City Acting

Weekend Workshops


Weekend Workshops

Weekend Workshops

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  • Counter-Objectives or using Stanislavski to understand how we can be our own obstacle in getting what we most want in life

    Saturday 26 October at the Old Diorama Arts Centre in Fitzrovia NW1, 1pm - 5pm 

    Do you ever have a feeling that you want contradictory things from life? An inner push-and-pull with your life goals?

    A little known aspect of Stanislavski’s Acting Method is counter-objectives. A counter-objective is where the character desires something from their life that contradicts their main goal (super-objective). A character is unaware of their counter-objective and this stops them getting what they want - with two conflicting desires - so the character becomes their own obstacle!

    Director Russell Bolam was trained in Stanislavski at GITIS in Moscow. Join him in this workshop exploring counter-objectives and how we can become aware of our own in real life.

    The first part of the session will be playful work on counter-objectives using Chekhov’s The Seagull. The second part will be a drama-therapy session where we explore what might be our own counter-objectives and how this stops us from getting what we want in life.

    The workshop is open to all.
    Fees £65.


    Previous Workshop: Authentic Communication with the Meisner Technique

    Developed by Sanford Meisner at the Neighbourhood Playhouse in New York between the 1930s and 80s, the Meisner technique is a fluid acting technique which encourages you to discover fresh moments with your fellow actors as you play rather than stick to a rigid intellectual interpretation of a scene.

    Understanding and working with Meisner’s exercises will spice up your acting with truth and spontaneity, sharpen your essential acting skills, introduce an exciting way of working to your actor’s tool kit, reveal a fun, instinctive way to establish and practice real communication.

    During the day, you’ll learn and begin playing with Meisner’s famous repetition exercise. Then, we’ll explore how Meisner’s technique applies to a script. After time to run through lines with your partner, you’ll explore your scene in a master class format with your facilitator’s coaching in front of the rest of the group, enabling you to understand the technique through activity and observation.


    Previous Workshop: The Power of Non-Verbal Communication: Chekhov, Master of the Unsaid!

    The Seagull, Chekhov’s first major play, will be the focus of this workshop. A favourite of drama schools, this play shows Chekhov as master of the unsaid. With the text as a guide, we will explore the fundamental techniques of communicating on stage, the use of subtext, and the creation of character.

    By improvising games and working on scenes, we will investigate what makes a situation ‘dramatic’ or ‘undramatic’ and how our everyday exchanges and behavior are full of unintentional meaning.

    This workshop will be of particular benefit for anyone wanting to develop acting skills and especially about the power and use of non-verbal communication.


    Previous Workshop: Role-Play, Play the Part You Want on Stage, at Work in Your Life!

    How many characters do we play in our daily life? Do we choose these parts deliberately to answer the circumstances at best? How to gain confidence in our ability to listen and communicate, think on our feet and play the part we want? 

    The day will start with a playful vocal and physical warm-up that will help you to relate to your body and find your centre to ensure you feel relaxed and ready for the day workshop.

    In the first part of the program we will be looking at the notion of status and how it translates physically, in the way we use our bodies and inhabit the space around us. Then, by working in pairs and small groups doing improvisation games, you’ll gain confidence and spontaneity while playing a wide range of characters.

    In the afternoon we'll practise our news skills using simple scripted scenes. We'll explore the actor's many options of delivering the same lines while affecting his/her partner in different ways and eventually changing the outcome of the initial situation.


    Previous Workshop: Intro to Comedy from Dead Parrots to Fiery Hawks!

    Join us and discover the secrets to performing sketch comedy with director Russell Bolam who has worked with groups including stars of BBC3's Badults, Edinburgh Comedy Award nominees Pappy's and Chortle nominated best sketch group The Beta Males.

    During the first part of the day, participants will be introduced to the fundamental rules to provoking laugher from an audience and disciplines of performing sketch comedy onstage. 

    In the afternoon, you will work on and perform sketches from some of the best sketch groups in comedy today, discovering how best to uncover the many laughs each sketch contains and eliciting new gags from yours and the materials limitless comic potential. 

    Sketch Comedy is the most popular form of performance on stage and television from Monty Python to Little Britain to Cardinal Burns. For the comic actor or comedian, Sketch Comedy makes a myriad of acting demands in quick succession; performing farce, satire, spoof, surrealism, slapstick (and many, many more) in a series of unrelated sketches. 


    Previous Workshop: Public Speaking

    Public speaking is something most of us will face at some point in our lives.  Whether it's presentations at work, a friend's wedding or the significant birthday of a family member, at some point we can all expect to have eyes on us as we speak. The nerves associated with situations like this can have a serious impact on our ability to feel confident about getting up to speak. The purpose of this workshop is to offer tips and techniques to handle public speaking enthusiastically and with confidence.

    Run by George Ryan, this one day workshop you will work on vocal and physical aspects of public speaking. Using exercises drawn from drama-training you will enhance your physical presence and explore vocal variety to make you a more engaging and dynamic speaker.  The workshop will explore the use of breath to calm nerves, support the voice, and develop a relaxed physicality.  Working through a series technical and creative exercises, participants will all build a physical awareness of what effective "performance" feels like. 


    Previous Workshop: Improvisation for Beginners

    This improvisation workshop is based on practical techniques to free your imagination, gain spontaneity and creativity.
    No previous experience is required.

    Whether you want to improve your capacity to be in the moment, listen and interact with the people around you in life, at work or in performance, improvisation is the skill you need.

    Join us for a day of fun and discovery. With your facilitator, you will discover the forms of improvising from the fun of theatresports, through to dramatic improvisation, and the skills of creating stories and characters through devising improvisation.


    Previous Workshop: Intro to Directing

    Led by director Russell Bolam, this workshop will look at the role of a director, the nature of directing and how it can inform and maximise your leadership and collaboration skills in life and at work.

    Participants will undertake acting and directing throughout the day, working from contemporary plays, with a focus on the actor-director relationship and how this informs the ways we can work and create together in the modern world.  

    During the first part of the session we will focus on what a director does in a rehearsal room using scenes from modern plays that have been performed at the Royal Court Theatre, where in groups of three participants will get the chance to act and direct, exploring what a director needs from their actors and vice versa and testing the actor-director relationship. Using the same scenes, in the second half of the workshop we’ll look at the art of staging and how to make choices based on a director’s vision, taste, instincts and necessity!  

    Join us for the day and discover why being a director is one of the most challenging and rewarding roles in the theatrical process, where an individual leads a team and becomes the unifying perception of the play and production for an audience. 


    Previous Workshop: English Accent for foreigners

    What makes English people sound so British? Let us explain!

    Come and have fun playing with sounds, rhythm and resonance, and practising articulation. The day will start with a brief introduction on the vocal instrument followed by a relaxing focus on breath. Led by the practitioner, Charlie Walker-Wise, you will learn how to recognize and recreate the components of a standard English accent while receiving personal feedback. The day will end with an informal presentation of short pieces of English theatre in groups.


    Previous Workshop: Winter Warmer Workshop

    Our Winter Warmer workshop is an experience of the creative process from inception to performance. Guided by actress/theatre developer Jennifer Kidd, you will discover and perform a shining piece of theatre based around a beautiful short story, The Moon Festival, taken from the Chinese legend.

    Allow City Acting to ignite your creativity and share some replenishing light and warmth with you before the season’s festivities. Claim time to rejuvenate your passion and imagination, to focus yourself in the present moment with other people, as well as learning and enhancing acting processes and skills.

    During the day you will be given space to express yourself and create collectively, be challenged from your comfort zone, engage with new material, gain understanding of a theatre-making process and acquire greater awareness of specific storytelling skills, perform in a company.

    In a first part, we’ll develop nuanced characters, clear events, and the colourful world of the story as well as thinking about a company style to encompass the piece as a whole. We’ll explore original use of sound, music, physicality, voice, and objects. The second part of the afternoon will be spent playing the scenes following the curve of the findings supported by Jennifer’s direction. The workshop will culminate with a final performance followed by feedback, reflection and mince pies!


    Previous Workshop: The Power of Being

    You know those performances. The ones that have blown you away. Where the actor has seemingly disappeared and you utterly believe they are the character they’re portraying. You forget you’re sitting in a theatre or cinema. You’re transported.

    How do they do that? What’s their secret ingredient?

    Actor/writer, Leandra Ashton believes it lies in the ‘Power of Being’. In this one day workshop she will led participants to explore the creative potential of ‘being’: Connect truthfully to a character, connect authentically with other characters, release inhibitions and feel confident in your choices, let the heart of a scene lead you to creative and expressive freedom!

    In an active and creative morning we will combine movement, music, meditation and acting methods. All are effective ways to tap into our creative potencial and can help us really get under the skin of a character. 

    In the afternoon, we’ll work in pairs of groups and look closely at some of the greatest scenes ever written for theatre and cinema. With guidance from Leandra, you’ll spend the afternoon rehearsing and applying some of the techniques to the scenes. The workshop concludes with an informal sharing of your work and discussion of what we’ve discovered.


    Previous Workshop: The Playful Joy of Clowning

    Experience the playful, authentic, connected tenderness and joy of a clown from the inside out. There will be no pressure to entertain or be funny – just a willingness to play. Participants will be up on their feet engaged in experiential exercises and clown games. They will receive input on the principles of clowning to increase their confidence, knowledge and skills base. This input will be offered “on the hoof” and relate directly to what we are doing. Some history of clowning will be woven in to put activities into a cultural context.
    Participants will be coached to trust and say yes to their own and other’s spontaneous ideas, celebrate mistakes, use their physical and emotional bodies to access and express ideas/themes/characters, offer encouraging feedback, be authentic and have as much fun as possible!


    Previous Workshop: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare

    Shakespeare’s much loved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a riotous story of love, jealousy, magic and mischief. We will work deeply on key scenes, explore the overarching narratives, ending with an informal sharing where we string the whole play together.

    In the first half of the day you will learn how to bring Shakespeare’s text to life and to find the passion that informs his characters. You will explore the world of the play, and experience Elizabethan music and movement traditions first hand. In the second half of the day we will move into a more focused rehearsal process, with detailed scene work and lots of feedback from your tutor.
    Throughout the workshop, you will be encouraged and enabled to find the fullness of your physical and vocal presence, to engage authentically with other people onstage, and to begin to explore the immensity of who you are and what you can play.


    Previous Workshop: Enhance your Voice in Life, at Work, in Performance

    We often consider our physical presentation but sometimes forget the enormous impact our speaking voices have on the people we meet and work with. Voice is the primary mechanism for conveying our thoughts and feelings, yet we often underestimate its incredible potential as an expressive and creative tool. Theatre practitioner and actress Jennifer Kidd invites you to a day of fun exploration of your individual voice to unlock its creativity, discover its optimum and develop a greater impact in your communications with the world.

    Through the day you will: Gain awareness of your unique voice and its relationship with your identity, develop an understanding of the various components of your voice, learn breath support exercises that can be practised at home, acquire greater vocal freedom, understand and use your voice as an expression of your creativity, especially the roles of range and resonance, apply your new skills by performing exciting dramatic texts.

    The day will begin with a warm up and progress through imaginative and technical exercises for you to take away and practise to continue your own development. You will work as an individual and within a group, learning through observation as well as by doing. The workshop will include performance elements where you will try out what you’ve discovered in front of the group and will end with feedback and question-and-answer sessions.


  • Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Do I need experience to take the Beginner acting course?

    Absolutely not, City Acting Fun has been prepared for total beginners.

    City Acting Voice & Communication classes and most of our one day workshops are also open to participants with no previous experience in acting.

    2. And, if I have some experience, which drama course should I enroll for?

    If you have some experience, you’re welcome to join Scene Work for Intermediates, Character Building or the Amateur Theatre courses. You may also be interested in the Voice & Communication Skills and Monologue & Presentation Workshops.

    3. Are auditions required for admission?

    Absolutely not. Everyone is welcome. 

    4. What will I do during the class?

    The description of the courses are available online. Please do give us a ring for any question you may have.

    5. What do I need to wear? Should I bring anything to the class?

    Comfortable clothes and flat shoes are the only things you need. You may also want to bring a bottle of water.

    6. How many students will attend my course?

    To encourage an intimate, friendly and fun atmosphere in which you can learn and grow, we keep the group between 8 and 16 students. The facilitator will give you a lot of individual feedback.

    7. English is not my first language. Can I attend the class?

    You’re absolutely welcome to join the Beginner Acting courseCity Acting Voice & Communication and most of our one day workshops. We usually welcome several foreigners per group, some of them come especially to improve their English. For more advanced courses, please be aware that a good command of the language is necessary to benefit fully from the classes.

    8. Am I old/young enough to attend the class?

    You just have to be over 18 to attend the drama courses. We welcome all age groups in our acting classes.

    9. Is the class accessible to disabled people?

    Most of our drama classes are run in studios accessible to disabled people. Please get in touch and let us know about your specific requirements.

    10. What is your refund policy?

    You have a statutory right to cancel any distance contract within 14 days of the date of purchase as long as you have not yet accessed the relevant courses. For all information, please see our terms of service and don't hesitate to be in touch for any question you may have.