THE CHEKHOV COLLECTIVE
A brand new website for the Chekhov Collective's workshops and events is in development. In the meantime, please find key information about us, and the Spring and Summer 2018 events, on this page (scroll down). For inquiries email: email@example.com
Dr Cass Fleming established The Chekhov Collective in 2013 to foster collaborative exchange between practitioners and practice-based researchers across different arts disciplines and stages of their careers. These exchanges explore new developments in arts practice and their application within and beyond the context of theatre and performance.
The work the Collective undertakes features workshops and events that destabilise the model of master-teacher and traditional rehearsal room hierarchies, by opening intergenerational and interdisciplinary spaces for an exchange of practice and research innovation, experiments, and critical debate.
Through this work, The Chekhov Collective builds, supports and facilitates a growing and diverse artistic community that recognizes the importance of:
· Collaborative and Relational Practice
· Open-hearted, open-minded, and playful exchange
· Training and practice that is socially engaged
· Diversity, difference and experimentation
· Critical friendship
· Mentoring and support
· A dynamic and accessible relationship between practice, research and the professional sector
· Sharing new practices, discourses, and experiments with the wider arts and cultural sector
· The need to question, explore and develop existing structures of training and performance making in both playful and radical ways
The Chekhov Collective’s work provides a springboard for established and emerging artists seeking to expand/deepen their own practice, but also, and importantly, celebrates artistic community and the power of coming together to create. All artists involved use various aspects of Chekhov Technique, but in different ways, and often blended with other methods and approaches.
The spaces we create, such as the 2016 New Pathways symposium, ‘give practitioners time to concentrate, to unpick what it is that they do… the vocabulary allows people to frame and articulate what they knew intuitively, and to attend to things’ (Caoimhe McAvinchy). We welcome all who are interested in this process to join us. As our colleague from Michael Chekhov Europe says: ‘You don’t have to be exclusive to make something special’ (Uli Meyer-Horsch).
Our 2018 series of workshops explores approaches to art and life based in the principles of Michael Chekhov’s technique. All artists involved use various aspects of Chekhov Technique, but in different ways, and often blended with other methods and approaches. This programme of events presents a unique opportunity to discover contemporary applications of Chekhov technique. Events broadly divide into two strands:
Applications in performance/art, in areas such as stand-up comedy, performance art, dance and directing
Applications beyond performance, in areas such as therapy, presentation skills, events planning and work with children.
- 5 January 2018: Beginning with the performance/art strand, we launch our Spring Series with an Open Space hosted by The Chekhov Collective and The Labanarium. Time: 9am-1pm | Location: Goldsmiths Studio 1 | Tickets: £10/£5 concessions. [We are keen to make our workshops as accessible as possible, and there are concessions available. If you would like to make a special application for a free ticket, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org]. Book here: http://bit.ly/2AsekIY
- 24 February 2018: OPEN HOUSE: A playful introduction to key principles of Chekhov Technique. Time: 10am to 5pm | Studio 3, Goldsmiths | New Cross | SE14 6NW London | Cost: £20/£15.50 Concessions (Students/Unwaged) Book here: http://bit.ly/2Bs5b6 .
Our Open House workshops, offered once per season, provide a playful introduction to some key principles of Chekhov technique. Newcomers to the technique are welcome, as are those who wish to refresh their memories. If you are planning to attend any of our other Spring 2018 workshops, we strongly recommend coming to this Open House. The workshop will be led by Cass Fleming, Roanna Mitchell and other members of the Chekhov Collective. Please come prepared for practical work (loose clothing, bare feet) and bring water. There will be a lunch break, please bring your own.
- 6 March 2018: Solo Comedy and Writing: Learning to collaborate with yourself. Time: 6-8pm | RHB 154, Goldsmiths | New Cross | SE14 6NW London | Cost: £10/£8 Concessions (Students/Unwaged) Book here: http://bit.ly/2FDSVQ7.
This workshop focuses on strategies for developing a character/persona to write through, giving you someone to collaborate with even in solo creation. The workshop is led by solo comedy artist Sian Clarke, whose practice is influenced by, and adapted from, various aspects of Chekhov technique. It will be valuable to solo performers and those interested in comedy and writing. Previous knowledge of Chekhov technique is not required. We do highly recommend that interested participants also attend the Chekhov Collective’s Open House on 24th February, though this is not a prerequisite for attending this workshop.
- 20 March 2018: Chekhov, the Grotesque and the Fantastical. Time: 6-9pm | Studio 3, Goldsmiths | New Cross | SE14 6NW London | Cost: £10/8 Concessions (Students/Unwaged) . Book here: http://bit.ly/2CrQVvB
Explore the realms of the grotesque, caricature and the fantastical, with Gruff Theatre and the Chekhov Collective.This workshop is suitable for performers interested in extreme character transformation and physicalizing fantastical worlds out of the most mundance spaces and circumstances. Gruff are well-known for their sharp satirical eye and for developing larger-than-life characters out of the relationship to site. They will share their process and lead participants playfully and safely to expand beyond their everyday self.
- 19 May 2018: Imaginative Embodiment: Michael Chekhov and Jacques Lecoq. Hosted by The Chekhov Collective and Embodied Poetics. Time: 10am-2pm | RHB154, Goldsmiths | New Cross | SE14 6NW London | Cost: £20/15 Concessions (Students/Unwaged). Book here: https://bit.ly/2rDFHNq
Run by Amy Russell and Cass Fleming, this workshop will investigate the synergies between Michael Chekhov Technique and the Lecoq Pedagogy. We are delighted to welcome Amy (Pedagogic co-founder of LISPA in London, more recently founder of the School of Embodied Poetics, London) to join us for this session. The workshop will be of interest to performers, actors, dancers and directors, especially those interested in approaching performance through the body and through principles of play.
- 9 June 2018: Chekhov and The Chorus. Time: 10am-2pm | Studio 3, Goldsmiths | New Cross | SE14 6NW London | Cost: £10/12 Concessions (Students/Unwaged). Ticket includes entry to 4.pm panel discussion at Jerwood Space, see below. Book here: https://bit.ly/2rVpMu3
Having just concluded the run of her critically acclaimed production of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke (Almeida, 2018), director Rebecca Frecknall joins us to lead this workshop on her uses of Chekhov technique in directing. This session will be of interest to directors and actors/performers, and offers unique insights into the ways in which Chekhov's work can be used in the context of text-based work and chorus.
- 9 June 2018: PANEL DISCUSSION Directors as Collaborators: On hierarchy, empowerment and kindness in the rehearsal process. Time: 4-5.30pm | Space 8, Jerwood Space | 171 Union Street | SE1 0LN London | Cost: £5. Book here: https://bit.ly/2kaCIrR
‘The Actor is the Theatre’ (Michael Chekhov, 1936). As the theatre world grapples with questions of agency, exclusion and exploitation, the power dynamics between director and actors need re-visiting. To take this forward, we have invited four directors to discuss the ways in which they collaborate with actors: To debate how conventional hierarchies can be subverted, how creativity can be both empowered and harnessed, and to reflect on the role of kindness in the creative process.
10 July 2018: Chekhov and Musicality in Performance. Time: 6-9pm | RHB154, Goldsmiths | New Cross | SE14 6NW London | Cost: £10/8 Concessions (Students/Unwaged). Book here: https://bit.ly/2IBjDhe
We are delighted to announce that Gretchen Egolf will be running this Chekhov Collective workshop, designed for performers interested in exploring Chekhov’s work through the lens of tempo, rhythm, and musicality. Using these elements can offer a new access point to characterization, just as using images or sensations in the technique can do. Each character we play has a different inner tempo or rhythm. Unlocking this can lead to increased freedom and surprising discoveries. We will also explore using music not just as it applies to an existing character, but also as a means to creating a new one. No musical experience or aptitude is necessary. Interested musicians are also very welcome (in which case no acting experience is necessary)!
Is previous experience required?
Performance/Art strand: We welcome participants with a solid level of experience in their own area of practice. Previous knowledge of Chekhov technique is not required, however, we recommend that you attend one of our Open House sessions, run once per season, which provide a playful introduction to key principles.
Beyond Performance strand: These workshops are open to all. To find out more about what each workshop covers and how it might be relevant to you, please check individual workshop descriptions. Previous knowledge of Chekhov technique is not required, however, we recommend that you attend one of our Open House sessions, run once per season, which provide a playful introduction to key principles.
Costs: Prices for workshops vary with length and are kept as low as possible. Workshops with invited international practitioners may be at a higher rate to cover basic costs. We are keen to make our workshops as accessible as possible, and there are concessions available. If you would like to make a special application for a free ticket, please contact us via email at email@example.com.
The Chekhov Collective was originally established to undertake the preliminary experiments related to the Michael Chekhov in the Twenty-First Century: New Pathways Research Project. It has undertaken work on the practice-based research strand of this project exploring the use of the technique in relation to Devised Theatre-Making and Catalyst Direction, drawing on the rich archival materials held on the work of the Chekhov Theatre Studio at Dartingon Hall. This led to the development of the practice-as-research work on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.
In its ongoing practice, The Chekhov Collective is distinctive for basing its devising and directing work in a long-term investigation of Michael Chekhov Technique. We are particularly interested in playful, visual and imaginative methods of working that empower the actor as creator and disrupt traditional power-structures and roles.
With growing popularity of Chekhov’s technique in the UK theatre landscape, the Chekhov Collective is now receiving keen interest from practitioners in different fields wanting to learn more about the work. In the past Dr Cass Fleming and members of The Chekhov Collective have led workshops at the Royal National Theatre Studio and for the Young Vic Directors' Program and the series of New Pathways events at Goldsmiths University of London in 2016.
The Collective is comprised of director Dr Cass Fleming, movement-/performance maker Dr Roanna Mitchell, Gruff Theatre Company’s performers Thomas Bostock, Alistair Foylan and Phoebe Naughton, performance art practitioner Dr Katja Hilevaara, performer/writer/comedian Sian Clarke, and actor Joshua MacLellan.
A wider group of Collective Members have collaborated and contributed to the work in recent years. These include Francesca Castelbuono (Film Director/Maker), Derek Ellwood (Actor and Theatre-Maker), Bryn Fitch (Puppeteer), Rebecca Frecknall (Director), Melody Grome (Director and Playwright), Hanna Junti (Movement Director), Dadiow Lin (Director and Designer), Saskia Marland (Actor and Theatre Maker).