Theatre Machine - Workshops for Schools


We are two specialized tutors both with over a decade of professional and teaching experience who work to creatively engage students in an exciting way and give them greater freedom of expression. Our workshops are based primarily on the pedagogy's of Keith Johnstone, Philippe Gaulier, Jacques Lecoq and Anne Bogart. Each workshop is practical in its approach. We feel it is important to offer recognisable skills such as learning better how to communicate with others, manage or reconcile conflict and work cohesively within a group. Theatre and improvisation work also gives students an experiential forum to understand and analyze behaviour and psychology, relationships, sociology and history. Many of the theatre exercises we use are based in a strong physical pedagogy giving students a greater 'body awareness' and helping them to develop their physical expressiveness.

Learning to deal with failure is one of the most important lessons in the theatre and for artists in general, as to avoid it will rapidly halt the creative process. In fact we see failure as the key to learning anything at all, as each time we fail and remain objective, we discover something new. The capacity to stay open to the process of failure (which functions beautifully in most healthy children) unfortunately seems diminish with age and with it the ability to be creative and spontaneous.

Yet creativity is the foundation of just about every field of human endeavour, whether it be mathematics, architecture, design or International Law. Courses in 'Creative Thinking', now taught at some of the most prestigious universities in the western world (see video link below) are also being taken seriously by multinational companies such as Google who realise the benefits of having employee's discover creative solutions to problems. Hence many of the games and exercises we use in our workshop material are designed to help students of all ages become familiar and comfortable with failure in their work.

A great deal of our pedagogy is directed toward stimulating imaginative development with play and fun. We strongly believe this approach to be the key not only to create fantastic entertainment and vibrant and powerful art but can also be of benefit to the health and well being of students.  

Practical information

Our workshops are given in English and or Portuguese and can be simply a general introduction to Acting or specialised in Improvisation, Movement, Physical theatre, Voice work, textual analysis, Devising and play building, Character work, Greek Theatre, Neutral Mask or Shakespeare for any age or level of experience.

Each of our workshops can also be given as a holiday course over one or two weeks in which we incorporate a final performance or showing of the students' work. We can also customise a workshop to fit requirements of a syllabus for instance we can base the work on a specific text or a theme of investigation, incorporating any of the skills, technique or genres listed above. 

Costs are generally based on hourly, daily or weekend rates however can be negotiated for longer periods. A two hour workshop is the minimum amount of time we need to work with a group and basic rates begin at 75 euro for groups up to 15 and 100 euro for larger groups. These can be held during the holiday season or during term time depending on availability.

Workshop Descriptions

Acting Skills for the Theatre
In this workshop Students will be guided in Theatrical games and exercises to learn what constitutes the most interesting and powerful performances on stage. Students learn skills to develop complicity with their fellow players, ensemble/chorus work, spacial awareness, physical expressiveness, focus, vocal work and the basics of storytelling. 2 hours. 

Writing and Devising Workshop
Students learn the basics of theatre making. Using the principles of Le Jeu, improvisation, complicity, rhythm and physical theatre exercises, students can create their own narratives. We direct the formation of short devised presentations using stimulating challenges and encourage students to constructively criticize the work throughout the process. Suggested duration for this workshop is a minimum of 3 hours - one day.

Improvisation Workshop
This workshop designed as one 2-3 hour unit, one full day as well as a 6-8 week module (one class per week) gives students the basic principles which make Improvisation and Theatre successful as well as an understanding of the mechanisms which block us from experiencing spontaneity and having creative confidence. 
  • Students learn exercises and games begin to replace common habits such as blocking, self censorship, negativity with skills in listening, consciousness on stage and learning how to give your partner a good time.
  • Exercises to build story telling skills. Give students an understanding of what the audience expects. How to relinquish control or take initiative in a group context
  • A basic understanding of Status and how it forms the basis of drama on stage. We look into how to change power relationships on stage, master servant relationships.
  • Exercises primarily for developing acting skills, presence and dynamism on stage. We will build scenes with more complexity and depth. 
Creating a Character Workshop 
Using costume, exercises in physical transformation and voice students create their own characters and begin to build scenes. Incorporating Improvisation, Physical work of Jacques Lecoq, status exercises and mask work students can discover surprising possibilities of self expression and freedom in disguise. Suggested duration is 2 - 3 hours.

Shakespeare Workshop (for secondary students with some theatre experience)
An alternative, playful approach to exploring Shakespeare. Rather than keeping the focus strictly on language, textual analysis and staging, this course provides students with an opportunity to relate to Shakespeare's plays in a surprising and contemporary way using the principles of Le JeuBouffon and Clown. Using improvisation and games students will give life to timeless texts. The suggested duration for the workshop is anywhere from 3 hours to one full day.