Cyphers Create 2018
“The key driving force behind everything that we’ve done has been the idea of building an ensemble”
Co-Artistic Director Will Holyhead reflects on the past 7 weeks of Cyphers Create 2018 – our programme to provide university students with an introduction to professional theatre and a bridge into theatre training.
For the past seven Saturdays I’ve been working with a group of ten students from Imperial College and King’s College London – our outreach project to give university students a taste of professional theatre and drama school training. This coming Saturday (24th March) will be our ‘Week 8’ and mark the end of this year’s course, which we’ll be celebrating at KCL at 3pm in a sharing of the work that we’ve been doing over the past two months’ worth of Saturdays.
What I’ve particularly enjoyed about this project is seeing a group of students from two different universities coming together and becoming a team in such a short period of time. The progress that I’ve seen in everybody over the eight-week period would no doubt look even more dramatic to someone who had observed the group solely at the beginning and the end of the process.
We’ve been working on a number of disciplines on the course: movement, voice, devising, dance, music, verse speaking and scene work, to name just a few. I’m particularly grateful to all of the marvellous practitioners that have come in each week to share their wealth of knowledge in their specialist areas with the students. Namely: Lou Wilcox, Pavlos Christodoulou, Kate Smith, Dylan Lincoln, Ellis Jones and not to forget our very own Marcus Bazley – people who we’ve been lucky enough to work with as a company over the years and who I’m thrilled have been able to impart so much to the group in such a short space of time.
Whilst the breadth of the course has been really exciting, the key driving force behind everything that we’ve done has been the idea of building an ensemble. Yes, it’s super important to develop your own skills as an actor, but the most important thing to do on stage is to work together as a team – to listen, watch and play with each other. I think that with the nature of short training programmes and the pressure to get a clear individualistic outcome from them, this is an element that is often overlooked. With our work as a company being particularly rooted in ensemble work, I’m so glad that the students have not only improved their individual acting skills, but have also embraced the idea of acting being a team-sport as well as an individual discipline.
What I think is particularly exciting about this course, is that it isn’t just an eight-week programme, it’s potentially the start of some really exciting careers for everybody on the course. People who’ve done the programme before have gone on not only to train at drama school, but even more excitingly have worked in the industry both for Cyphers and many other companies and theatres. Seeing people actually using this programme as a springboard for their careers in the theatre is the ultimate satisfaction and aim of such a project.
I’ve no doubt that there’s much exciting work to look forward to from this year’s group and I can’t wait to see what they all achieve in the next couple of years and beyond!
To reserve a free ticket to the Cyphers Create 2018 sharing performance on Saturday 24 March, 3pm, simply click here.
Photo credit: Petros Poyiatgi
Will Holyhead is a theatre director and Co-Artistic Director of Cyphers Theatre Company. Will graduated from King’s College London and studied English. Directing credits include: The Beaux’ Stratagem (Greenwood Theatre); Co-Creator The Three Musketeers (Cyphers). Acting credits for Cyphers include: Henry V; Great Expectations; The Three Musketeers. Theatre credits also include: The Class (The Pleasance Islington); The Seagull (The Etcetera Theatre); Flare Path (RADA Studios); Measure for Measure (Bristol Shakespeare Festival); Broken Glass (The Bloomsbury Theatre). Film credits include: Inner Monsters (UAL). Radio credits include: Great Expectations; Under Milk Wood; Cigarettes and Chocolate.