Posts Tagged ‘actor training


The Tempest


The Tempest

Zen Zen Zo

Trinity Parish Hall

August 16 – 31 2019


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward



We all want to break the chains that hold us in our prison cell.

We all want to be released and find our way out of the damp dark well.

We all want to glide like wind – an eagle to the wild.

We all want a land that we can call home.


I arrive in time to park in the street, beneath trees boasting fairy lights and a sky alive with the Ekka fireworks; perfect! An Ariel checks the water level in each of the silver buckets placed Zen-Zen-Zo-ever-so-strategically around the outer edges of the rectangular lawn that separates Trinity Church from Trinity Parish Hall on its sweet little island in The Valley. It’s here that we’re greeted by the company’s new Executive Producer & Education Manager, Nicole Reilly, and then by our Ariel. He is our Ariel by the powerful magic to which performers and top speaker circuit salespeople are privy; he engages and connects in the half a moment we need to simply pay attention and follow. We’ve already been stamped on the wrist, door bitch style, and guided to a place to sit. Or stand. This is serious adulting; for audiences, making these choices is part of a more active and immersive theatrical experience.


The tempest of the title takes a long time to happen, like a storm building far out at sea that doesn’t hit until after midnight, and seemingly only in our dreams. So I guess the spell is taking effect. The opening sequence is all very atmospheric, with outdoor lighting to cast Prospero’s shadow on the high brick wall of the hall, and a violinist giving the multiple Ariels their cues to move together, thrusting now rather than gliding if you must know – and if you’re an actor or an actor in training you must know – and the unlucky ship’s crew entering and bracing, preparing for perhaps the most famous literary and theatrical storm of them all. Ross Miller gets the opening line here with an almighty Suzuki trained and Linklater influenced, “BRAAAAAAAACE”.


This opening sequence sets up for the audience that something different is happening, and at the same time, risks being considered sliiiiiiiiightly self-indulgent and slow moving. It serves the performers by giving them time to establish role and mood, and to rattle or settle the disparate energies of their audience. This is vital if they are to manage us and move us through the space. So for some time, they play with spatial relationships and focus, relying on super close proximity and pensive or sultry stares and postures, depending on the performer, to slightly unnerve some and thrill others. They usher individuals from one spot to another, for no apparent reason other than to change the vantage point, or provide a point of focus while nothing much else is happening. It sets the mood and it gives latecomers their only chance to see the show, since a strict lock-out period applies once we’re inside and there is nothing zen about challenging the lock-out at a Zo show. Just don’t bother. It’s a Lynne Bradley thing. You can’t win.


If you miss out on the show on any given night, what you can do is go for a lovely dinner nearby, or see what’s on offer at Ad Astra or Brisbane Powerhouse, an old Zen Zen Zo haunt. Speaking of which, another stomping ground, The Old Museum, appears to have been made affordable for brides-to-be but not performing artists. While it’s lovely to begin in nature and enjoy the warm and intimate timber surrounds inside the parish hall, both the Powerhouse and The Old Museum would have served this show well. This makes me consider the challenges of a company’s homelessness; without a permanent place to work again, one of our long-term leading theatre companies is left to fend for themselves and find a space each time they schedule a season. It’s all very well to live and breathe The Viewpoints, discovering the architecture and interesting existing spaces throughout the city, but there’s merit in the madness of settling down. I recently visited Dairakudakan’s tiny all-black-everything performance space in Tokyo, and recognised once again, the sense of belonging and security offered by a permanent home for artists. 


If I think about it for too long, The Tempest’s constructed, contrived start annoys me, but for those who frequently visit a traditional theatre space (without writing afterwards about their experience!), and especially for the school groups that this show appears to be geared towards, looking to see the curriculum at work in the real life business of the Performing Arts, it’s the perfect invitation to join the company on a journey inside and to another island, the home of Prospero, and his daughter, Miranda, servant, Ariel, and slave, Caliban.


A small raised stage serves as the centre of the island, a striking setting that features a rowboat front and centre, jutting out as if dashed upon the rocks, holding Miranda in front of us, and under her father’s stern rule above us. Designed by Drew der Kinderen and Ben Adams, and alluringly lit by Simon Woods, the collaborative result is a place of mystery and magic; the audience  delights in moving around it, and we stand or sit as directed, or not; ultimately, the shape and pace of this show is as much about crowd control as creating the world of the play. I should mention that it was suggested we wear warm comfortable clothing in which we’d happily sit on the floor, however; having spent the previous weekend successfully participating in AusAct workshops wearing a pencil skirt, I decided to put this advice to the test. Conclusion? Strong core work required to frequently, elegantly, spiral up and down in said skirt; no problem.



Wayne Jennings is a stern and powerful yet playful Prospero; he’s imposing and omnipresent. He wields a magnificent hand-carved wooden staff and the thunder created with it as he drives it into the floor makes audience members jump, and not just the first time. I suspect its inclusion is, or was at some stage of the rehearsal process, also an actors’ dojo in-joke. As Prospero, Jennings is also gentle and generous when the story calls for it, as well as being an accomplished musician and MD. The title of MD is shared with performer and composer, Josh Curtis, who caresses a guitar that dreams of being a lute, and with Gina Tay Limpus, these two featured Ariels, willing slaves to the music as much as to their master, provide much of Emma Dean’s beautiful original score, with its intricate layers and harmonies, and tones and textures and pauses and catches of breath. Their voices blend sublimely and I can’t wait for their debut album.*




So let’s talk about the humble, completely unintentionally scene-stealing, Gina Tay Limpus. Seriously. Just for a moment; I mean, what on earth do we do with her now? After the show on opening night, I suggested putting her in front of Tarantino (there’s one degree of separation after Kill Bill, after all!), but this extraordinary talent could successfully transfer to any context anywhere in the world and make her mark there. Gina is one of the few female performers I know who properly stands in her power on stage. Talk about sovereignty. She’s a stand out, but you may not have ever heard of her, unless you saw DUSK at Brisbane Powerhouse or Alchemy staged in Southbank’s Cultural Forecourt during Festival 2018 (or my Insta feed during that time because #girlcrush and Kaylee Gannon’s costumes). Gina is the embodiment of our much discussed actor training and preparation, encompassing rich vocal work, and strong, sensual, controlled movement, fierce focus, harnessed, centred energy and that unnameable essence (though we may refer to it as ‘presence’), which has us hooked, not wanting to look away. But we must, because there are other gorgeous gifts in the vocal and physical performances of Travis Wesley (sinuous, sculpted), Ben Adams (hilarious, spontaneous and super fun as Antonio, opposite Siobhan Gibbs’ Sebastian), Maja Liwszyc (innocent, joyful, playful; she makes Miranda a tender temptress) and Luke Davis, the latter a relative newcomer to the tribe who’ll settle during the season as Ferdinand. He and Liwszyc connect beautifully, and sustain an extended bisoku sequence as the story continues elsewhere, their love for one another bringing time to a standstill. 


Alongside Director, Lynne Bradley, and a Caliban, Melissa Budd, Jamie Kendall has choreographed powerful and beautiful sections of this show. Not seeing him perform here could be considered a travesty, however; he’s another ready to fly. Zen Zen Zo proudly catches teaches and releases, and many of the performers return home at some stage, but this configuration shares a new, youthful ensemble energy. Special mention then, of Kai Woods, who appears with Nicholas Mohr as the King’s Men/Clowns and quietly, assuredly makes his presence felt.   



Wesley leads a motley Caliban crew, featuring Budd, Amy Cooker, Grace Keane-Jones, Liam Linane and Joshua McLean, and their heightened physical presence and appearance is enough to prompt some audience members to lean back or move away, staying out of their penetrating gaze and lion’s breath! The juxtaposition of this energy against the gentle, gliding Ariels is apt. (Heidi Harrison, Georgia Politikis, Sho Webber, Jazz Zhao and our local neo-burlesque beauty, Lauren Story). Bradley uses the Ariels and Calibans to draw attention to the company’s training arm, and the featured performers to showcase the individuality and finesse that comes from Zen Zen Zo’s disciplined approach to performance making. That’s not to say that a sense of fun or play is lost along the way, in fact; play remains at the centre of the creative process, and it informs each performance to a lesser or larger extent, depending on the demands of the text and the talent of the company members. Bradley skilfully shapes this re-staging of The Tempest, utilising the gifts and talents of the ensemble members to support the storytelling, and inviting audience members to become their travel companions. Shakespeare’s classic story is perhaps more authentically delivered this way and certainly, it’s more clearly presented by Zen Zen Zo than by many English teachers – sorry not sorry, English teachers; work it out. Get that text up and onto the floor. 


If you can get a ticket – there are just 20 remaining – come to this show curiously, sans assumptions about the company, the style of theatre or the space in which it’s staged, and you’ll experience a little bit of magic that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else. This reimagining of The Tempest is a physical, musical, whimsical journey offering an enchanting escape from the daily grind, and a sweet moment of relief from whatever heavy notion, frustration, grief or grievance has got you down. It’s a style and a vibe of performance that will seduce you, tease you, test you and gently release you, ready or not.


Brisbane, it’s time to accept that, ready or not, Zen Zen Zo is back.


Responsive Performance Training with Leisa Shelton

A one-day workshop TOMORROW on Saturday April 20th for independent performance makers, offering an introduction to Responsive Performance Training and focussing on generative and practice techniques toward performance outcomes.



Leisa Shelton

Responsive Performance Practice is a training program developed and led by Leisa Shelton, through years of professional practice within contemporary performance and continuous investigation with many of the world’s leading teachers, directors and innovators.


It draws directly from the embodied actor training developed by Etienne Decroux, the rehearsal processes of Pina Bausch via Meryl Tankard, Autonomous Actor training as developed by Lindy Davies, alongside a continuing dialogue with Eastern principles of theatre practice.


The teaching is an act of transmission actively focusing on enabling and developing a performer’s intuitive, responsive and articulate awareness of space, those within it and their relationship to the material under investigation. The techniques offer a deeper understanding of, and relationship to, the interconnectedness of the body and voice within authentic performance language.


Responsive Performance Practice works in dialogue with each artist’s existing practice and is responsive to the individuals within each workshop group.



Saturday April 20th 10am – 4pm (includes 45 minute break) $60




Leisa Shelton Fragment31

Leisa Shelton is a performance artist /maker, curator and producer with a practice that foregrounds collaboration and an advocacy for new Australian transdisciplinary work.

In 2008, she founded the performance collective Fragment31 a multidiscipline artist run group, focusing on contemporary performance practice. For the last two years she has also been engaged in the Australia Council for the Arts initiative, Cultural Leadership, Leisa has undertaken residencies at London’s Spill Festival as well as in Taiwan and New York, creating new performance dialogues towards future collaborations.



The following is an interview with Leisa from 2003, which I just loved reading (I love any insight into a brilliant mind and sensitive soul!), and wanted to republish it here. Thanks so much to realtime for permission to post again here.


Three weeks before she begins rehearsal of her new work, The Inhabited Woman, Leisa Shelton and I are talking about timing. When she announced it, some colleagues wondered why she would be leaving her teaching at the VCA now, after 4 and half successful years. Surely, this is where it all pays off? Then there was her decision some years back to have a baby at which time friends said, “Why would you do that now, when your career is taking off?” And again, in 1989, after training in Europe for 6 years, she decided to return to Australia, she asked herself: Is this the right time? As worlds were opening—Bausch, Kantor, Mnouchkine? Then again, this was a good time for Australian performance—Lyndal Jones’ Prediction Pieces, Jenny Kemp’s Call of the Wild. Having chosen to stay, she looked around to see talented dancers working up solos in scout halls with no opportunities to perform.
But for Leisa Shelton each decision has turned out to be in some way timely. She feels a sense of achievement having been at the VCA in an era of shared vision with a team that included Richard Murphet and Robert Draffin, under the directorship of Lindy Davies. Her response to the Sydney artists’ dilemma in the 80s was to start Steps a curated program of physical performance at Performance Space which showcased the work of an extraordinary generation of performers including Roz Hervey, Kate Champion, Matthew Bergan, Sue-Ellen Kohler, Nikki Heywood and Anna Sabiel. And the baby? Well little Audrey is the envy of her playgroup. How many other kids have kept time with de Keersmaeker from their mother’s lap?

LS My background has always been physical theatre more than pure dance which is really what Steps was about and working with Meryl Tankard in Canberra (1990-93). If I was going to be called a “dancer”, I wanted to push open a bit what I knew dance as being from my training and work in Europe…And in Robert Draffin and Richard Murphet’s work the language is derived from the physical state or the physical manifestations of the being inside the world.

I see the training of an actor as being, from its base, physical but the approach is very wide and it’s internal far more than external …the internal is affected kinesthetically and physiologically. Ultimately the one thing that all good theatre training eventually comes back to is the breath and the breath is a physical act. It’s still a contentious issue—what is physical and what is vocal. Breath belongs in different areas in different ways. It’s a bit like water in the world.

Which is extremely contentious—apparently we’re in for a bout of water wars. In 2000 you collaborated with Richard Murphet on Dolores in the Department Store (see RT43). Does your new work together spring from that?

In the form, yes. The Inhabited Woman is a concept that I’d started work on when I was awarded the Rex Cramphorn Scholarship. (1993) The originating question remains: What are the voices and worlds that inhabit a woman as she wakes?

And how have your answers changed since your original conception?

At that stage I was in my early 30s and it was an almost preoccupying focus for me to have a child. The whole process was very fulfilling. But as I came out of the early baby time, the reality of having a certain career trajectory or momentum and being the mother came into real conflict….The ability of the 2 to function together I found was a myth. I started to read about other women….I became caught in what this was about, this expectation of “having it all” and the reality of, in some ways, being left with nothing.

While someone like Simone de Beauvoir set up a context in which contemporary women could see their lives, and could claim self again, in order to do that and to uphold her place in the mythic relationship with Sartre, she paid a very high price. And I guess between 35-40 [for me] a lot of things changed very quickly. That became a time to question what you can and can’t do any more and how you find the point of balance, the moment when you can say it’s enough. I am this good a mother. I’ve done this much work that I’m proud of….I can personally sit with that. Then I have these moments when I’m caught in or overwhelmed by a certain perception which says, Ah but…what you could have done!

How is the woman “inhabited” in the work?

We started with a series of provocations and from that Richard has written the language…The metaphor has come from some reading I’ve been doing about the death of Virginia Woolf, her drowning, which I always found fascinating—that a woman could walk into a river, lie down and stay there.

With stones in her pockets.

A few. But not enough to hold her down. The water was very shallow, thigh high. She put herself under the water and lay down and drowned. The will and the need for that release was so intensely present in her that she could do that.

So the piece begins with a dream of walking into a river and submerging and staying under. The river returns throughout the piece and remains the metaphor for the woman’s desire to be something other, to go somewhere other, to inhabit a watery underworld. And the desire which the river continues to force forward and out of her, the sound of the river, the memory of the river, the return of images from the dream [all] force this desire inside her, out and into her home.

I wanted very much for this to be about the internal world of a woman which can be calmed and nurtured, or its difficulty be enhanced, by certain circumstances. But I wanted the woman’s world to be good. She is with a good man. She has a small boy of 3 who loves her. She has a beautiful home. She has all she should need and want. She should be happy. It’s enough. And for her it’s not. And it’s not about being in an abusive relationship, or difficult financial circumstances. It’s about a world inside her which is being denied. And the river forces it out of her. And she has to leave that world and find herself. She checks in to a hotel where she could be anyone and there she meets herself.

You have a team of young artists on the production working with film (Elspeth Tremblay) and sound (Katie Symes) and architect Ryan Russell. How do those elements work within the piece?

The river is entirely sound and image. At the moment, the film occupies the woman’s internal world or the perceptive world from outside. The dream is shown in film. Her imaginal world is projected in the space on a variety of surfaces at the same time as her inhabited state is present in the room. One of the ideas we’re working on is that when she finally does enter the domestic space—in which there is no man and child, just the voices of, sounds of—the film will show how the man sees her move through the room. The other side will show how the child sees her. In the middle is the woman who is neither one nor the other.

This is quite a task for a male writer

It’s like in Asian theatre when men play women because they understand them. They’ve witnessed them, watched them. Obviously the women that Richard Murphet has been in continuous contact with have affected what he’s witnessed…The writing for the women in Dolores… was glorious. His ability to write the minute detail, the complexity of the internal world is one of the layers of [his] Slow Love [1983, 2000] that I love. I always found it surprising that a man had written that. And The Inhabited Woman is very provocative, contemporary feminist writing, written by a man. And some people may have a huge issue with that. But I actually love it that a lot of that language hasn’t come directly from me. I’ll interpret it in a world in which we’ve chosen the elements together.

Is this exclusively a female experience you’re dealing with?

It’s inside a lot of men too. I don’t think it’s a mid-life crisis point but I think it affects a generation of women who are having children later, who have tasted a certain level of autonomy and self-driven life choices who find it very difficult. It’s a big thing for a woman to walk out of a family. So the struggle is to find a point of equilibrium. And I don’t think the examples are there. It’s ‘give in entirely and be this’ or ‘let go entirely and be this.’ But if you’re trying to tread the 2, then you’re just disappointing everyone.

Personally I feel like it’s an area that we’re not managing to cater for together at all as women because it’s layered with a certain level of guilt and desire to prove we can do it. And it’s all getting bottled inside us as we all try to make it work. Everyone’s watching to see who’s managing to make it work or failing to do so. And for others it’s the not-having-had the child that’s the constant….so that having had the child seems like you did the good thing without realising what it means to have had the child. So there’s no easy ground…And this is not an autobiographical piece—much as it terrifies me to realise how close, particularly over the last 3 years, the material of this work is—some of it is absolutely not my experience…I wanted to investigate the other, not go to the autobiographical place…and I have no answers. This piece unfortunately doesn’t answer things for anybody (WE LAUGH).


This article is reproduced with the permission of the writer and the publisher of RealTime, Open City Inc. It originally appeared in RealTime 55, June-July, 2003.

FACE IT: QTC Youth Ensemble Showcase 2012

Face It 

QTC Youth Ensemble Showcase

Queensland Theatre Company

Bille Brown Studio

06th – 07th October 2012


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


Youth Ensemble 2012 Tutors:

Chris Sommers, Andrea Moor, Travis Dowling, Jason Klarwein, Louise Brehmer, Kate Foy, Melissa Agnew, Nigel Poulton, Brian Lucas, Catarina Hebbard

Directed by Louise Brehmer & Kate Foy

Performed by The QTC Youth Ensemble:


Face It

Clementine Anderson

Tara Barazza

Emily Geale

Meg Haslam

Skye Heales

Sam Hocking

Finlay Holmes

Joseph Howard

Eliza Huybers

Zach Jamieson

Joe Klocek

Renee Lyon

Tiama Martina

James McMillian

Erin Pattison

Mia Pattison

Maddison Perez


Face It

Max Radvan

Brodie Shelley

Andrea Zdral

Isaiah Edwards

Alex Beard

Amelia Kordic

Anna Vickerman

Ben Shaw

Bridie Devereaux

Bridie McKim

Brittany Francis

James Kehoe

Ginger Kelly Watrous

Jamilla Wynter

Jess DeGlas

Katie Mirabito

Kirsty Thatcher


Face It

Madeleine Aprile

Mia Doyle

Nikki Bell

Olivia Bird

Payton Grgurovic

Rebecca Zanetti

Shannon Widrose

Tia Auld




Pressure and a teenager’s rite of passage were the overriding themes last week at the Bille Brown Studio, for Queensland Theatre Company’s Youth Ensemble Final Performance Showcase. Highly anticipated, this was not your typical “showcase”, which by my understanding of the word would have indicated specifically, which actors were presenting which scenes, for an invited audience of agents and managers. Perhaps this is the sort of event it will evolve into. Perhaps they were there. No pressure…

Family, friends, and a few of the acting tutors enjoyed the polished performances of our next generation of working actors. I know many of our current working actors turned out to one of the Saturday performances. And look out! These kids are good. Really good. It should be no surprise really, when we look at with whom they’ve had the pleasure of working. And they are mad-keen theatre students to start with, from Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast high schools (four of the girls attend the same Brisbane school – how proud must that HOD be?!). Out of some 200 auditionees earlier this year then, these guys and girls are seriously looking like the next big things.

The pieces selected covered a broad range of issues (I’ve listed them below), and represented the wonderful depth of the texts available for young people who want to work on something more challenging than your standard high school curriculum texts. Having said that, some of the best excerpts are of course from the plays included in our curriculum lists. Some of the most interesting came from our local playwrights, including Matthew Ryan, Robert Kronk, Bridget Boyle and Liz Skitch.

Too many of these students gave extraordinary performances to mention them all but a couple of the girls in particular managed to capture the entire audience, as if they had the performance experience of those actors rehearsing Bare Witness and Managing Carmen in the same building. In fact, one of the most poignant comments made by QTC’s Artistic Director, Wesley Enoch, in his introduction to the evening’s program, was about the developing confidence of the students and their increasing levels of comfort whilst in the building, in the first instance, spotting actors, Anna McGahan and John Batchelor on the other side of the space and whispering to each other rather than approaching them, then striding up to them to say hello in the next and just about taking over the building! I love this aspect of Wesley’s direction of the company; he’s always made it very clear that the actors are welcome to hang out there, at “home”. I remember this being central to Wesley’s launch speech last year, both for the mainstage and Greenhouse programs, and I’m looking forward to hearing about the next chapter on Sunday at QTC’s 2013 Season Launch.

Still in my head and somewhere just outside of my heart (when one has a child one tends to distance oneself from the horrifying possibility that anything at all could harm said child), was a performance by an actor who delivered the challenging monologue from Joanna Erskine’s Boot, which Erskine wrote for the The Voices Project (2010). The piece was adapted into a short film, which was released in March this year. Take a deep breath before viewing it. I feel we were incredibly privileged to see the powerful performance delivered by this young lady. The final monologue stayed with me too. This was a moving delivery of Stick by Carolyn Burns, also written for The Voices Project (2011).



get onto Currency Press and get your copy of The Voices Project.


It is wonderful – heartening and inspiring – to see so many young actors with half the battle won. With the opportunities afforded them by QTC (and let’s not forget the support from families) these actors are well on their way to making an impression in the industry. Indeed, they already have.






After an incredibly successful inaugural year the Queensland Theatre Company Youth Ensemble program returns for 2013 and applications for auditions are now open.

Queensland Theatre Company will provide access for motivated, passionate and talented young performers to develop their skills as actors by working with theatre professionals throughout the year long Youth Ensemble program. The program will demand a high level of commitment from participants and will celebrate and strive for excellence.

Upon the outcome of a successful audition a select group of students will be invited to join the Youth Ensemble in 2013. The Ensemble trains out of school hours with theatre professionals to advance their skills as actors. The groups will work towards a performance showcase season at Queensland Theatre Company’s Bille Brown Studio. All Ensemble members receive a season ticket to all Queensland Theatre Company productions in 2013 and are invited to participate in group excursions to the theatre throughout the year.

FACE IT included scenes from the following texts:

THE STONES by Tom Lycos and Stefo Nantsou
SNAGGED by Robert Kronk
POPPING LEAD BALLOONS By Bridget Boyle, Liz Skitch and Robert Kronk
TRANZITIONS by Stephen Davis
BLACKROCK by Nick Enright
WAR CRIMES by Angela Betzien
ALL STOPS OUT by Michael Gow
ENGINE by Janis Balodis
THE GOLDEN AGE by Louis Nowra
AWAY by Michael Gow
DAGS by Debra Oswald
BOOT by Joanna Erskine
PRINCIPAL by Zoe Hagan
THE LAST POST by Sarah Gaul
STICK by Carolyn Burns


QTC Youth Ensemble 2012


zen zen zo actor training: the real week one. it begins.

Cathy Sheargold is vlogging about beginning Zen Zen Zo’s Actor Training. I know I said you would see her updates here on Tuesdays but this has been a crazy week for almost everybody I know. And now it’s Friday?! WTF? (Yes, that continues too, at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Get along and let us know what you see).

Technical probs have prevented me embedding Cathy’s latest vlog here but we’ll remedy that as soon as possible. Having had barely five hours sleep after seeing Summer of the Seventeenth Doll last night, I’m off to morning tea with the QTC peeps, then to the Matisse exhibition (artist’s date), then back to the coast to pick up Poppy from school and leave her with my sister-in-law (thanks, Kellie!), then to La Boite this evening for opening night of As You Like It and THEN to rehearsal in Noosa for Travelling North all weekend. So…yes, as soon as possible. In the meantime, log into your Facebook account and watch it here.






Here’s Cathy’s Ouch That Really Hurts Bingo card. MYO and join the FUN!



ZEN ZEN ZO Actor Training Week One or Ouch! How Much Will This Hurt?

My friend, Cathy Sheargold, decided to take on some awesome personal challenges this year. No one put her up to it, she’s just that kind of chick. I wonder how amazing we’d all be if we regularly took on similar “impossible challenges”. Not only physical, her latest self-set challenge is a giant mental and spiritual leap as well. Cathy is training with world-renowned physical theatre ensemble, Zen Zen Zo.

The company’s artistic vision is intimidating enough! The training is based on the Suzuki Method of Actor Training, the Viewpoints and  Butoh dance-theatre.  I’ve heard about the strenuous exercises and mad discipline for years, from many friends and from my sister (the one who ran off with the circus). I’ve seen the shows, by Lynn Bradley and Simon Woods’ and I am in awe of many of the performances. Their production of Cabaret won the Greenroom’s Groundling Award, voted for by the people, this year for Best Musical. I’m excited to see the direction Zen Zen Zo will take this year, with that dynamic duo at the helm, Michael Futcher and Helen Howard. Check out the company showreel. Cathy did. And she was afraid. Very afraid.

When Cathy told me she was about to commit to the series of workshops for adult actors, I asked her to vlog about it. Who could resist hearing about how much it hurts? With any luck, and with our interest and support, Cathy will continue to vlog weekly, her experience at Zen Zen Zo’s physical actor training sessions.

Come back every Tuesday until the end of March to find out what’s happening and exactly how much it hurts. Ouch!

Please leave you comments and questions for Cathy. And get ready to play the game!