Off-stage, our education programme has become a central plank of the company’s work, with every workshop an extension of our creative process. What that means is that we celebrate the unique skills that each participant brings and give them tools to create better, collaboratively. We overlay this with a form of the Lecoq pedagogy, giving participants a physical vocabulary that can be used to devise their own theatre stories.
Julian Spooner and Matt Wells, the company’s two co-Artistic Directors, are experienced teachers and have created bespoke performance, technique and devising workshops for numerous universities and professional training institutions. They also work with younger performers, including for the National Theatre and the Old Vic. They have worked extensively internationally, most recently with professional performers across all disciplines in Venezuela, with trans artists and activists in Brazil.
In 2020, the company has held a series of online workshops during the pandemic, for artists unable to perform or develop their skills during lockdown. We will continue to offer them whenever being together in a room isn't possible.
All workshops can be adapted to suit the age and ability of participants
CREATING CINEMATIC THEATRE
“Rhum + Clay have come of age… beautifully put together, intelligent and moodily atmospheric”
LYN GARDNER, THE GUARDIAN on 64 SQUARES
A 3-hour workshop that focuses on how one can physically use the techniques of cinema to create dynamic theatre. Firstly, we introduce participants to a form of mime called ‘The Language of Gesture’. You learn a dynamic and comedic routine, using these skills to recreate elements of cinema on stage as a solo performer, e.g. zooming in/out, creating montages and multiple characters.
Working in small groups you will recreate the feel, style and texture of a Spaghetti Western for example, creatively constrained by having to perform as a group in a very confined space and encouraged to view the theatrical space in a non-literal way. The workshop culminates in a period of devising, in which the smaller groups re- create an iconic movie of your choosing in under five minutes, using only the tiny stage area you have been given.
DISCOVERING YOUR INNER CLOWN
“Incredible clown skills”
THE STAGE on MISTERO BUFFO
“A fascinating fusion of physicality and artistic theatre… superb acting, inspired direction and a comic sense of absurdity”
THE STAGE on THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JECKYLL & MR HYDE
This 3-hour workshop is an introduction into the world of clowning, where anarchy is embraced, stupidity is an artform and uninhibited play is a must. This workshop is about discovering the clown state, so you can perform and create within it.
We will explore some of the key principles of clowning: embracing a state of bafflement, finding the game in any situation and learning not to act. Participants will examine the clown's unique connection to the audience, your complicity with fellow performers and how ‘keeping it simple’ can unlock the game inherent in all good drama, as well as making us all laugh.
Suitable for experienced actors or those just starting out, ultimately it is about learning to perform with honesty and imagination.
“A whirling multi-roling ensemble”
WHATSONSTAGE on THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
“...an otherworldly ensemble of mischievous shapeshifters”
EXEUNT on THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
A 3-hour workshop focusing on the ensemble, teaching participants how to devise and perform as a chorus. We start with listening exercises designed to create awareness between participants. This develops into moving, gesturing and speaking as a group, all informed by the Lecoq pedagogy.
As you develop the skills to move and speak together, we look at the dynamics of a moving crowd: how do football fans walk to a match? How do soldiers work as a unit? How do commuters move as they enter and leave a train? We then ask each group to present a 3-5 minute chorus piece, using the text from a play (which can be something that you are currently working on).
SOLO PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE
“This is, in short, a tour de force. Spooner, spinning between characters and sweating like a trooper … It's a shapeshifting, body-popping, mesmerising performance; drilled to perfection.”
WHATSONSTAGE on MISTERO BUFFO
“Spooner responds with an enthralling chameleonic performance”
THE GUARDIAN on MISTERO BUFFO
Rhum + Clay take you on a step by step journey towards developing a dynamic and cinematic solo performance style. Drawing on their training at Ecole Jacques Lecoq and the methodology employed in The Stage Award-winning Mistero Buffo, expect to learn techniques which will allow you to embody multiple characters, change physical space in the blink of an eye and cultivate a rich and diverse theatrical world using just your body.
We will start with movement analysis focusing on some of the 20 movements to examine how we can use rhythm, tempo and the dynamics of movement to aid physical storytelling. We then learn a solo storytelling routine, which is inspired by the techniques of cinema and enables the physical solo performer to change space and character instantaneously. The workshop culminates in the participants recreating an iconic scene or moment from cinema as a solo performer.
This workshop is ideal for anyone with an interest in solo performance, from experienced actors to students to those just starting out in the industry.
Rhum + Clay will guide you on an exploration of what it means to embrace your inner idiot and perform as a clown.
Beginning with simple games such as passing a gesture: copying and adding, you will learn how to be content with keeping things simple, how to respond to the rhythms of your fellow performers and how to ‘play’ without pre-determining your actions. Other games will develop your clowning skills through action and movement, will help you discover your connection to an audience and will explore states and situations that lend themselves to farce.
Participants can expect a playful, challenging, silly and rewarding introduction to the world of clown. Suitable for performers at any stage of their career, from experienced actors to those just starting out in the industry.
BESPOKE LONG & SHORT COURSES
We regularly deliver bespoke courses, whether half day, one week or a full term’s duration, in order to teach Lecoq-based techniques to students. These courses can be tailored to current topics or texts being studied, in order to marry specific skills and practice with existing curricula. Students will develop the performer’s theatrical language and increase their understanding of the relationship between the performer's body, movement, theatrical space and physical expression.
All our courses include opportunities for participants to devise and present their own work, and will provide participants with a repertoire of Lecoq exercises, techniques and devices to use in their future practice.
We recently worked with the National Theatre’s Youth Theatre group, devising chorus work around the specific theme of protest & civil disobedience, concentrating on techniques for ensemble and chorus working.
The Rhum + Clay team has also recently delivered workshops and courses for the Old Vic London, Southampton Solent University, Emil Dale Academy, The University of Exeter and The University of Worcester.
About our Workshops in Caracas:
"Rhum + Clay left an important mark in Venezuela. For the first time, a group of young actors, eager for knowledge, had the opportunity to receive a workshop on Physical Theatre techniques, of which they didn't have much knowledge. The workshop developed by Julian and Matt exceeded the expectations of all the participants who had the opportunity to be part of this unique experience. Julian and Matt connected with them in an unimaginable way. They demonstrated not only teaching experience and skills, but also a deep sense of humanity, sensitivity, commitment, excellent communication skills and inspiration. We hope to have them back soon; definitely there is a ‘before’ and ‘after’ to their visit to Venezuela."
AURAMARINA LAZARDE, HEAD OF ARTS, BRITISH COUNCIL VENEZUELA
“At the heart of our training programme is an emphasis on allowing students to use their natural playfulness as a tool to work with others, create characters and engage with the larger themes within theatre”