Rhum and Clay Theatre Company was founded at the Jacques Lecoq school in Paris and it was at this school that Matthew, Chris and myself bonded over a love of theatre. At the heart of Ecole Lecoq is creating new work, and that’s just what we did for two years, creating five minute scenes to be presented to the teachers at the end of every week. Sometimes we failed spectacularly, sometimes we came up with something quite good and often we were stopped before even uttering a line of text. In creating theatre we were encouraged to begin with a physical impulse, allowing text and words to come from physical action. When we work with young people we try to get them to work in a similar way; we won’t impose a script, but allow a natural physical play to develop and then create a story from there. The idea of playfulness, le jeu, has become a key part of why we create theatre, and also how we engage young people in the creative process. At the heart of our education programme is an emphasis on allowing young people to use their natural playfulness as a tool to work with others, create characters and engage with the bigger themes of theatre. Julian Spooner, Co-Artistic Director We offer four workshops for a range of ages and abilities. Each workshop: • Has an intensive physical warm up • Teaches students key physical skills from the Lecoq pedagogy • Involves the students devising their own work and presenting back to the company and class for feedback • Is adaptable to suit the group. We can explore specific themes or texts in line with the curriculum if required
Theatre for us is about connecting with the audience to tell a story, to go on an adventure, and to find the magical in the everyday. We devise theatre the way we perform it: as an ensemble. Our shows are the product of a group effort and as we have grown as a company we have met and collaborated with many artists, each bringing their unique voice to the process. We want our theatre to be for everyone so we tell our stories and create our worlds with physicality and humanity. Underlying all this is a sense of fun; the creativity that fuels the company is born out of play, It is this spirit that informs all our work and connects us with our audience.
â€˜Ramshackle, charming and funnyâ€™ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
“The workshops were meticulously planned and tailored absolutely to the needs of the students of West Exe Technology College. This meant that the students were able to create drama, based on an excellent understanding of physical theatre techniques” Dave Salter, West Exe Technology College “Excellent – very engaging workshop, professional, structured expertly, and with tangible outcomes; probably the best visiting workshop we’ve had. It was an utterly brilliant day, and much appreciated by us and the students.” Angela Timms, Tiverton School “An excellent workshop, which inspired and energised the pupils and gave them a real insight into the training and style of Jacques Lecoq’s school and work ... helped the pupils to get actively involved in a style of physical theatre that they had not experienced before, which benefitted their classwork/performance exam work. It also helped them to be less inhibited and more physically expressive and also to experiment with ideas (which they provided) and to see ways of developing relatively simple ideas into a sequence or even a whole piece.” Julia Crossley, Bradfield College 3
This workshop focuses on the ensemble, teaching students how to devise and perform as a chorus. We start with â€˜listeningâ€™ exercises designed to create awareness between the students. This develops into moving, gesturing and speaking as a group. As the students 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 they are currently studying.
This workshop is about creating theatre that is cinematic: taking the visual trickery of cinema and putting it on stage. We teach the students how to tell stories through mime and gesture, creating the illusion of many different characters and spaces with just their bodies and voices. For example, how do we create the illusion of a camera zooming in on an actorâ€™s face, using just our bodies? The students then split into smaller groups and choose films to adapt for the stage. We challenge them to collaborate and devise as an ensemble, asking them to capture the essence of their chosen film in five minutes. The workshop ends with the performance of these pieces.
This workshop is an introduction to performing and devising with masks. We start with exploring ‘expressive masks’ in small groups, encouraging students to engage their bodies to create different emotions, such as love and envy. These are full face masks, so no spoken text is allowed and all must be communicated in the body. We continue our exploration by moving onto ‘functional’ masks; these are masks that exist in the everyday world, with specific functions. These masks might include goggles, gas masks and fencing masks. After we discover what kind of characters we can find with the masks, the students are given different scenarios and asked to create pieces of 3-5 minutes, which are performed in front of the rest of the class.
In this workshop we introduce the students to the clown. We begin by giving each student â€˜the smallest mask in the worldâ€™: the little red nose. First we explore the dynamics of the nose, asking why does it make us laugh? What is the spirit of the clown? How can we capture this spirit and create theatre that makes us laugh? Each student is encouraged to discover their own clown, and their own clown character. We then introduce an everyday situation, such as a cleaning a room or waiting for a bus and ask how a clown might perform such a task. Finally the students are asked to split into small groups and devise a short piece about clowns functioning in our world, finding the humanity and humour in the everyday. The workshop ends in laughter as the students perform the clown pieces to the rest of the group.
If you would like to book a workshop, or would like more information about our education work, please contact Co-Artistic Director Julian Spooner: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.rhumandclay.com General enquiries: email@example.com Twitter: @rhumandclay Facebook: www.facebook.com/rhumandclay
Photography: Richard Davenport (A Strange Wild Song, Man in the Moone) Phillip Tull (The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and My Hyde) Rob Darch (A Strange Wild Song, Shutterland)
Published on May 21, 2014