Vanessa Ewan, LCMD, FHEA

Job title

Senior Lecturer, Movement, Co-Course Leader MA/MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching


I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Movement for Actors at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and teach on both the BA (Hons) Acting, and the MA Movement: Directing and Teaching (of which I am Co-Course Leader). After studying on the Dance Theatre Course at Laban Centre (1978-81), I immediately pursued a life as a specialist in Movement for Actors. Before joining Central in 1989, I worked at most of the major drama schools, including East 15 (where I was Head of Movement), Guildhall, Webber Douglas and RADA. During my time at Central I have co-authored the first ever UK MA course in movement for actors (MA Movement: Directing and Teaching), and also designed the movement curriculum for the 3-year Acting Course. As well as teaching I have worked on over 90 public productions at Central alone, as either the movement coach, movement director, or choreographer. Interspersed with my work at Central I work as a movement consultant and coach in theatre, film and television. Recent work includes Cinderella directed by K. Branagh (Screen Test Etiquette Coach; 2015) and Maleficent Directed by R. Stromberg (Movement Coach; 2014). I work internationally as a visiting lecturer offering masterclasses and specialist workshops, most recently for the Ingmar Bergman Chair at UNAM (Mexico; 2015). I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and have also worked as a consultant on curriculum development at other institutions, including RADA, East 15 and UNAM. My first book Actor Movement: Expression of the Physical Being, co-written with Debbie Green, was published by Bloomsbury in 2015.  I am currently working on a second book focused on Laban’s Efforts of Action for publication by Bloomsbury in 2017.

Teaching Areas

  • Movement Fundamentals
  • Movement Expression
  • Seeking Neutral
  • Zoo Study
  • Solo Dance
  • Laban’s Efforts of Action Drive
  • Keys and Codes: Etiquette, Drunk, Age, Gender
  • Pedagogy
  • Movement Direction
  • Ethics in Movement Practice

Research areas

  • Movement and the actor
  • Laban's Eight Efforts of Action Drive: forthcoming book, 2015 Laban Efforts in Action
  • Movement curriculum for Actor Training
  • The Listening Body
  • Founder member of 'The Actor's Body: Image and Identity', issues around image, actor training in higher education and industry practice

Areas of Expertise

  • Actor Movement
    • Animal Study
    • Observation and Translation
    • Laban’s Efforts of Action Drive
    • Solo Dance
  • Actor Movement in Production
    • Character Transformation
    • Keys and Codes: Etiquette, Drunk, Age, Gender
  • The Listening Body
  • The Actor’s Body: Identity and Image (TABII)
  • Pedagogy
  • Movement Direction

PHD Supervision

  • Movement and the Actor
  • Laban and his Work


Acting, BA

Movement: Directing and Teaching, MA/MFA

Key Publications

2014. Actor Movement: Expression of the Physical Being by Vanessa Ewan and Debbie Green (Bloomsbury UK/USA)


Recent masterclasses and lecture demonstrations which I have delivered include: master lecture Actor Movement: Observation and Translation, Ingmar Bergman Chair, UNAM (Mexico; 2015); and Masterclass Series: Movement Direction: Creating Character (National Theatre; 2014); Rudolf Laban's Efforts of Action Drive, Conference for Movement and Physical Theatre Practice (Moscow Arts Theatre School). I regularly run professional seminars on Laban’s Efforts of Action Drive, including Efforts in Action Intensive (a two week professional development workshop for actors).

Since 2014, Ayse Tashkiran and I have been initiating ways in which Central can function as an international centre for actor movement and movement direction, and have hosted over 150 professional movement practitioners at our workshop series. Currently, we are leading a research project collaborating with Dr Alexandra Gerstein, art curator at the Courtauld Institute, to run alongside the Rodin Exhibition at the Courtauld 2016.

I am a founder member of 'The Actor's Body: Image and Identity' (TABII)a research group investigating issues around image, actor training in higher education and industry practice

Recent theatre credits include: Orphans (Dilated Theatre, 2016); My Girl 2 (Dilated Theatre, 2014); Ground Rules (Out Loud Production, 2013).