ISTA present...

Commedia (Suwon) 1-day Studio

September 15, 2018

Booking Closed



Workshop description

This practical workshop will introduce participants to the concepts and skills of a Commedia player using body, gesture, movement, voice and mask to construct easily recognisable stock characters reacting in everyday situations to create serious comedy. Through the use of improv, text and physical slapstick antics, participants will explore ways of playing with Commedia in the classroom thus accessing this seminal form of theatre as a means of understanding and satirising the human condition.

Target audience

Middle and high school theatre teachers.

Learning outcomes

Teachers will leave the day with the practical experience of Commedia set in its wider cultural context. With activities geared to taking Commedia back into your classroom you will be able to work with students in a confident and knowledgeable way; introducing new units of work and activities to enrich the world tradition aspect of your theatre classroom.

About your workshop leader

I am recently retired, after many years at the International School of Geneva (Ecolint) with teaching experiences in Canada, United Kingdom and the United States following a brief sojourn as a university research fellow – exploring theatre and learning approaches. ISTA posts include ensemble leader/teacher trainer, president of the board of trustees and honorary life member.

I have always loved stories—through speech, song, image or movement— always been fascinated by accounts of the human adventure. The urge to learn pulled me into contact with the theories of Laban. My growth as a theatre person was heavily influenced by personal experiences and interactions with Boal, Barba, Brook and Benison.

Involved with IB since the 1970s when I encountered an infant IB through Theatre and TOK. Many years have since passed and experiences such as IB Theatre teacher, deputy chief examiner, programme developer, teacher and student workshop leader (face2face/online) and workshop leader trainer gave me the tools to be an IB workshop session observer in disciplines across the IB continuum to further nourish the ISTA-IB relationship.

My passion, exploration and research into the tradition of Commedia dell’Arte has evolved through four distinct phases each of which has nourished in me a different practical perspective on the wonderful Italian Comedy.

My initial studies in Laban’s Art and Science of Movement provided me with a physical grounding in using the body [with mask] to create stock characters. Hours of crouching, twisting and posturing as the Pantalone mask in a series of public performances initiated me into the intricacies and demanding rigours of this very physical style of theatre.

Early in my Theatre teaching career, I was fortunate to work with a colleague, Martine Simone, who had spent several years as Colombina with The Unfortunati, one of the first English Commedia Troupes led by the recently deceased mask maker, Ninian Kinnier-Wilson and John Broadbent. Her observations, practical examples and models of Commedia character development, based on traditional troupe methods, fostered in me an understanding of how original companies devised and developed characters, lazzi and full performances.

In 1988, I co-directed the ISTA student Traveling Troupe on a series of European performances of “Farce, Italian Style” a text derived from a collection of original Commedia script remnants cobbled together by a script writing colleague, Steve Bennett, and me. The challenge of directing a Commedia set text [not to mention the writing!] and keeping a sense of creative collaboration in the performance gave me much insight into the challenges of guiding the realisation of a piece of vibrant Commedia.

Over the last few years I have had the privilege of observing and working with Michele Monetta [ICRA project Napoli/Rome/Rudra Ballet School] whose work, based on Decroux, explores mime, rhythms and tempos in the Commedia. I have found his practical work an inspiring and refreshing insight into the practice of a tradition which has been my constant teaching and learning companion for the last forty years.

ISTA Event Coordinator

Keriann O’Rourke


Gyeonggi Suwon International School
451 YeongTong-Ro
Gyeonggi-Do Republic of Korea 16706

Tel: +82 31-695-2800
Host school website

Important Information

Information for participating teachers
The workshop begins at 8:30am on Saturday 15th September 2018.
The workshop ends at 4:45pm on Saturday 15th September 2018.

Registration is now open.
Registration window closes on 1st September 2018.

Please note:
Places are limited so please register early.
Teachers should plan to attend the professional development and learning experience in its entirety.

If travelling from outside of the host city, please arrange travel accordingly.


Registration fees
Teachers from member schools – GBP £175.
Teachers from non-member schools – GBP £192.50

ISTA t-shirt – GBP £12.

Please note:
Fees include lunches and tea/coffee breaks daily.

Travel & Visas

Participating teachers
All teachers attending from Suwon will be responsible for organising daily travel to the workshop.

Teachers attending from outside of Suwon will be responsible for organising their own travel, ensuring they can attend the workshop in full.

ISTA artists
Your event coodinator will confirm final travel plans/dates with you.

Artist travel plans are due by 1st September 2018.
ISTA artists are responsible for booking their own flights to the Studio and will use our travel agency for this. Artist teams will be activated 12 weeks prior to the Studio and your EC will talk you through the process for booking flights at the time of activation.

Artists are also responsible for ensuring they have the necessary visa to enter South Korea.


N/A for local teachers.

For teachers attending from outside Suwon you will be responsible for booking your own accommodation. We advise you book a hotel close to the venue.


Participating teachers
Breakfast will be taken at the hotel or at home; lunch will be provided; no evening meals are provided as part of this event.

ISTA artists
All meals for ISTA artists will be provided and/or a stipend given to cover the cost of meals.

Please find below the relevant documentation for you to download:


Starts on Saturday 15 September at 08:30
Finishes on Saturday 15 September at 16:45


451 YeongTong-Ro
Suwon-CityGyeonggi-Do Republic of Korea


• Bekah Schneider
• Charlotte Harvey