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At the core of Contagious Theatre's philosophy is the actor as creator. Even though we often start with a script, and we always have a director, much of the creation happens on the rehearsal room floor with the director as the outside provocateur bringing the story out of the actors. As such, the series of workshops we offer are planned with this objective at their core: to empower the actor and open the door to creating your own work.

From Neutral Mask to Red Nose

The focus of this workshop is to begin to reveal your personal clown. This is a journey of discovering and celebrating what makes you uniquely you. For it is in the personal folds and the individual movement patterns that the clown lives. The journey moves from Neutral Mask to Red Nose, because it is through trying to discover our neutrality that we discover where our folds are - and our clown, that which makes us funny, is found in our folds. Here we find the gateway to sublime stupidity that is the art of clown.

A journey of Mask play from Larval Mask to Full Mask

The focus of this workshop is on full mask and to open the door to the poetry of masked play. The workshop will move from Neutral Mask, where we discover the silence of presence and potential, to Larval Mask, where the focus is on the full physical form and shape, to expressive masks, where the poetry of everyday life is brought to the stage.

Mask Atelier, from clay to play 

In this workshop theatre makers will make their own masks, learning all the steps from moulding the clay to ultimately playing their very own mask.

These workshops are led by Jenine Collocott who studied clown and mask theatre with master pedagogues Giovanni Fusetti and Matteo Destro in Florence Italy from 2010 – 2012. The neutral masks used in the workshops are by Donato Sartori, imported from Italy.



Commedia dell’arte workshop

We begin with a brief exploration of the main commedia archetypes, touching briefly on their context and backgrounds. We focus on how the stock archetypal characters’ formal physical postures can convey different character drives, which are used to drive robust, comedic, physical storytelling.

Physical theatre workshop

Physical theatre is easily the most common form of contemporary performance. Its ability to create epic environments out of nothing but the bodies on stage makes it very attractive in a world of shrinking budgets and rising expectations. In this workshop we explore aspects of physical performance: posture, release of tension, body language, gesture, movement, mime and how the body is a key storytelling tool.

Mask performance workshop

Mask performance is an ancient and universal form. From Korea to Ghana to North America, many cultures used (and still do use) mask performance. The larval mask workshop explores the essence of theatrical masks. Mask performance is a means for the actor to examine their bodies in space and become conscious of what each posture, gesture and tempo communicates to an audience. This physical awareness is invaluable to all types of theatre styles and performance. 

Improvisation workshop

Improvisation is the bedrock of theatrical creation. Putting a character in space and seeing what happens is an essential part of a performer’s arsenal. It is useful when it comes to character creation, devising and text-based work. Making it up as you go along is not only fun, but one of the most self-affirming things that you can do as a performer. The empowerment and confidence that regular, succesful improv gives one as a performer is spectacular. James Cairns is a long time member of both Jittery Citizens and Causing a Scene – two of Johannesburgs most prolific improv crews and he performs regularly for both.

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