A week with Frantic Assembly

We wrapped an inspiring week with Guest Artists Amelia Cardwell and Sean Hollands from the UK-based physical theatre company Frantic Assembly.

 Frantic Assembly is an internationally renowned theatre company inspiring innovative practice and unlocking creative potential. The company have toured extensively, and worked in over 40 countries collaborating with some of today’s most inspiring artists. Learn more at   www.franticassembly.co.uk

Frantic Assembly is an internationally renowned theatre company inspiring innovative practice and unlocking creative potential. The company have toured extensively, and worked in over 40 countries collaborating with some of today’s most inspiring artists. Learn more at www.franticassembly.co.uk

After the success of last year’s workshops, this year, we decided to go all-out and partner with Frantic Assembly for 3 different initiatives over the course of one week. The Frantic Assembly approach to creating theatre emphasizes collaboration, creativity, and fosters a sense of ownership over the material. This is perfect for our ensemble on so many levels and we enjoyed the opportunity to challenge ourselves in new ways. Read on to learn more about what we worked on:


Professional Masterclass:

A.B.L.E. teaching artists and facilitators had the opportunity to participate in a full-day masterclass with Sean aimed at learning new skills for facilitation and bringing us together as a team. So many of our teaching team are artists and performers in their own right, and it was a treat to be the students for a change!


Adult Ensemble Workshops:

Our adult ensembles spent the day with Amelia trying out new techniques for devising. Since this is a newer program for A.B.L.E., these workshops also helped us bond as an ensemble and work on skills like trust, listening, and supporting each other’s ideas. We learned several new ensemble games, and also built several movement sequences. After creating choreography, we played with adding different props and music to see how those elements could help create a story. You can see some examples in the videos below.


Creative Residency:

Over the course of the 3-day weekend, 8 members of A.B.L.E.’s teen and adult ensembles worked with Sean and Amelia to devise an original piece of theatre about what music means to all of us. The small group of 8 actors worked 6 hours each day learning Frantic’s method and creating material. Supported by A.B.L.E. facilitators Braden, Kaylie, and Katie, the group choreographed pieces individually, with partners, and as one large group.

Before beginning, each actor answered a questionnaire with questions like:

What do you do when you hear your favorite song?

What is your favorite way to listen to music?

Who is your favorite musical artist?

What kind of music do your parents listen to?

How did you feel when you attended your first live concert?

 

This residency pushed our ensemble in many ways. We also broke from the familiarity of A.B.L.E.’s usual class routine, and the ensemble had to draw on significant physical and mental strength and endurance to work for such long hours and retain so much information. The group rose to the challenge and created a completely original show in just 3 days. You can watch what we created in full here:


Special Thanks to our Venue Partners:

  • Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts

  • YMCA Lakeview

  • The Menomonee Club Drucker Center


A.B.L.E. is proud to offer opportunities such as this to connect our ensembles with professionals and expose them to new ways of working. You can support our outreach programming with a tax-deductible donation.