28 November 2022

Starting work on a new production?

A recommendation from Tagora

Last summer Tagora invited Niall Costigan, Theatre Workshop Director at the Theatre Royal York (UK) to create a two-day acting course for us.

Niall has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for more than twenty years. His TV credits include Coronation Street, The Rising, Casualty, Emmerdale and Vera. On stage he’s appeared in Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest and Henry V for The Rose Theatre; The Gaul at Hull Truck; and Bedroom Farce at Salisbury Playhouse, amongst many others. He has just finished filming Starve Acre, a feature film for the BBC, with Matt Smith and Morfydd Clark.

We were all delighted when Niall accepted our invitation and happy that he was prepared to create a “tailor made” workshop for our actors.

He came, we saw and he conquered!

Niall’s task was to run a two-day workshop on “Approaching a role”. Working with two groups of twelve and an age-range of 14 to well over 60, he introduced participants to the examination of text (Noel Coward’s Private Lives), Uta Hagen’s nine questions, improvisation and relaxation exercises. Here are some reactions to his teaching…

I particularly enjoyed Niall’s acting approach, in which  he urged us to refrain from self-absorption. Quoting Stamford Meisner, “who felt that Lee Strasberg’s Method Acting only made introverts more introverted, and that by shifting one’s concentration away from self, provided an escape route and a means of being in the ‘moment’”.  I thought it hit close to home!

The work was often quite fascinating and, though at first sight seeming simple, was in fact difficult and demanded much concentration…

It was so good, so inspiring and we learnt so much in a relatively short space of time.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt a lot.  Now the test will be to put it into practice.  Niall was a pleasure to work with.

Any FEATS groups interested in organising something similar for their own members are invited to contact Niall by e-mail.

And who knows? Maybe a workshop from Niall in FEATS 2023?

Best wishes from Strasbourg & Tagora,
Louise Palmer

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