Theatre in Nature 2017

Physical Theatre Training Camp

01/10/2017 — 04/10/2017

Leaving the City…

When we train or work as performers, usually we’re coming in off the street or MTR into a studio space a few times a week. We cannot help but be influenced by our environment, and what we create becomes a product of the city rather than a reflection on it. By leaving the city behind and working in a natural environment, we can fully commit to performance training and regain the essential parts of our humanity that are being lost through the overcrowding and technology we are adapting to. Theatre in Nature 2017 is the third in our annual series of training camps in the rural areas of Hong Kong.

This idea is one that has many precedents in the work of other companies and theatre practitioners. Jacques Copeau took his actors to the country outside Paris to train as early as 1913, to find a method of training to improve their physical dexterity, authenticity and ability to work in harmony. Most famously perhaps, Jerzy Grotowski moved from the city of Wrocław to a remote forest base in 1972 to pursue his own paratheatrical experiments. When Gardzienice was established in 1977 by one of Grotowski’s former collaborators, Staniewski, the company took the name of the tiny Polish village where they are based, creating and performing theatre in this ‘natural environment.’ Tadashi Suzuki relocated his company to the village of Toga in 1976, and there are other modern examples in Asia, such as Cloud Gate Dance Theatre and U-theatre.

Ivor Houlker Actor's Headshot

Our main instructor – Ivor’s performance and movement training is influenced by these groups, and in particular his time living, training and performing with Gardzienice. His approach involves site-specific performance techniques and demanding physical training that heightens the actor’s awareness of self, others, and our environment. Alongside methods from European theatre practitioners, Ivor incorporates training from his background in tai chi.

Billy Sy - Actor's Headshots Colour

Another main instructor – Billy’s movement training focuses on the psycho-physical process of acting, and methods of building an ensemble. He focuses on helping actors to develop the body’s awareness, and understanding the universal states of groups and individuals is as important as training one’s imagination and observation. This enables actors to bring transformation through their outward expressions of inner intents. Billy is passionate about sharing a variety of methods and the work of different movement practitioners. Billy is also a certified yoga instructor, and he includes yoga training for actors as a way of balancing the physical, psychological and mental bodies and enhancing one’s self-realisation.

Theatre in Nature Camp Details

  • Date: 1-4/10/2017 (Sun-Wed)
  • Location: Sai Kung Bradbury Hall, hiking trails and surrounding beaches
  • Gathering time & venue: 12 noon, 1st October @ Sai Kung Town Centre
  • Finish time & venue: 3pm, 4th October @ Wong Shek Pier
  • Fee: $2,100
  • Quota: 8-10
  • Main Instructors: Ivor Houlker, Billy Sy
  • Course Content: Sunrise Yoga, Sunset Run, Tai-Chi in the water, Mutuality Training, Rhythm work, ‘Psychophysical’ Actor Training, Site-specific performance making, Polyphonic singing
  • Suitable for: People who have experience in theatre, movement or performance, and have a reasonable level of physical fitness. (Professionally trained theatre practitioners will be considered first)

* This training programme will be conducted in Cantonese and English.

Notes for Applicants

  1. Applicants should evaluate their own physical condition for joining this programme.
  2. Participants will have to help carrying a small amount of food and tools.
  3. Participants will take turns to prepare meals and clean up.
  4. Meals will be vegetarian, one meat dish will be provided per meal for those who request it.
  5. Mobile internet signal is weak on site, but it has phone reception, and is equipped with shower and toilet facilities.

Application and Enquiries

Please e-mail info@rooftopproductions.hk

Photos from Theatre in Nature 2017

Chinese Puppetry at ESF Drama Conference

In September, we were invited to hold two days of Chinese Puppetry workshops at the ESF Drama Conference at West Island School. These workshops introduced four types of traditional Chinese puppetry, teaching students the basics of manipulation for each type of puppet, as well as the history and traditional uses of these types of puppet. We also explored the principles of puppetry, and how the traditional skills of puppetry can be integrated into contemporary theatre, and why they are still relevant today.

Chinese Puppetry Workshops

The four types of traditional Chinese puppet introduced:

Shadow Puppets

Chinese Puppetry at ESF Drama Conference

Shadow puppets are traditionally made of goat or cow skin, although modern performances sometimes use plastics. Puppets are controlled by wooden or bamboo rods, which are held perpendicular to the screen. The screen is illuminated from behind by a soft light source close to the screen, which allows the colours of the puppets to show, without casting shadows from the performers or the rods.

Depending on the number of rods and the complexity of the movement of a puppet, more than one person may manipulate a single puppet at the same time. For example, some animal puppets may have five or more rods, requiring at least two people to operate it. However, it is also possible for one person to operate two puppets at the same time, for example, making them fight. There are techniques for holding more than one rod in the same hand while still moving them independently, and being able to control many rods with detailed independent movement is one of the biggest challenges in shadow puppetry.

String Puppets

Chinese Puppetry at ESF Drama Conference

String puppets are perhaps the most challenging type of puppet to master, requiring a significant amount of strength as well as precision to control many strings simultaneously. These differ from Western marionettes in that all strings are attached to a simple ‘paddle’, with movement of the puppet’s arms and legs achieved through directly manipulating strings rather than rocking the paddle itself (which only directly affects the puppet’s head). Depending on their complexity, these puppets have around 20 strings, and detailed articulation of the joints, allowing them to flex their fingers and even pick up and grab objects. Strings are held in different configurations between the puppeteer’s fingers, and must be frequently switched around in order to achieve different ways of walking or moving. One hand must also always be holding the paddle, so that it is necessary to hold the full weight of the puppet in one hand while simultaneously flexing the fingers of that hand to control the strings.

This type of puppet is occasionally performed with the puppeteer behind a stage as in more traditional Western marionette theatres, but the most impressive displays of this type are done in a three dimensional stage with the puppeteer fully visible. The movement of this string puppets is especially graceful, circular and flowing.

Hand Puppets

Chinese Puppetry at ESF Drama Conference

Hand puppets, also known as glove puppets or even bag puppets, are worn on the puppeteer’s hands, with the thumb in one arm, the index finger in the head, and the other three fingers inside the other arm. They are often performed behind a screen which reaches up to head height, and the puppeteer holds their arms above their head in order to perform. Puppets sometimes have additional control rods attached to one of the hands in order to achieve special tricks or effects: spinning sticks, plates, or fans for example. This is then manipulated by the puppeteer’s second hand.

Puppets of this type are particularly effective in fighting, because of the fast movement due to being directly manipulated by the hands. Weapons can be placed in puppets’ hands, with sticks often attached on one hand and passing loosely through the second hand in order to enable detailed movement. Fighting is often done by one performer using two hands to fight one another, since the synchronisation between the two can be particularly effective.

Rod Puppets

Chinese Puppetry at ESF Drama ConferenceRod puppets can be performed either behind a screen in a similar way to hand puppets, or in a three dimensional space in a similar way to string puppets. One hand holds a central wooden rod which goes inside the body and up to the head, while the other hand controls both of the puppet’s hands via thinner metal rods. In some (Southern) styles of Chinese puppetry, these rods are contained within the body, but more often they are outside and fully visible. The central rod within the body usually has additional controls which can tilt the head independently, and even move the eyes and mouth. The rods attached to the hands sometimes have controls to articulate the puppet’s fingers.

To perform this style of puppet with the puppeteer visible, it is important to be able to move in a way which is coherent with the puppet’s own movement. For example, the performance of traditional dances or Chinese opera pieces should be treated as though the puppeteer’s body is an extension of the puppet, with stylized leg movement appropriate to the genre. Puppets often have long flowing sleeves, allowing for extended graceful movement of the arms, as well as highlighting their movement through space.

Puppetry Training

Chinese Puppetry at ESF Drama ConferenceIvor Houlker studied traditional Chinese puppetry with Master Wong Fai in Hong Kong, as well as studying Western and contemporary puppetry at DAMU in Prague. Ivor has included puppetry as a technique in contemporary theatre since 2010, as well as participating in more traditional puppet performances.

In Hong Kong, for Rooftop Productions, Ivor developed the puppetry in A Series of Unexpected Events and recently Milk and Honey, which made use of the manipulation of found objects in a form inspired by Tadeusz Kantor. For We Draman, Ivor created the puppetry in Building with Bamboo, and for the Sidekick Project performed in The Puppet Whisperers.

Song Theatre Workshop

Polyphonic Singing and the Application of Traditional Song in Contemporary Theatre

03/12/2016 — 18/12/2016

The act of singing has been a part of theatre since the dithyramb in ancient Greece, but the advent of Musical Theatre as a genre in the 19th century meant that the use of singing in theatre became associated with one type of show, with conventions of staging, structure, and content. By using the term Song Theatre we hope to reclaim live singing for use in experimental theatre forms, mixing different traditions to create something new.

This course will introduce what song theatre is, where it has come from and how to understand it as a contemporary theatre genre. To do this we will take a practical approach, learning and singing traditional polyphonic songs from different cultures around the world and then finding ways to use them in performance. The way we learn these songs is through listening and repetition, just as it is taught traditionally. Thsoere is no need to be able to read music. After learning the songs, we will explore different ways to put them in a theatrical setting, using techniques from devising theatre and physical theatre. As well as experiencing the practical aspects of song theatre in class, we will also provide notes and video references for you to learn more about the history and development of ‘Song Theatre.’

Song Theatre Course Details

Dates: 3/12, 4/12, 10/12, 11/12, 17/12, 18/12/2016 (Saturdays & Sundays, 6 sessions)
Time: 2pm-5pm
Venue: We Draman Studio (3/F, Cheong Tai Industrial Building, 16 Tai Yau Street, San Po Kong)
Fee: $1,500
Quota: 16 participants
Tutors: Michelle Li, Ivor Houlker
This programme is conducted in Cantonese& English.

Discount 1: Full time students – $500 off (fee: $1,000), not available when quota is full. *
Discount 2: Former students will get a10% discount (fee: $1,350)*
*These discounts may not be used together.

About Rooftop Productions

Rooftop Productions was founded by Ivor Houlker and Michelle Li in 2014. We work in and around theatre in Hong Kong, promoting contemporary multidisciplinary ideas about theatre performance, training and multimedia. Our site-specific theatre work The Beautiful Ones was awarded for ‘Outstanding Effect’ and our founders were nominated in the ‘Best Director’ category for the same show in The 8th Hong Kong Theatre Libre.

Tutors’ Biographies

Michelle Li - Actors' HeadshotsMichelle Li is the founder and co-artistic director of Rooftop Productions. She holds an MA in Performance Making from Goldsmiths, University of London, and BA in English Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has returned to Hong Kong to develop her work as a multidisciplinary theatre artist. Apart from making her own work, she is also a theatre director, performer, singer and theatre educator. Recent local works include: Rooftop Productions Milk and Honey, The Beautiful Ones, A Series of Unexpected Events; Hong Kong Arts Festival Danz Up. Her overseas works include: Festa Farina e Forca (Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa, Palermo, Sicily), Ch-ch-ch-changes (London, UK), Making a Difference (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK), Beware (Helen Chadwick Song Theatre, UK).

Ivor Houlker Actor's Headshot

Ivor Houlker is the founder and co-artistic director of Rooftop Productions, having relocated from London to Hong Kong in 2014. Ivor trained as a multidisciplinary performer, theatre artist and musician. Ivor works internationally as a director, actor, musician, writer and all-round theatre artist. He specialises in physical theatre and site-specific performances, involving live original music/sound, movement, integrated multimedia, installation, and developing new forms of audience-performer relationship. Ivor’s work has created and performed theatre work in London, Hong Kong, Edinburgh, Brighton, Prague, Palermo, Epidaurus, Wrocław, Warsaw and Lublin.

To enquire about the course, please contact Miss Michelle Li (9231 9196) or email to info@rooftopproductions.hk

Theatre in Nature 2016

Physical Theatre Training Camp

13/10/2016 — 16/10/2016

Leaving the City…
When we train or work as performers, usually we’re coming in off the street or MTR into a studio space a few times a week. We cannot help but be influenced by our environment, and what we create becomes a product of the city rather than a reflection on it. By leaving the city behind and working in a natural environment, we can fully commit to performance training and regain the essential parts of our humanity that are being lost through the overcrowding and technology we are adapting to.

Last year’s camp photos:

Our main instructor – Ivor’s performance and movement training is influenced by groups working in natural environment; and in particular his time living, training and performing with Gardzienice. His approach involves site-specific performance techniques and demanding physical training that heightens the actor’s awareness of self, others, and our environment. Alongside methods from European theatre practitioners, Ivor incorporates training from his background in tai chi.

Another main instructor – Billy’s movement training focuses on the psycho-physical process of acting, and methods of building an ensemble. Billy is passionate about sharing a variety of methods and the work of different movement practitioners, but emphasis will be placed on Laban’s movement philosophy, physical actions and exercises relating to elements. Billy is also a certified yoga instructor, and he includes yoga training for actors as a way of balancing the physical, psychological and mental bodies and enhancing one’s self-realisation.

Camp Details

Date: 13-16/10/2016 (Thu-Sun)
Location: Sai Kung Bradbury Hall (TBC), hiking trails and surrounding beaches
Gathering time & place: 12 noon, 13th September @ San Po Kong/Sai Kung Town Centre
Finish time & place: 3pm, 20th September @ Wong Shek Pier/Sai Kung Town Centre
Fee: $2,400
Quota: 12-16
Main Instructors: Ivor Houlker, Billy Sy
Course Content: Sunrise Yoga, Sunset Run, Tai-Chi in the water, Mutuality Training, Rhythm work, ‘Psychophysical’ Actor Training, Site-specific performance making, Polyphonic singing
Suitable for: People who have experience in theatre, movement or performance, and have a reasonable level of physical fitness. (Professionally trained theatre practitioners will be considered first)

*This training programme will be conducted in Cantonese and English.

Notes for Applicants

  • Applicants should evaluate their own physical condition for joining this programme.
  • Participants will have to help carrying a small amount of food and tools.
  • Participants will take turns to prepare meals and cleaning up.
  • Meals will be vegetarian, one meat dish will be provided per meal for those who request it.
  • No mobile internet is available on site, but it has phone reception, and is equipped with shower and toilet facilities.

Application and Enquiries

If you are interested to enroll in our camp or if you have any enquires, please call, send an email or Facebook message to Rooftop Productions. We will get back to you!

Enquiries No.: 9231 9196 (Michelle)
Enquires E-mail: info@rooftopproductions.hk
Facebook: Theatre in Nature

This year’s camp location:

Psychophysical Actor Training

05/04/2016 — 07/06/2016

Actors often struggle with the gap between understanding a character’s emotions, impulses and motivations, and being able to convey them effectively and instinctively to an audience. It is not enough to convince yourself into feeling them psychologically if they cannot be communicated to an observer. The difference lies in training the body-mind connection – the psychophysical self.

The training draws on the ideas of Grotowski and Artaud, influenced by the work of Philip Zarrilli in the reinvestigation of Asian form and practice from a Western pedagogical perspective, including the use of techniques from tai chi in the context of the psychophysical approach.

Led by a theatre professional from London now working in Hong Kong, these workshops will enhance your physical expressivity and explore new ways into exploring a role using the psychophysical approach, using the body-mind to its full potential to act and interact.

Through exercises and explorations into breath, movement, interaction, musicality, participants will come to understand more about their body-mind connection, and learn how to apply psychological instinct to physical expressivity.

Course Details

    • Dates: 5/4, 12/4, 19/4, 26/4, 3/5, 10/5, 17/5, 24/5, 31/5, 7/6/2016 (Every Tuesday, 10 sessions)
    • Time: 8:00-10:30pm
    • Venue: We Draman Studio (3/F, Cheong Tai Industrial Building, 16 Tai Yau Street, San Po Kong)
    • Fee: $2,200
    • Quota: 12 participants
    • Target: This course is aimed at people with previous performance experience
    • Tutor: Ivor Houlker

This programme is conducted in English, with basic Cantonese translation available on request.

    • Discount 1: Full time students – $700 off (fee: $1,500)*
    • Discount 2: Former students will get a 10% discount (fee: $1,980) *

*These discounts may not be used together.

Tutor Biography

Ivor Houlker Actor's Headshot

Ivor Houlker is the founder and co-artistic director of Rooftop Productions, having relocated from London to Hong Kong in 2014. Ivor trained as a multidisciplinary performer and theatre artist (BA Hons Rose Bruford, MA Goldsmiths), and now works internationally as an actor, musician and director. He specialises in physical theatre and site-specific performances, involving live music, choral movement, multimedia projection, sound installation, and audience interaction.

Ivor’s work has been shown in London, Hong Kong, Edinburgh, Brighton, Prague, Palermo, Epidaurus, Wrocław, Warsaw and Lublin.

He has worked and trained with many famous theatre groups and independent theatre artists around Europe, such as OPT Gardzienice (where he spent several years), The Grotowski Centre, Andrzej Wełmiński (Cricot2), Mischa Twitchin (Shunt), Helen Chadwick (Song Theatre), Andrea Cusumano. Ivor’s most recent performances in Hong Kong include Superheroes Don’t Give a Sh*t! (director/actor/multimedia), Wild Boar (live musician), No Exit (director), The Puppet Whisperers (actor), and for Rooftop Productions, The Beautiful Ones (director/musician/actor).

To enquire about the course, please contact Miss Michelle Li (9231 9196) or email to info@rooftopproductions.hk

Theatre in Nature – Physical Theatre Training Camp

Leaving the City…

When we train or work as performers, usually we’re coming in off the street or MTR into a studio space a few times a week. We cannot help but be influenced by our environment, and what we create becomes a product of the city rather than a reflection on it. By leaving the city behind and working in a natural environment, we can fully commit to performance training and regain the essential parts of our humanity that are being lost through the overcrowding and technology we are adapting to.

This idea is one that has many precedents in the work of other companies and theatre practitioners. Jacques Copeau took his actors to the country outside Paris to train as early as 1913, to find a method of training to improve their physical dexterity, authenticity and ability to work in harmony. Most famously perhaps, Jerzy Grotowski moved from the city of Wrocław to a remote forest base in 1972 to pursue his own paratheatrical experiments. When Gardzienice was established in 1977 by one of Grotowski’s former collaborators, Staniewski, the company took the name of the tiny Polish village where they are based, creating and performing theatre in this ‘natural environment.’ Tadashi Suzuki relocated his company to the village of Toga in 1976, and there are other modern examples in Asia, such as Cloud Gate Dance Theatre and U-theatre.

Ivor Houlker Actor's Headshot

Our main instructor – Ivor’s performance and movement training is influenced by these groups, and in particular his time living, training and performing with Gardzienice. His approach involves site-specific performance techniques and demanding physical training that heightens the actor’s awareness of self, others, and our environment. Alongside methods from European theatre practitioners, Ivor incorporates training from his background in tai chi.

Billy Sy - Actor's Headshots Colour

Another main instructor – Billy’s movement training focuses on the psycho-physical process of acting, and methods of building an ensemble. He focuses on helping actors to develop the body’s awareness, and understanding the universal states of groups and individuals is as important as training one’s imagination and observation. This enables actors to bring transformation through their outward expressions of inner intents. Billy is passionate about sharing a variety of methods and the work of different movement practitioners, but emphasis will be placed on Laban’s movement philosophy, physical actions and exercises relating to elements. Billy is also a certified yoga instructor, and he includes yoga training for actors as a way of balancing the physical, psychological and mental bodies and enhancing one’s self-realisation.

Camp Details

  • Date: 18-20/9/2015 (Fri-Sun)
  • Location: Sai Kung Wan Chai Campsite, hiking trails and surrounding beaches
  • Gathering time & venue: 10am, 18th September @ Sai Kung Town Centre
  • Finish time & venue: 5pm, 20th September @ Wong Shek Pier
  • Fee: $1,500
  • Quota: 12-16
  • Main Instructors: Ivor Houlker, Billy Sy
  • Suitable for: People who have experience in theatre, movement or performance, and have a reasonable level of physical fitness. (Professionally trained theatre practitioners will be considered first)

* This training programme will be conducted in Cantonese and English.

Programme Content and Itinerary

Download

Notes for Applicants

  1. Applicants should evaluate their own physical condition for joining this programme.
  2. The programme will be accompanied by an experienced hiker and certified first-aider.
  3. Participants will have to help carrying a small amount of food and tools.
  4. Participants will take turns to prepare meals and cleaning up.
  5. Meals will be vegetarian, one meat dish will be provided per meal for those who request it.
  6. No mobile internet is available at the campsite, but it has phone reception, and is equipped with shower and toilet facilities.
  7. The fee only includes the food and tools, but NOT a tent hire fee. Participants will have to bring their own tents. If necessary, Rooftop Productions can assist you in renting upon request. Renting fees are around $75-120/night (2-3 people tent), or $65-80/night (4-5 people tent). Rooftop will collect the tent renting fees on actual cost payment.

Application Form

Please complete the online form below. We will get back to you with your application result and details of the payment method.

Enquiries

Enquiries No.: 9231 9196 (Ms. Li)
Enquires E-mail: info@rooftopproductions.hk
Website: www.rooftopproductions.hk

當劇場走進大自然 - 形體劇場戶外訓練營Theatre in Nature – Physical Theatre Training CampWe’re pleased to announce that will will be…

Posted by Rooftop Productions on Thursday, 23 July 2015

Physical Theatre and Polyphonic Singing in Guangzhou

We were invited to Guangzhou by Friends Playback Theater (同声同戏剧团), to give a three day intensive course focusing on physical theatre, incorporating voice, breath and polyphonic singing (song theatre). We had a very interesting mix of participants, with people flying in from Fujian and North East China. This is our first time teaching in Mainland China, and we hope to do a lot more.

Second Day of Physical Theatre Training

We worked in a mix of English, Cantonese and Mandarin, and used some text in translation in all three languages. Not to mention the Georgian and Serbian in the polyphonic songs.

Polyphonic Singing on Day Two

We worked towards some short presentations at the end of the three workshops days, based on the Greek myth of Philomela, Procne and Tereus. These incorporated text with physical theatre and techniques we had been working with in the workshops, and even a little bit of song.

Final Day Performances

We’re extremely grateful to Friends Playback Theater for inviting us and bringing us together with great people, and for looking after us so well. Watch this space for news of our next collaboration.

European Physical Theatre Practice

Ivor Houlker’s series of workshops on European Physical Theatre Practice in Hong Kong, which started on the 6th May 2014. The workshop ran every Tuesday evening for two months (8pm-10.30pm). The workshops were held at Wedraman studios in San Po Kong – there’s more information at the Wedraman website (in Chinese).

Course Details

Dates: 6/5, 13/5, 20/5, 27/5, 3/6, 10/6, 17/6, 24/6 (Every Tuesday, 8 sessions)
Time: 8:00-10:30pm
Venue: We Draman Studio (3/F, Cheong Tai Industrial Building, 16 Tai Yau Street, San Po Kong)
Fee: $1,600
Quota: 14 participants
Target: This course is suitable for people with some previous experience in performance (but not necessarily phyiscal theatre)
Tutor: Ivor Houlker
This programme is conducted in English, with basic Cantonese translation.

Discount 1: Full time students – $300 off (fee: $1,300)*
Discount 2: Former students will get a 10% discount*
*These discounts may not be used together.

About the course

“Physical theatre” is a contemporary performance genre in which the performer’s body becomes the main medium of communication. This approach developed out of a revolutionary re-evaluation of the theatrical form, and intensive investigation into the expressive potential of the actor’s body, advanced by the likes of Grotowski and Barba.

Led by a theatre professional from London, these workshops will introduce key theatre practitioners who have changed the landscape of European Theatre in the 20th century, and explore their techniques and ideas. (For example: Jerzy Grotowski, Eugenio Barba, Tadeusz Kantor, Gardzienice)

Through exercises and explorations into movement, musicality and ensemble performance, participants will come to understand more about their own body, and develop a broad understanding of movement techniques and physical theatre devising methods. Participants will be encouraged to discuss their own artistic practice with the tutor, and to develop their work in response to the techniques encountered.

Course content

• Expressivity of the body – working with the body and voice together, exploring the performer’s potential (Grotowski)
• Understanding the body – developing bodily awareness, becoming more free and more fluent(Feldenkrais)
• Rhythm and Body – finding the relationship between these two, searching for the musicality in movement. (Gardzienice / Eugenio Barba)
• Ensemble performance devising – exploring outside the traditional theatre structure, finding new forms of collaboration and devising methodologies.

Tutor biography

Ivor Houlker Actor's Headshot

Ivor Houlker is a multidisciplinary performer and theatre artist, who works internationally as an actor, musician and director. He specialises in creating large scale outdoors site-specific performances, involving live music, choral movement, multimedia projection, sound installation, and audience interaction.

Ivor’s own devised work has been shown in London, Edinburgh, Brighton, Prague, Palermo, Epidaurus, Wrocław, Warsaw and Lublin. He has worked with many famous theatre groups and independent theatre artists around Europe, such as OPT Gardzienice, The Grotowski Centre, Andrzej Wełmiński (Cricot2), Mischa Twitchin (Shunt), Helen Chadwick (Song Theatre), Andrea Cusumano.

Ivor’s movement training is largely informed by European practitioners, including Włodzimierz Staniewski (Gardzienice), Grotowski, Lecoq and Tadeusz Kantor.

Downloadable details

European Physical Theatre Practice Workshop (English)

European Physical Theatre Practice Workshop (Chinese)

Polyphonic Song: Voice and Theatre Practice

22/01/2015 — 02/04/2015

Directors Ivor and Michelle co-taught a course on polyphonic song in Hong Kong. This workshop is the first of its kind to introduce traditional polyphonic singing to Hong Kong.

Polyphonic song is a tradition of singing together in different voices, which combine to make the whole sound. The origins vocal polyphony can be traced far back in the cultures of Greece, Albania, Serbia, and Georgia. Georgian polyphonic song is described by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (as is Chinese tea!). Songs are taught through listening rather than by following scores, and are usually sung a cappella.

Course Content

The workshop will be carried out in two phases. The first phase of the workshops will focus on freeing the voice, practice and techniques of singing together and the importance of listening. We will learn songs mainly from the Georgian tradition, but will also go through several from traditional cultures. Towards the middle of the course, we will develop more complex rhythmic structures, including learning of polyrhythmic techniques (in which two different rhythms are simultaneous).
The second phase will be held in June 2015. It will involve further refinement of techniques learnt, and build towards a final presentation at the end of the workshops. This will be a ‘song theatre’ performance, which will incorporate some theatrical techniques into the performance of choral song.

Course Details for First Phase

Dates: 22/1, 29/1, 5/2, 12/2, 26/2, 5/3, 12/3, 19/3, 26/3, 2/4 (Thursdays, total 10 sessions.)
Time: 8:00-10:00pm
Venue: We Draman Studio (3/F, Cheong Tai Industrial Building, 16 Tai Yau Street, San Po Kong)
Fee: $2,000
Quota: 20 participants
Target: This course is suitable for people who are able to sing a tune, and are looking to develop new skills.
Tutors: Ivor Houlker and Michelle Li
Discount: Former students will get a10% discount*
Full-time students will get a $500 discount (Fee: $1,500)*
*These discounts cannot be used together.
This programme is conducted in English and Cantonese.

Actor Training Through Physical Theatre

Ivor’s workshops in Actor Training Through Physical Theatre took place at the start of 2015. These workshops focused on taking training and techniques from physical theatre and applying them to actor-training.

About the Course

There are two major schools of thought in actor training, focusing on either the psychological process, or on physical technique. Practitioners of physical theatre place an emphasis on the latter, but this physical engagement often leads to a heightened emotional responsiveness, and improves the performer’s ability to project (rather than simply experience) a character’s psychology.

“Physical theatre” developed out of a revolutionary re-evaluation of the theatrical form in Europe, and intensive investigation into the expressive potential of the actor’s body. Jerzy Grotowski, Antonin Artaud, Jacques Lecoq, and more recently Complicite, DV8 and Frantic Assembly have developed the form and refined training methodologies for their actors that carry over to all genres of performance.
Led by a theatre professional from London now working in Hong Kong, these workshops will enhance your physical expressivity and explore new ways into exploring a role from the outside in, using the body to its full potential to act and interact.
Through exercises and explorations into movement, musicality and ensemble performance, participants will come to understand more about their own body, and learn how to apply movement techniques and physical theatre actor training methodologies.

Course Details

Dates: 20/1, 27/1, 3/2, 10/2, 24/2, 3/3, 10/3, 17/3/2015 (Tuesdays, 8 sessions)
Time: 8:00-10:30pm
Venue: We Draman Studio (3/F, Cheong Tai Industrial Building, 16 Tai Yau Street, San Po Kong)
Fee: $1,800
Quota: 14
Target: This course is aimed at people with previous performance experience
Tutor: Ivor Houlker
This programme is conducted in English, with basic Cantonese translation available on request.
Discount 1: Full time students – $300 off (fee: $1,300)*
Discount 2: Former students will get a10% discount*
*These discounts may not be used together.

Course Content

  • Grotowski , Barba, Gardzienice – working with the body, mutuality, voice and musicality
  • Lecoq, Suzuki– mask, chorus, ensemble
  • Meyerhold, Commedia dell’Arte, Stanislavski – physical approaches to character