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Students will explore essential body, voice and acting skills through the medium of skill-based improvisation. This is a form of improvisation devised by the originator of theatre improvisation, Viola Spolin, and unlike many forms of improvisation does not have its focus on ‘performance’.
Instead, students will focus on skill development for all aspects of theatre work; voice, body, characterisation, blocking/use of the stage, stage crafts, motivation and emotion. A non-judgemental approach to acting is encouraged on this course – where it is not encouraged to see things in terms of ‘good and bad’ or ‘right and wrong’ but rather to promote intuition, imagination, problem solving and freedom of action (both internal and external/physical), which will give all students on the course a sense of confidence, and is designed to bring out true potential, however hidden. The influences on the techniques used in this course are derived not just from Spolin but also from Konstantin Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, Michael Shurtleff and Augusto Boal.
In addition to expanding their knowledge of acting and performance skills, students will also work on a short scene or monologue chosen from classical or modern theatre in addition to the skill development that will be the primary aim of the course. On the final Friday these will be performed to the rest of the class who will offer feedback. Students will be immersed in theatrical techniques early on so that they are free to explore both modern and traditional English drama. These performance techniques are exercised so that students can apply these skills to the scene studies; in this way, the two parts of the course complement and feed off each other.
The short scenes or monologues that students will address cover a very broad cross-section of the British theatre, so whichever skills and styles a student wishes to focus on, they are sure to find some application in the final performance. Playwrights include Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Harold Pinter, Michael Frayn, and Willy Russell alongside lesser-known writers whose writing is similarly enjoyable and exciting.
This subject is part of the Broadening Horizons course at Oxford Royale Summer Schools’s Oxford summer school.
The Broadening Horizons course, for students aged 16 to 18, is suitable both for those who are trying to decide what to pursue in further education, and for those who simply want to learn about a variety of interesting subjects - 30+ study options are available!
Students choose two morning classes and one afternoon workshop to provide a diverse and stimulating curriculum that is tailored to their needs, allowing them to pursue areas of interest or try out something new. Students studying Broadening Horizons in Oxford get the chance to live and learn in a college of the University of Oxford or in our 17th-century manor house, Yarnton Manor.
All classes are active and require the student to be fully engaged both in exercises and feedback, creative input etc. However, as the course focuses on building confidence and drawing out latent talent, students need have no prior experience of acting; furthermore, the course assumes little or no knowledge of English drama. As movement is an essential part of the kind of improvisation practised on this course, students will need to wear loose and comfortable clothing (no skirts).
The Broadening Horizons programme - our flagship Oxford summer course - allows you to combine different subject options to enable a flexible, tailored programme that best suits your academic needs
To view other options, select your choice of options and apply, please visit the main Broadening Horizons Programme page
With the Broadening Horizons Programme you also get:
What our students have to say
Read how Sara has returned year on year, experiencing different summer courses in Oxford and Cambridge.Read Sara's story
Read how Mifta's experience with us introduced her to lifelong friends from across the world.Read Mifta's story
An aspiring cinematographer, Rebecca joined us at the ISC for our Future Filmmakers Gap Year Programme.Read Rebecca's story
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Oxford Royale Academy is a part of Oxford Programs Limited, UK company number 6045196. The company contracts with institutions including Oxford University for the use of their facilities and also contracts with tutors from those institutions but does not operate under the aegis of Oxford University.