INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: The Versatile Actor: Action, Fight and Group Scenes in Acting Practice (Cancelled due to COVID-19).

Marathon 15-30 July 2021,

Hosted by Marathon Run Start Venue, Marathon GR

Cancelled due to COVID-19

The Makings of the Actor:The Versatile Actor: Action, Fight and Group Scenes in Acting Practice is an international conference held under the auspices of The Makings of  the Actor in collaboration with Municipality of Marathon, supported by Labanarium and organized by Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Conference Venue: Marathon Run Start Venue, Marathon GR

Building on the success of last year’s conference on The Actor-Dancer, The Makings of the Actor invite submissions for presentations and papers for this summer’s conference, The Versatile Actor: Action, Fight and Group Scenes in Acting Practice.Bringing together practitioners and scholars in the field of actor-training, this year’s conference will also celebrate the launch of a new actor-training initiative to be run by the Makings of the Actor in the Municipality of Marathon, Greece, aimed at addressing the holistic education of the actor in the 21st Century, a versatile and total performer.

In recognition of both the global reach of this theme and the expansive network of interested practitioners and scholars, as well as the impact of the current pandemic, participants are invited to take part either in person or virtually. Conference proceedings will be live-streamed; papers, and where appropriate workshops and demonstrations, can be presented remotely.

Keynote speakers:

Prof. Mark Evans, in Theatre Training and Education, Coventry University, UK

Ramunė Balevičiūtė Associate Professor in Theatre Studies, Lithuanian Academy of
Music and Theatre, Lithuania.

Prof. Bharat Gupt, Former Faculty, Delhi University,Trustee and Executive
Member, INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL CENTER FOR THE ARTS, (Ministry of
Culture), New Delhi, India.

Jake Harders, Community Drama and Diploma Manager Royal Central School of
Speech and Drama, University of London, UK.

Prof. Nikos Geladas Dean of the School of Physical Education and Sports Science National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Gr·

Prof. Vladimir Mirodan FRSA, Emeritus Professor of Theatre

Morwenna Rowe, lecturer in voice at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama
and voice and text tutor for Rutgers at the Globe Theatre, London, UK

Prof. Rob Roznowski Head of Acting & Directing, Department of Theatre, Michigan State University, USA

Prof. Sergei Tcherkasski in Acting and Directing, Head of Acting Studio at the
Russian State Institute of Performing Arts (St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts
Academy, est. 1779). He is a director, teacher and theatre researcher and holds Ph.D.
and D.Sc. (Theatre Arts) RU.

Laura Wayth, Associate Professor of Theatre, School of Theatre and Dance, San Francisco State University, USA

Our previous conference, held in September 2020 centered on the theme of the actor as Actor-Dancer. This concept was articulated by R. Laban, in his book TheMastery of Movement on the Stage (1950) and has its roots in ancient Greek culture as Orchaestis. Orchaestis can be understood as a totally versatile physical actor-dancer-athlete, capable of transforming his/her body into different characters, animals, schemes, through his bodily rhythmical configurations. In Poetics, Aristotle discusses this principle in regards to mimesis in theatre praxis, with Lucian addressing this in his book Peri Orchēseōs:

The best antiquarians, let me tell you, trace dancing [Orchaesis in the original text] back to the creation of the universe; it is coeval with that Eros[1] who was the beginning of all things. In the dance of the heavenly bodies, in the complex involutions whereby the planets are brought into harmonious intercourse with the fixed stars, you have an example of that art in its infancy, which, by gradual development, by continual improvements and additions, seems at length to have reached its climax in the subtle harmonious versatility of modern Pantomime [Orhaestis in original text] http://lucianofsamosata.info/wiki/doku.php?id=home:texts_and_library:dialogues:of-pantomime#section8

Municipality of Marathon, apart from it’s historical significance – the famous battle of Marathnon and the marathon road – also offers the appropriate building facilities and spaces for athletic training. In this setting we have the rare opportunity to reflect on the ancient notions of athletics, warriorship and orchaestis, while also drawing on the modern Olympic legacy and facilities present on this site. The art of acting as taught in Academies and Universities with various methods and practices, has predominantly focused on the role of textual analysis, and the independent training of voice and movement as geared towards specific forms of performance. As Mark Evans (2015) in the book The Actor Training Reader points out:

The constant renewal of actor training practice requires that we repeatedly look again at the world from new and different perspectives that are better attuned to the challenges of the world we live in. (Mark Evans 2015 The Actor Training Reader  Xxviii Introduction). 

Facing the challenges of today’s world, the actor requires a fare greater spectrum of skills and adaptability to working across contexts and skillsets. We also encounter and increased blurring of the lines between acting and other disciplines, as seen in other recent conferences such as “Performing Mountains” (Leeds, 2018) focused on mountain climbing.

In the meeting of acting and broader athletic practices we may also be reminded of Artuad’s concept of the actor as an “athlete of the heart”, and Grotowski’s notions of the “total act” and actor as “warrior” (1988), two practitioners who sought to re-envision the role and training of the actor.  Today we encounter many contemporary approaches seeking to transgress the frameworks of conventional actor training, drawing on principles from other sources including yoga, martial arts and somatic practices. This versatile (total) actor seeks a training that expands the boundaries of kinaesthetic consciousness, to address the goals of the art of acting, which is the transformation of the actor’s body, allowing him/her to perform different roles. Through conferences and practical research, The Makings of the Actor seeks to identify the special techniques and methodologies that concern all actors, regardless of their cultural, identity, ethnicity, and social profile.

While sports, athletics and dance trainings offer many clear benefits to the actor, there are also a number of potential drawbacks to these forms of training if undertaken without an understanding of the associated movement patterns and physical attributes. In their book, Actor Movement Vanessa Ewan and Debbie Green (2014) point to some of the risks of actors turning to sports training as a substitute for movement training, with the systematized nature of many sports and martial arts trainings potentially conflicting with the need for “instinctive” movements and responsiveness within acting. While this conference seems to uphold the “ideal” of the actor warrior, actors of all abilities are encouraged to attend. We will examine how the methods of Grotowski and Artaud can be expanded for a population of actors with varying physical abilities.  We will expand the definition of the athletic actor to be inclusive and uphold the idea of otherness. 

With these thoughts in mind, our research into the training of the actor as athlete directs itself towards a number of core questions:

  • What elements make up the practice of today’s actor-dancer-athlete based on the creative coexistence of cultures and mentalities and full respect for otherness?
  • What forms of athletic training best serve the actor?
  • What are the advantages as well as the drawbacks that may come from engaging in these forms of training?
  • In what ways are these capacities being applied to performance making and choreographic practices in live performance and film? And how might these industry requirements feedback into training practices?
  • What can fields such as sports psychology and applied kinesiology offer to actor training?

Our Conference for 2021 will focus on the preparation of a comprehensive educational and artistic proposal based on the concept of the Orchaestis and how this can be a springboard for the emergence of a modern model of education that connects the triptych Dancer-Actor-Athlete. Our aim is to provide education for the actor, with these techniques and methodologies arising through a dialogue between theory and practice.

Gathering onsite in Marathon, this conference will contain a wide range of events including research papers and presentations as well as workshops and teaching demonstrations. Further this conference will mark the launch of a new two year training programme on this site, that meets the needs of the contemporary actor as formed in the educational and artistic institutions as well as informed by techniques such as archery, rowing, riding, and shooting.

The themes this conference seeks to address include, but are not limited to: 

  • Acting training and coaching
  • Voice training for performers on stage/screen/radio/
  • Dance and movement training for actors
  • Acting for dancers
  • Presence on stage and on screen for actors and dancers
  • Training for musicals
  • Martial Arts
  • Historical dances training
  • Dance and choreography in theatre practice and on screen
  • Acting and dance in physical theatre practices
  • Physical theatre and Performance Art practices
  • Directing actors and dancers on stage and on screen
  • Spiritual and intellectual training for the contemporary actor
  • Theory and practice in acting practices
  • Presence, truthfulness and somatic awareness on stage

-Actor and musical productions

  • Improvisation techniques and the rehearsal process
  • Acting in Education
  • Actors in industry and their continuous training
  • Skills and dexterities in acting
  • Acting/coaching teachers and their skills.
  • Mime in Acting practice
  • Acting and Sports

We are open to applications for the following: 

We welcome submissions from acting/voice/movement/dance teachers, acting coaches, theatre practitioners, actors, directors, dancers, choreographers, film directors, dance-film directors, training practitioners, theatre and dance researchers and academic researchers within varying aspects of practice.

For papers please send your abstract of 200 words for your oral presentation in Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address. The paper presentations will be 40 min, followed by a 10 min discussion with the audience/participants. We accept submissions for online paper presentations.

Submissions of teaching demonstrations must be in English and can be up to 4 pages (including references and figures) in a Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address. The first 2 pages are expected to describe your approach. The third and fourth pages are expected to be used for images, references, and technical requirements. You can expect wireless network access. 15-25 students will be provided for all accepted demonstrations. The demonstrations allows practitioners/researchers to demonstrate their works in teaching in a dedicated session of 100 min.,followed by a 20 min discussion with the audience/participants.

Please send your submission by the 25th of May 2021 to: info@themakingsactor.com

Acceptance Notification:  27th  of May 2021

If an official invitation is required earlier for research funding purposes, please contact  info@themakingsactor.com and ensure that you submit your abstract as early as possible.

Conference Registration fees:

Paper presentations fees: 150€

Teaching demonstration: 250 €

Attendants fees: 200€

Student & unwaged fees: 100 €

Paper presentations, teaching demonstrations and performances will be held between 15– 30 July 2021.

*This conference will also host a special event involving choreography and training in action, fight and group scenes, with references to the battle of Marathon. This Event will be recorded and presented in the form of a short film in which history will move from the past to the future as a continuum connecting 490 BC. with the revolution of 1821 AD. and local history with the second battle of Marathon in 1824 AD. under the chieftain Giannis Gouras to Modern Greece.