From an education theater Open Form, asking for tips for presenting workshops

by: Stanley Allan Sherman

Your subject which you are concentrating on teaching, the time that you have to present it, goals to accomplish during your workshop is one way to begin to layout a workshop. Having specific goals for each workshop you teach helps.

What special information do you have to pass on to others? We not only want to hear information, but get this information into our bones. Give people a real honest experience. Balance how much detail can you get into, with the time you have?

There are trade-offs with time and information you are passing on. Getting into detailed information and giving people an experience about one aspect, versus, giving a good general over view with elements participants can take with them.

Example: one of the many workshops I teach, classical Commedia dell’Arte. Workshops can be a few hours, a week, two week or three weeks. Love the three week workshop because people leave being able to perform a full scenario. My one week workshop is geared to give performers and teachers an excellent over view of the Commeida dell’Arte. Having the time to have a student perform an improvisational exercise a second or sometime third time, can creates breakthroughs. But in a short workshop you may not have time for that. This month December 26 – 30th I am teaching my Winter Holiday Commedia dell’Arte workshop in NYC. The holiday workshop is 27 ½ hours combining history, detailed information, movement, scenario, mask work and even Southern Italian Commedia dell’Arte tambourine technique. You can see detailed information about this workshop at and other workshops at A few hour workshop, gives people facts of all the main stock Commedia dell’Arte characters, their movements, mask work with an over view. All that is supported with handouts of historical information to help the student or participant get a grasp on subject details.

Time goes fast. I always plan two to three times as much as I end up having time teach. Often I write out one or two words list of items I will cover during the workshop. I can refer to the list at points during the workshop.

Would like people to be able to walk away with enough information in their mind, body and hands to be able to use and grow. With ETA workshops you have intelligent participants that can take your information and use it to fit their needs.

Have fun, it helps us enjoy what you are giving. Have performed and taught workshops and classes in mime, mask work, mask making, Commedia dell’Arte, creating original material, neutral and metaphysical mask since I graduated Ecole Jacque Lecoqs Theater Mime Movement in 1972. Someone just friend-ed me on facebook telling me I performed my solo show at his school 40 years ago when he was a child. That stimulated him to go into physical theater and he is now teaching theater. You never know what you are going to give that will help change a persons life for the better. It was a workshop demos at a Thespian conference when I was in High School in 1968 that put me on the path I took in the acting performing, teaching, creating, arts entertainment world and industry.

Stanley Allan Sherman copyright 2016

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