Education Workshops

We tailor workshops to meet the needs of teachers, students and the curricula. Most workshops can be delivered as a half day (up to 3 hours) or a full day (up to 6 hours). Please contact us if you have specific needs in terms of duration, as we will always endeavour to work with your schedule. Below to view some of our most popular workshop packages.

Student workshops

Performance-Workshop Package: The Breath of Love

‘The Breath of Love’

Masters and servants, love and greed, the dead and … the undead …

Our touring troupe perform a Commedia dell’Arte scenario, accompanied by a workshop for schools and colleges

Read more

“High energy, high quality work that inspired our students”  

D Price, Loreto Sixth Form College

“Confident fast paced and very funny”  

Audience member, Stroud Theatre Festival

“A charming and slick show… The skill of the two lead actors, switching between roles, bewitches and beguiles…”  

Dr. Olly Crick, author, director, teacher, performer

Call or email Cheryl to discuss further or to book: 07932 067585 or

The Servant of Two Masters

Suitable for: KS4 to Degree level

Duration: adaptable between 2 and 5 hours (3 hours+ recommended to enable scene study)  

This high energy, participatory workshop is designed to support the study of The Servant of Two Masters and enhance core teaching, engaging participants physically with this set text. The workshop can be tailored for delivery at any stage of study: as an introduction to the play or to embed your students’ understanding of the main characters, stylistic features and comic scenes.

The physicality of the characters is our starting point to understand the comic contrasts and typical behaviours. These will be related to the Commedia dell’ Arte stock character types: Zanni (Truffaldino, Smeraldina, Brighella, porter and waiters); Vecchi (Pantalone, Dr Lombardi); Innamorati (Clarice, Silvio, Beatrice, Florindo). Masks will be used, at times, as a tool to encourage the creation of the physical ‘mask’ for each character using exaggerated movement, voice and mannerisms.

In three hours, several of the main characters can be explored through improvised scenes. It is not essential to have learnt any of the text; improvisations will be initiated based on key scenes so that the comic potential and characterisation is our focus. Initially, we will look at Truffaldino and how he plays out being a servant of two masters, examining the comedy through physicality, language and lazzi (physical comic gags). Scenes with Pantalone and Doctor Lombardi will be improvised to highlight the comedy of contrasts between the characterisations of these old men (Vecchi). The comedy in the relationship of the young Lovers (Innamorati), Silvio and Clarice, will also be accentuated through the exploration of heightened gesture, movement, voice and emotions. (N.B. different characters can be selected for the focus – this workshop can also be adapted to fit One Man Two Guvnors).

Participants will learn:

  • the historical context of the play and the characters
  • who the key characters are and their relationships
  • how a performer can interpret the characters for performance
  • how comedy can be created in key scenes through character relationships, physicality, language and comic lazzi (physical gags)
  • performance skills specific to comedy and the need to interact with the audience

“Excellent workshops, actively exciting our students… (who) are able to refer to stock characters with ease showing meaningful understanding of their character traits.”

D. Warren, Burford School

Call or email Cheryl to discuss your needs or to book: 07932 067585 or

Accidental Death of An Anarchist
Suitable for: KS4 to Degree level

Duration: adaptable between 2 and 5 hours (3 hours+ recommended to enable scene study)

In this satirical farce, Dario Fo creates rich, hilarious characters that draw to some extent on the stock characters of the Commedia dell’Arte. It is well-documented that Fo was heavily influenced by this theatrical style, frequently modelling himself in role as Harlequin in his productions. It is our intention that this workshop will provide students with the language and imagination to describe key scenes, characters and techniques for farce to enhance their writing. Through physical explorations, in role and as directors, the language and imagery will embed with the participants.

Games, based on scenes from the play, such as ‘Bomb in the Room!’ are our way into this work initially, developing the ensemble complicite and the participants’ confidence to exaggerate, and most importantly, initiating a sense of playfulness and fun that will help participants access the characters and the text. We move onto physicality, using animals, tension states and Commedia dell’Arte masks to encourage students into their bodies. It is not possible to find an exact parallel for the characters of the play with the stock character types from Commedia dell Arte but one can loosely fit them:

  • Maniac = Arlecchino (Harlequin), with intelligence, wit and cunning
  • Constable = Zanni
  • Bertozzo = Magnifico; a younger, stronger, more virile version of Pantalone
  • Pissani = Capitano
  • Superintendent = Brighella

Key sequences from scenes will be discussed and examined in a practical way to make the characters leap from the page so that the comedy is seen, heard and experienced, leading to a deeper appreciation of how to create farcical comedy:

  • Grotesque characterisation, such as Maniac morphing from one disguise to the next;
  • Creating farce with the ‘straight-man’ against the clown: Bertozzo and Maniac;
  • The farcical transformation of the Superintendant from bully boy to entranced sycophant;
  • Slapstick comic routines creating laughter through absurdity, incongruity, relief theory, repetition, sudden changes in rhythm and surprise.

This workshop can be tailored to your students’ needs and delivered as an introduction to the text, to deepen initial studies or as a pre-exam revision session.

“Cheryl’s Accidental Death of An Anarchist workshop was finely tuned to ensure no time was wasted within the intensive three hours. I highly recommend Cheryl for your students – it was invaluable and I look forward to inviting her back next year”

S. Boon, Head of Drama, Loughborough High School

Call or email Cheryl to discuss your needs or to book: 07932 067585 or

Introducing the Commedia dell'Arte: Stock Characters and Comic Relationships
Suitable for: KS3 to Degree level

Duration: adaptable between 2 and 5 hours (3 hours+ recommended to enable scene study)

Our starting point for this fast-paced, practical workshop is the physicality of the characters and creating comedy. We will cover the movement, mannerisms and behaviour of the stock characters of the Commedia dell’Arte: Zanni (including Arlecchino, Columbina and Brighella), Pantalone, Dottore, Capitano, Signora and The Lovers. Relationships between several characters are briefly explored with classic pairings e.g. Master and servant, doctor and patient, dumb and dumber fools, in order to deepen the understanding of the masks. Staging and the relationship with the audience are considered throughout along with comic devices to allow the mask to work effectively.

Participants will learn:

  • the historical context of Commedia dell’Arte, the origins and theatrical relevance of each character
  • specific exaggerated movement, voice and mannerisms for the characters, using the breath, grummelot (gibberish language), masks and props
  • the key principles of mask work and the imperative for the actor-audience relationship
  • the relationships between the characters, exploring classic lazzi (comic gags) or meccanismi (rehearsed comic sequences between two or more characters)

 “Informative, fun and relevant. Delivered with warmth, wit, generosity and expertise”

D. Wakelin, Chichester College

Call or email Cheryl to discuss your needs or to book: 07932 067585 or

Slapstick and Farce
Suitable for: KS3 to KS5 

Duration: adaptable between 2 and 5 hours

Slapstick and farce are an ideal introduction to exaggerated physicality and characterisation. We reveal the tricks and techniques of the comic greats and bring cartoon comedy to the stage. This high energy workshop teaches students how to create comic characters (with or without masks), drawing on the archetype of the fool.

Students learn a range of comic devices like the double take, the comic stop and spoof violence. The origins of slapstick in Commedia dell’Arte are drawn on, using slapsticks (battocchio) as used by the famous zanni characters, in particular Harlequin. Students develop an understanding of stage craft, audience interaction, rhythm, pace and timing; solo work, comic sequences and scenes are created.

Berkoff's Expressionist Theatre
Suitable for: KS3 to KS5

Duration: adaptable between 2 and 5 hours (3 hours+ recommended to enable scene study)

Expressionism is born out of Eastern European, Greek and Russian theatre practices, influenced by German Expressionist Film and purveyed today most famously by the prolific playwright, director, actor Steven Berkoff. This practice incorporates choral ensemble performance, illusionary and corporeal mime and experiencing the vast potential of Language in all its musicality, colour and range, from poetry to profanity.

This practical workshop will:

  • Help students to stretch their range and confidence to be able to perform at their height of their powers.
  • Guide students to reach the level of exaggeration and the intensity of performance required to successfully realise Berkoff’s expressionist style.
  • Provide students with a set of techniques they can understand, practice and apply in their own performance and portfolio work.
  • Ground techniques in theory, linking to key practitioners throughout who have influenced Berkoff in the development of his theatrical style.

The workshop will cover:

  • The Expressionist Mask – exaggerated characterisation using body, face and voice to create a stylised total character mask without the need of the physical item of the mask (Grotowski); we explore the infinite versatility of our faces. The creation of these ‘masks’ can be rapidly changed so that actors learn to perform instant transformations.
  • The Chorus of Heightened Expression: The Berkoff Wall. Creating psychological and physical environments with a group of performers; using tension states and ‘masks’ to create choral tableau that mirror, amplify, comment on the emotions of the protagonist (Lecoq)
  • The Grotesque Human-Animal. Individually, and as a chorus we will work with animal states and exaggeration to link to Metamorphosis and the creation of the human beetle, individually and as a chorus (Lecoq/Artaud)
  • Corporeal Mime (Decroux) starting from isolations and plastiques (Grotowski) leading into rhythm and synchronisation (Meyerhold). Working with the metronome beat to control and syncopate movement, finding precision, choral movement, expressive ‘mie’ (Kabuki). This is about working from the body to the mind, bridging the gap between impulse and image, allowing the body to create the image for the mind; wearing the emotion on the outside.
  • Physicalisation of Language – vocal patterning, vocal effects, range, emphasis, exaggeration, soundscaping, choral voice, taking the imagery into the voice
  • The Actor-Spectator Dynamic (Brecht) direct address; illeism (3rd person voice); asides and comic timing

 “The workshop provided by Cheryl was outstanding. Her specialist knowledge, passion and creativity ignited something in my students that I never could have!”

G. Conlon, Kineton High School

Call or email Cheryl to discuss your needs or to book: 07932 067585 or

Commedia dell'Arte from Characterisation to Performance
Suitable for: KS3 to Degree level

Duration: adaptable between 3 and 5 hours (5 hours recommended to enable scene study)

This is an intensive practical workshop that enables students to explore the movement, mannerisms, behaviours and relationships of three of the stock characters from the Commedia dell’Arte (usually Arlecchino, Pantalone and Capitano, though others can be selected) and taking them into performance with simple comic scenarios. Short comic scenes will be improvised around a given scenario in a group of three or four, enabling students to perform in the masks, test their comic gags and gain a broad understanding of the relationships and plot lines common to the Commedia. The performances will be to the rest of the group as a comic mask needs an audience to play off and much is learnt from watching and analysing others in the mask.

Participants will learn:

  • the key principles of mask work and the imperative for the actor-audience relationship
  • specific exaggerated movement, voice and mannerisms for the selected characters, using the breath, grummelot (gibberish language), masks and props, underpinned with historical context
  • comic techniques, slapstick, traditional lazzi (comic gags)
  • stage awareness and mechanics of devising a comic scene

 “The perfect workshop to introduce Commedia. Cheryl worked with our script and tailored to our needs superbly. Interactive and inspiring with high quality demos and the ability to hold the space while enabling freedom of expression. “

J. Lukas, Wynstones School

Call or email Cheryl to discuss your needs or to book: 07932 067585 or

The Influence of Commedia dell'Arte: Comic Archetypes in Shakespeare and Molière

Suitable for: KS4 to Degree level

Duration: adaptable between 2 and 5 hours (3 hours+ recommended to enable scene study)

Discover new ways to engage students with the texts of Shakespeare and Molière as learners explore characters from the outside in. Through a process of physical embodiment, that could include the use of archetypal masks, the learner transforms their body, voice and movement and experiences the behavioural traits, gestures, facial expressions and rhythms of the archetypal character. By literally stepping into their shoes, the student discovers the inner feelings, thoughts and motivations that drive the characters. Relationships suddenly start to make sense as the archetypes banter and the dialogue begins to flow.

Working with comic archetypes, enables students to overcome barriers often presented by words on a page, freeing them up to play with the timeless and universal characters. Once students start to ‘live’ in the world of the play they discover that they can relate to the situations and modern parallels become apparent. The text then becomes less daunting and more accessible. Texts for which this process works particularly well include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Comedy of Errors, Taming of the Shrew, Tartuffe, The Hypochondriac.

“I can’t recommend this workshop highly enough. Teaching first class. Thank you!”

Dr. J. Schopf, Lecturer, Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performing Arts

Call or email Cheryl to discuss your needs or to book: 07932 067585 or

Commedia dell'Arte: From Renaissance to Immortality

Suitable for: KS5 to Degree level

Duration: adaptable between 2 and 3 hours 

What is Commedia dell’Arte and why has it been so influential? In this half day workshop, students will discover the answer to these questions in a practical, exploratory session. Meeting the characters through an active lecture-performance, examining the performance spaces, narratives and audiences, this historic theatrical form will be brought to life to help us understand why the greats of art, opera and theatre owe so much to the Commedia dell’Arte. Packed with information, both historic and modern day, this workshop will chart the key theatrical moments with practical demo and participation. This is an ideal launch pad for units in historical context, the history of masks (for IB for example), extended research projects or dissertation studies.

“seeing it performed in front of me was way more understandable than just reading about it academically”

Student, UCL Italian Department

Commedia dell'Arte: A Play in a Day
Commedia-at-Chesterton0027bwSuitable for: KS3 to Degree level

Duration:  5-6 hours (could be run across several sessions in a workshop series)

This workshop runs as a full day practical session. It is an ideal launch pad for devising at GCSE, BTEC, A Level or Degree level. Students are introduced to comic characterisation, with the option of using half masks from the Commedia dell’Arte. They are equipped with the skills needed for effective improvisation, devising, physical storytelling, mask performance. A pre-written scenario is usually used and students develop archetypal comic characters, exploring the stage craft required to create effective scenes. Material will be developed incorporating classic lazzi (physical comic gags), meccanismo (rehearsed group sequences) and grommelot (nonsense language) to develop a complete scenario. The day culminates in a performance to demonstrate skills learnt and characters developed.

“Absolutely incredible! Learnt so much and had so much fun”

M. Tamrakar, workshop participant

Call or email Cheryl to discuss your needs or to book: 07932 067585 or

Continuing Professional Development & INSET workshops

C.P.D. Empower Teachers to Become Great Storytellers - for Primary School Teachers & Teaching Assistants

Suitable for: Primary school teachers, teaching assistants and play workers

Duration: 3 hours or 3 x 1 hour twilight (teaching staff only)

5-6 hours (teaching staff + work with children and parents)

Imagine if your teachers could tell stories so that words leap from the page and children are inspired to dive into books, relish rich language and be ready to pick up a pen and write the next chapter.

We all know the value of reading aloud to children, but nearly every teacher struggles to prioritise it in an already packed curriculum. All too often, a book is only picked up if there are five minutes to spare before lunch. Is time the only deciding factor though? Or is it also something we don’t readily like to admit: not everyone likes reading aloud? Stories read aloud may hold joyful memories for some, but for others it may be associated with fears and stigmas.

We can help your teachers and teaching assistants strip away insecurities and find their voice with confidence, so that they can use the skills they were born with: the ability to stand strongly, move expressively and speak with passion.

Teachers are taught how to model effective writing, but when are they taught how to model effective reading? There is an assumption that teachers can just do it, but reading aloud to a room of thirty children, so that they all listen, is a skill that not every teacher naturally possesses.

Great storytellers help children to:

  • Experience books as an immersive, sensory way
  • Learn how to read to be heard, guided by outstanding teacher modelling
  • Transition from reading aloud to reading in their head
  • Experience a rich range of vocabulary
  • Understand new words through vivid contextualisation
  • Empathasise and infer meanings through being absorbed in a living story
  • Activate their imaginations and inspire depth in creative writing.

What your school gets:

  • Teachers with increased confidence to be expressive, reading to children every day
  • Children using and understanding a wider range of rich vocabulary in their writing and their speech
  • School overall progress and attainment in reading and SPAG improving.

Teachers and TAs will learn to:

  • Use the breath to become a balanced, calm and confident speaker
  • Strengthen the voice so that it becomes richer, fuller and stronger
  • Use their full vocal range to project, emphasise and engage, with awareness and control of dynamics, pacing, pitch, tonality, subtext and meaning
  • Use their body, face, voice and gestures expressively to create characters, moods and atmospheres
  • Incorporate actions for storytelling
  • Activate children’s five senses so that children internalise the story and are fully engaged.

By the end of this session, teachers and TAs will be able to:

  • Engage children so that they listen animatedly
  • Help children internalise stories so that they embed in their minds
  • Inspire children to love reading
  • Motivate children to use rich vocabulary
  • Inspire awesome writing

“This was an empowering workshop, which enabled all teaching staff to bring storytelling to life. Whilst all teachers within school read a class book to the children, this workshop unpicked delivery styles and vocabulary usage. With communication being an area that all schools are eager to support children in, this storytelling workshop enabled staff to scrutinise methods of the engaging children with written word. Best of all, it was huge fun! Cheryl’s delivery of the material was inspiring and everyone threw themselves into the activities whole-heartedly”

Liz Geller, Co-Headteacher, Nailsworth CE Primary School

Call or email Cheryl to discuss your needs and book a tailored session to help your staff unlock their storytelling abilities: 07932 067585 or


C.P.D. Commedia dell'Arte - Tools & Techniques for Secondary, FE & HE Teachers

Suitable for: Teachers, Trainers, Directors & Lecturers

Duration: adaptable between 3 and 5 hours 

Would you like to gain confidence in teaching physical theatre and comedy? We can help you develop a bag of tools to take into the classroom to ensure you anchor your students and enable them to access texts from a performance perspective. This is a practical workshop that explores the origins and physicality of the commedia dell’arte stock characters, a range of comic techniques and practical staging considerations.

Learning Commedia dell’Arte will:

  • Awaken the physical performer inside you
  • Help you develop a range of transferable techniques for teaching any type of comedy
  • Inspire your teaching of Shakespeare’s plays as well as Molière, Goldoni, Dario Fo and Marivaux

What teachers get:

  • The historical context of Commedia dell’Arte, the origins and theatrical relevance of each character
  • Specific exaggerated movement repertoire, voice and mannerisms for the characters, using the breath, grummelot (gibberish language), masks and props
  • The key principles of mask work, staging considerations and the actor-audience relationship
  • The relationships between the characters, exploring classic lazzi (comic gags) or meccanismi (rehearsed comic sequences between two or more characters)
  • Understanding of how to perform and direct slapstick comedy using a range of comic devices

“An energetic and educational workshop with clear techniques that can be taken directly into the classroom”

Ms. Crowe, Loreto Sixth Form College

Call or email Cheryl to discuss your needs or to book: 07932 067585 or

Cheryl also runs regular Professional Development Masterclasses in the Gloucestershire region and in London (check out the Acting & Development Workshops page).  We can also arrange workshops in-house nationwide, at competitive rates. Contact us for details.

How to Book

Please use the Workshop Enquiry Form to specify your needs and we will provide a quote based on group size, level of ability, duration and location.

Workshop Enquiry Form

Call or email Cheryl for further details about any workshop:

07932 067585 or

Workshops can be adapted to suit most age groups and designed to focus on commedia dell’arte, archetypes, slapstick comedy, farce, expressionism, physical theatre, improvisation techniques, devising, storytelling, characterisation or to support the specific requirements of a production.

Half day workshops are up to 2-3 hours in length; a full day is 4-6 hours. Whether you book a half or full day, the session will be intensive, skills focused and crammed with learning. Most workshops can be tailored to fit your timetable.

“Being able to plan the day with Cheryl before the workshop meant it was perfectly tailored to the needs of the students”

N. McCurley, Henley College 

Guide Cost

We aim to offer a high quality experience at an affordable rate.

Student workshops

Half day from £175.00 (up to 15 participants) plus travel

Full day from £295.00 (up to 15 participants) plus travel

Performance-workshop package (50 min play, 2 hr workshop) from £500.00 plus travel


£7.50 per person, per hour (min £350.00) plus travel

Preferential rates could be negotiated for a consortium arrangement if centres are close by.

Our Educational Objectives

  • To provide an enriching and memorable learning experience, that engages an entire group supporting all levels of ability
  • To support and enhance curriculum delivery of Drama, Theatre Studies and English through relevant, engaging and challenging participatory workshops
  • To enable learners to experience Text in Performance through practical exploration
  • To use the mask as a tool to enable participants to step out of their comfort zone and develop greater performance confidence
  • To enable rapid acquisition of core mask and performance skills and to develop performance discipline
  • To provide groups of learners with the skills needed for ensemble devising and performance.

How will physical theatre and commedia dell’arte meet your teaching needs?

Learners will develop:

  • Understanding of Text in Performance with a practical exploration of specific elements of your selected set text
  • Contextual knowledge and understanding of key theatrical styles and practitioners: Commedia dell’Arte, Expressionism, Lecoq, Berkoff
  • Skills in improvisation and ensemble complicité as building blocks for devising
  • A high level of transferable performance skills
  • Techniques and skills for performing with masks
  • Characterisation techniques
  • Physical awareness and confidence to fully embody
  • Playfulness, complicité and stage awareness
  • Performance discipline, vocal and physical control
  • Inspiration for their own performance work

Supporting your curriculum:

Introducing commedia dell’arte, slapstick or Berkoff expressionism in KS3 can be a great way to get students to take part in physical theatre, understand body language and become more confident with self expression. Commedia dell’arte workshops offer a practical way to teach theatre history and a way to enthuse even reluctant learners by introducing slapstick comedy and physical gags (lazzi).

At GCSE level, a workshop in commedia dell’arte can help students gain confidence to be more physically and vocally expressive as well as providing ideas for devising.

There are many units within BTEC Performing Arts at L2 and L3 that can be achieved either fully or partially with a commedia dell’arte project: Acting Skills, Historical Context of Performance, Devising, Variety Performance, Performing With Masks, Developing Styles In Clowning, Applying Physical Theatre.

If you teach A Level, commedia dell’arte can be used to support your teaching on Edexcel, AQA, WJEC/CBAC, EDUQAS and OCR. Commedia dell’arte is relevant for the study of The Servant of Two Masters, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, One Man Two Guvnors.132

If you teach the IB Theatre, the study of commedia dell’arte bridges learning about theatre in the making, theatre in the world and theatre in performance. This influential theatre style also provides students with a rich and extensive source for researching and writing about theatre history in the Extended Essay.

At Degree level, commedia dell’arte can be taught as an experiential academic study of theatre history, European literature or as professional performance training. Workshops can provide a deep understanding of this influential form that was singularly responsible for the Renaissance of theatre for the masses at the end of the Dark Ages. Intensive character study provides a rigorous training regime for the aspiring performer teaching key techniques in mask work and comedy, with a strong focus on stage presence, ensemble and audience complicité.