INTRODUCTION TO ACTING FOR BEGINNERS / ENTRY-LEVEL – Thursdays 6.30pm – 9.30pm.
The Giles Foreman Centre for Acting offers fresh opportunities for people to develop their acting skills, in a supportive yet stimulating environment!
An exciting evening course for people relatively new to acting, although we find that some participants have other performance-related skills. One of the Centre’s team of Industry-experienced tutors leads a journey into the art of acting.
It is designed not just for people new to acting, but also for those with some previous experience but no formal training in the basic actors’ exercises; those that develop range and depth with emotional connection. Through the exploration of environment, objectives, circumstances, physicality and the ability to be ‘in the moment’ you develop the tools necessary for character development and text work. You are introduced to the technical skills of voice and movement, expand your imaginative powers, learn how to use yourself and your experiences in your acting, how to breathe life into characters, how to break down a script and much more!
This introduction to acting offers ways to approach story and character. The classes explore a wide range of aspects, starting with basic techniques in developing attention, sense-memory, awareness and storytelling through to improvisation – and then more specific character-work on physicality, status, spontaneity, relationships and psychological actions. As the course builds we start to look at text, and the work of different playwrights – with specific emphasis on understanding the play by breaking down the text, and allowing our own creativity and instinct to interpret the role. The work incorporates ideas from many different practitioners including Stanislavski, Checkhov, Meisner, Stella Adler, Uta Hagen and others.
By the end of the course you may decide to explore acting on a deeper level in regular acting classes at the Centre, in which case we are happy to advise on what else we offer – but even if not, you will be able to apply many of these skills in other aspects of your life and work, and hopefully, will feel far more confident in your ability to speak in public.
We offer a small group-size and a structured programme to encourage thorough progress and exploration. The course is less expensive yet more focussed than many of the other courses out there – excellent value for money, with our experienced acting coaches. No interview is required before starting, but book early as places fill fast. A 10-session course, offered 3 times a year.
30-week Progression INTENSIVE ACTING – MONDAYS 6 – 10 pm.
This course runs from the end of September until July, in 3 terms, building up experience and breadth in acting, in a sustained approach that is not achievable on a short Introductory course alone. It takes you from entry-level onward; you will learn acting in depth, both theory and practice, and challenge yourself as part of a small group, in a focussed and progressively-intensifying process of exploration. It is ideal if you are preparing to apply for higher-level intensive study.
The full fee is £995, payable in 3 termly instalments. Offered once per year.
New to GFCA? Here is a Part-time STUDENT REGISTRATION form to complete, if you’d like to join us.
STUDENT ACTING CLASS LEVELS – INTRODUCTORY, INTERMEDIATE, ADVANCED, PROFESSIONAL/MEMBERS
INTRODUCTION to Acting for BEGINNERS/ENTRY-LEVEL and ACTING:30-WEEK PROGRESSION are open to anyone interested in finding out more about acting.
After working on the fundamentals in INTRODUCTION TO ACTING, it is time to develop those skills further in the INTERMEDIATE ACTING CLASS.
This course is designed for all actors with some training, to push themselves further into their craft.
In a series of intensive, enjoyable sessions, students explore the world of one of the great plays of the 20th century working in the great traditions of actor training. They are taught to enrich the emotional inner life of their characters through a range of challenging and liberating exercises culminating in scene work on the text from the play. The work also focuses on the outward manifestation of this inner work/outer life – including physical life and vocal work.
The class is structured to the individual needs of each person, to unlock authenticity and truthfulness and explore the infinite possibilities within us all.
A rolling programme, bookable in blocks of 12 weekly sessions, offered throughout the year.
With more experience, individuals may apply for ADVANCED CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS that are altogether more demanding and rigorous. Students at this level are eligible to take part in the Centre’s workshops and productions, and they are encouraged to develop pieces for our performance evenings.
Those who develop to the point of becoming professionals are invited to join the PROFESSIONAL / MEMBERS CLASSES. Here actors may be presented to the profession through showcases, roles in studio productions and in short films. They may help lead workshops on behalf of the Centre and become involved in the development of the studio and the many projects that it undertakes. They join a vibrant and evolving ensemble, providing them with a creative home – essential in the notoriously precarious and lonely world of the actor. They engage in professional work outside and come back to the studio to ensure that they are working and developing themselves all the time.
REGULAR HIGH-LEVEL ACTING CLASSES AT THE CENTRE:
An actor’s training does not cease the moment he or she leaves Drama School – in fact in many ways it has only just begun. Stanislavski believed that it was impossible to become a truly accomplished actor before the age of 40. It is vitally important that like great athletes or musicians, actors continue to practise and refine their skills and to develop new ones.
As we all know acting is a ruthlessly competitive industry – increasingly so. Few of us get the opportunity to work all the time, which was how actors used to continue their development. Nowadays it is important to find a forum where one can practise, tune ones skills and essentially stay competitive, while feeling creative and hopefully inspired.
GFCA aims to supply high level classes in various disciplines at very reasonable prices. It is also at the heart of a community of actors, and many projects and working partnerships arise out of these sessions.
ACTING FOR PROFESSIONALS
These sessions [weekend, or evening] offer professional actors the opportunity to keep tuned in when not working; to run through audition pieces, work on specific acting problems they have encountered and continue to develop their range and abilities as expressive artists. They are led by acting coaches; chiefly Giles Foreman but also, for movement-into-character, Liana Nyquist. The basic technique draws on the work of Strasberg, Meisner, Uta Hagen and Stella Adler.
The work mainly deals with realistic acting processes. It encourages actors to push their limits, to increase their capacity to use themselves and open up, to enhance their creative abilities in rehearsal through exploring impulses, to develop complex and layered characters, to dissect text rigorously and to come to rehearsal or set thoroughly prepared. The process tends to be a mixture of exercises and scene work. Everyone contributes to feedback and the general atmosphere is one of serious fun. As we all know acting can be a terribly frustrating and isolated profession – so what better than a serious workout! Many projects tend to be created out of these sessions.
Entrance is subject to supplying a CV or Spotlight link plus an interview, and is for those who have trained or have a range of professional experience.
CHARACTER ANALYSIS/ MOVEMENT PSYCHOLOGY: YAT MALMGREN / LABAN TECHNIQUE
Devised for actors and others wishing to understand and then explore in-depth the technique developed by Yat Malmgren and Christopher Fettes, founders of the original Drama Centre, London. Taught by the leading contemporary exponent in the UK and across Europe, Giles Foreman; and expert colleagues.
A sequence of four intensive modules; the sessions involve the progressive unfolding of the constituent parts of the technique, followed by opportunities to embody what has been covered, by practical exploration in acting exercises. The teaching in each module is built around one of the four stages explored in the masterly book written by Christopher Fettes, entitled A PEOPLED LABYRINTH.
This technique is based on the psychological theories of Carl Jung (Sensing, Thinking, Intuiting and Feeling) and the work of Rudolph Laban. Laban was the architect of European Contemporary Dance who essentially conducted an extraordinary comprehensive analysis of human expression
Yat Malmgren recognised that this would prove to be a powerful tool for the actor and went on to complete Laban’s theory. He extended Laban’s ideas by creating a psychological typology which brings together Laban and Stanislavsky, inner motivation and outer expression – leading to the detailed and accurate construction of character.
This work was placed at the heart of Yat’s original acting studio in London and later at the Drama Centre London. The technique is familiar to all the students of Yat including Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Penelope Wilton, Colin Firth, Helen McCrory, Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbender, Simon Callow and all the many accomplished artists taught over the course of 50 years work.
Yat Malmgren [pictured] was one of the great solo artists of European modern dance and later became a legend in British actor training, having been the creator of the Laban-Malmgren System of Character Analysis.
Yat Malmgren (March 28 1916-June 6 2002) led, jointly with John Blatchley, the creation of the Drama Centre in the autumn of 1963 and stayed as Director of Movement at the School. Malmgren taught a number of famous actors including Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Anthony Hopkins, as well as Andrew Tiernan, Helen McCrory, Paul Bettany, Michael Fassbender, Russell Brand, Anne-Marie Duff, Craig Kelly, John Sim, Sean Harris, Ryan Early, Andrew Pleavin and Nicolas Tennant.
Born in Gavle, north of Stockholm in 1916, he went to went to drama school with Ingrid Bergman but possessed an exceptional talent for movement and dance, and soon became a world famous “Character Dancer” of the 1930’s. As the war broke out Yat found refuge in Dartington Hall in Devon where he met Hungarian character Dancer Rudolf Laban. Laban took Yat under his wing, and left him all his notations on the exploration of movement in everyday experience. Yat later adapted Laban’s notations to acting and thus created a revolutionary teaching tool as opposed to conventional theatrical dance.
Yat initially taught at a small studio in West Street, off Shaftesbury Avenue and became the acting guru of Sean Connery. He was invited by Lawrence Olivier to work at the fledgling National Theatre and later taught a young Anthony Hopkins at the Royal Academy. He went on to found the Drama Centre, London which was created around his work and which has subsequently produced some of the greatest names in British and world theatre and cinema.
For more information on Yat Malmgren and what some of his now famous students had to say about his method, follow the links below:
Our leading movement coach takes participants through principles of movement, the sensoric and the motoric nervous system, the spine, rhythms, the Laban concepts of working actions and animal characterisation work. The class, as well as building strength and flexibility, opens and expands the physical imagination. Liana is also available for private classes to help actors build their physical characterisation. Entry by application.
Liana Nyquist studied at the Drama Centre and became the assistant to the founder of the Drama Centre Dr Yat Malmgren, in the Laban analysis of character movement. She is a vanguard figure of physical theatre, and gives workshops in Movement and Analysis of Movement all over Europe and beyond.
The class includes a good physical warm-up, and exploration of different physical structures. Introduction of the tool, the structural model of human movement and the dynamic structures. Practical exploration: through different practical exercises and tasks we practice these tools and experiment, play and create movement sequences.
10-session blocks, offered 3 times a year
Learn the vocal tools of the professional actor. Actors need healthy, flexible, expressive voices with which to act: this course teaches you the tools from which to explore your voice safely and creatively. You learn to release your voice from habitual tensions and develop appropriate breath connection, support and stamina for performance. Using the principles of general and specific resonance, you learn to develop vocal range and projection without strain. Exercises specially designed for developing precision and muscularity in the spoken word encourage you to build the essential skills for professional level speech and sight-reading. By application.
VOICE-WORK FOR ACTORS
This class is ideal for actors who wish to develop their voices for flexibility, range, confidence, support and control.
Using group exercises for physical and vocal dexterity; articulation; vowel-placement, relaxation and breath-support, pitch-awareness, dynamic range and resonance. We work in whole-group, small-group and pairs; involving both spoken and pitched sound and harmonisation. The whole is designed to build confidence and range, and to be stimulating too!
10-session blocks, offered 3 times a year.
On Camera demystifies the relationship with the camera, providing essential technique and giving rigorous attention to the detail, fluency of thought, emotional and physical life required in acting for film and television. Classes cover the day-to-day realities of filming – framing, timing, hitting your mark, the constraints of continuity as well as the transmission of a character’s inner life with and without words, all the while engaging intimately with the camera. A typical class involves targeted exercises, exploration of preparation-techniques and analysis/interpretation, but practice with the camera is central, through work on monologues or scenes. The class reviews the work, and develops through a dynamic process of observation, practice and reflection.
The class is open to students who have already shown competence in acting technique.
10-session block, offered twice a year
TV & Film Screenwriting
All great movies start with great scripts!
Over ten weekly evening sessions, learn about
– defining genre
– developing themes
– devising the world of the story
– creating thematically-based characters
– structuring a character-driven story
– the secrets of good dialogue
– how to re-write and polish scripts
The practical side of the work – software, research, collaboration, and getting work produced in a saturated market – is also addressed.
Thursdays 6:30 – 8:30pm 10 sessions, offered once a year.
Evangelo Kioussis worked in the Canadian film industry for over 15 years, where he wrote and directed for Global Television, CBC and Vision TV. Now living in London, he consults for a large and diverse number of writers and production companies, while developing and producing projects with his partners at Mirror Productions.
Improvisation class is designed to help actors approach working without a script, and aims to assist students to experience the immediacy of the work of the actor, their intuition and the power of the imagination. The course covers essential principles for improvisation based on the inspirational work of Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin.
Classes start with a physical warm-up created to free the body and mind, and are structured through a variety of games, team-building exercises, scene work and devising which allows students to find their spontaneity and inspiration without interference. The class is encouraged to experiment with creativity, narrative and storytelling.
Approaching a scene with the absence of blocks and judgement and truly experiencing the world moment by moment is what gives a scene truth and dramatic strength. Students develop the confidence to be truly in the moment and embrace the stage as a blank canvass to co-create new living performances. The awareness, openness and understanding of the needs of the scene that improvisation skills can bring are invaluable goals for any actor.
10-session blocks, offered twice a year.
This course takes the students through the building blocks of the Meisner Technique. The tutor’s approach to these sessions aims to empower the actor, helping them to play to their strengths, to find the raw truth as the backbone of their work and to stay present and alive on both stage and screen. Each week we seek to move the work to a deeper level, hanging most sessions on Meisner’s famous repetition exercise. It is an intense course, allowing actors to get to know themselves, to better aid them in their pursuit of truthful acting.
Meisner was one of the original members of the Group Theater along with Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, and Harold Clurman until it disbanded in 1941. Afterwards, Meisner led the acting department of the Neighbourhood Playhouse School of Theater in Manhattan for nearly half a century. Among Meisner’s students were Robert Duvall, David Mamet, Jon Voight, Diane Keaton, Lee Grant, Gregory Peck, Grace Kelly, Sydney Pollack, and Steve McQueen.
Meisner’s technique is based on Constantin Stanislavski’s method of acting, however a core difference is the shift from emotional recollection to the uncensored and truthful response to the moment as the emotional instigator. This allows for far more freedom and the ability to take on vastly varied circumstances. Meisner considered his technique to be a non-intellectual approach to truthful acting: the technique enables actors to pursue a deeper and far more intense exploration of the truth of each moment.
The essence of Meiner is living truthfully, moment to moment, under the given circumstances. The foundation of this work sits in varying stages of the repetition exercises. Over time we move into ‘breaking the back’ (ie script-work), plus improvisational exercises, relationship work, preparations, and independent activities.
30-week progression: 3 terms of 10 sessions, offered once a year – September to July
INNER POTENTIAL – EXPLORING OUR SENSE OF SELF
We develop ways of relating from the moment of birth, both to ourselves and others. This creates a sense of self shaped by family, society and our own strategies for survival. Often this feels fine when expression flows, but sometimes seems to hinder an inner sense of self struggling for expression.
For actors this can be used in shaping characterisation, but can equally feel restricting at times if not fully understood or recognised.
Meeting as a group for 8 consecutive sessions, we explore in a safe, contained environment the mystery of ourselves through group facilitation; group member feedback; and also by paying personal attention to our bodymind experience.
The group is led by Xanthe Parkin, a UKCP registered Integrative Body Psychotherapist who has a deep interest in what it means to be embodied. She has a BA in English and Drama.
Pricing information, please see Prices page
Information about the tutors for these courses is on the Teachers page.