Summer theater workshops
By Walter Ang
“What’s most rewarding about our annual summer workshop is witnessing the process of transformation that happens to the workshoppers,” says Gantimpala Theater Foundation founder and artistic director Tony Espejo.
“From shy and inhibited young boys and girls, they learn to deliver a punch line, sing a tune, work out dance steps. They are initially strangers who become friends in such a short time, and their creative juices seem to be coming from a bottomless well. I sincerely hope we instill a love and respect for theater with them.”
Gantimpala is just one of many theater companies that are holding acting workshops this summer (see listing below). Workshops are available for children, teens and adults. Most groups have children’s and teens’ classes during the daytime and adult’s classes during the evenings. All workshops usually end with a recital.
Aside from learning the craft of expression, children gain social interaction skills while teenagers and adults get their foot in the door should they decide to pursue careers in the industry. There are usually no requirements in terms of acting or workshop experience; just a desire to learn (or a parent who will force you to join to help you improve your self confidence) will do.
While syllabi differ from group to group, basic acting classes for kids usually use games to teach enhancement of the senses and to improve focus, concentration, observation, and, most importantly, to build confidence. The games help students with coordination, agility, self-reliance and experiencing the importance of teamwork.
Teens and adults usually have lectures and exercises on spontaneity, improvisation, body and voice work, and script analysis, among others. Beyond basic acting, some companies offer musical theater training as a separate workshop.
A few tips
Enrollment: Bring your own pen to save time. Have photocopies of either a school/company ID or birth certificate, just in case. Some groups ask for one or two ID photos. Have 2x2 prints made; it’s easier to cut down to 1x1 if needed.
Fees: Just so that there are no surprises later on, ask if recital fees are separate or included in the tuition. Remember, there might be additional costs for photocopying of scripts, merienda for rehearsals, costumes for the recital, etc.
Discounts/payment terms: It depends on the group, don’t be afraid to ask, the worst thing that can happen is that they’ll say “no.” It’s a long shot, but if you feel you have talent, consider writing a letter to the group’s artistic director to inquire about auditioning for a scholarship.
Security: Get the name and cellphone number of not just your child’s teacher, but also at least one office staff.
Caveat emptor: Research and ask about what you’ll get. Be sure to know the credentials of the company that is giving the workshop, ask around for referrals, ask about the backgrounds of the instructors. Don’t rely on just your children to tell you about their recital schedule, call the office to double check when it will be so that you won’t miss out.
Tanghalang Pilipino, CCP’s resident theater group, will have a Rehearsal and Performance Techniques workshop for students with prior acting experience. Classes will focus on movement, voice, text and character analysis, and improvisation.
Repertory Philippines will hold special classes:
Shakespeare for Kids
For students aged 9 to 16. It will include a brief history of the life and times of William Shakespeare. Students will find out if his father was really an official beer taster and how Shakespeare wrote 42 plays in 15 years with only a grammar school education. The course will give students tools to better understand and appreciate the Bard’s works. It will conclude with a scene and monologue night.
Movement for the actor
For professional and student actors. Using dance and rhythmic movements, students will train their bodies to express a fuller range of physical emotion. Work will be done on breathing, posture, alignment, agility, flexibility and the overall strength.
Students will be taught movement techniques created by Rudolf Laban, a tool used by dancers, athletes, physical and occupational therapists—one of the most widely used systems of human movement analysis. The class will also include a beginner stage combat course; staged sword-fights, fist-fights, slaps, punches and pratfalls will all be covered.
Acting Master Class (audition required)
For actors with professional experience in stage, television and/or film, a Master Class will be taught by Pinky Amador and Bill Atwood.
Students will be coached one-on-one on aspects such as vocal improvement, physicality and actor’s movement, audition techniques, choosing audition pieces, rehearsal and performance techniques, for all mediums for both the local and international market.
Amador has 24 years of non-stop work experience as an actress, singer, host, model and dancer both in the Philippines and England. Bill Atwood has 30 years of teaching experience and has taught at American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.
As theater practitioners know, a show doesn’t always need a lot of actors, but a show will always need backstage staff. For students 18 years old and above who want to learn the ropes of running a show, Tanghalang Pilipino will have an Event Production and Stage Management workshop.
Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) will have one-day lectures on Stage Management, Technical Theater and Make-up for Theater; and half-day lectures on Music Appreciation, Song Writing, and Choreography.
It will also offer week-long workshops on Visual Arts for Young People and Theater in Education for educators and teachers.
My Talent will have courses in modeling, street dancing, drawing and other art forms. Audie Gemora, known to theater audiences for his acting and directing and known to television audiences for his stint as a judge in the show Talentadong Pinoy, will teach Pop Concert Performance for students who want to learn how to become concert /recording artists.
Sipat Lawin Ensemble has week-long or month-long workshops in Directing for Teens and Adults; Production Design and Technical Theatre) and storytelling.
Where to go, who to call
[The editors added two campus-based groups in the published version which I have removed in this blog version in keeping with my original working criteria to include only the more established/known professional/commercial groups just to keep it fair to all the other campus groups.]
You can also call your nearby schools, churches, barangay halls/centers, village associations, etc. to see if they are offering any theater workshops.
Here’s a round-up of some of the more established theater groups you can contact. Schedules and info are subject to change without prior notice. Contact the groups to ask for their full line-up of different classes.
Dates: April 11 to May 29, 2011
Contact: 09175545560; 5867105; 557.5860; email@example.com
Office: Ortigas Center, Pasig City
workshop venue: Rockwell Center, Makati City
Gantimpala Theater Foundation
Dates: April 25 to May 28, 2011
Contact: 5280603, 5365860 and 09215286308.
Office and workshop venue: Rizal Park (Luneta), Manila City
My Talent Place by Audie Gemora
Dates: March 28 onwards
Contact: 3590497; 5713485; 09225916060; 09273159994; 09228764772; firstname.lastname@example.org
Office and workshop venue: Eastwood City, Quezon City
New Voice Company
Dates: No workshops scheduled thus far, but call to confirm
Contact: 8965497; 896-6695; email@example.com
Office: Makati City
Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta)
Dates: April 13-May14
Contact: 7256244; 4100821; 09175769339; firstname.lastname@example.org
Office and workshop venue: New Manila, Quezon City
Dates: April 4 to May 20
Contact: 5716926; 5714941; email@example.com
Office: Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Enrollment can also be done at Onstage Theater, 2nd floor, Greenbelt 1 Mall, Ayala Center, Makati City during scheduled performances on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Workshop venue(s): Ortigas Center; Pasig City; and Makati City
Sipat Lawin Ensemble
Dates: No set schedules thus far, call to confirm
Contact: 09175008753; 9645969; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshop venue: the group can go to your venue
Dates: April 5-9, 12-16, 26-30
Contact: 8323661; 8321125 loc. 1620 and 1621; email@example.com
Office: Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City
Workshop venue(s): Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City; Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City; and Miriam College, Quezon City.
Triumphant Peoples Evangelistic Theatre Society (Trumpets)
Dates: April 4-May 31
Contact: 6317252; 6362842; 3816635; 0917896 4034; firstname.lastname@example.org
Workshop venue(s): Podium Mall, Mandaluyong City; Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City; and Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City.
Cebu City: Little Boy Productions
Workshop dates: May 2-20
Contact: 2549320 or 4158058
Also published online:
What do you think of theater workshops? Have you attended one before? Are you planning on attending one? Share your comments.