People Show artist, Gareth Brierley, visited the University of Bedfordshire performing arts students to conduct a masterclass on how to devise ideas for an experimental theatre play.
Gareth has been teaching performance masterclasses at the University for ten years. He leads students in a series of exercises and shares his professional experience with them from performing with the People Show company.
He said: “We’ve been looking at techniques to devise work for theatre and for the Media Performance for Film, TV and Theatre and Screen Performance and Communication Techniques students’ third year projects. In the company I work for, we always make shows from scratch. Every show I make is made with those people in the room, a bit like what the students do in their third year project, they use four or five people and they have to make a performance. In this class, we start to look at developing that material.”
Developing and trying material is the key lesson Gareth teaches the students, “It’s about encouraging people to get up on their feet and try stuff. If you can try stuff and start making material, out of three hours, you might have one minute where you go, ‘I really like that one minute of material’ and it could be the start of something bigger.”
Gareth and members of the People Show company live as performers and makers, he brings his expertise and experience to the masterclass, advising and leading the students to create. ?
He said: “I think the main advice with making stuff is to just make stuff and put it out to an audience as quickly as you can and then you learn that way more than anything else. You learn more and more the more you put stuff out there.
“Some things will work and some things won’t work, but that’s really important as well. It’s the same as doing it in class, trying material that works and trying material that doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter because it’s still trying.”
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