Just a note that the ONLINE Clown & DS
what's it like doing an ONLINE WORKSHOP?
what to expect + some handy technical tips + what people say
A bit about what to expect:
I aim to keep online workshops as active and engaging as possible. And as interactive as possible - some exercises happen in break out rooms which I visit in turn: to check in, give extra tips and side-coaching). I aim to get people connected with each other at the start of the workshop and put in place a learning approach so that the workshop is a positive, learning experience. We can only learn by doing, and learning often involves mistakes - hooray! I also work with the philosophy that we are all at our own level of experience and we are all opening to our own growing edges.
There are some basic exercises to bond us and also some skills and concepts to learn, and people receive side coaching from me in the breakout rooms and in the full group. Course participants often say I teach with a good balance of support and challenge.
The Clown & Dark Clown* workshop and the Bare-faced Commedia course aims to have as much physical participation as possible. There is nothing too strenuous and there are no gymnastics or floor work and no cartwheels (sorry if you were hoping for cartwheels!)
You do need some space - 1 x 1 metre is do-able. I think I personally have 1 and a half by 1 and a half metre square of on-camera space.
I have seen people managing to work just fine in some smallish L-shaped spaces.
It is best, of course, if you have space to stretch and move your arms and body without feeling too constrained. You largely need to be seen on camera, so, if you are not sure, maybe switch on your camera and experiment with your field and frame. Occasionally I invite people to do some free-range moving in a wider space or, when in clown mode, in and out of the frame.
You need to be visible, so check out your lighting (ideally try not to be positioned right in front of a window - you risk to be seen only in silhouette).
For the Alchemy of Archetypes, you need a similar sized space. The work has maybe slightly less interaction in small groups / pairs than with the Clown work - but there are still opportunities to share.
People do report a connected group feeling - take a look at the comments below.
Your space needs to be somewhere you can concentrate on what you are doing with your body and also do vocal work without feeling inhibited. If the odd cat or dog wanders through, that’s ok!
Again, if you can arrange it, it's best not to have a window directly behind you so your expressions can be seen.
As it says in the booking information, this is not a drop-in course – I ask participants to be present for all the hours of the course (that's because it is best for the group and for your experience of the workshop).
Each online courses comprises 3 hours, each of 4 days - with a 10 minute break in each session. (It is the same number of hours teaching as when I teach a 2 day course together-in-person-in-a-studio.)
*Just a reminder that for the ONLINE Clown & Dark Clown course, you need some clown experience already (workshop is fine)
We respect each others’ ability to play and express freely by not recording the classes.
Handy tech stuff:
Check your WiFi for a stable connection before committing to the course. If you have family or flat mates, consider asking that they refrain from streaming movies or games or doing big up- or downloads during the hours of the course.
Laptop or computer screen is best. Using laptop audio works better than using tethered earbuds as you need to be free to use movement from time to time and still hear my voice.
Some work with earphones when close and computer audio when moving in the space
(to reduce the amount of time of sound for their family/house-mates).
iPads can work – let me know at the start of the course if you are working on an iPad so I know how many of the group you can see on your screen. Joining the class from a phone is not recommended. One well-experienced participant did manage it, but I noticed that they could not hear my side-coaching, and could not see (or relate to) the whole group, or even smaller breakout groups/pairings.
Perhaps you might think about how you set up your iPad – laptop screens can be tilted easily to change angle but it might be worth experimenting with piles of books etc – to find ways that you can switch your iPad screen angles – sometimes a more complete body is important, sometimes face and upper body are needed.
Again, see if you can set yourself up where there is no window directly behind you and experiment with a lamp of some kind to augment lighting if needed (e.g. I have an angle poise pointing down at a sheet of white paper which helps my face be illuminated).
We respect each other's freedom of expression by not recording the sessions, and asking before taking screen shots.
You are the best judge of whether an online course will work for you.
If this is your first time doing an online course, and if you think this sounds okay so far, then
… come on in, the water’s fine!
What people say about the online courses ...
Clown & Dark Clown ONLINE:
'Best Zoom course - I forgot I wasn't in a room!'
- Course Participant
‘Dark Clown has opened parts of my body and psyche that had yet to be explored. I have a deeper understanding of WHO I AM after this course. Incredibly transformative, inspiring and jam packed of technical gems to build on my clown stage presence.’ - Alice , Art Therapist and Movement Facilitator
‘This course is a real treat – and to achieve that on Zoom - well done! To have the steps and exercises introduced so beautifully has given me some fantastic building blocks.’ - Course Participant
‘At the end I felt like I was coming out of the shared room.’ - Course Participant
'Teaches with passion, joy and lightness - it’s so contagious. You can just feel that energy - it’s so inspiring.' - Course Participant
‘I felt very nourished, and a surprising connection over Zoom’ - Course Participant
'I honestly have never felt so alive, refreshed, nourished and connected from a course and to think it was online.' - Course Participant
'A fabulous teacher - and it proved that you can have a wonderfully human, mischievous and dark time on Zoom with fellow adventurers from all over the world! I’m still processing and taking in the learning!' - Kevin Lewis Independent Theatre maker
'To anyone who wants to find their inner idiot, I could not recommend Peta Lily more highly. She just gets how to be an amazing teacher and all round good egg and lets you play and have fun.' - Matthew Field
'A marvellous teacher. She provides support and encouragement for each member of the group with a very precise structure and an acute eye that sees exactly what would be helpful or not at a particular time. Highly recommended.' - Stephen K. Levine–Educator, Theatre Practitioner, Author
'I was so impressed with your online course and your stamina and drive and generosity! I got much out of it. Absolutely loved the physical warm ups!' – Johanna Korndorfer
'This course opened new ways into dark comedy, I really enjoyed every minute of it and Peta is a wonderful teacher and facilitator. I had such a wonderful time, felt embraced in a safe space (even on zoom) and had the opportunity to explore a range of new techniques (and old ones in a new way). I thoroughly recommend it!' - Carolina Ortega, Director & Performer
‘Dark Clown showed me how to find the comic rhythm in tragic feelings. The work explores the point where the deepest pain meets lunacy and eventually freedom. I didn’t know that a zoom course could feel so real!
The course gave me a lot of new tools for my professional work as an actress.’ - Sandra Lange, Actress
'The four days of Clowning and Dark Clowning were amazing: funny, light, entertaining, educational, inspirational, mind-blowing, door-opening, contained superbly, high paced, relaxing, sweaty, exhausting, demanding, overwhelming and so much more. It was the best zoom-thing I did in the last months – and I did a lot. I am craving for more …' - Joerg Jelden, Sociodramatist
'I loved the Clown & Dark Clown course. I finished the 4 days feeling inspired, energised and eager to learn more. Peta created a very supportive and safe environment to play, explore and learn which is so important especially when dealing with the marginalised emotions. I laughed a lot and I will absolutely take what I have learned in the course into my own work. It was fascinating to play and observe laughter with an uncomfortable quality. I had seen it before but could never put my finger on it or give it a name, now I feel like I have the tools to generate this humour in a more precise way. I was also really impressed with how effectively the course worked over Zoom. It was really seamless and felt like we were really all in the same room.' - Bethan Screen - Actor, Theatre Maker, Voiceover and Founder of Todos Teatro
Alchemy of Archetypes ONLINE:
‘… the course delves into bodily, emotional and imaginative aspects, and this was perfectly achieved online, which surprised me. I consider that I take with me a great number of tools and points of view that nurture me as an actor and creator.' - Actor Andrés David Pastorini
‘Incredibly surprised by how well the course worked online. Not only it was very well managed but it felt almost like being in the room with others. It was wonderfully inspiring, insightful and fun.’ - Carolina Ortega, Director/ Performer/ Dramaturg
‘Deeply grateful also for a chance to explore a creative, ensemble practice in an online form and have been amazed that even in this virtual form we were able to find connection, community, eye contact (really), playfulness, the unexpected ... deep physical, emotional, archetypal exploration with fellow players in a virtual space. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to do another course!’ - Nix Rosewarne
‘Until recently, I wouldn’t have considered taking an online course for physical performers. After 5 months in lockdown, I was getting really frustrated with the limitations of Zoom, but I was also in need of creative exploration, to reacquaint myself with my physicality and emotional agility as a performer.
Having taken Peta’s course in person a couple of years ago, I was keen to revisit the Archetypes.
I am so happy I went for it and couldn’t recommend it enough! Peta expertly and sensitively guided the group online, allowing us all to feel truly connected in the virtual space. The fact that several of the participants were in different continents too, made the whole experience all the more positive and inspiring. I was struck too by the unexpected advantage of being in my own (physical) space, uninhibited, allowing myself perhaps to go deeper in my explorations.
I have gained a better understanding of the Archetypes and their richness & complexities, and have new practical tools I feel I can apply to any character work.’ - Juliet Dante, Actor
‘This was an amazing opportunity to really embody the archetypes without judgement. And the learning that comes through the body and the voice was both surprising and profound at times. The workshop was great fun and even though we were online I felt a very strong connection to the other participants.’ - S. Sutcliffe
Peta Lily guides you through the archetypes with skill, playfulness and curiosity; it feels like a joyfully bonkers rollercoaster of states, images, characters and emotions. I was amazed at how well it worked on Zoom; Peta has obviously put a lot of thought and energy into how to use this online tool to good effect, finding inventive ways to shift the mood using music, text, poetry, images, so you really feel held — even in your own living room! Peta offers myriad routes into the archetypes, meeting the needs of a range of participants, and filling your toolbox with delicious morsels to savour and take away with you. As a performer/creator I feel inspired and excited to crack on with my solo show, with death, the trickster, the hero and co. as my guides! If you’re thinking of doing the course, I’d say dive in.
- Saskia Solomons, theatre maker/performer & storyteller
NEW: Bare-faced Commedia dell'Arte ONLINE:
'Thoroughly enjoyed the course!' - Course Participant
'I had such fun on Peta's course - she’s an inspirational teacher! It was great to learn about Commedia Dell’Arte through embodying each character, and then to reinforce this with visual references and discussion. I look forward to any future workshops Peta devises!' - Cici Clarke, Actor
'I didn't expect to find it so energising and joyful' - Course Participant
'Having done some Commedia work before this course brought an opportunity to really get a better idea of the characters and their relationships to one another. It was quite fun to discover them through the body and play. Once again, Peta’s wonderful way of adapting her teaching to Zoom makes it possible to have a good taste of a particular type of theatre even as physical and embodied as Commedia dell’arte. She also knows how to share her knowledge with us and leads us to explore these characters with great pleasure. Thank you again Peta! I had a great time!' - Nadia Laverdière, Course Participant
‘I loved this course! Peta is an amazing facilitator and if she can teach this well on Zoom, I can’t wait to get in a room with her. I felt so free to play and was invigorated by all the exercises we did. I learned so much about Commedia dell’Arte and had an absolute ball of a time doing so. I laughed a lot and was engaged throughout the whole course. Thanks so much!!’ - Maria Corcoran, Circus Artist
'Spent an incredible 4 days learning about Commedia dell'Arte with the fabulous @peta_lily and feel more alive than in years. It really blew the cobwebs and stresses of the past year out of my head, and got all the cogs moving at full speed.' - Olly Mead on Twitter
‘Always when I do a workshop with Peta I learn new things, I had no previous experience with Commedia dell’Arte and I learned the essentials of each character, and I can link this with the art of character creation. As with all Peta’s workshops, there is a mix of theory, and practice and she works a lot with emotions and imagination.’ - Andrés Pastorini
‘The course was a fantastic opportunity to explore the Commedia characters in all their complexity. I’d studied Commedia a long time ago when at college and it was wonderful to be reacquainted with the characters again. Peta’s online classes are a great mix of the practical, the playful and the informative. Highly recommended.’ - Kevin Lewis Independent Theatre Maker
‘As a relative newcomer to Commedia dell’ Arte this course taught me so much about this ancient art of comedy. The course was fun, full-on and packed with information, exercises and practice. Did I mention it was all on Zoom? Despite not being in the room with other participants, all the exercises worked well on Zoom and I felt a fantastic connection with others on the course.’ - Caroline Vella, Actor
‘I have done a number of online courses with Peta and they have all been a delight and a revelation – both in content, and in her expert management of the Zoom room. Breakout rooms are used well to allow participants to engage in more intimate improvisational work with one or two other people. I have done a fair amount of Commedia dell’Arte previously, but Peta gave me new insights into familiar stock characters, and also introduced me to new aspects of the work. The mix of historical information and practical exploration is weighted towards the physical – which is how it should be! Her hands-on (from afar) approach used a fabulous melee of prompts and provocations. Her guided meditations/immersions into each character are particularly brilliant, giving participants the opportunity to really immerse themselves in each character, from the inside out.’ - Dorothy Max Prior, writer/dramaturg
‘I had watched Commedia a couple of times in Italy, but never tried it myself. It was the first time for me. I enjoyed the fact that we were always doing something, I often find some courses have too much speaking in between exercises, whereas here we were continuously experiencing things, standing up on our feet and acting. I discovered how demanding Commedia is, how much the physical work is important, how much dance training can help (and I might then seek it as well), how much you have to commit to make a character alive. I discovered how fun it is, how many layers there are to a character, and at the same time how obvious all the layers are, how they are all shown to the audience. I definitely think the goal is now to do it in person as soon as it is gonna be possible, and try on masks: I am aware of the fact that I rely a lot on facial expressions now. I honestly think the energy in the room was amazing and that Peta managed to keep me interested with her passion from the beginning to the end of the course. I want to do more!’ - Lucia Martinez, Actress
‘I was a newcomer to Commedia dell’Arte and I discovered a lot of new Characters and their physicalities.
Insights on timing and intention and how to embody a character which I can bring it back to my dance and choreographic practice. I think it was brilliant and very helpful also to not take myself so seriously and to keep allowing myself to play or finding new ways on how to play. I also discovered or rediscovered mistakes are the best, embrace them use them. Also great to have such a variation of people in class.’ - Laura Vanhulle – Co-director Vanhulle Dance Theatre (Choreographer - dancer)
‘Having only seen some brief glimpses of Commedia through people I have met along my journey I was intrigued to find out more. Knowing I would be in a safe and invigorating space to learn with Peta, I was able to dive straight in. Peta way of explaining the characters and how to access them means I will be able to continue exploring them long after this course having been left with a hunger for more.’ - Martin Huckle, IT Team Leader and Clown.
‘Through these ancient and still relevant characters, I have discovered the joy of comedy through timing and physicality devised centuries ago ... and still applicable to the 21st century actor.’ - Alejandro Postigo, Course Participant.
It's such a great course ... brilliant teaching ... such lovely synthesis and break down of things into wonderful experiences. – Course Participant
‘A great course! I did some Commedia dell’Arte workshops, but this workshop brought a lot off new things, which I can also use in my acting and clowning. I like the way Peta teaches. High in energy and very positive. Her course is very well structured, so we learned a lot in a rather short time. Learning all these characters from Commedia dell’Arte has the danger of: the same riddle for every new character. By putting variation in the assignments, Peta manages to stay out of that ‘and again’ feeling. You not only learning the characters, but also the style off playing, moving, talking.’ - Wil Kamphues- Drama Teacher and Clown
‘This was an exciting and extremely well conducted workshop by Peta. I absolutely loved it. The pathways provided into embodying the world of the Commedia characters were brilliantly laid out in multi-dimensional ways. It was a real delight to move from liberating expressivity preparations to the demanding distinctness of each character’s physicality and psycho-social rationale through play and through set lazzi, gestures, postures or walks. Peta was wonderfully inspiring in giving us time to immerse ourselves in the stories of the characters, allowing us to revisit and transform between characters, always stepping out back to our ‘neutral’ selves, learning to let go and re-find our creative discoveries. The group was fantastic to work with, and Peta was superbly prepared to guide us through the virtual Zoom world in small interactive duo and group assignments. Overall a wonderful learning experience - and soooo much fun.’ - Thomas Kampe, Professor of Somatic Education and Performance
'Peta Lily is an awesome teacher (amongst her many credits and skills) and she has transferred in person live live sessions to in person live virtual sessions with total success.' - Pyn Stockman