Hi, I'm Stephen Atkins, here's a little more about me and my thoughts on Acting and Teaching. I've dedicated my life to acting because I see it as the most fertile intersection between all of my interests. I'm a reader of philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, history, art and a range of fiction spanning several genres. So, what else is there for me to do?
I'm a researcher/experimentalist at heart. My childhood hero was Jacques Cousteau, the television marine biologist. I dodn't wear a bath towel as a cape and jump off the back steps like Superman. Instead I swam around our living room exploring the sofa as if it were a reef or a shipwreck. From there it's been pretty much the same thing but with more sophisticated research questions.
I've had a very rewarding creative life for which I feel grateful and humbled. Like my heroes, I'm keenly interested in the processes behind what we see, hear and make. As an undergrad I studied acting with electives in art and dance history, political science, communications, cultural theory and philosophy. These have greatly expanded my views on performance, directing and writing. Through my graduate degree I studied film and devised theatre. My doctorate was in acting pedagogy and The Crosspoints. O am pretty extensively trained in 5 different acting methodologies. So I try to make connections and links between them.
Serious About Teaching
When I consider my research on Acting and Teaching, I'm passionate about Learner-Centred models. I follow Emergent Learning methods. This means that we continuously learn and develop from what comes up authentically. as a young teacher I was dutiful in my preparation, memorizing my class plans to the letter. Then I realised that this behaviour was preventing me from being much better. With my extensive experience in several acting methods and theories, I now teach responsively, into the emerging situation. True learning happens when you need to know something and successfully apply it as you learn it.
Too many old-school approaches have caused unwanted anxiety. They view acting as a lever to combat emotional repression and view you as a victim of your problems. Progress comes with tears that are often helpful and healing. On the other hand, they can be inflicted without considering their impact on the learner. I respect the old masters greatly. However, I also feel we're ready to move ahead. We can build upon their contributions and rework their mistakes.
My approach is purely imaginative and generative. I liken it to trusting your mind's capacity to believe a dream completely whilst in it, and completely leave it behind upon waking up. It's not self-hypnosis, it's about "creative flow." You know, that feeling when you're in the zone and your work is effortless. I have had great success teaching it to students and clients across the world. I hope it can help you achieve your creative career goals.
I'm inspired and encouraged by the deep (and much-needed) changes in the performance industry (and society as a whole). I seek to learn more about what I can do to improve on acting and teaching.
My own journey from marginalisation to acceptance and growth is different than what is happening now. It was a different time. Pride comes from within but can be shared with others through how you see and hear them. I look forward to a world where everyone sees each other with pride. My advice to LGBTQ2IA+ students is to make others proud to know you. If my hero was a French marine biologist, you can be someone's hero too!
I believe storytelling is at he heart of acting. Whether stories come from the written word, drawing, singing, acting, or played as a game, they have a human agent. My work helps you discover and trust that agency.