What is the course about?
Explore training, characterisation and rehearsal techniques through improvisations, exercises, and contemporary British screenplays. Develop emotional expressivity, channel a character’s inner life, and practise scene analysis.
What will we cover?
We will explore the major principles and techniques of Stanislavski’s ‘system’, examining each of its elements in isolation at first. These include tasks and action, given circumstances, relaxation in performance, sense memory and emotional authenticity, dramatic analysis and interpretation, and the uninhibited expression of physical and psychological impulses. We will then apply these skills to the development of a character and the preparation of a short scene from a contemporary British film.
Please note that acting classes by their very nature can involve exercises and the exploration of material that some students may find challenging.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Relax under pressure and immerse yourself more fully in an imagined reality.
Use your self as a creative resource in the development of characters and in meeting the emotional demands of a scene.
Express yourself more fully and uninhibitedly in performance.
Analyse a dramatic scene in relation to the story as a whole and extract significant information about character, action, circumstances, and structure.
Make appropriate choices about characterisation and scene-interpretation, with particular regard to the shaping of an engaging story, and adjust your performance in relation to them.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Ideally you should have completed our term-long “Introduction to Acting” course or similar, or have some experience of acting. You will need to be able to take notes and to work within groups and pairs safely. You should be able to express yourself and communicate clearly and fluently in spoken English and have an enthusiasm for reading and discussing a range of texts in large and small groups. You will be willing and able to do some preparation and rehearsal outside of class. The course involves some physical exercises, so you should be prepared to participate in them and have a level of fitness and flexibility appropriate for an actor. You will need to be able to listen and respond to instructions and feedback and be interested in listening to, and learning from, the responses of other students to the work discussed, observed, and performed. You will have a commitment to developing your performance, analytical, and expressive skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
We will use games, improvisations, characterisation and physical expressivity exercises, tutor input, group discussion and analysis, and the rehearsal of scenes from contemporary British films. This is a practical course in which students will work alone, in pairs, and in groups, according to the exercise. Each week, detailed homework preparations are given that extend and develop the techniques covered in class and prepare you for what we will explore in the following session. This will be supported with advice, guidance, and feedback via group emails. .
You may or may not be asked to participate in vigorous activity from time to time. Please consider whether you could do this, if you are in any doubt consult a medical practitioner.
As part of the course content, your tutor may record your image for initial and ongoing assessment purposes. You are entitled to decline to participate in the recording of your image.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need a copy of Uta Hagen’s book Respect for Acting (either the first or second edition which you can borrow from the library or buy), a notebook, and a pencil. You will also need to be dressed in loose-fitting clothing that allows you to move freely and wearing trainers or plimsolls.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Stanislavski improvers and Screen acting for beginners.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details