Evi Stamatiou

Project Title

Investigating the trainee actor's agency: A radical actor-training framework for devising comedy, inspired by Aristophanes' The Frogs.

Supervisor

Dr. Gareth White

Qualifications

MA Arts Policy and Management, School of Arts, Department of Media and Cultural Studies, Birkbeck University of London

MA Theatre Directing, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UEL

BA Theatre Studies, School of University of Patra/Greece (High Distinction)

Diploma in Acting, Drama School of Modern Greek Theatre/Greece, (High Distinction)

MA Social Psychiatry-Child Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Ioannina/Greece

Hellenic Conservatory, Ioannina Branch, Advanced Classical Piano School

Languages: Greek (native), English (Cambridge Proficiency), Italian (Diploma Superiore), French (Delf 2)

Trained with: SITI Company (Viewpoints, Suzuki), Chris Bayes (Clowning), Lilo Bauer ((Physical Theatre), Song of the Goat Theatre (Physical Theatre), Thomas Rodovic/Gardzienice Theatre Company (Physical Theatre), Nikolai Karpov (Stanislavksi), Andreas Manolikakis (Method Acting).

Abstract

Inspired by current scholarship on the politics and ideologies surrounding actor training, I construct Frogging to explore how a student actor may find and explore their agency. Frogging will be constructed by six theatrical devices that are found in Aristophanes’ The Frogs: parabasis, meta-theatre, the chaotic chorus, parody, a combination of slapstick and intellectual humour, and phallic costumes. These devices will be injected with Pierre Bourdieu’s social theory, particularly his concepts of language as symbolic power, the meta-field of power, distinction, and the power structures embedded in pedagogy. Frogging aims to enable students to identify and question underlying power structures and ideologies in actor training practices and aesthetics; to relate their own ideology, or what they consider to be ‘good’, to hidden power structures and ideologies; and to choose to reject existing power structures and ideologies in the theatre-making process. The student actor’s ability to recognise and relate to such underlying power structures will expand their agency. My methodology is practice-based.

Profile

I am an actor, director and actor trainer with 12 years of international experience. I specialise in devising, contemporary dramaturgies and comedy. I also explore with my practice how Aristophanic comedy can inform and challenge popular performance, musical theatre and the use of multimedia on stage. I have worked and trained in Greece, UK, USA, Germany, Brazil, Poland and Estonia. My solo performance Caryatid Unplugged was presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013 (with four star reviews in The Stage and Theatre London Guide) and at the Monomaffia Solo Theatre Festival 2014 in Estonia. I am currently working on a reflective essay about this piece that will be published by Intellect Books.

Since August 2015 I am a Lecturer in Musical Theatre at the University of Portsmouth and a Visiting Lecturer at RCSSD. Previously, I have held teaching appointments at Guildford School of Acting (University of Surrey) and Wessex Academy of Performing Arts (Bath Spa University). I have been sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Memberships include: Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab (NY), TaPRA and IFTR. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Qualifications include: Drama School Diploma, BA in Theatre Studies, MSc in Social Psychiatry, MA in Theatre Directing, MA in Arts Policy and Management. I am a PhD candidate at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. I explore actor training and theatre making though social and political theories.

Practice

I am classically trained in drama school in Greece and I worked as an actor in classically staged productions between 2003-2008. Between 2008-2016 I have worked as an actor and director in 31 devised and physical theatre productions. In 2010 I established in Athens Upopirates Theatre company. My first directing attempt was The Tightrope in 2010, for which I won a distinction at the Off Off Athens At Colonus Theatre Festival. I moved to London in 2010 for an MA in Theatre Directing and I discovered the joy of making theatre in a second language. I have trained with Complicite Theatre Company, the SITI company and Chris Bayes (commedia dell’arte, clown personas). And many more who didn’t influence my work so much. Since 2013 my practice both as a theatre maker and actor trainer is dedicated to using Aristophanic comedy in theatre making with the aim to reveal discourses of power in theatre making. Since 2011 I direct productions for conservatoires and universities.

Credits include:

2016 Director and deviser. The Tenants, Centre for the Performing Arts, University of Portsmouth

2014 Deviser. Digital Handshake, Networked Bodies Weekender, Watermans Theatre, Brentford

2014 Director and deviser, 28 Bananas, Collisions Festival, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London (RCSSD)

2014 Writer and solo performer. Caryatid Unplugged, Monomaffia Festival, Prno, Estonia

2014 Director, Dramaturg. The Frogs, Berkoff Studio

2014 Deviser, Etheatre and Collaborators. Upstage Cyberspace

2013 Director and Dramaturg. Krakow on the Book-Self, Massolit Book Shop, Krakow

2013 Writer, solo performer and producer. Caryatid Unplugged, Hill Street Festival, Edinburg Festival

2013 Director and dramaturg. The Patmos Project; Apocalypsising, Fleetstreet Theatre, Hamburg

2012 Writer and solo performer. The Clowness at the Guggenheim in “Museums Show Off 4”, Wilmington Arms Pub Theatre, London

2012 Director. The Parade, Rehearsal Reading, Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab, New York

2012 Director. The Woman Who, Blakehey Theatre, Somerset

2011-2012 Deviser, Cyberperformer, Cyberian Chalk Circle, Etheatre, Upstage

Conference Presentations/ Organisation

2016 ‘Tracing Aristophanic Parody of Shakespeare in the Broadway Musical, from The Frogs: A New Broadway Musical to Something Rotten!’ Song, Stage and Screen XI Conference, The City College of New York, New York

2016 ‘Tracing Aristophanic Parody in the Historical Figure King George III of the Musical Hamilton’, IFTR 2016 conference, University of Stockholm

2016 ‘Frogging: Practice Intersections with Research’, Intersections – The annual postgraduate conference of RCSSD

2015 ‘Time in Actor Training; The Commodity of Illusion’. The Performer Training Working Group, The 11th TaPRA Conference, University of Worcester

2015 ‘”Writing for Cabaret”, Workshop for Women Playwrights’, International Conference, University of Cape Town

2015 ’Aristophanes’ The Frogs as Vehicle for a Contemporary Audience from Spectating to Participating’, Viewing and Spectating in the Theory and Practice of Greek and Roman Drama, 15th Annual Joint Postgraduate Symposium on Ancient Drama, Oxford University

2015 ‘Caryatid Unplugged: Antagonism, Agonism and Agonistic Pluralism’, Performing Greece: An International Conference on Contemporary Greek Theatre, Birkbeck, University of London

2015 ‘The Impact of Power Distribution in Actor Training, PaR; Critical Pedagogy, The Oppressor of the Illusion’, Intersections – The annual postgraduate conference of RCSSD https://cssd.academia.edu/EviStamatiou/Papers

2014 ‘The FrogCity: Ugliness in the Aristophanic Chorus and its Effect towards Active Citizenship in Action’, Annual Joint Postgraduate Symposium on Ancient Drama, RCSSD and APGRD, Oxford

2014 ‘Responding to Intersections’, Intersections – The annual postgraduate conference of RCSSD

2013 ‘Puppetry or Poor Theatre?’ Women in Puppetry Symposium, RCSSD

2013 ‘The Patmos Project; Apocalypsising’, Performance and Mystical Experience Conference Meeting 2013, Queen Mary, University of London

2013 ‘Physical Theatre and Madness’, Performance Philosophy Conference, Surrey University

2012 ‘The GROW Model in Theatre Education’, 7th Athens International Conference in Theatre in Education; Bonds of Solidarity, Athens  (http://users.sch.gr/theatro/Praktika2012%20En/indexPRAKTIKA2012%20En.htm)

Academic events organised

14-15 January 2016 Organising committee, Intersections – The annual postgraduate conference of RCSSD

15-16 January 2015 Organising committee, Intersections – The annual postgraduate conference of RCSSD

Teaching Areas/Expertise

Actor Training and Direction (Stanislavski and Brecht)

Contemporary dramaturgies and performance practices

Musical Theatre (Dramaturgies, Acting Through Song)

Audience Participation

Devising (Solo, Ensemble)

Physical Theatre (Suzuki, Viewpoints, Lecoq)

Popular performance (Clowning, Cabaret)

Ancient Greek Drama (Aristophanic comedy)

Commedia Dell’Arte (Chris Bayes) 

Email

evi.stamatiou@cssd.ac.uk

Website

www.evistamatiou.com