Art on Stage at the Saatchi Gallery London

The Saatchi Gallery and the Royal Court theatre are pleased to announce new dates for the joint initiative Art on Stage. This collaboration offers school groups of between 20 to 30 students a chance to participate in creative and imaginative workshops that combine art and drama. It is tailored to benefit both primary and secondary school students.

Beginning with a tour of the current show, students are then invited to a workshop at the Royal Court Theatre where they are encouraged to explore the artworks through drama. the Royal Court Theatre and the Saatchi Gallery are within 5 walking minutes to each other. Each session lasts two hours. Morning sessions are for primary schools and afternoon sessions are for secondary schools. The session are free of charge. Places are allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

Please email rozenn@saatchigallery.com to book a place. The programme will be starting on Monday January 16th 2017.

A Dramatic Tale of two Struggling Actors

If you have an interest in performing arts, you may also have sympathy or even empathy for the characters of a new work of fiction: In Younger Men's shoes by novelist Frank Demain, a tale of love, envy, sexual pleasure and harassment, financial worries, hatred, disaster and joy.

David Barstow is a struggling actor who has reached that age where he must soon decide if acting is indeed a viable career for him. To add to his woes, some of his family of their friends find difficulty in accepting his partner and fellow actor, Rebecca Cameron, because of her Caribbean origins.

Uninvited and unwelcome advances offer possible solutions to their financial plight before support and respite come from unlikely sources. The respite proves to be short-lived and David seeks parental support - in vain. Then tragedy overtakes them and it is left to one family member to provide solace and care for Rebecca.

In Younger Men's shoes by Frank Demain is available in digital format from Amazon for less than the price of a latte!

Performing Arts at the Roundhouse Theatre London

Roundhouse Poetry Collective

The Roundhouse poetry collective is a group of young writers and performers who meet weekly to create, experiment and develop their work under guidance of established and celebrated poets.

To join, young people only need an interest in writing and the will to commit to a year of development. By the end of the project, participants will have developed skills in a large range of poetry writing and performance styles, learnt how to create work together and been introduced to exercises and techniques to improve their craft.

The program helps students develop confidence as writers and performers by offering detailed feedback and guidance, as well as creating a close network of likeminded potential collaborators. Joining the poetry collective offers the opportunity to be invited to perform at the Roundhouse as well as at a number of high-profile  festival and events.

Devising Theatre: Real Life Stories

This workshop is a chance for anyone interested in theatre to learn more about verbatim techniques and explore how they can be used to make innovative new work. Making Verbatim theatre means using exactly the same words that were used originally by someone else. This could be by a politician, a celebrity, your sister or even Twitter.

To join this project no previous experience in acting is necessary. All information http://www.roundhouse.org.uk/young-creatives/list








Chickenshed, Theatre Changing Lives in North London

Started in 1974, Chickenshed is an inclusive theatre company who creates performances for all ages, initiates outreach projects, runs education courses and organisms membership programmes throughout the year. Chickenshed is a registered charity supported by individuals, companies and foundations.

Performance is at the heart of everything they do. Their work uses the stage to celebrate diversity and theatre as a vehicle to communicate with audiences and question social issues. Chickenshed regularly presents original and exciting productions for young children, families and adults, as well as creates new work based on personal and social issues that affect today's society.

Chicken shed changes lives by bringing together young people from all social and economical backgrounds, races and abilities to study creatively alongside each other, many of whom have been marginalized by society and excluded from mainstream education.

This summer, Chickenshed is running a community choir, a Performance workshop for young adult and a family show 'Tales from the Shed' where children are always encourage to make a lot of noise and make the stories happen. A vibrant, interactive theatre show, amazingly engaging as the performers and audience share the same space. 

For all information https://www.chickenshed.org.uk

Theatre performance and Performance Art with Marina Abramovic

One of the most important living artist, Marina Abramovic has been pushing boundaries and pioneering new form of performance art for over 40 years. In a recent interview for The Calvert Journal, she talks about her Method and the transformational power of performance art. 

If the Serbian artist did not invent performance art, she started experimenting with it in the late 1960w and has done more than anyone else to put performance on the art map by endlessly promoting the media over the last 40 years.

The Abramovic Method distills the artist's knowledge about performance. Particularly prevalent in theatre, she sees the very notion of 'method" as purely Slavic, in the tradition of theatre directors Stanislavsky, Grotowski or Kantor. Her method includes series of cleansing practices, carried out in three basic physical positions (lying down, sitting and standing), designed to slow down the activity of the audience and put us in the right mood to fully experience long-duration performance.

In her own words "Long-durational performance is very hard on the performer but the transformation he or she undergoes changes the public and their view on life itself. For a performance you have to be in the present. But during the performance your mind can go to different spaces, times, think about something else. If you have to count every second, how much time have you got for your mind to go somewhere else between one second and another? It requires huge willpower to be in the present constantly. By doing that you change your brain pattern. By changing your brain pattern, you change your intake of oxygen and you can create a completely different state of mind, which can actually affect your life."

Actors Need To Tour ‘To Keep Theatre Alive’

It is important that actors of all abilities, whether they have just graduated from a London acting school or are well established in their field, travel around the country with their production company to keep the popularity of theatre alive.

This is the opinion of Alistair Smith, print editor of The Stage, who said touring is vital to the industry.

“You don’t see younger stars touring the UK any more. It simply doesn’t happen. This is a problem for regional theatre and for drama audiences,” he stated.

The writer noted that the lack of willingness from actors to commit to travelling around the country is causing a huge problem, as touring will “ensure that the theatre industry continues to develop current and future audiences across the country”.

One travelling production that is sure to be a hit with theatre enthusiasts all over the UK is No Man’s Land, featuring Hollywood stars Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart.

The play was originally performed in 1975 and returns to the Wyndham’s Theatre in London after 41 years. It will run at the West End playhouse for 14 weeks from September 8th after going around the country beforehand.

Audiences in Sheffield will be the first to see the production when it opens on August 3rd at the Lyceum Theatre. After this, it will go to Newcastle, Brighton and Cardiff.

With such famous stars on its bill, you might forgive No Man’s Land for not touring the country, as it could easily pull in the crowds by staying in the West End alone.

However, Mr Smith notes McKellen and Stewart are such veteran actors that their generation will be used to touring with theatre shows, as this was the norm with theatre shows in years gone by.

Ian McKellen & Patrick Stewart In UK Theatre Tour

Now’s your chance to take a few acting lessons from some of the greats of our time. The X-Men stars Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart have confirmed that they’ll be taking Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land off on a UK tour this summer, stopping off at Sheffield, Newcastle, Brighton and Cardiff before setting up shop at Wyndham’s theatre in London in September.

No Man’s Land is an absurdist play written in 1974, debuting at the Old Vic Theatre in London before transferring to Wyndham’s. It tells the tale of two writers (Hirst, a successful poet, and Spooner, a failed one) who meet at a pub on Hampstead Heath and go back to Hirst’s impressive home. Despite his successes, Hirst has not been published for quite some time and finds himself trapped in no man’s land. Ultimately, the play is about the inevitability of old age and the emptiness that this stage of life can bring.

According to the Guardian, over 100 tickets to see McKellen and Stewart in the play will be available for between £10 and £20, which certainly strikes us as something of a bargain not to be missed.

Apparently, Patrick Stewart saw the original production of the play at Wyndham’s back in 1975 (starring John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson) and he liked it so much he went to see it twice more in the same week, saying: “[I] would have seen it more if I could have afforded the tickets. I made a promise to myself that one day I would play Spooner or Hirst, but to be doing it back at Wyndham’s with Ian McKellen was a fantasy I never entertained.”

Will you be going to see it? Make sure you let us know what you think of the production.

Donmar Theatre Front Row Budget tickets

Did you know the Donmar Theatre release Front Row £10 tickets on Monday mornings 10am? A great opportunity to see great plays and brilliant actors on a budget!

On Monday 8 February tickets for Welcome Home Captain Fox! performances 18-27 February will be available to buy online http://barclaysfrontrow.donmarwarehouse.com.

Welcome Home Captain Fox! is a new version of Jean Anouilh's hit 1937 play Le voyageur sans bagages by Anthony Weigh.


Actor Billy Connolly Celebrated At The National Television Awards

Acclaimed actor Billy Connolly was given a prestigious accolade at the National Television Awards (NTAs), being awarded the special recognition honour.

The Glaswegian actor started his entertainment career as a comedian and folk musician in Scotland before making it into mainstream acting, and going on to encourage many budding stars to attend acting school in London to achieve the same success in the field.

A spokesperson for the NTAs said: “It’s unbelievable and yet no surprise that we’re celebrating 50 years of Billy Connolly. Because he doesn’t compromise, because he doesn’t fit a label, he has no shelf life, he’s not part of a phrase. He’s unique.”

Connolly has both films and television dramas under his belt, and has starred in some huge Hollywood productions in his time, including The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

He has featured in big TV shows, from The X Files and House MD to 3rd Rock from the Sun and Columbo, and he has also lent his distinctive Scottish accent to animations, such as Brave and Pocahontas.

Among the other winners at the NTAs were Downton Abbey taking home the accolade of best drama, Eastenders for best serial drama, and Suranne Jones for best drama performance for her role in Doctor Foster. The short series also went on to win the gong for best new drama at the award ceremony.

Despite celebrating 50 years in the industry, 73-year-old Connolly has no plans to slow down and has most recently starred in a comedy movie called Wild Oats. The film also features Demi Moore and Jessica Lange and is set for release later this year.

What Is Method Acting?

If you’ve been taking part in drama workshops in London, you might well have come across the term ‘method acting’ already. But what exactly is this and how can these techniques help you to become a better actor or actress?

Essentially, method acting is simply a number of different techniques to help actors really become the character that they’re playing, a set of strategies devised by Lee Strasberg, an American actor, director and teacher who founded the Group Theatre in 1931 alongside Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford.

Strasberg’s Method can be traced back to ideas formulated by Constantin Stanislavski, a Russian actor and theatre director. Strasberg operated on the idea that in order for people to develop a deeper, more emotional understanding of their role, they should tap into their own experiences in order to identify better with the character in question.

Techniques include sense memory, substitution, animal work and affective memory. Substitution, for example, involves understanding how the elements of the life of your character can be compared with various elements in your own life, intended to produce a more sincere performance.

Affective memory, meanwhile, involves thinking back to find a situation that you’ve been in that’s similar to the one your character finds themselves in. And sense memory will require you to recall the physical sensations that surrounded a particular emotional event, rather than the emotions themselves.

It’s all about relying on your own personal experiences in order to bring a part to life. Bear in mind, however, that it’s important not to go too deep with it. Some actors have been known to stop eating, sleeping or seeing friends and family in order to improve their performances.