Q+A with Physical Theatre Tutor Bryan Burroughs

We are thrilled to welcome back Bryan Burroughs to teach this eight-week short course.

Q: Describe your passion for Physical Theatre

A: As an actor, I adore the art form of theatre and all of the disparate elements that have to cohere to create seemingly organic life and relationships on stage. As our bodies are ever present I felt that offered limitless possibilities to express all facets of humanity and as our imaginations are boundless that can extend to anything.

Actors can successfully and believably portray humans, animals, inanimate objects, plant life, sea life, even concepts like time or the sensation and feeling of colours or elements. I’ve even been part of a play where we created terrifying monsters inside empty space through the collective imagination of the audience.

As long as we root the audience in our created worlds, anything is possible and so not wanting to limit my work and casting possibilities to naturalism alone, I found a deeper, more extensive exploration of and expression through the body was the best path for me to unlock these endless creative possibilities.

Q: What will people learn on the course?

A: At the basic level people will learn to work, play and create in an ensemble of actors, to accept the myriad differences and approaches to the work that exist in any rehearsal room or creation of a play and have the tools to approach the work openly, professionally, with respect and integrity for themselves and their fellow creators.

There will be a weekly build up of skills via specific body and imaginative warm up, fundamental principles of creating characters through the body alongside text analysis, and rehearsal of scenes from a variety of texts that demand a particular and distinct physical commitment and expression from the actor. These include Metamorphosis where a character becomes a dung beetle or Cripple of Inismaan where a feral female character has to suggest and elicit in the audience’s senses the potential of extraordinary violence whilst also keeping themselves and fellow actors safe.

Q: What kind of people participate on the course?

    A: So far we’ve gotten a variety of participants from a richly diverse range of cultures who bring their individually distinct viewpoint of the world and desire to express their creativity to the table.

    Sometimes we get folk who loved drama as children and are longing to find it again as a necessary creative outlet, sometimes it’s accomplished people with a healthy creative life in another discipline like music, painting or food who want to reinvigorate their practice by taking a risk in being a novice in a room again.

    There’s a very healthy amateur dramatics community throughout Ireland who want to augment their already impressive skill set and perhaps are longing to approach their craft in another way in order to access and explore more profound depths in their work. Sometimes it’s people who literally want to have a fun night out once a week to meet new people and try something new.

    The joyous aspect of this for me and by extension this new actors ensemble is that each individual determines their level of engagement and how far they want to bring the work along. The work accepts, welcomes and absorbs into the craft each individual contribution so that the experience can become more than the sum of its parts. It’s truly exciting as this aspect evolves week by week.

    Q: What experience do people need?

    A: Literally ZERO experience needed to participate in the course. The basic principles and manner of their application are designed to be as useful and practicable to a beginner as well as to a seasoned professional.

    What are the elements of Physical Theatre?

    • Posture - the physical alignment of a performer's body.
    • Mannerisms - small, repeated movements specific to a character.
    • Gait - how a character walks.
    • Movement - several different drama techniques focus on controlled movement, eg ensemble or mime.

    About Bryan Burroughs

    Bryan is a skilled Physical Theatre Performer (accomplished mime, multi-character storytelling, animals), as well as an actor, director, movement director and writer. Bryan is a graduate from the Samuel Beckett Centre at Trinity College Dublin and has taught Movement/Physical Theatre at The Lir Academy, Trinity College Dublin, NYU / Tisch School of the Arts and at the Accademia dell ’ Arte in Arezzo, Italy.