The Makings of the Actor: Towards Contemporary Acting Techniques, Practices & Methodologies

   International Conference Athens 17-26 July 2019

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              International Conference Athens 17-26 July 2019

                               Hosted by Michael Cacoyiannis  Foundation

                    The Makings of the Actor

                       Towards Contemporary Acting Techniques, Practices & Methodologies    

Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Labanarium and MCF have taken the initiative to organize a Conference in Athens. The conference The Makings of the Actor aims to offer a platform to dialogue about the skills and knowledge necessary to develop the contemporary actor. The Conference will be the pilot event towards the establishment of the International Centre for Actor’s training that will officially open the next year 2020 in Athens supported by many institutions. Its mission is to gather international practitioners and researchers to discuss the needs of contemporary performance practice through Conferences, performances, and workshops taking place internationally.

The conference takes as its points of departure Duncan Ross provocations that there is still a need for a comprehensive actor training.

Duncan Ross (1968), British actor and one of the well-knowing acting teacher, in his paper Towards an Organic Approach to Actor Training A Criticism of the Stanislavski Scheme points out that there is no actual acting method and what have been exploring in the history of acting is only the structure of the character and the analysis of the text. Duncan puts a crucial issue on the table mentioning that still there is no such thing as an acting method that deals with the interpretative art of acting:

The most important topic for actor training, by the general consensus of the panel at this conference, seemed to be the problem of "integration:" how should the bodily skills be combined with work on imagination, textual analysis, etc., etc. A more comprehensive question was only touched, the problem of style: the direct and all-pervasive influence of the individual author's form on the actor's creation of a role. But what never reached discussion was the consideration of how to teach acting which has the quality of spontaneity, no matter how formalized the structure of the dramatic text. In the opinion of the writer, this is the prime topic from which the others depend (Ross 1968: 258).

Duncan considers that there is a lack of certain training for acting, although for him the theatre world has now all ‘the sufficient knowledge’. Duncan notices that there is a solution to that question:

Lastly, it is a frequent observation that outstandingly talented actors seem to operate in a different way from the general body of performers. It is the writer's belief that teaching theory must account coherently for this achievement. An attitude of mystic reverence for "talent" is no answer. Either we must teach how these actors do, or we are not teaching the subject (Duncan 1968: 258-259).

Ross Prior in his book Teaching Actors published in 2012 puts the same questions as Duncan Ross. The need to reconsider the actor's training as well as how actor’s teachers should be trained (Prior 2012: xi). Benedetti admits, like Ross and Prior, at the end of his book The Art of the Actor in 2005 that there is no any research attempt for specific training method for actors that is universally recognized (Benedetti 2005: 233). Mark Evans (2015) in his book The Actor Training Reader questions ‘how to train for a global performance economy and in response to global challenges to the nature of theatre and performance’ (Evans 2015: xxx). Zarrilli, Sasitharan, and Kapur (2016) discuss the same issue in their recent article in the edition of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training on ‘intercultural’ acting and actor/performer training:

Contrary to the between-ness of our global realities, the vast majority of professional/conservatory-based training programmes in Europe, the UK, US, and Australia with a few exceptions have not yet embraced these multi-, inter-, intra-cultural realities in their structure or pedagogical practice. Assumptions about what acting ‘is’ continue to be shaped by conventional modes, models, techniques, and structures that often resist both critical and/or creative self-examination (Zarrilli, Sasitharan and Kapur, 2016: 336).

The conference wants to address these perspectives and invites contributions addressing the following questions:

  • what constitutes outstanding acting?
  • The role of ‘talent’ in acting training
  • How to train skills and dexterity
  • How do we train and teach to reach all of the above

Our main goal is to open the discussion about this crucial issue of how to develop an actor today and to open a platform where for the first time we can as practitioners discuss our practices in order to create a community that can reach solutions.

Keynote Speakers     

Pr. Sergei Tcerkasckki Head of an Acting Studio in Russian State Institute of Performing Arts (he will also deliver an intensive week Workshop about Stanislavsky’s system) 100 years of the Stanislavsky System and Modern Actor Training

Pr. Andy Lavender in Theatre & Performance at the University of Warwick.  Head of the School of Theatre & Performance Studies and Cultural & Media Policy Studies, University of Warwick.

Dr. Tom Cornford, Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Sulian Vieira Pacheco, Assistant Professor, Department of Performing Arts, University of Brasilia 

Avra Sidiropoulou Assistant Professor at the Μ.Α. program in Theatre Studies at the Open University of Cyprus

Pr. Nikos Geladas School of Physical Education and Sports Science   National and Kapodistrian University of Athens ·

Dr. Katia Savrami  Assistant Professor of Choreology at the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Patras, Greece.

Pr. Rob Roznowski Head of Acting and Directing in the Department of Theatre. Professor Michigan State University, USA.

Ramunė Balevičiūtė Associate Professor in Theatre Studies, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre

Call for Papers, Teaching Demonstrations and Performances 17-26  July (Except Sunday 21th)

We welcome submissions from acting/voice/movement teachers, actors coaches, theatre practitioners, actors, directors, training practitioners, theatre researchers, practice and academic researchers within varying aspects of practice.  

For papers please send your abstract of 200 words for your oral presentation (20 min) in a Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address. The paper presentations will be 20 min they are followed by a 10 min discussion with the audience/participants.

Submissions of teaching demonstration must be in English and can be up to 4 pages (including references and figures) in a Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address. The first 2 pages are expected to describe your system. The third and fourth pages are expected to be used for images, references, and technical requirements. You should expect wireless network access. A number of  8-10 students will be provided for all accepted demonstrations. The Demonstration allows practitioners/researchers to demonstrate their works in teaching in a dedicated session of 60-70 min. they are followed by a 20 min discussion with the audience/participants.

Performances will take place in Michael Cacoyiannis theatre place. Proposals must outline the planned work accurately in 2 pages in a Word doc form and must include title, brief Cv, technical requirements, images, and video. Performances running must be 20-90 min. and they are followed by a 20 min discussion with the audience/participants.

Please send your submission until 25th April 2019 to Αυτή η διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου προστατεύεται από τους αυτοματισμούς αποστολέων ανεπιθύμητων μηνυμάτων. Χρειάζεται να ενεργοποιήσετε τη JavaScript για να μπορέσετε να τη δείτε.

If an official invitation is required earlier for research funding purposes, please contact Αυτή η διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου προστατεύεται από τους αυτοματισμούς αποστολέων ανεπιθύμητων μηνυμάτων. Χρειάζεται να ενεργοποιήσετε τη JavaScript για να μπορέσετε να τη δείτε.  and ensure that you submit your abstract as early as possible.

Submissions based on an implemented and tested system that innovative approaches related to conference’s areas of interest, (including but not limited to):

Acting techniques/systems/methodologies

Voice speaking training

Dance and movement training for actors

Martial arts, stage combat

Acting coaching on screen

Actor and musical productions

Improvisation techniques and rehearsal process

Theory and/or Practice  

Performance as Training

Psychology of the Actor

Presence and Truth on Stage

Ecstatic and Ritual Acting

Metaphysics and Physics in Actor’s presence

Acting in Education

Actors in Industry and their continuous training

Amateur/Professional Actors skills.

Skills and dexterities in Acting

Acting/Coaching Teachers and their skills.

Choreography in Acting

Participants Fees:

Papers: €150

Demonstrations: €300

Performances: €100-300

Conference Attendance Fees: €200

Student and unwaged €100

Workshop Monday 22 July to Friday 26 July 14.00-19.00

Modern Stanislavsky System in the Mirror of Chekhov’s "The Seagull”

This two-part workshop gives an experience of work according to the different phases of Stanislavsky’s System development. Starting from the intensive practical overview of different approaches to work of an actor on himself/herself it moves forward to scene work.

Rehearsal techniques (Etude technique, Method of Physical Actions, Action Analysis) are discussed and experienced. Closer examination of Treplev's play in play reveals how Action Analysis might be applied not only for psychological drama but to the nonrealistic playwriting (here, to symbolic drama) as well.

Workshop fees:

Participants: €400   Student & unwaged: €300  

Attendants: €200   Student & unwaged: €100 

For info and booking please send your application and brief cv to: Αυτή η διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου προστατεύεται από τους αυτοματισμούς αποστολέων ανεπιθύμητων μηνυμάτων. Χρειάζεται να ενεργοποιήσετε τη JavaScript για να μπορέσετε να τη δείτε.

The Film Stanislavsky and Yoga will be released at the opening day of the Conference 17th July    Duration – 44 min, with English subtitles

This documentary film presents theater director and acting teacher Sergei Tcherkasski (Head of Actor Studio at the St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy) in conversation about yoga in actor training with leading world theatre practitioners – directors Anatoly Vasiliev, Luk Perceval, playwright Ivan Viripaev, artistic director of St. Petersburg Molodeghnyi Theatre Semen Spivak, as well as Archimandrite Isidor, Grotowski’s researcher Natella Bashindgiagian, and young actors. Film includes rare archival footage and photo stills as well as stunning views of Moscow Art Theatre and Stanislavsky’s House. It is based on Tcherkasski’s award-winning books “Acting: Stanislavsky-Boleslavsky-Strasberg” and “Stanislavsky and Yoga” and was premiered at the Russian National TV Channel CULTURE in Nov 2016.

Sergei Tcherkasski is Professor of Acting and Directing, Head of Acting Studio at the Russian State Institute of Performing Arts (St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy, est. 1779). He is a director, teacher and theatre researcher and holds Ph.D. and D.Sc. (Theatre Arts). He was formerly Artistic Director of the Pushkin Drama Theatre in Krasnoyarsk and was teaching and directed productions all over the world, including the Komisarjevsky Drama Theatre, Liteinii Theatre (St. Petersburg) and RADA (London), NIDA (Sydney), National Theatre (Bucharest). His books include Stanislavsky and Yoga (Routledge, 2016, also in three other languages); Sulimov’s School of Directing (2013); and multi-awarded Acting: Stanislavsky – Boleslavsky – Strasberg (National Prize for Best Theatre Book’2016, International Stanislavsky Award’2017).

He is also an Editor of Stanislavski Studies: Practice, Legacy Golden Mask and Contemporary Theatre journal (Routledge, UK) and Jury Member of Golden Mask Award’2019 (a Russian equivalent of Tony or Olivier).