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Select an upcoming LEATSS event to view its courses:

1. Back to the Future - Singing/acting through song (tutor: Graeme Du Fresne)

Songs from musical theatre, with opportunities for solo work

Many notable musicals have drawn inspiration from plays, films, ancient myths and fairytales as their starting point; the root of their musical adaptation. We will be looking at some of these adaptations, singing and staging each song.
Included will be some of the following: Gee, Officer Krupke from West Side Story (Romeo & Juliet), We Open In Venice from Kiss Me Kate (Taming Of The Shrew), The Shortest Day Of The Year from The Boys From Syracuse (Comedy of Errors) and songs from Matilda (Roald Dahl’s book), A Little Night Music (inspired by Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night), Into The Woods (adaptations of fairytales), Hadestown (inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice), and Rent (loosely based on Puccini’s La Boheme)..

2. In a Relationship! - Acting (tutor: Janice Dunn)

An exploration of the many 'relationships' in performance

Using duologues and monologues to examine 'relationships' – to text, to other characters, and to the audience – we will look at a wide range of scenes, from various genres, and explore the options of developing our own work, and the work of the play, via connections and relationships. We will try and 'grow' the scenes in the moment, as part of a rehearsal process – as well as use exercises around the work to enhance the background and life of each piece, and thus have more to offer each time we return to the text. We will work mainly in pairs, and in small groups, with some full group exercises, and we will change texts as often as we need to. There will be a variety of texts and scenes to choose from, and to suit the make-up of the group. These will be mostly contemporary, and from both film and theatre; but other styles and genres can be available.

This course is suitable for everyone, no matter how much experience you might have in performance. It will be fun and supportive – and can also be a little challenging for those who want to take that path.

3. Once Upon a Time - Acting, devising (tutor: Lawrence Evans)

Delving deep into fairytales

We will be looking at fairytales, how they are constructed and work and what they were used for. We’ll play with characters, and archetypes, and how fairytales are told to an audience and engage our imaginations – from scaring children half to death with stories of giants and poisoned apples to simple moral lessons of right and wrong. And of course, not forgetting tales of daring-do along the way. We’ll explore how fairytales are used dramatically, from simple bedtime story telling, to actual pieces of theatre. We’ll create our own fairytale characters through imaginative writing; theatre games and physical character work, and we’ll bring our fairytales to life. Using found objects, pictures, larger than life characters and even a bit of fluff on the floor, or maybe something more sinister found under your shoe, we’ll explore the world of fairytales. So, if you’re interested in being seven years old again – or a hundred and seven – this workshop is for you.

4. All For One, One For All - Acting in an ensemble (tutor: Jack Gogarty)

An exploration of the importance of the ensemble, focusing on supporting a solo performer to tell the story

One of the most underutilised tools in theatre when it comes to storytelling is the ensemble. That eclectic mix of people who are often seen as just ‘floating around in the background’. But, when used correctly, the ensemble IS the story.
We will focus on sharing different backgrounds, cultures and lives by using our own experiences, memories and stories – our own Roots.
In terms of the ensemble, these workshops will explore soundscapes, multi-role playing, physical work, music, rhythms and beats as individuals and as a group, and the creation of worlds. For each piece, we will delve into discussion of ‘who’ the ensemble is, in order to help theatrically elevate the retelling of genuine stories.
In terms of story creation and solo/duo work for the ensemble to support, these workshops will explore how we can utilise our own lived experiences and background to create the foundation for a piece of theatre, as well as use ourselves as human beings to help tell those stories. We will look at habits and our own ‘isms’ in a way that utilises what we already have, rather than forcing extra character choices.
Imagination, play and a love of story are the main ingredients in this course to create some delicious pieces of theatre to share at the end of the week.

5. Musical Bookends - Singing techniques (tutor: Graeme Du Fresne)

Musical Beginings and Endings - ensemble work

The Opening Number and Finale in Musical Theatre are important anchor points in a show’s structure and content. The opening song will often set the tone of the piece or establish the world of the musical, introduce themes, characters or begin the narrative, comment on the narrative, or provide back story, whilst the finale will often provide a summing up or look to the future or simply reprise one or more of the show’s songs. In this course, we will be rehearsing examples of the above whilst seeking to learn and develop singing techniques specific to the needs of each song.

There are many songs that could be included but the course material will be drawn from the following: OPENING SONGS – Circle of Life (The Lion King), Another Op’nin’, Another Show (Kiss Me Kate), I Hope I Get It (A Chorus Line), Rock Island (The Music Man), Magic To Do (Pippin), Tradition (Fiddler On The Roof), Prologue (Ragtime) and Prologue (The Little Shop Of Horrors) FINALES – Make Our Garden Grow (Candide), Days Of Hope (Days Of Hope) and Light (Next To Normal).

6. Acting: 90% Inspiration - 10% Perspiration - Acting (tutor: Janice Dunn)

A course that uses everything to inspire amazing work

Hang on! Isn't performance meant to be the other way round? Well, let's take a closer look at what moves us, and also makes us want to move. Can the journey we go on as an actor, or a company, translate to how we move our audience? This course is about using everything we have to make our work as amazing as possible. Not simply as 'just' actors, but as performers in a company that have a responsibility to the piece, and also each other. We can choose to look at:
• Atmosphere and Environment (site specific theatre)
• Intensity and actor/ audience relationship (immersive theatre)
• Socio-political and issues (Forum theatre)
• Influences from other art forms (performance art)
• New technological offers (digital performance) The list is endless.......but our time is not; so we will choose elements from the above, as a whole group, and also as smaller groups; and spend the week being inspired by the world and each other, (and maybe perspiring a little too.) The course will be very practical, and will happen in various spaces. (Although it will be dynamic, it will also be possible to cater to the physical needs of individual participants.) We will look at the process of inspiration, and the journey it takes to become an actual piece of work, by using exercises and techniques from the above list of styles. It will be suitable for everyone, and you don't have to know about these styles of work to do the course. But if you do, great too. We will all be the inspiration for something new - all while having fun in the Clairefontaine summer sun (we hope).

7. Processes of Directing - Directing (tutor: Lawrence Evans)

The building blocks a director gives an actor

Directing is very personal but there are some basic processes that all directors use. On this Skills course we will explore some of those processes, from script and character analysis to physical actioning. Using the techniques of Uta Hagen and Stanislavsky, we will explore how a director gives the actor building blocks to help them create character and inhabit the world of the play.
Using work from the Greeks to Shakespeare to Caryl Churchill as our inspiration, we will try to unpick the ‘mystery’ that is directing.

8. Punching the Line - Why's That Funny - Comedy acting techniques (tutor: Jack Gogarty)

The components of comedy broken down into bite-sized chunks

The big fear when tackling comedy is about ‘being funny’ – but what does that even mean? Comedy and humour form such a wide spectrum, there is no way you can please everybody all of the time! But, there are some specific and formulaic components that aid toward finding the ‘funny’ in the moment.

During this course we will explore physical comedy – slapstick and clowning – beats, rhythms, timing, delivery, the importance of words, the use of the face, the how much is ‘too much’ and how often ‘less is more’, the differences between being alone on stage or part of a group.
The examination of jokes, wordplay, puns, absurdity, and innuendos will play a large part in understanding how to create that ‘funny’ yourselves when looking at text that isn’t obviously a comedy, as well as understanding when the text itself is enough.

Character is a huge part of comedy, and playing with size and scale, as well as how much internal sensations we share externally, is something we will look at together before putting everything together with some short scenes of our own creation as well as using scripts from a wide range of genre and styles.
If you have an interest in comedy already and want to stretch those muscles, or in finding more confidence in being silly, awkward, weird and unashamedly yourself, then this workshop could be for you. And if you don’t have an interest in any of those things, come anyway and we’ll still have a lovely old time.