Vanessa Ewan, LCMD, FHEA | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

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, teaching on both the BA (Hons) Acting, and the MA MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching (of which I am Co-Course Leader). I see my role as ensuring that every actor I teach takes away an excitement and keen interest in the language of the body, and the potential of the language of the human condition. My role is in establishing Actor Movement as a subject and my hope is that students and colleagues alike might take Actor Movement away as a subject they cannot only define, but also love and respect.

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 teachers and directors of actors (MA MFA 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. I work internationally as a visiting lecturer offering masterclasses and specialist workshops. 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.  This is a movement handbook for actors that offers the reader practice and philosophy in the areas listed below. A second book Laban’s Efforts in Action, A Movement Handbook for Actors, is recently published by Bloomsbury, November 2018. This offers a complete stage by stage working process with this one key part of Laban’s work.

Teaching Areas / Areas of Expertise

  • Movement Expression
  • Seeking Neutral
  • Animal Study
  • Laban’s Efforts of Action Drive
  • Keys and Codes: Etiquette, Drunk, Age, Gender
  • Movement Pedagogy
  • Rehearsal Room Practice inc. Acting Intimacy
  • Ethics in Movement Practice
  • Movement Curriculum for Actor Training
  • Actor Movement
  • Observation and Translation
  • Actor’s Dance
  • Movement in Production
  • Character Transformation
  • The Actor’s Body: Identity and Image (TABII)
  • Movement Direction

Research areas

  • Movement and the actor
  • Laban's Eight Efforts of Action Drive
  • 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
  • Journeys of imagination

PHD Supervision

  • Movement and the Actor
  • Movement Pedagogy
  • Laban and his Work


Acting, BA

Movement: Directing and Teaching, MA/MFA

Key Publications

2018. Laban’s Efforts in Action, A Movement Handbook for Actors by Vanessa Ewan with Kate Sagovsky (Bloomsbury UK/USA)

2018. Giraffe Time by Nicky Coutts and Vanessa Ewan, (Journal of Photography and Culture, Taylor and Francis, UK)

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:

2018. Professional Rehearsal Room Practice for Movement Directors and Teachers (ICM, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, 2018);

2018 Embodied Perspectives on Sculpture - A Case Study in Interdisciplinary Research; with Ayse Tashkiran and Alexandra Gerstein, Art History Undisciplined 'Actions' Conference, (Courtauld Institute, 2018);

2017. Invited Keynote, Thinking in Terms of Movement: A perspective on Laban for Actors launch of the Labanarium. (GSA, University of Surrey, 2017);

2015. Master Lecture Actor Movement: Observation and Translation, Ingmar Bergman Chair, (UNAM, Mexico; 2015);

2014. Masterclass Series: Movement Direction: Creating Character (National Theatre;

From 2014 to present. 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. Recently, we led a research project collaborating with Dr Alexandra Gerstein, art curator at the Courtauld Institute, to run alongside the Rodin Exhibition at the Courtauld 2016 and conference 2018.

Find out more about the International Community for Movement 

From 2013 to present. Leading professional seminars on Laban’s Efforts of Action Drive, including an Efforts in Action Intensive (two-week professional development workshop for actors). Find out more 

From 2009 to present. Founder member of 'The Actor's Body: Image and Identity', issues around image, actor training in higher education and industry practice

More information about ‘The Actor’s Body: Image and Identity’ will be released soon.