have a glass or bottle of water handy and take sips occasionally, especially when you wish to pause or emphasize a point. 

Use visualisation technique. Imagine that you are delivering your presentation to an audience that is interested, enthused, smiling, and reacting positively. Cement this positive image in your mind and recall it just before you are ready to start. And finally, stop thinking about yourself Remember that the audience is there to get some information and that it is your job to put that information across to them. try to put your nerves aside and think about communicating your message as effectively as possible.

The Importance of Good Communication Skills

Being able to communicate effectively is the most important of all life skills. Communication is simply the act of transferring information from one place to another. Like actors on stage, in our daily life, communication is both vocal and non-verbal, using body language. How well information can be transmitted and received is a measure of how good our communication skills are. And hey can be learned or improved by attending drama classes.

Learning acting techniques and developing your communication skills can help all aspects of your life, from your professional life to social gatherings and everything in between. The ability to communicate information accurately, clearly and as intended, is a vital life skill and something that should not be overlooked. It’s never too late to work on your communication skills and by doing so improve your quality of life.

Professionally, if you are applying for jobs or looking for a promotion with your current employer, you will almost certainly need to demonstrate good communication skills. They are needed to speak appropriately with a wide variety of people whilst maintaining good eye contact, demonstrate a varied vocabulary and tailor your language to your audience, listen effectively and work well in a group. Many of these are essential skills that employers seek, and they’re also at the core of the actor's training.

Mind in Body Methodology for Actors

Mind in Body is a methology for actors in order to integrate as a unity the techniques of Shri Vivek Yoga, meditation and techniques of Tantra. It is a holistic approach that brings all the attention of the mind to observe the body and its needs of expression at all times.

Mind in Body methodology is a very useful tool when only for the moment when you’re acting, but also for our complex lives. And just like everything else in life, the result should come through effort and by the habit we’re willing to create for ourselves. Only through habitual attitude do responsability, trust, gratitude and self-esteem increase.

At the end of the workshop students will have learned to explore the basic integration of the human being : body, mind and energy, and merge it with the needs of the actor’s profession. You will learn to get out of the habit of devaluating yourself and others through comparison and competition. It deepens your self-awareness and self-acceptance. When you see and recognize yourself as you are, then rises a natural instinct of self-concentration and automatically the presence of oneself.

The habit of being ‘mind in body’ gives you as well an automatic effect of saving energy. So you will learn to be nothing more than your actions, as a need that the present demands. It is a very important thing for acting, because it requires discipline and complete presence. With Mind in Body’s technique you’ll be trained to see the parts of your body that require action and the parts that need to be relaxed.

Seeing the causes and consequences of everything you do, is the state of Mind in the Body. As a consequence you’ll increase self-confidence, overcome shyness and stage-fright ; you’ll control your voice, and have a good presence on stage. This is the goad of this workshop as a substantial technique to develop the skills of your acting.

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Acting Now Social Theatre Company in Cambridge UK

By putting social, political and civic causes at the forefront of their work and by devising creative drama projects that breathe life into the important social challenges facing participants and audiences alike Acting Now contributes to transform people lives through theatre.

Acting Now uses drama techniques to engage with people who are at risk of social exclusion. They work with learning disabled people, adults with mental health challenges, the homeless and young people, using theatre to reflect, explore and analyse the issues that affect them. The workshops provide a space where the participants can develop self-confidence, learn new skills and transform their own reality using theatre. They also develop high quality plays that are performed in the local community.

Their methodology includes the theatre of the oppressed created by Augusto Boal in 1971 built around a variety of games and techniques that allowed unskilled participants to act. First, the participants become aware of their challenging situation. Then they are encouraged to analyse the factors which have caused it. Finally, the group acts on what they believe to be a solution to their challenges.

Also, Lecoq and the Physical Theatre encourages group work, since it is believed to improve emotions and feelings. The idea of Lecoq’s pedagogy “is to work in a common voice, is to be at one and at the same time grounded in the truth of a living character, and in touch with a dimension which transcends human reality”. This pedagogy created in 1956 stimulates the body, imagination and creativity.

As a platform to empower people and fight against exclusion, Acting Now works with charities and local authorities. Strong partnerships have been forged with a number of community organisations such as Rowan, Cambridge Cancer Help Centre and Wintercomfort, so as to support their service users in their future endeavours, to help them gain confidence and unlock their potential.

Trestle physical theatre and participation projects

Trestle is a mask and physical theatre company, with a highly regarded arts education programme. As a charity, their mission is to engage children, young people and adults in creative activity, which aims to enhance the cultural quality of their experiences.

Trestle has been making innovative and inspirational physical theatre and participation projects since 1981. All of the work is influenced by full and half mask; however, over the past decade, collaborations with artists from India, Spain, Eastern Europe and Africa, along with our partners in the UK, have inspired the evolution of the work they create.

Trestle is one of the leading providers of school workshops, teacher training and participation programmes in the country. They run mask, half mask, physical theatre and bespoke workshops, projects and residencies nationally and internationally.

Trestle Arts Base in St Albans is home to Trestle Theatre Company, from here they support the development and performance of new, high quality, professional productions. There are weekly classes, community events and meetings, as well as spaces for performance research and development. The longest standing professional theatre company in St Albans offers its students the opportunity to work, learn and play inspiring them to grow in confidence, make friends, improve communication and explore their creativity.



Strangeface Theatre Company UK

Strangeface brings mask and puppet theatre to audiences in Kent, regionally, nationally and internationally. We aim to make our work as accessible as possible by offering work that appeals across generations and travelling to venues across the UK from grand old theatres to tiny village halls.

Strangeface is a theatre company committed to producing an intimate fusion of mask, puppetry and live music. Its style arises from twin observations: that it is not in the interests of consumer culture to encourage imagination in its participants and that we live in an age where the individual is championed above the group.

In response to this Strangeface’s practice is to create theatre in a variety of spaces, which makes its audience aware of it’s own imaginative participation through various techniques and to elucidate the fact that identity is more transient than we would believe. In practice both of these aims can be deeply empowering. At the end of our performances we add time for audiences to come up on stage, to try on masks and play with puppets. In the case of mask and puppet theatre, showing how the magic is created makes the magic stronger.

Strangeface’s influences are diverse and growing. They include the mask cultures of Japan and Italy, the plays of Shakespeare and Brecht, the animation of Jan Svankmajer, Jirí Barta, Tim Burton and Nick Park, and contemporary companies such as Trestle, Faulty Optic, and Complicite. Our practice is also influenced by research into the application of Chaos Theory to semiotics and cognitive theory.

The company is also committed to outreach work. Schools, colleges and universities use our mask and puppet workshops (both making and using) not only to develop specific drama skills but also to address and encourage so called ‘soft skills’. Our workshops and residencies are ideal for building confidence within groups and individuals, encouraging team work, developing problem solving skills, imaginative engagement and extending emotional vocabulary. Strangeface is constantly developing its workshops and residencies to fit with changing educational requirements.


Self-Confidence and the Actor's Inner Voice

The way we talk to ourselves has a big impact on our acting abilities. Self-talk is the name given to the internal dialogue we constantly have with ourselves. When our inner voice is negative, it increases pressure and potential for failure. As actors our inner voices greatly influence our performances.

If our self-talk is damaging and turns into a permanent critic, it will constantly impede our progress. However by increasing concentration we can calm the inner voice down. Yoga, meditation or simple breathing and visualising exercises will quickly show great results. The secret is to incorporate these practices in your daily life so they become part of your being.

Once a state of calm can be reached and maintain periodically, it is time to invite positive thoughts about yourself and your acting capabilities. To start with, remembering big or small achievements on stage or in the rehearsal room, perhaps a drama teacher’s praise or a friend’s encouraging words may inspire you to find your own reasons to feel confident in yourself as an actor.

Little by little you will notice changes. Firstly, less stress will make your enjoy much more the performing experience. Then, this new confidence will allow you to step into new territories and therefore develop your drama skills: you'll become a better actor. With repeated effort and increased awareness the inner voice will become gentle and will provide support and motivation when faced with the next obstacle.