Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds I’m Jonathan Pitches. I’m chair in theatre and performance in the School of Performance and 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. The course is about the training techniques used by Soviet actors in the 1920s, which is still being used today all over the world. It’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 51 seconds By studying on this course you’ll learn about the rich tradition of actor training, about the Russian tradition, and about how Meyerhold actually taught his 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 will document 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.
Skip to 1 minute and 26 seconds Primarily, this is a course aimed at those with a passion for 20th century theatre. It may be particularly applicable to those who’ve studied Meyerhold’s teacher Stanislavski at A-level, or perhaps those on theatre and performance undergraduate programmes. There’s also a broader appeal to this course, which might relate to Russian studies, cultural studies, or even history. 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 are still inspiring theatre directors and actors today. I’ve been teaching and researching actor training for almost 20 years now.
Skip to 2 minutes and 2 seconds And each year I’m more and more fascinated about how the practicalities of the technique are embedded in the history, politics, and ideology of a particular country. I’m lucky enough to be working in the perfect environment here at stage@leeds to explore this relationship. I’d like you to join with me on this three week course to explore the theory and practise of physical actor training.