Why Study Physical Theatre?

Whether you're an improviser, a sketch performer, actor or anyone who just gets up on stage you may ask yourself, why study physical theatre? In this blog, Dominique Fester talks about the benefits of Lecoq based Physical Theatre and teases us about her upcoming workshops and course

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1) Gain Confidence in Your Physicality.

As a performer, your body can do things you never thought it could. I am not talking about acrobatics or foot fandangling choreographic sequences, but developing an eye for the small and simple movement. The ability to sense when to use a gesture, to know how to change the dynamic. Physical Theatre, to me, is not about the tricks you can perform with the body, but the subtleties of communication, the softness as well as the strength. It's this which add richness and detail, and keeps the audience engaged. You will learn several tools to begin to feel comfortable doing this, and develop a sharp instinct about what movement is needed and when.

2) Harness Technical Ability.

You will learn a range of technical skills. It will happen gently, as we embed the theory in your body along the way. Once embodied these skills will stay, because the body remembers, even if the mind forgets! A fluid language of non-verbal communication will be second nature to you by the end of the course. The quality of movement attained will also be high. Body conditioning exercises will scaffold your progress, with clarity of movement being key and no woolly approximations settled for. In addition, the skills you acquire will be highly transferable. The tools can be applied to improv theatre, naturalistic acting, any performance styles really, as well as your physical presence in real life.

3) Enjoy the Freedom to Play and Explore

I hold my spaces firmly. This is a space where we employ 'The Positive Feedback Model'
(Credit: Holly Stoppit). Collating and discussing what's working well, and questioning why. We don't spend time focussing on what's 'wrong' or 'bad', as that doesn't get us anywhere. If you see a good idea, catch it, copy it, and make it your own! Through this process you will develop a tangible group identity as well as a unique individual style.

4) Experience Conviviality and Wit!

Provided by you, of course and the material you come up
with! The course is not purposely designed to be a comedy course, but it has historically involved A LOT of laughter, every time I have delivered it. We spend a good deal of time looking at 'everyday life' and when humans hold a mirror up to themselves well….the results are inevitably amusing! Later on, in the course, we progress into more poignant territory with the Neutral Mask. Here the drama, and struggles of human existence begin to emerge, along with the tragedy of the human condition.

5) For Goodness Sake Stop Talking!

The training is non-verbal, which mean the impulse to communicate is literally squeezed back into our bodies, and we are forced to find a different way to "speak". The training is ideal for anyone who has found themselves too much "in their heads" or too "wordy". Really this method is all about listening, and becoming much, much more responsive to fellow performers. You will end up become one of a number of performers and curious beings who are currently training in this practice and using it to develop their skills. The Lecoq method is primarily 'ensemble based', in other words, it's meant to be devised and performed as a group, made of unique
individuals. Spread the non-verbal word!

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Come try out a taste of physical theatre on Saturday 30th March at 10.30am or Sunday 7th April at 10.30am. Sign up for the 6 week introduction to physical theatre course here