What Happens to Acting Workshop During the Autumn Term?
The past few months have seen professors of all disciplines scrambled to move their courses online to prevent the spread of coronavirus. While it is difficult to move lectures online, the transition to virtual learning has presented challenges for classes that are generally held in the studio. Universities and acting workshops in London are now closed for the rest of the academic year which is a challenge in itself especially for subjects such as theatre that rely on physical presence and contact.
Challenges faced by acting schools and workshops
Just as theatres and artists are exploring ways to share their work digitally, teachers are forced to reimagine their courses for the online environment. It is next to impossible to recreate an identical experience to face to face teaching, which is why some London acting studios have deferred some teaching until autumn with the hope that they can return to face-to-face learning. Schools have been trying to creatively respond to the pandemic by putting together virtual masterclasses, workshops, and projects.
One of the major challenges is how to hold on to the collaborative and collegial aspects of theatre training while keeping in mind the norms of social distancing. Some colleges are keeping in touch with a weekly newsletter where they can share ideas while others have created a digital platform where students and staff can remain connected. These platforms host music, screenings, advice, and talks from researchers and professionals.
Taking all classes online has resulted in the individual development of voice and movement among students. Students record themselves completing physical or vocal exercises and share these with teachers before receiving one on one feedback. This allows for a more personal way for students to learn and grow.
Another silver lining of these difficult times is the support and solidarity emerging in a sector that is often forced to compete for resources and students. Teachers of theatre from all over the world come together via Google Docs, Facebook groups, and Zoom webinars, sharing techniques and ideas from movement exercises to online improv games. Educators are collectively reflecting, sharing, and working together to get through this crisis.
While it might seem to be the worst-case scenarios for students who are looking to graduate this summer, with final performances and showcases canceled or postponed, all is not lost. London acting studios have responded by creating online showcases for their graduating students while final-term productions have been reinvented as online projects.
The theatre industry has also got creative by setting up various networks of remote support for students. Rather than canceling drama festivals, they have moved rapidly online offering more and more free workshops over Zoom and Facebook.
Method Acting is working on a fully online program of technique and scene study which has been developed over the last few months with a regular membership. These classes have become a powerful means of training. All online classes have a great framework to engage the tools and techniques required. Be sure to enroll in an online class right away!
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