Drama, Physical Theatre and Shakespeare Workshops:
"David is absolutely brilliant -- in the largest sense of the word!
He both "shines" and knows all of the component parts of how to create a meaningful and exciting learning experience for students, one with as-we-go delights and longer-term and sustained applicability."
Participant, performer and teacher.
For Steven's full review, see below.
David regularly works with groups and individuals: actors, singers, students and professionals.
His workshops are challenging, highly active and great fun - communicating excellence, passion and enthusiasm whilst equipping his participants with highly applicable tools for their development
and future use.
"It's amazing what a huge effect your coaching had on my performance in just a day.
I was infinitely more comfortable and loose.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that it really did make all the difference"
4th year student Guildhall School of Music and Drama/Harvard
"Tuesday's workshop with David Hall was a huge success:
An enlightening, exciting night.
A pure clinic in Shakespearean acting!"
(Director of Training, The Richmond Shakespeare Company, Virginia)
For Andrew's full report - click here!
Greetings. My name is Steven Holt. I participated in remarkable theater workshop with David Hall last year and he asked me if I wouldn't mind sharing a little bit of my experience with you.
Let me start with the headline:
David is absolutely brilliant -- in the largest sense of the word! He both "shines" and knows all of the component parts of how to create a meaningful and exciting learning experience for students, one with as-we-go delights and longer-term and sustained applicability.
In the workshop in which I participated (which focused on the sound and rhythm of Shakespeare's language), my experience in the moment was one of enormous pleasure, joy, excitement and even thrill, as David took us through exercises, skill practice sessions and debriefs.
Soon after the experience, in looking back (through my lens as a fellow actor, trainer, facilitator and teacher), I was in awe of the seamless way in which he built our awareness of these specific sound and rhythm aspects of Shakespeare's work slowly, step by step, integrating that growing knowledge with "voice and body experiences" -- from little "moments" of aha! to more fully developed scenes. He built a wonderful arc of experience over our time together and I only wished at the end that there would have been an opportunity to continue with the work -- that day and over time!
Even though he had a class of people of varied levels of background and experience (actors and non-actors alike), David created a learning environment for us all that was relaxed, safe, easy to jump into, playful, joyful - one in which we learned a great deal from him and from each other.
I can say with complete confidence that David will engage his learners in a powerful way and that they will leave with not only new skills, but also a renewed excitement for the craft itself. I can't say enough good things about how strong my own experience as a student of his was and hope many others get the opportunity to experience his work in the way that I did.
If you have any specific questions about his work, please feel free to contact me and I'd be happy to respond.
Steven A. Holt
in U.S on the East Coast.
(If you'd like to contact Steven, please email David here and he will pass on your email.)
In schools David aims to arm teachers with a plethora of exciting, practical, tried and tested activities and techniques and leave both them and their students with "working vocabularies" and approaches that they may apply to all their work in the future.
David loves this work - both at home and abroad - and his joy and enthusiasm carry through to his students His skills, experience, sensitivity, enthusiasm and imagination guarantee workshops which are always active and involving as well as being great fun and challenging: developing his students' abilities and confidence and working with or without text.
David also has experience in coaching executives from various multi-national companies (American Express, Booz Allen Hamilton, RBS, HSBC etc) in various actors' techniques, investigating how actors' skills can enhamce the skills of effective leaders. For more on this work - click here.
Other recent work incluides two highly successful residencies at the Thomas Dale High School in Chester, Virginia; Shakespeare, Voice and Physical Theatre Masterclasses at the Governor's School, Richmond, Virginia and a highly successful workshop with the Richmond Shakespeare Company, Virginia (see above or click here).
David also ran a very successful session for the Heads of English Conference for Cornwall Education Department and is a regular guest teacher at Amanda Redmond's "Artists Theatre School".
Below are some of the areas which David regularly explores.
He is also always happy to investigate and develop new workshops and welcomes all enquiries from abroad.
To view David's workshop cv, click here.
To make further enquiries, click here.
Favourites - for further details see below
Speech or Scene work
David is a skilled director and loves working with existing speeches or scenes. These might be text-based or improvised.
Sound and Rhythm in Shakespeare (and beyond!)
This lies at the heart of David's approach to Shakespeare (and indeed many
other texts too). It's fundamental and fun - and once you realise these
treasures are there you will never look at or play a piece of text in the
same way. It is a wonderful tool for unlocking character and playing options
and to ignore it is to ignore the gifts Shakespeare has given you! To use it
though opens up whole new worlds. (Much of David's approach is inspired by his work with Cicely Berry, Patsy Rodenburg, Patrick Tucker et al.)
A Physical Theatre
Based on David's extensive work with
Trestle Theatre Company, one of the UK's leading Mask and Physical Theatre
companies, and influenced by workshops with Theatre de Complicité and
beyond (such as chorus work - very useful for hoards of fairies in The
Dream, for example!), primarily this work involves such areas as States of
Tension, Archetypes, Rhythms of Emotions and Status. Overall it builds a
comprehensive, practical "physical" vocabulary which can be
enjoyed and applied to any performance and preparatory
work. After teaching this approach, David can move the work forwards into using it to work on specific speeches and scenes. Highly practical, great fun, extremely useful - and
Drawing on his experience as a facilitator and actor and his hugely popular one-man shows, David teaches a set of presentation skills to raise the game and the impact of presentations, valuable for pupils and executives alike.
Developed alongside friend and colleague Nick McIvor, Math Circus is an innovative new workshop aimed at increasing students' abilities and confidence in basic maths by combining the elements of circus, performance and maths. It has proved highly enjoyable and a great success. For more details, click here.
David will work with you to advise on the best approach and will happily tailor his work to your requirements. His workshops are always great fun, challenging and highly active, communicating and inducing excellence, commitment, passion and enthusiasm.
"I hope what we shall do will not just convey my enthusiasm for and love of Shakespeare's plays and begin to unlock their riches but it will also give your students a very practical actor's approach, which I know they will enjoy as well as be able to use and apply in all their future work, not just in performance, but in the classroom too and not just with Shakespeare but with many other poetic and dramatic texts too."
Extract from a letter to Thomas Dale High School, Chester, Virginia, USA
Sound and Rhythm
Investigating the clues to be found in the sound and rhythms of Shakespeare's texts (see above) forms the bedrock for almost all of David's Shakespeare work. Through work on these aspects of the text all sorts of richness can be uncovered - and, once learned, the techniques can be successfully appplied to all well-written texts.
First Folio and Cue Script work
A wonderful opportunity to investigate the use of the First Folio's punctuation, capitalisation and spellings to inform a performance, taken from the standpoint that these were scripts recorded by actors for actors (and some readers) and the peculiarities in the text were no accident! This springs from David's extended work with the Original Shakespeare Company, in which the First Folio text was used and performances given using cue scripts only (some of David's First Folio Cue Script scrolls will be available to view): the actors had their own lines and cues only and, as it is believed happened in Shakespeare's day, rehearsed nothing but songs, dances and fights. This work is fascinating, again highly practical, great fun and challenging and can often lead to some wonderful discoveries about the texts. In addition, once you've worked with the First Folio, you may not want to do without it!
Shakespeare's Specific Choice of Words
Discovering how the specific words and phrases used can inform character and delivery choices and even, potentially, staging (such as in the case of "you" and "thou"), this is another favourite approach of David's. The students, alongside David, investigate why specific words or phrases might have been chosen over their synonyms.
Metaphors and Themes
Group exercises such as "Picturing the Metaphor" to bring a greater feeling for and understanding of the many wonderful metaphors Shakespeare employs, "Kilroy" to enhance the students' understanding of the themes and issues within the plays, or perhaps "Story Rush", a novel, fun and participative way to recap on the story, are all exercises which David frequently uses with great success. The first is great fun, physical, challenging and extremely rewarding and particularly valuable for those about to perform in as well as study Shakespeare's work, while the others are more of value from a text study rather than a performance point of view. All are highly practical, challenging and fun.
Searching for "Subtext"
This, of course, is usually viewed as more applicable to more modern plays (with Chekhov and Ibsen as wonderful starting points for example and David is always delighted to look at examples from their works). However, much can be - and often is! - overlooked in Shakespeare, frequently because his texts, though seeming light are often deceptively dense. Students will learn some simple approaches to studying a text more deeply and many of these may of course be applied to other studies too.
David is a skilled director and working with Shakespeare speeches and scenes is also something he loves..!!
Other Themes: Physical Theatre and beyond..!
Extensive exercises to free the voice and develop range and power. Bringing a script off the page so that it sounds natural and not "written", different and imaginative approaches to breathe more life and variety into text delivery, plus various microphone and other techniques
This includes exercises and games to raise the awareness of various aspects of stagecraft - blocking, masking, "balancing the stage", the use of space and distance, taking in and working with or for an audience (fabulously useful in Shakespeare!), making an entrance, where the scene exists, focus, scale of performance etc. - all of which will help students to become better observers of theatre (and film) as well as better practitioners.
Using his Physical Theatre skills and background, David has a dynamic approach to bringing out the comedy and drama of Commedia or Commedia style work.
Playwrights other than Shakespeare
Obviously, David's work and training as an actor extends far beyond Shakespeare, although that is an area he particularly loves and for which he has a great passion (which he loves sharing!), so he is more than happy to work on any other authors, Coward, Wilde, Pinter, Rattigan, Priestley, Lorca, or the Restoration authors, for example, or some living authors such as David Mamet or Joe Penhall, in whose multi-award-winning "Blue/Orange" David worked for the National Theatre in the West End. He will happily suit his work to your needs.
Poetry, Speeches and Scenes
All of these will benefit from the work described in the first section above, but David loves to work with or on any material provided. He is skilled and experienced in working with actors on specific scenes or character work in preparation for productions, auditions, scene study or for any other reason.
Various exercises for enjoyment and to strengthen improvisational skills, which also serve to highlight what makes performances good, the elements of effective and enjoyable storytelling and how the techniques of acting, from the Physical approach to Stanislavsky and beyond, still play their part when creating quality, engaging work.
David has strong experience in Musical Theatre - he even won the All England Song and Dance Cup when fourteen (Having both parents as professional musicians probably helped!) - and is very much at home staging and choreographing musical theatre.
Applied Theatre - Acting in Industry
Much of David's supplementary work is in the world of corporate training. This frequently uses roleplay and forum theatre methods to enhance delegates' training or give them the chance to investigate certain issues more deeply. David is very happy to discuss these methods of "applied theatre", their values and benefits, as well as teaching the skills required to use them. Areas would include facilitation, actor-facilitation and feedback techniques.
Custom Built workshops
David will work with you to advise on the best approach and will happily tailor his work to your requirements.
David's workshops are always great fun, challenging and highly active, communicating excellence, commitment, passion and enthusiasm.
David's work includes:
Actor In Residence - two residencies at the Thomas Dale High School, Virginia, USA, teaching Voice, Physical Theatre, Impro and Shakespeare and working on their production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
Masterclass - at the Richmond Shakespeare Company - click here for details.
Shakespeare, Voice and Physical Theatre workshops - at the Governor's School, Richmond, Virginia.
Leadership Presence courses with The Ariel Group - David is an affiliate and facilitator for The Ariel Group, working with executives from companies including American Express, Booz Allen Hamilton, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland. These workshops are also available to non-profit organisations. For further information, visit www.arielgroup.com or contact David or The Ariel Group directly, quoting this website as your reference.
Cornwall Heads of English Conference - in 2007 David ran a highly successful Practical Shakespeare workshop for Heads of English from schools across Cornwall.
Guest Acting Tutor - at Amanda Redman's Artists Theatre School, working on Physical Theatre, Commedia Dell'Arte and Shadow Play scenes as well as more general directing.
Coaching Singers at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London - in preparation for their recitals or stage work. For testimonials, click here.
An Actor's Approach to Shakespeare - workshops for the University of California in London
in schools and colleges around the Britain for the English Shakespeare Company (focussing on Macbeth), Cheltenham Everyman Theatre (Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream) and independently - since 1994
The Beowulf Project - a superb interactive telling of the ancient story for ages seven and above
Mask and Physical Theatre workshops:
for Trestle Theatre Company - the tour of Hanging Around involved many workshops around Britain and much of the work designed for and developed in those workshops David frequently incorporates into his own work today. Excellent work, which can inform and benefit all styles of theatre. Fun, practical and extremely useful!
Twenty-Four Hour Theatre Challenges David regularly directs on Death by Theatre's wonderful 24hr Theatre Challenges: Students arrive one evening and twenty-four hours later mount a performance complete with sound, lights and even some costume, based on a particular theme! Projects have included "Twenty-four Hours to Shakespeare, Brecht, Lorca and Physical Theatre". Residential, exhausting - and great fun!
Pre-School Brunel workshops
- based on his highly successful one-man show, David has designed and run several interactive sessions for under fives to great acclaim.
Site-specific Interactive Theatre for Education
- in 1996 David played Brother Luke in an extraordinary and tremendous project for the Young National Trust Theatre. Touring National Trust properties with an interactive drama (set in the period of the properties) in which school children took a key role in the play, which unfolded before their very eyes, this combination of acting, improvising, facilitating and teaching this proved a wonderful and unforgettable experience for all concerned.
Artists Theatre School 2004
- A guest teaching appearance at Amanda Redmond's school in Ealing, in which David worked with great success with the whole school (ages five to twenty-five) mostly using exercises from the Physical Theatre approaches (see above).
Theater Arts Summer Camp, Pennsylvania - As well as having pastoral responsibilities, David directed five plays, large and small, a musical and various other projects. Hard work, but great fun!
GCSE Project Work and School Productions
- David has assisted groups in many schools with the development of their GCSE projects and school plays.
Teaching and Supply Teaching - David's extensive experience as a teacher in a very wide variety of schools and colleges (from ages 4 to 18 from rural to inner city, small to enormous) leaves him comfortable in handling and working with all types of groups.
CRB Clearance David has UK Criminal Records Bureau clearance to work with Young People.