Manifesto for Physical Theatre – part 2

Physical Theatre prides itself in creating ensemble pieces, where ALL performers are vital to the piece. Ensemble members work well together, feeding off each other during the creation process, listening on stage to each other with ears and bodies, in tune with what they are all doing, all the time. When an ensemble is working well together, the audience FEELS the performers’ joy in collaborating and this in turn heightens the audience’s experience.

Working well as an ensemble does not necessarily mean that everyone gets on incredibly well all the time and that they are all great friends. It means people respect each other, share a common theatrical language and believe in what they are creating together. It is very important therefore that performers warm up together before rehearsals, carry out games and exercises to increase awareness of each other and spend as much time as possible trying out ideas in the space. Only in this way will they really understand how they operate individually and as a group.

It is always worth reminding students that the ensemble is made up of individuals and as such, everyone needs to take responsibility for their role in the creative process. Everyone works in different ways and understanding how this enriches the piece, will make the work even better. On a practical level, the ensemble needs to take care of the whole piece while the individual is responsible for developing his/her own character/s and bringing emotional truth to them. It is worth pointing out that although students might have great ideas about how others’ characters should be developed it is important that each performer explores their own ideas first, as long as they are within the constraints of the piece and story. This will hopefully remind the more vocal students that this is the chance for everyone to take ownership of the piece.


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