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Commedia dell’Arte, Masks and Physical Theatre
Learning Through Theatre offers a range of performance workshops, specialising in Commedia dell’Arte. The focus is exaggerated characters, comic archetypes, slapstick and half masks. This exuberant theatre form dates back over 450 years and has influenced generations of writers, performers, directors and designers on both stage and screen. It is possible to learn the art of comedy and Learning Through Theatre can show you how.
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.
Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
Learning Through Theatre also offers workshops in Expressionism with a focus on the work of Steven Berkoff. Our lead tutor, Cheryl Stapleton, is a former dancer who trained with Philippe Gaulier, bringing over 20 years practical performance and directing experience to her teaching, influenced by the teachings of Jacques Lecoq and Jerzy Grotowski. Cheryl also offers one to one voice, presentation and confidence coaching.
Commedia dell’ Arte stretches and challenges every participant, while engaging them through comedy and laughter. We can tailor a workshop to suit your needs as a school, college, university or community group.
Our workshops are –
- Physically challenging
- Technically demanding
What do you get?
A workshop in your venue, tailored to your specific learning objectives, that is:
- Curriculum linked for devising and set texts: Servant of Two Masters, Accidental Death of An Anarchist, Tartuffe, The Hypochondriac, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night.
- Engaging and inspiring for your entire class, nurturing the quietest learners to gain confidence and channeling the energy of the most lively!
- High energy and fast paced
- Skills focused and crammed with learning
- Challenging for all participants, stretching them out of their comfort zone
What do your learners get?
- Understanding of Text in Performance with a practical exploration of specific elements of your selected set text
- Contextual knowledge and understanding of the influence of the key theatrical style: Commedia dell Arte, Expressionism, Farce or Slapstick
- Skills in improvisation and ensemble complicité as building blocks for devising
- Rapid acquisition of core performance skills including slapstick, stage proxemics, audience interaction and comedy
- Techniques and skills for performing with masks
- Confidence to exaggerate physically and vocally
- An understanding of the movement and behaviour of the stock characters
About the workshops
Our goal is to provide a rewarding and memorable learning experience that supports and embeds curriculum studies.
Our workshops engage and empower learners of all abilities. They stretch and challenge every learner, while engaging each of them through comedy and laughter.
Content, terminology and mask skills can be adapted to suit KS3 and GCSE students or intensified to challenge learners at university level.
Commedia dell’Arte is ideally suited to Key Stage 5 study as it fits so well with the curriculum, whether you are teaching BTEC, A Level or International Baccalaureate. Commedia dell’Arte is commonly used in many drama schools as a core training for first year performers as it lays the foundations for all other performance work teaching key skills such as complicité with the ensemble, stage presence, movement precision and performance stamina.
The magic of the mask is that for some it can provide security through a sense of anonymity, thus liberating them to express themselves with new found confidence; for others, it harnesses and channels energy into a positive characterisation process. For high level performers, rigorous physical precision is demanded to master comic timing and the nuances of character.
(photos courtesy of Clint Randall www.pixelprphotography.co.uk)
A range of workshops are offered (see our Education Page or more detail) covering Commedia dell’Arte, Expressionist Physical Theatre focusing specifically on the work of Steven Berkoff, Farce, Slapstick Comedy and Mime.
These are guide prices only and the rate may vary depending on workshop duration, content, location, level of ability and number of participants:
Half day from £175.00
Full day from £295.00
Contact us to discuss your needs and to receive a tailored quote.
Teacher/Student Study Guide for Commedia dell’Arte