(Songs associated with pubs, bars and cocktail lounges)

“One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.” James Thurber

This course will look at songs associated with pubs, bars and cocktail lounges. My working methods on all this material will include some detailed acting through song techniques. We will work as an ensemble but invite the possibility for some solo work as well.

Pubs: Music Hall songs provide the basis for the pub singalong. We’ll tackle some old favourites including ‘Row, Row, Row’, ‘Hold Your Hand Out, You Naughty Boy’, and ‘I Wouldn’t Leave My Little Wooden Hut For You’.

Cocktail bars: The American bar playlist at the Savoy hotel in London will provide the material for this section. The list includes: It Had To Be You, Blue Moon & Waterloo Sunset.

Songs about bars and drinking: Frank Sinatra’s ‘One For The Road’ is an example of a song set in a bar and about drinking.





(Exploring political drama and the politics of theatre)

“I do not believe that any work of art can help but be diminished by its adherence at any cost to a political program … and not for any other reason than that there is no political program – any more than there is a theory of tragedy – which can encompass the complexities of real life..” Arthur Miller

“Unless you are terribly, terribly careful, you run the danger--without even knowing it is happening to you--of slipping into the fatal error of reflecting the public taste instead of creating it. Your responsibility is to the public consciousness, not the public view of itself.” Edward Albee

Writers throughout history have been accused of lacing their work with political messages that might influence their audiences. But can a writer really be that precise about how their work is read?

In this course we will explore what can be defined as political playwriting and how political plays function to put across a particular argument. We will write political drama whilst exploring different approaches to context, structure, and political content. We will also start to interrogate the politics of the theatre itself, and how this artform can include and exclude.


MUSICAL THEATRE (Directing / Directing dance and movement)


(How direction, movement direction and choreography combine)

“I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom.” Bob Hope

This course will explore what we need for, and how we develop, the creative delivery of the ‘musical number’. It will be approached from a staging point of view (not singing, that is Graeme’s* job.)

We will work practically on how direction, movement direction, and/or choreography combine. We will examine the context of each ‘number’ we do, and push context and character to the forefront of the work.

We will use well-known set pieces, and also some lesser known work. We will try and work on a ‘number’, or set piece, at each session; so that we keep the exploration flowing. But there is the opportunity for participants to break into groups to facilitatthe further development of some of the work we may be particularly inspired by.

This is a course for those people interested in directing in general, directing musicals, developing their movement direction skills, working as an ensemble, or learning and experiencing more about being involved in dance and movement scenes.

We will look at methods for:

As such, a balance of ‘directors’ and ‘performers’ would be nice; and maybe participants are both!! We will of course at some point be doing both anyway, as the idea of ensemble is central to what we are exploring.

It will be fun and dynamic, covering a wide range of style and content. No-one needs to be an expert in anything, but simply be a happy and generous participant. The course will be flexible and responsive to the particular group of participants we are lucky to end up with.

* Graeme Du Fresne, Course Director




 (Exploring improvisation to celebrate the unknown)

“You have to grab moments when they happen” Denzel Washington

Get ready to stretch your imagination, spark spontaneity and ignite your creativity.

Throughout the week we’ll be taking a look at what improvisation really means and explore the fundamental building blocks needed to perform and play confidently – without ever knowing where you are going or how it’s going to end.

Through a variety of theatrical games, character building and storytelling techniques as well as with a sense of fun, freedom and playfulness we will:

Develop your theatrical communication skills
Build your confidence and encourage you to follow your impulses
Free inhibitions and release your imaginations

and finally discover what it means to truly be with another actor – honesty and truthfulness in the moment.

Together we’ll be embracing uncertainty and celebrating the unknown.