GFCA Tutor-Emeritus: Christopher Fettes
Christopher Fettes is one of the great theatre and actor pedagogues of the UK, and in fact world theatre and the cinema industry. He started as an actor, working with the legendary East London Theatre Company – Theatre Workshop under Joan Littlewood. He went on to join the ensemble at the Royal Court theatre in London during its heyday in the fifties with George Devine and Tony Richardson.
After meeting Yat Malmgren, Christopher developed a career as an educator, and as a theatre director of some renown. He directed a number of famous productions – notably his seminal interpretation of Marlowe’s Dr Faustus and Schniztler’s The Lonely Road with two of his acting students, Anthony Hopkins and Colin Firth – introduced the work of Calderon de la Barca to the British stage – and created a fascination with the work of Thomas Bernhard. Christopher’s great contribution came with his joint founding with Yat Malmgren in 1963 of the Drama Centre London, an acting conservatoire that changed the face of training in the UK and around the world. He introduced the Method to the UK, initially with the great UK method actor Harold Lang teaching at the centre, and then by inviting Uta Hagen’s protege Doreen Cannon to head the acting department. Later, an assistant of Lee Strasberg, Reuven Adiv took over the department.
Christopher’s innovation was to combine the American developments of Stanislavski with the great European Classical tradition, and the Laban Jungian system of ‘Character Analysis’ as developed by Yat Malmgren. Initially seen as a dissident organisation by the British acting world who didn’t want to endure the demands of actually ‘feeling’ something ‘for real’ as was demanded by the Method, the school kept producing notable actors. There are huge numbers of recognised British actors who owe their training to Yat and Christopher, including Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Fassbender, Paul Bettany, Tom Hardy, Anne Marie Duff, Geraldine James, Frances de la Tour, Tara Fitzgerald, Helen McRory, John Simm among many others. Other graduates of the academy run National Theatres all over the world, while others head drama schools based on the Drama Centre model.
To honour and preserve the work of Yat Malmgren (who died in 2002), in his retirement Christopher has written a book – A Peopled Labyrinth – the only body of work that deals comprehensively with ‘The Histrionic Sense’ or the Law of Expression. The book was published by GFCA Publishing in September 2015, and is available to purchase from the GFCA London Studio for personal visitors, and also online from French’s Theatre bookshop in London and Amazon.co.uk.
We are thrilled that Christopher continues to teach elements of this work for our post-graduate students, and for the Intensive Workshops that underpin the understanding of Character Analysis in it’s fullest form.
Barbara specialises in the combination of the methodological approach to acting, with the groundbreaking technique of Movement Psychology. She is based in Zürich, Switzerland, and works as a teacher and coach all over Europe. She has taught a great number of actors and introduced directors to the challenges of acting, in weekly classes and workshops. In recent years Barbara has taught in Paris, London, Berlin, Munich and Madrid as well as all over Switzerland.
Barbara owes her craft to the master teachers of Drama Centre London, Christopher Fettes and Reuven Adiv; and the second generation including Giles Foreman, with whom she has been teaching for many years; together they co-founded Caravanserai Productions & Acting Studio in London in 2005. Since 2012 the studio has been based in Soho as Giles Foreman Centre For Acting, and has established itself as an internationally leading place for the teaching of Method acting.
Barbara increasingly works with individual directors, supporting them in their analysis and development of scripts. She has coached many actors in their preparation for castings and roles: among others Carla Juri, Matthias Hungerbühler, Delia Mayer, Oriana Schrage, Michael Neuenschwander for “Dällebach Kari“ (Xavier Koller, 2011), “Fossil” (Alex Walker, 2014), “Dead Fucking Last“ (Walter Feistle, 2012), “Das Missen Massaker” (Michael Steiner, 2012), Tatort (2014), “Vaterjagd” (Rahel Grunder, 2014), “Der Bestatter” (2014), “Finsteres Glück” (2015). Barbara regularly works as a voiceover artist and on staged readings; in the last few years, together with Siri Hustvedt, Shirin Ebadi, Dame Ruth Rendell, Donna Leon, Alice Schwarzer and Andrea Levy.
Lena Lessing started off in the 1980s as a film actress, working with such exquisite actors as Donald Sutherland and Geraldine Chaplin, Bob Hoskins and Kate Winslet. Parallel to her acting career she began working as an Acting Coach in 1996, and as a German Dialect Coach in 2003. She has coached Michael Fassbender, Kate Blanchett, Grispin Glover, Nina Hoss, Julia Jentsch, Laura Tonke, Michael Neuenschwander and many other wonderful actors. She works mainly in Berlin, but also in Switzerland, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland and Great Britain. In 2016 an actress with whom she had been working for years, Laura Tonke won the Lola as Best Actress, and as Best Supporting Actress at the Deutscher Filmpreis, the German equivalent of the American Academy Awards.
Simone Reynolds, CDG
Simone has a City and Guilds, Level 4 Teaching Diploma, she is the Founder of the Casting Directors’ Guild and has been a member of the Advisory Council at LAMDA since 1994.
In 2014 she was invited to join the Board of the Actors Centre. During her period on the Board, Simone set up ATLANTIC CROSSING, a partnership between the Actors Centre London and The Freeman Studio New York, enabling actors to have free membership of both organizations while enjoying workshop discounts and mentoring during their stay in both cities. Simone is a member of the Guest Teaching Team at the Freeman Studio NYC and returns regularly to run Film Technique Workshops.
In 2009 Simone became Career Consultant at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama until 2012, moving as Career Consultant to Giles Foreman Centre for Acting in 2013, where she teaches on the Advanced Professional Intensive Diploma.
In 2006, Simone divised the very successful Audition Technique Course as part of LAMDA’s summer school, directing the course until 2013. She directed ALRA’s MA Showcase in 2009 & 2010, while also completing Professional Practice Workshops with the BA students.
At City Literary Institute, Simone devised and ran a four week theatre/screen acting course, entitled Casting Director, Director and You with Vivienne Rochester, head of Drama, Dance & Speech. She has given workshops for theatre & screen acting at many leading drama schools and organizations including Guildhall, LAMDA, Rose Bruford, Arts Ed, Drama Centre, and the Actors Centre. She also undertakes private tuition and advice.
Evdokimos graduated from the Drama School of Northern Greece, and continued his studies in drama, acting and directing in New York at the H.B. Studio, and Actor’s Studio with a Fulbright Scholarship. He has worked as an actor in many troups, including the State Theatre of Northern Greece, the National Theatre of Greece, and the Regional Theatre of Crete and Thrace. He participated in many film and television productions and directed plays in Greece and abroad. He is the founder and the Artistic Director of Theatre of Changes, Athens. He teaches in Rome, Stockholm, Istanbul, Tbilisi, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Kathmandu as well as Greece. He was chairman of the jury at the International Theatre Festival in Agadir (Morocco 2007), organises an annual meeting of theatre makers from around the world, and authored books and plays.
Roberta made her professional acting debut at 16 in the film version of The Effect Of Gamma-Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds opposite Joanne Woodward and directed by Paul Newman. She studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse, at HB Studios with Herbert Berghof and Uta Hagen, Lee Strasberg, Robert Lewis, Susan Batson, Gary Austin, Sonda Seacat and Elizabeth Kemp. She became a member of The Actors Studio in 1980. She started teaching privately, then at the New York Film Academy, Black Nexxus, HB Studios, at Yoko Narahashi’s school, UPS (United Performer’s Studio) in Tokyo and is now teaching in New York at The Strasberg Institute.
As an actor, she has worked on the big and small screens and on stage with such extraordinary artists as Bette Davis, Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, Susan Batson, Shelley Winters, Arthur Penn, Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach, Tony Danza, Frank Corsaro, James Gandolfini, Brian Murray, Eileen Heckert, Kate Valk, Anne Meara, Doug Hughes, Elizabeth Franz, Lynn Cohen, Melanie Mayron and Robert Glaudini, among others. Roberta appeared in the films Rabbit Hole with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart; Boy Wonder; That’s What She Told Me (shown at the New York International Film Festival) and Last I Heard, starring Paul Sorvino, Michael Rappaport and Paul Ben Victor.
Lorrie Hull & Dianne Hull
Lorrie Hull is an award winning director and has been a member of the Actors Studio Directors’ and Writers’ Units, as well as a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre. A former university Professor, she was the senior faculty member for Lee Strasberg for 12 years, and taught for five years for the American Film Institute’s Public Service Programs. Lorrie was the only instructor chosen by Mr. Strasberg to teach his course, “Understanding of the Method.” Dr. Hull has conducted acting and directing intensives worldwide in Sweden, Monaco (for Princess Grace), France, New York University, Northwestern University, Yale, University of Wisconsin and UCLA, among numerous universities, as well as in New York, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Des Moines, Kalamazoo and Omaha.
Dianne Hull is known today as one of the premiere teachers of Method Acting in Los Angeles, she was introduced to audiences in Elia Kazan’s The Arrangement. Dianne’s long acting career includes starring and co-starring roles in film, TV, and stage, including The Onion Field, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, Aloha Bobby and Rose, Spielberg’s Amazing Stories and The Wonder Years, among many others. Dianne is a longtime member of the internationally renowned Actors Studio.