Drama Teaching Experience

I have been working as a professional actor and teacher since 1981, and as a fight choreographer since 1992. The following is an indication of some of my teaching and teaching-related activities.

On-going Drama Workshops for Schools

I have been teaching drama workshops for students for both elementary and secondary schools for several years. these workshop programs are usually offered in the fall and spring when I am not intensely busy performing historical presentations. These workshops are usually on character development, physical theatre, and stage combat.


Northumberland-Clarington Board of Education
Drama Plus/Dramarama - 1996, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2006

This is an intense all-day drama program for selected drama students from all the regional High Schools. At the end of the workshop the students perform at an evening gala open to the public to demonstrate what they have learned and to learn from the performance itself. I have been using this forum as a means of exploring the relationships between many disciplines such as dance, stage combat, music, mask, and mime. The results have been received with great enthusiasm, and the experience has been very rewarding.
 
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Centauri Summer Arts Camp
Program Director 1997 - 2003
Centauri is a summer camp dedicated to the intensive training of young actors, dancers, writers, and artists. It is the only program of training recommended by Theatre Ontario aside from its own training workshops. As Theatre Arts Program Director for 1997 I was head of the largest program at the camp, with five staff under my direction and the responsibilities of not only teaching and directing, but also the selection and scheduling of workshops and performance classes. We mounted three productions in thirty-four days, and although it was very demanding it was also personally very rewarding. The entire season was considered by the camp directors, students, and parents to have been the best ever. Building on my experience I went on to teach and mount three more productions in 1998. I returned in 2000 to teach stage combat, TV & Film acting, and to mount a production that went on tour in Scotland. More information on Centauri can be found at www.centauri.on.ca
 
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Victoria Hall - Concert Hall, Cobourg Ont.
Summer Theatre Program - 1994,1995,1997 March Break Program - 1994,1995
The March Break Program was only 5 days long with a small presentation at the end. The Summer Theatre Program was divided into three 2-week sessions at the end of which would be a small performance demonstrating some of the skills the students had learned during the session. Some of the students would be there for all three sessions thus providing the challenge of incorporating them in with new students, maintaining challenge and growth from what they had learned before and avoiding repetition as the new students were being taught. Not an easy challenge but one which I found best met by giving them more demanding roles in the class which would challenge them further and teaching them more skills on the fly. I found the other difficulty to be overcome was dealing with text that was emotionally or intellectually beyond their range. This challenge I met by placing more stress on physical drama and by being extremely careful of text selection to make sure that they would be able to relate to it. The key to success has always been flexibility and the ability to adapt quickly to the needs of each individual and group.
 
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Stage Combat Workshops

I have been teaching Stage Combat to all age levels since 1993. These workshops are primarily taught in High Schools for drama students and also for Community Theatre Groups and Youth Groups. These workshops have proven to be immensely popular and teach skills that can be used for comic and dramatic effect. As a fully certified, internationally ranked Fight Director I am often in theatres choreographing actors and teaching them how to perform the illusions of physical conflict safely and dramatically.

See also the Stage Combat page

Philosophy

I am myself a curious blend of discipline and risk. When teaching drama I am always working towards the idea of application. Some actors are in love with "The Process", whereas I have always considered the work that goes into the production as the necessary evil that enables you to fly in the performance. Rather than flapping your arms about and imagining yourself to be a bird, I've always felt that a modicum of aviation theory and a good hang-glider will always get you further. If you wish to learn how to fly, fly. Rehearsal is hard work, but when it comes to performance you must throw caution to the winds and allow the discipline to set you free to soar.


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