For High School

Devising New Work

In this residency students, with guidance, start from zero and build a performance. They experience and learn: the importance of guideline-setting; multiple techniques for mining for ideas and themes; approaches to agreeing on a theme; crafting a mission and a statement; determining the desired effect on the audience; creating the world; gathering and creating material using various methods in the studio and outside it; tracking and communicating progress; decision-making processes; organizing material; cutting; attending to technical needs; rehearsing, and, finally, performing.

Improvisation

Based on recent work and thinking of Keith Johnstone, participants play games to learn improvisation skills like pleasing their scene partner and staying happy when they fail. For high school, college, & professional performers. Here is a handout for a short improv workshop: NC Thespians 3:22:14

NC Theatre Arts B.C.2.1 Use improvisation and acting skills, such as observation, concentration, and characterization in a variety of theatre exercises. I.C.2.1 Use improvisation…to demonstrate given situations. P.C.2.1 Use improvisation…to create extended scenes. A.C.2.1 Use improvisation…to perform for a formal audience using prompts provided by the audience.

 

Mime

In this workshop, students learn to create invisible objects and imaginary worlds. They work with partners and learn to: focus on a partner, accept a partner’s offers, lead and follow. They develop kinesthetic awareness, tune into body language, and non-verbally communicate ideas, characters and feelings. They learn the basics of creative thinking. They explore ideas in groups through improvisation and discussion. They create and perform original mime skits that incorporate their new mime skills.

The Durham Arts Council Says:

Mime Artist Sheila Kerrigan impressed students of George Watts Montessori with her multi-talented theatrical repertoire in mime, juggling, and improvisation….At George Watts, Kerrigan began the after school program with a little mime show followed by instruction of simple mime gestures such as being stuck in a box, leaning against a wall, and climbing a ladder. She then proceeded to guide the children through collaborative creative processes during improvisation exercises. Students passed around an imaginary object and transformed it into something new with each subsequent turn. Students then broke into small groups to plan a silent theatrical performance. A showcase of their creations was followed by a discussion of what the audience perceived the performance content to be. Stories took a range of humorous plot lines from playground activity to fishing adventures. Finally, Kerrigan closed off the afternoon with a little juggling practice.

Devising Original Performance for Youth At Risk

Create Performance

Especially geared for youth-at-risk and reluctant writers, this residency begins with setting guidelines for behavior together. The group brainstorms and discusses hot topics for a performance. Students write short pieces on topics that are important to them in genres that make sense to them. They collaborate on taking their writings from the page to the stage. If all goes according to plan, the residency culminates in a performance conceived and created by the performers about the issues that keep them awake at night and get them out of bed in the morning.

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Juggling for Beginners

Juggling Class For adults, families, and children age 9 and up, this juggling workshop features juggling performance pieces that point up the importance of failure as part of learning something new, the value of setting a positive mental attitude to attain success, and the virtue of persistence in achieving goals. Participants learn a basic juggling pattern and some variations, and they learn how to juggle with a friend. This workshop offers a fun way for families to play together and for anyone to improve coordination.

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Body Language and Non-verbal Communication

For students of theater and communication, and anyone who wants to understand what people are saying beyond their words, this workshop breaks down and demonstrates the elements of body language and non-verbal communication. Participants observe and qualify movement in others, learn to bring their unconscious reactions to body language into consciousness, change specific aspects of their own movement, and observe how their feelings and thoughts change as they change their own body language.

NC Theatre Arts Standards: 6-8.C.1 Use movement, voice, and writing to communicate ideas and feelings. 6.C.1.1 Use movement and acting skills to express a variety of emotions to an audience. 7.C.1.1 Use movement and acting skills to express a variety of characters to an audience. 8.C.1.1 Use physical movement and acting skills to express stories to an audience.

 

Mime and Movement for Actors

For drama students, amateurs, and professionals, this residency or workshop helps  create strong, believable, fully-physicalized characters. Participants experience a variety of physical approaches to character development such as image work, energy work, animals, honing kinesthetic awareness, sharpening focus, developing a presence, exploring rhythm and dynamics, and studying and practicing body language principles. Sessions begin with a warm-up, continue with guided physical approaches to character, improvisation-based physical explorations, reflections on character discoveries, and end with reflection on learning and growth. By the end of the residency, participants  will have a sense of how physicalization can strengthen their focus and enlarge their stage presence.

Ms. Kerrigan’s residency was very beneficial and enriching for my 8th grade Movement class. It complemented our unit on gesture and made valid in very obvious ways how vital gesture and expression are to movement and choreography. Sheila presented very well and maintained a good rapport with the students. I was impressed with her clarity, humor and thorough approach to the material.      –Mary Grady Norkus, Durham Academy

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