Actors Lab Studio 2017 – Christchurch Weekend Workshop

26 March 2017

Gloucester Room

Screen Acting – Actors & Directors welcome

with Peter Feeney

As we investigate the story arc of any scene we must ask ourselves the tough questions. But often the answers can only be found in the doing, the discovery in the moment, rather than an intellectual decision in advance. Making it up as we go is at the heart of spontaneity and great camera acting. We must learn how to throw away the map and follow the compass of our own instinct. And we must learn to be comfortable with the discomfort and nerves that accompany this. Good acting costs us something; the necessary price of admission is giving up certainty of outcome… Join us for this weekend of joint exploration and enlightenment!
Peter Feeney

 In this workshop we will -

  • Use mask work and the double character improv to get us used to the idea that it is never us up there, but always someone else.
  • Use physical and vocal work to activate our imaginations and open ourselves up to more intuitive, even ‘illogical’ choices - that push us towards greater irreverence and spontaneity.
  • Flex our actor muscles of imagination, originality, generosity, warmth, danger and risk with exercises and games.
  • Work with camera.
  • Work on one scene.

In this workshop we’ll learn (or re-learn)

  • Script analysis: how the words help us discover what isn’t written – so we can let the words do the work for us while we play something different.
  • How to start with the same basic assumptions the writer did: what happens in this scene? What’s the event, or change, or decision? What’s the travel for our character over the scene?
  • How to ‘know not show’ –inviting the audience in, not doing all the work for them.
  • How making story and the other actor more important than us makes our own acting better.
  • The importance of audience: they are ALWAYS there – in TV and Film there’s just a lot more of them! Audiences are great teachers, and when they are absent, we can develop a parallel relationship with the camera and crew. In this workshop you’ll learn how.
  • Why learning the lines is SO important, if we truly wish to be in the moment.
  • Not to confuse the ‘audience’ effect – the impression we had reading a script for the first time – with how the scene/ script should be played.
  • How to avoid actor traps such as chunking, emoting, or playing our great ‘idea’ of the scene – all traps which flatten out specificity and meaning and leave the audience lost or bored (such bad habits are common to actors at all levels of their craft).
  • How to use our full intelligence to produce authentic emotion.
  • That acting is a collaborative art form: we must prepare to collaborate, NOT present. We NEED the input of fellow actors, teachers, audience/ crew, the director - and must be truly open to that input. Collaboration can be scary – it feels safer to be set in our choices. But this can make us closed off. Instead, if we can be surprised and not drop the ball the audience will be surprised too.
  • We’ll work on useful concepts such as pre-mortems, failure imagining and understanding better intuition, ‘beginners luck’ and the stages of learning from unconscious incompetence to mastery.



Sunday 9.00am to 4.45pm at Gloucester Room at the Isaac Theatre Royal, 145 Gloucester St, Christchurch Central - Maximum Number 18


$120 payable in advance.

TAP grads, Returning & Equity actors, SDGNZ members $95.


Send your CV/ link (including headshot) to the administrator at

Download Course Information, Testimonials and Peter Feeney CV