Core Classes and Electives
CORE CLASSES (All students)
This course focuses on techniques that help students gain truth in their acting and perfect the skill of being truthfully “in the moment” on stage. Improvisation exercises and drama games students explore new techniques in freeing their voice, imagination and physicality. Students use “open scenes”, an exercise which uses simple dialogue as a framework to encourage actors, to learn how to make bold choices for a character’s given circumstances. Various script analysis techniques are taught as actors breakdown scripts into beats and objectives, making strong ‘action’ choices. A special emphasis is placed on proper vocal technique, breathing and posture exercises to help actors develop their own pre-performance warm up.
Historical evidence shows that Shakespeare’s actors were given only their own parts: cue scripts that consist of their character’s lines, and the two or three words that cue each line. This class recreates these conditions and explores the original practice techniques championed by Patrick Tucker. The class equips students with the skills to identify clues in their text that allow them to perform scenes and plays with no group rehearsal. In class we work on blocking and the demands of thrust staging - performing cue script scenes and monologues and critiquing them as a group. Students have intensive one-to-one coaching on scenes which are then presented in a final performance.
Explore both traditional and experimental forms of dramatic literature, learning how to approach blocking and staging with a view to creating professional performances from unusual and challenging material. Class discussions centre on ways of honouring the text of a playwright while, at the same time, creating truthful and visually exciting performances. Actors learn how to approach blocking and staging with a view to creating a polished and professional final product performed for an invited audience. This class has a special focus on improvisation techniques, both long and short form, as a warm-up technique, an ensemble building exercise and as a way of exploring text and building character relationships.
This course develops individual physical presence, encouraging actors to better understand the relationship of the body to the performance space. The course includes chorus work, tableau, characterization, physical narratives and abstract expression as actors begin to find ease in working physically with others through ensemble dynamics. Energy work such as yoga and Tai Chi increase body awareness, flexibility and range of expression. The physical practices of Jacques Lecoq, Peter Brook, Phillipe Gaulier, Augusto Boal, Miranda Tufnell and Steve Paxton are discussed and there is a special workshop working with hand-made neutral masks which give actors heightened sense of discovery, awareness of the space, a greater presence and a profound awareness of self.
Students are filmed performing cold readings from contemporary monologues and industry sides with a view to preparing for life as a working actor. Analyzing “before and after” footage, students learn the subtlety and specificity required to perfect the skill of acting on-camera. A special emphasis is placed on the technique of using the actor’s imagination as a means to build character and make choices quickly, particularly as it applies to an audition setting. A series of improvisational exercises teach actors how to be genuine and spontaneous, creating truthful and bold performances on film.
ELECTIVES (Students choose 3)
Electives are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3.30-5.30pm. We offer a broad range of electives to choose from and students are welcome to try a different elective each week. Electives on offer include: Musical Theatre, Screenwriting, Essential Plays, Digital Photography, Basics of Final Cut Pro, Choosing Audition Monolouges, Storytelling as Performance, Improvisation, Meditation, French Cooking and more. For a full list of 2020 Elective Classes click HERE.
"I learned more in my Berridge summer than in all my other high school summers combined. And in no other place have I felt more artistically valued and alive."