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Playwriting in Movement

Open Heart Surgery Theatre
Event organized by Open Heart Surgery Theatre

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How can we create dramatic text that is grounded and rooted inthe body and movement? How can we approach the writer's craft and process in a visceral way?

This workshop, led by international theatre creator, Coleen Shirin MacPherson, aims to provoke the imagination and stimulate your ability to play and transform image into words. After studying at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris and taking part in the UK's Off-West End Arcola Theatre's Writers' Group and attending workshops led by playwrights James Graham (National Theatre) and Michel Azama (Bled, The Life and Death of Pier Paolo Pasolini), MacPherson has developed her own approach to writing for the stage to provoke the imagination and develop each artists' unique voice. Her plays have appeared at Camden People's Theatre, Mimetic Festival (London, UK), Falaki Theater (Cairo, Egypt), Plateau 31 (Paris, France) and The Theatre Centre (Toronto). Her play This Is Why We Live wil tour to Poland (Krakow and Katowice) to be part of the Miłosz Festival of Literature at Nowy Theatr. This work will also be part of New York's La MaMa's 57th season (off-broadway). She has worked and toured to China, UK, Northern Ireland, Spain, USA and France.

Coleen is part of Factory Theatre's Natural Resources Creation Group led by Matt McGeachy and is developing a new work. She held a staged reading of Meat at The Arcola Theatre (London, UK) and is working alongside Susanna Fournier to develop this work further. It will be produced in the UK with Epsilon Productions. Her company, Open Heart Surgery Theatre creates multilingual work that stretches borders and experiments with form. She is currently in development with Surrealist Kitchen, which will be part of the Feminist Fuck It Festival on Geary Avenue produced by Storefront Theatre in Toronto. This work will further be developed in Bacalar, Mexico as part of a residency with her company in November 2018 at La Casa Internacional del Escritor de Bacalar.

MacPherson's joy in teaching is also a joy gained from the desire to colalborate and develop relationships with working artists in Toronto and to stimulate new methodologies of cfreation with her company Open Heart Surgery Theatre.



Playwriting in Movement focuses on how to develop dramatic texts; journeying participants through exercises that bring writing into movement. We will observe, play and write. Exploring: the concrete, dramaturgy, neutral mask, physical action, language and writing from teh body. Inspired by the Lecoq tradition, Coleen Macpherson, writer and theatre maker, will lead the workshop with the goal of inspiring writers, theatre makers and creative individuals to capture the world in words.

Day One: The Concrete and Neutral Mask

We will explore the concrete in our writing through a series of exercise that provoke the writer's imagination. Beginning in neutral we write purely through obesrvation, searching for specificty. We will work with the neutral mask, working on the body in space and the search for a state of essentializing action. The class invites students to write actively and engage with each other's writing through guided feedback.

Day Two: Painting and Music

We look at the dynamics of movement in painting and music and see how this can be transposed to teh stage. What world does the painting provoke? What space and mood? We begin to look at how the outside world and art can inspire our writing. We then look at two contrasting pieces of music and find movement in space of this music. From this we write.

Day Three: Forms of Writing / Dramatic Structure

We look at the principles of narration and the strategies to be a teller of stories. How can we drive the story? How can we provoke and play with action? We look at rhythm of language and the counter maks of character. Through improvisaiont with minimal set and objects we create short scenes and begin to write from here. By analyzing movement we are able to see nuance, to tell stories and to invent a world that is not intellectual but comes from the interaction and provocation between space and the actor.

Student Testimonial:

"With Playwriting in Movement you go on a journey with a talented inspiring insightful teacher who combines my two earthly loves the BODY and the WORD. Anyone who knows movement knows it is more than mere entertainment, but rather a profound meaning-maker, will benefit in this writing workshop. Writing scenes from the body is...grounding! I have never before created dialogue that truly felt CONNECTED and DRIVEN by a FORCE. Writing from the body does that!" (Student Testimonial from August 2017 workshop)

"It allowed me to see what I do in my writing and to kickstart what I couldn't do on my own" (Student Testimonial from February 2017)

Limited spaces are available as this workshop does not function with too many students!

This workshop is aimed at theatre creates, industry professionals, writers and anyone eager to learn the craft of devising theatre.

Cost: $170 (tax included)

Time: Wednesday May 2nd 6:00-9:00 pm

Thursay May 3rd 6:00-9:00 pm

Friday May 4th 6:00-9:00 pm

Where: University of Toronto, 75 St George Street (Morrison Hall)

Please email coleen.macpherson@gmail.com if you have any questions or have a concern about pricing. Limited subsidies are available.