The Action Lab: Teaching Acting through Thought Experiments
Brendon Burns, Programme Leader, BA(Hons) Community Drama, The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, UK
2,5 hour workshop
Part of the 2018 ATHENS GREECE INTERNATIONAL THEATRE/DRAMA & EDUCATION CONFERENCE
organised by the Hellenic Theatre/Drama & Education Network (TENet-Gr)
Utilising the inherent agonism of Uta Hagen/ Doreen Cannon's Action based performance method this workshop uses an exploration of naturalistic acting techniques as the basis to conduct philosophical and political thought experiments. Concepts such as utilitarianism , positive and negative liberty, and social justice are encountered, enacted and debated in a series of engaging and accessible scenarios. As the participants learn to apply increasingly sophisticated layers of acting technique to the scene so the level of philosophical complexity intensifies. A particular advantage of the technique is its reflexivity, being applicable both to situations where a facilitator wishes to engage those with an enthusiasm for drama in a consideration of social/philosophical issues, or conversely encourage those with an interest in such issues to express them through performance. This 2,5 hour workshop is aimed primarily at those working with young people in either formal or informal educational settings though the material is easily adapted for children or adult participants.Participant size: Ideally 18 or 21 (works best if participants can be grouped in threes).
Brendon Burns is an experienced director and facilitator that has led major participatory and educational theatre projects in the UK, Europe and West Africa. He is currently Head of Applied Theatre and Community Drama at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Previous posts include artistic director of Solent Peoples Theatre, Indefinite Article and First Draft Theatre and associate director posts at Proteus Theatre and The Haymarket, Basingstoke. As a playwright, he has written numerous original plays and adaptions, including the first conventional theatre adaptations of Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New Worldand John Boyne's Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. He trained as an actor at the Arts Educational School, London and later completed postgraduate research degrees in Theatre in Education at the University of Middlesex, and Rhetoric at Royal Holloway, University of London.