Theatre Futures Menu

Contemporary Directions: two research training workshop in December


Two new Contemporary Directions workshops in the ongoing Rose Bruford Stanislavski Centre Exploration of Directing and Director Training, in association with Presence Theatre

Actuating the Potential:

Directing’s Quantum Moment

Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, Lamorbey Park, Sidcup [25 mins. From London Charing Cross]

 Saturday December 10th and 17th 2016, 10am – 4pm


Following on from success of the Directing through Exercises workshop earlier this year, these two day-long practical director-training-and-research workshops [which can be experience separately or as a linked pair] will involve a ‘directing-in-dialogue’ approach, include work with professional actors from Presence Theatre, and will be led by two experienced practitioners – Simon Usher (RSC; National Theatre; Royal Court) and Colin Ellwood [Rose Bruford]- with extensive combined experience in both directing and director training. Participants will have a range of opportunities to participate in the directing of featured scenes and also to observe, discuss and evaluate work in relation to a range of dramatic forms and texts, including contemporary work, Shakespeare and Brecht. The workshops will be of value to emerging as well as established practitioners of all levels of experience, and also to anyone with a serious interested it the contemporary and historical practice of directing.


‘Thanks so much, as in all good things, I was left wanting more.

So engaging and informative and fun’:  Participant, Directing Through Exercises


Workshop 1: ‘The Given’: Directing and Given Form

Saturday 10th December 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Any play is a unique and specific formal structure. The most visible and salient aspect of this is the text.  It could be argued that the core substantive experience of most drama is in the enacting of what might be termed the ‘threshold or moment of articulation’, where silence yields to impulse in the realization of speech [and bodily engagement] as action: theatre’s ‘quantum’ moment.  This workshop explores techniques and approaches through which the director can draw from the material and semiotic aspects of the text realized as the expression of the inductively-inflected, situationally-specific interior unconscious impulse itself.

Workshop 2: ‘The Found and the Allowed’: Directing, Induction and the Preconscious

Saturday 17th December 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Aside from the play text itself, the two ‘axes of resource’ contributing to the director’s process are: the pre-conscious interiority of the performer [and for that matter of he director her/himself] and inducted material from the ‘exterior world’. Different modes of performance draw on these two axes in varying degrees: Brecht advocates the prioritizing of the latter while Stanislavsky, amongst others, offers a framework for incubating the former. Together with the ‘givens ‘ of the play text, inducted material creates parameters framing the ‘creative space’ within which the continual ‘present-tense’ unconscious of the performer must necessarily be stimulated and brought to bear. This workshops explores practical ways in which material from observation and research can be deployed, and in which the pre-conscious might be unlocked and brought to bear at all stages, searching for the optimum balance between these two dimensions.


Contemporary Directions is a Rose Bruford Stanislavski Centre research project and website drawing on the college’s extraordinary history of successful director training to explore, contextualize and celebrate the practice of contemporary theatre directing and directing training.

Presence Theatre was formed in 2007, and has since presented a number of performances and rehearsed readings and continues to hold workshops approaching different genres of drama from the actor’s and director’s perspective. As a registered charity that exists for the public benefit, Presence Theatre aims to involve the largest and most diverse audience that our resources will allow to help to advance the medium in every sphere: art, production, education and community.



£35 for individual workshops or £60 for both

Concessions £25/£40


For more information and to book a place, please contact


Approximate Schedule for each day

10:00 – Practical beginnings [attendees will have the opportunity to participate in this practical work or to observe

10:30 – Agenda: establishing terrains and posing key questions

10:45 – In relation to contemporary text

11:45 –Break

12:00 – In relation to Brecht and other ‘instrumental’ texts

1:00 –  Lunch

1:45 – In relation to Shakespeare

3:00 – Participant ‘tag’ directing of any of the above or another text

3:45 – Summary

4:00 – End


Tutor Information

Simon Usher

Currently Joint Artistic Director of Presence Theatre, Simon has staged major productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court Theatre, the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre and in London’s West End. He has been Artistic Director at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and Associate Director of the Leicester Haymarket.  Further credits include The World’s Biggest DiamondHeronsMother Teresa is Dead and Black Milk (Royal Court), King Baby and Tamar’s Revenge (Royal Shakespeare Company), Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads (National Theatre), Timon of AthensThe Broken HeartPericles and The Winter’s Tale (Leicester Haymarket), Pond LifeNot Fade AwayThe Mortal Ash and Card Boys (The Bush), Burning Everest and Exquisite Sister (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Mr Puntilla and His Man Matti and Holes in the Skin (Chichester Festival Theatre), Les Liaisons DangereusesWaiting for GodotHamlet and Whole Lotta Shakin’ (Coventry Belgrade), Great Balls of Fire (Cambridge Theatre, West End), No Man’s Land (English Touring Theatre) and The Wolves (Paines Plough).

Colin Ellwood

Has taught and directed at most of the UK’s leading drama schools and was Programme Director for the Rose Bruford Directing BA, of which recent graduates include the three current youngest building–based Artistic Directors in the UK as well as multiple winners of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme and of many other awards including recent/current winners of the Young Vic Genesis Futures Award [2016], the James Menzies Kitchen Young Director Award [2016]; Royal Court and Orange Tree Trainee Directorships and Associate Director appointments at the RSC, Lyric Hammersmith, Donmar, Edinburgh Lyceum and elsewhere, as well as of the Off-West-End Best Director and WhatsOnStage Best Production awards, and of several London Evening Standard Theatre Award nominations, an Edinburgh Fringe First and both a BAFTA and a Royal Television Society Award.

ONLINE Booking is available NOW:


Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes