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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsI'm Jonathan Pitches, I'm chair in theatre and performance in the School of Performance in Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds. Actor training has proliferated all over the world in the last century, but our focus is going to be on the Russian tradition of actor training.

Skip to 0 minutes and 28 secondsIt's designed to give you a taste of the techniques of the master director, Vsevolod Meyerhold. And most importantly, it's about the relationship of those techniques, to the history and politics of the region at the time.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 secondsBy studying on this course, you'll learn about the rich tradition of actor training, about the Russian tradition, and about how Meyerhold actually taught biomechanics at the time. You'll also get to practise some of his specific techniques, including actions taken from one of his etudes, or physical studies. Finally, you'll document that experience, learning how to reflect on the relationship between the physical and the historical. It's a very dynamic way of exploring history. You might call it history through the body. The course isn't intended as a training in itself, but as a taster of the practical techniques which have inspired actors in the 1920s and is still inspiring theatre directors and actors today.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 seconds I've been teaching and researching actor training for almost 20 years now. And each year, I'm more and more fascinated about how the practicalities of the technique are embedded in the history of politics and ideology of a particular country. I'm lucky enough to be working in the perfect environment here at the stage@leeds to explore this relationship. I'd like you to join with me on this course to explore the theory and practice of physical actor training.

About the course

This short two-week course introduces you to world-renowned Russian director Meyerhold’s technique of biomechanics. It invites you to study and experience first-hand his revolutionary biomechanical étude, ‘The Slap’.

Through a mixture of video, animation, discussion forums and practical exercises you will begin to understand Meyerhold’s Russian actor training technique – a two-minute repeatable exercise used to develop balance, awareness and expression. You will be invited to explore your own response to this unique approach to training and will share these responses with your fellow learners.

Note for students

This course is part of a collection from the University of Leeds which has been specifically designed for those studying at school or college. All of the courses will help to enrich and extend your knowledge in a specific topic and develop your transferable skills. These courses will help you with making decisions about which subject to study at university and will give you examples and evidence when developing your university application.

Throughout the course you will join a community of online learners, providing an opportunity for interactive learning with other students both in the UK and internationally.

Each course is designed to complement your existing studies and aims to:

  • provide evidence for UCAS applications and prepare you for university
  • help you to gain new skills, think critically and learn independently
  • encourage online / social learning
  • develop collaboration and analytical skills
  • embed current research into your online learning

For information about degrees available at the University of Leeds, please visit our course finder website.

Note for teachers

Aimed at prospective Undergraduate students both in the UK and internationally, our online courses provide a ‘taster’ of Undergraduate study at the University of Leeds.

Our courses benefit from being shaped by the latest research from the University of Leeds and are presented by leading academics who are actively engaged in pioneering research. They will inspire your students to think critically and develop their knowledge and analytical skills.

The course can be used as a wider classroom or enrichment resource or can be used independently by students to discover more about the subject area. Each course provides flexible study and benefits from online discussions with other learners.

If you would like to know more about this course or the range of courses from the University of Leeds designed specifically for schools and colleges, please visit our teachers’ pages for further information and resources.

Requirements

No previous knowledge or experience is required, just an interest in physical theatre, theatre studies, or Russian culture.

There will be some movement work, so you need to be of sound physical health, but the physical actions to be explored in the course are manageable for anyone with an average capacity for movement – lifting the arms, rotating the hips and shifting weight from one leg to the next.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £39.00

Statement of Participation £19.00