Activate's TheatreNet initiative enabled a range of artists and performers to attend the Creative Practice Workshop with David Glass (organised by Opera Circus) at Bridport Arts at a reduced price.
The workshop took place on Saturday and Sunday, 21 and 22 March 2015 at The Allsop Gallery - Thanks go to Bridport Arts Centre for the use of the gallery space.
David Glass is an award winning performer, director, teacher and facilitator of theatre. He spearheaded the physical theatre movement in the eighties as a soloist and toured to over 40 countries. In the nineties he established The David Glass Ensemble to explore collaborative ensemble theatre, creating award winning productions such Gormenghast and Les Enfants de Paradis.
He went on to develop The Lost Child Project, a participatory theatre project working with street children in 15 countries. He also established the Centre for Creative Development in Cambodia using creative practice to help development workers engage creatively with one another.
Since 2007 David has been teaching and facilitating in drama schools, universities and arts centres.
One of Davids teachings during the workshop weekend involved the image of crystallisation - or a glass being tapped in order to set off a chemical reaction.
One of the participants remarked "I came to his workshop very much in a state of transition- creatively and mentally. In order for me to begin originating truth and authenticity in my practice I needed to feel a sense of change - a chemical reaction to set ideas in motion. Through the exercises and discussions that took place a creative space evolved for me in which I began to realise a sense of change, andreally absorb what was being taught, something which for me had been a long time coming."
Creative Practice Developed over a number of years working in creative development,
Creative practice looks in detail at the specific stages of creative process.
Each of these stages have exercises and games that help participants improve their ability to develop truly authentic work.
Workshops both disclose the theory and practice of creativity but also help each participant go deeper and wider into their personal creative journeys.
Facilitating is an invisible but highly skilled process. In this workshop participants were given the tools to unlock the basic rules of facilitating.
Key to this process is open and closed questions and the analysis of people in relation to their qualities, attitudes and behaviors, skills and tools. This is a workshop suitable to anyone working with people in a creative way. Be it the arts, teaching or social engagement.
Another practitioner stated "I wasn’t sure what to expect, and what would be expected of me, however I had a mind-opening and challenging two days, that a week later I am still processing! David’s stream of consciousness, games and exercises, readiness to tread each person’s path, have opened my eyes to what my creative practice can be."
One person was moved to write a poem about her experience at the workshop;
CREATIVE PRACTICE Security, safety...let go – but hold, not grip the tender growth I’m told… The journey’s fast relentless pace held unknowingly in lettered space 3 6 5 Our envelopes both steamed and torn, revealling stories, each separate, but together borne by knowing souls with similar name.. Artist Umbrellared together in creative frame, bound, Playing the deceptively simple game Yes, No, Maybe
Nichola Christie March 27th 2015
Here's another set of thoughts about the weekend by Charmaine Parkin;
Prepare • Originate – open ideas – ‘Yes, and…’
• Organise – ‘Yes, but…’ – make ideas appropriate
Participating in the David Glass workshop was very helpful towards reflecting on my own creative practice, in particular why specific methods used are important and also to gain a deeper understanding of why they work. After the first day I felt a lot of clarity on the kinetic nature of the creative process I go through in creating theatre; whether it be acting, writing, directing or leading a workshop. Over the two days a lot of time was spent talking about human nature, our psychology and the world around us. I was reminded of how important it is to observe, be open and keep studying this to create the most truthful, honest work and to help avoid becoming self-indulgent. It was brought to light that we as humans are instinctively programmed to survive and that safety is a priority; both mentally and physically, and that this will get in the way of any creative practice. I was reminded of the importance of circles and creating a safe space where judgement is lowered to help build a community within a group in which everyone feels secure. This idea is particularly important for the sessions which I run with children, where we work together as a team to create a piece of theatre on a chosen topic. It was essential to be reminded of the importance of a warm-up; in particular drama games which focus on giving and receiving as well as listening and seeing, as they do indeed help build relationships, enhancing the above. Also, how games are used to make us freer; more child-like, and how exercises help us to focus. We looked at the differences between men and women regarding territory, although I found this to be a slight generalisation as it is something that is being challenged a lot at the moment. However, it was still helpful to be aware that generally men focus on ideas and space and women focus on relationships regarding territory. During a creative process it was helpful to be reminded that finding and knowing the simple theme of your work or the project you are working on becomes the ground and security of your work and that if you ever get stuck it is a good idea to go back to this ground. Looking to someone you admire was also mentioned. It was lovely to think of us like soil and that preparation is essential to allow the best creative work to grow. Starting small and nurturing the work creates a more organic process that is too often hindered in the process of applying for arts funding. As a director I use many techniques to help actors disable their defences and left-brains, enabling them to further engage their right-brains in the rehearsal room. This leads to more open and free performances where instinctive, honest and interesting choices can be made. It was really helpful to look at this in a slightly different way in terms of focus and how using different focuses can have a similar effect. This is definitely something I will pass on and use in my practice. It was fascinating to explore how using the central focus made you more direct; increasing your heartbeat and breathing but also how calming and meditative using a peripheral focus can be. This will be very helpful to me as now that I am aware of this technique I can use it to relieve a lot of stress that I may incur on myself, especially in the later stages of creation. It is also a quick way to engage lateral thinking in the early stages. We engaged in various exercises that helped us access our subconscious and find liminal space, before organising and developing the material that came from it. It was particularly interesting to read out my own visualisations from an image streaming exercise, having another performer interpret this through dance, and then another performer interpret this dance through song! The dance and song seemed to explain my thoughts and images in a way that made much more sense to me and expressed what I could not through words. It was completely fascinating and opened my eyes to the different forms of expression and communication, which are so fundamental in storytelling. Overall, I was reminded of why I have this obsession with theatre. Storytelling is a primal, basic human need in order to seek clarity and share what it is to be alive. It is an examination of the human condition; the need for security and community, to survive and become stronger together. Other thoughts that resonated with me:
• Storytelling is a frame around time and the beauty of live art forms
• These lines will never be said in the same way
• Grief – when the outside disappears, but the inside remains
• Director – doorway between the actor and the audience
• Metaphor – meaning apart from the obvious
Further information about : Opera Circus : www.operacircusuk.com
David Glass : email@example.com
Bridport Arts : http://www.bridport-arts.com/