Teaching Resources for Running Workshops: 10 Day Outline

Some of what we did….

Below are just some of some notes/materials from the workshops. There are also lots available from the pilot in Camden.  If you would like more information about the process please do feel free to contact Raging Calm Productions or e-mail me at  Jkhrourke@ aol.com

Loosely the 10 days could look like this:

Day 1 & 2 – Establish the ground rules.  Find the characters and the world of the play

Day 3 & 4 – Continue finding characters.  Find key events

Day 5 & 6 – Start to find the story and the means of telling it (props, set, style choices etc)

Day 7 & 8 – Finalise the story and rehearse

Day 9 & 10 – Rehearse and perform

DAY ONE

  • Introduce the 2 weeks
  • Check in
  • Ground rules and sanctions
  • Ice breaker games
  • Memory exercises moving from individual to collective to imagined
  • Characters – Individual biog. lists. Group visualisation exercise, hot seat + improvised exchanges
  • Close

DAY TWO

  • Check in
  • Ice breaker games
  • Physical exercises
  • Impro exercises
  • Meisner/Storytelling techniques
  • Characters – visualisation, hot seat and improvised exchanges.
  • Character writing exercise
  • Group impro
  • Close

As a general principle it might be useful to split the days into 1) warm up, 2) acting skills and 3) devising for the first 7-8 days, and to incorporate straight rehearsing late on in the process.

Each day we will have a check in go round at the beginning and a closing go round at the end.  After breaks we will often have a gathering go round.

Depending on what we find we might want to use Meisner technique (which would be great for naturalistic impro) or some of Mike Alfred’s storytelling exercises (good for making a connection with the audience and finding a common language

Explore some creative writing exercises, which we could get into on day 2.  We might end up with scripted stuff, which finds its way into the final piece, or we might just find good starting points for improvised drama.

Day 3 onwards

Continue to work as above with Warm up / games/ writing/improve/ story and character development. Look at some basic staging theatre techniques to build confidence voice movement etc

A workbook can be a useful tool for participants to keep. Not only to keep all written material together but to keep a journal of thoughts, feelings, the process and progress.

A certificate of achievement was awarded to each participant at the end of each performance, encouraging our invited audience to take part in our celebration.

The early stages of a workshop are to build a group and develop trust. Lots of the games for actors on the link provided (below) which can assist in this. Dive into writing: don’t be afraid to dive straight into writing exercises, being mindful to have additional support for those who may require it.

Simple writing/ drama/ writing exercises to develop characters:

Think of an event i.e. a funeral: write as central point on a flip chart and ask those in the group to think of characters that may be at the event. How near to the circle would they be i.e. the gardener may be at a distance, the sister of the deceased very near. See the notes below ask each person to write a character.

Create an instinctive biography

Create a character out of your world – within your terms of reference

Name

Age

Physical Characteristics

Where they live what type of accommodation

Who they live with

What immediate blood relatives

How they get their money

Something they lack in their lives

Something they believe in

Childhood accident

Last time they laughed

A precious object

A very fond memory

Something in life they want

Who would they least like to see

Last time they cried

Something makes them angry

An uncomfortable conversation with someone

What is it?

Someone who has power over them

What they dream of

Where they are now

What they are thinking about saying

Three other things you know about them

Each person reads out their written work. Hot seating of the characters can come next. If you’re unsure what hot-seating is – Google does!

We want you to be these people

Switch off the judgment brain use the experimental brain

Get each participant to occupy a space in the room and talk them through a 24 hour clock. They move in silence through what their character would be doing at any given time, as called out by the facilitator

What do they see?

What do they really look like?

What do they smell?

What can they feel against their skin?

What are they wearing?

Where is the light in the room?

Curtains – Blinds

Is anyone else in the room?

Think about the character in a different physical environment and how they feel – in the rain/snow/sun wind etc

Last time they were in the wind with someone

Last time they were powerless in relation to another person

Who was that?

What the situation was

What did you think?

Was it someone else’s fault or your fault?

How did it make you feel about the other person?

How did it make you feel about yourself?

Who else was involved in the situation?

If upsetting things come (as they may from lived experience) just observe them

What did it mean – this situation of powerless?

What do you wish you had done?

Make a decision about time and place

Be clear about who else was there

If it was a group or one person

Get a pen and paper and write down what happened

 

Think of a recurring dream. Go into pairs. Tell the other person the dream, who then makes it their own and shares with the group.

 

Writing from lived experience.

Experienced, professional trained facilitators should be used when delivering workshops that explore lived experience with vulnerable individuals and those who may also living with trauma.

 

Write about being judges

Write a letter to your 18 year old self

Write a letter congratulating yourself on taking part in the workshop

Write about saying goodbye to an addiction – an illness as loved one for example

In performance

If you are bringing this work to performance standards (as we did) then the facilitator will need to act as director and producer bringing often a very diverse and rich range of material together.

Good luck!

Some references

 Drama Toolkit – A to Z Drama Games

http://www.dramatoolkit.co.uk/drama-games/a-to-z

Just one of our favourites! Can also be delivered with EastEnders theme! Probably best to watch the video of the workshops for that!

Zip Zap Boing

People stand round in a circle.

One person begins by looking in a direction and saying ‘zip’ the next person then says zip and it continues round in a circle.

The next command is boing (difficult to type, as in the sound a spring makes.) This changes the direction of the zip and so it continues back around in the opposite direction.

Finally Zap, Zap throws the ‘zip’ across the circle. The person who says zap points to who they want to have the zip. The receiver then looks in the direction they wish to continue play and the zip moves on.

Here comes the fun part!
You can’t boing a boing, you can’t zap a zap, you can’t boing a zap or zap a boing you can only zip a zap and zip a boing! Simple right?

Fantastically fun game once people have mastered it!

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