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STEPHEN ATKINS: ACTING TEACHER

Here are some more thoughts on acting and teaching.

I am a documentarian, actor/director and teacher who has always been interested in the processes behind what we make.  Like any artist worth their salt, innovation is my goal; but robust practicality matters too!

As a result, after years of research, I’ve developed a new approach to acting that I hope has a positive impact on your craft.

Teaching Acting

Acting is a tricky business. It's easy for an actor to feel vulnerable and triggered if the work attacks them. We often have to learn how to act by playing characters in biased narratives. This sends conflicting messages about emotional freedom and "truth" in performance.

Even worse, some methods are built around the idea that all people are victims of their personal problems and stifled psyches. I've always found that kind of teaching style to be rather troubling because actors are often forced to see themselves and their lives in need of repair--and art is there to rescue them. This simply isn't true. Balance and contentment are a basic right.

Creativity

There are many ways to approach creative work and I've found mine. My process is about 'creative flow.' It's that effortless ease that comes when you're the most focused and efficient.

Another thing about my work is that stems from a central tenet of Stanislavski's which involves trusting the actor's imagination first. Applying it to the imaginary world of the writer and the circumstances of a story is the second step. I've had great success teaching this across the world with students and clients.

Self-reliance

The ever-evolving creative industries has produced a growing focus on new work and collaboration (across disciplines and across cultures). This requires an actor to develop an increasingly portfolio-based career where writing, self-led and produced work, interdisciplinary and socially engaged practices are regularly called upon.

Crosspoints create frameworks for creativity. They're a 'meta-tool,' enabling you to create your own methods and processes whether your acting in a representational drama, singing a song or narrating a story.

Equality

Let's face one thing. Acting classes (and the profession writ large) have been complicit in the perpetuation of power imbalances. As a result, this has affected people who are Black, People of Colour, the LGBTQ2IAS+ and their Allies, Indigenous people and Women.

Taking this into account, drama schools and private studios have been sites for the institutionalised expression of white dominance, white fragility and racism.

We've done this. We are sorry. We need to stop and listen.

Obviously, my own journey from marginalisation to acceptance and growth has had a big impact on my acting and teaching. My race, gender and generation have given me my own mixed bag of privileges and obstacles. However, the greatest gift that they've given is to look anticipate a world where everyone sees each other with great pride.

Black lives matter. People of Colour's lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. LGBTQ2IAS+ lives matter.

Our future together matters.

Stephen Atkins Crosspoints Acting System(acting teacher, actor, director)
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