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John Freeman, United Kingdom 2019



John Freeman, United Kingdom 

John Freeman is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Higher Education Academy; Adjunct Professor in Theatre at the University of Notre Dame, Western Australia; Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Huddersfield and Director of a UK community arts organisation. John has taught, examined, led residencies and directed productions in a dozen countries, been published extensively in US, Australian and European journals, was the founding editor of Performance Practice and has written and edited seven books, including Approaches to Actor Training (2019). John’s areas of research include immersive theatre, new writing, solo performance, autoethnography, identity and memory; he is currently developing a long-term project exploring notions of national and indigenous theatre in Australia, linked to the University of Bologna’s book series Antropologia, Teatro e Tradizioni Popolari. 


Positive Tension

 Jacques Lecoq developed an approach to acting using seven levels of tension, which are often applied to devising new material. Notwithstanding this, our workshop will focus on actors transitioning into different states and incorporating these into short extracts of dramatic text. The work will encourage participants to understand the value of stillness on stage, and to explore the extent to which individual performances, however neutral, remain bound to audience interpretations depending on the scene’s context.
 Through the work, we will endeavour to anchor performance to reality. Despite its partly mechanistic terminology, the workshop will be in no way obstructive to naturalistic acting; nor should it be viewed in opposition to work that is organic. Instead we will hope to find ways of using states of tension as a useful means of approaching detailed naturalistic characterisation alongside rather than in opposition to the Stanislavskian mantra of Who Am I? Where Am I? When Is It? What Do I Want? Why Do I Want It? How Will I Get It? and What Do I Need To Overcome?