Agroup of Nelson performers will be receiving top-flight instruction when a leading physical theatre teacher visits the region next week.
Lisa Worthington, of Brisbane-based theatre company Zen Zen Zo, will hold an intensive master class at Riverside Community with Nelson’s Body in Space actors and students, as well as performers from around New Zealand.
The training programme has been held in all the capital cities of Australia as well as Auckland, Vancouver and Hong Kong.
The workshop participants will train in the performance methods of Suzuki, Butoh and also Viewpoints, a technique that allows performers in creative theatre to lift their awareness of their body in relation to space and time.
They will be working from 9am to 5pm every day and will create a performance at the end of the week based on Oscar Wilde’s Salome.
‘‘Zen Zen Zo is a very big, very well supported physical theatre company; they get millions of dollars in funding a year,’’ Body in Space co-artistic director Lisa Allan says.
Lisa and her husband, Body in Space co-artistic director Dan Allan, flew to Brisbane to study with Zen Zen Zo for a month in 2009, before moving to Nelson to start their own theatre company incorporating its teachings.
‘‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for professional development,’’ she said.
‘‘Usually you’d have to pay thousands to go to Brisbane and do this, so by bringing her in it’s amazing for us.
‘‘It wouldn’t be accessible to us otherwise.’’ She is also pleased to further develop networks between New Zealand and Australia.
The camp was masterminded by Body in Space member and circus/physical theatre performer and teacher Damara Sylvester, who went to Zen Zen Zo herself for a five-day session in January.
She studied techniques including Suzuki, Viewpoints and devising new theatre and was so inspired that she began scheming ways to bring Ms Worthington to Nelson.
She teaches regularly at Riverside and says it’s a beautiful venue.
‘‘[Zen Zen Zo] always looked quite cutting-edge and intriguing and were doing quite different stuff at arts festivals,’’ Ms Sylvester says.
‘‘Body in Space uses those two training modalities [of Suzuki and Viewpoints] and I really wanted the other people in Body in Space to have that opportunity and also open it up to other people from around New Zealand, bring people together in doing it and just create more awareness and deeper knowledge of those forms.
‘‘One of the nice things of the Brisbane experience was that it was that intensive you were immersed in it from waking to sleeping.
‘‘It’s quite a gift to yourself as a performer to be able to do that with your peers.’’
Silky strong: Damara Sylvester performs at a recent show.
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