Artist Development Courses
Music & Comedy
Music has always played a huge part of the Spymonkey creative process - we think early on in our writing about what the show might offer in the way of deliciously inappropriate original songs, musical theatre genres that we want to explore, unlikely cover versions of existing songs, speciality variety acts, original music in a range of genres and styles to inspire us to new choreographic heights, sound effects that establish their own theatrical conventions (and then break them hilariously).
Spymonkey's BLESS (2007)
FABULOUS BACKSTROM BROTHERS (2014) a clown opera directed by Toby Park and Aitor Basauri.
In this 5 day workshop we will explore how Spymonkey use music to lead us into unique and totally original comedic territory. We will explore Pleasure: the clown’s pleasure of being ridiculous on stage, the generous pleasure of playing with our friends, the pleasure of performing music together, the pleasure of pursuing grand ambitions, of unlikely choices, of aiming high, of making terrible mistakes and failing woefully! The pleasure of making an audience laugh their socks off.
How do you start to build a musical speciality act? How do you create a brilliant dance routine? How do you write a song that will make people piss their pants? How can music unite a disparate group of performers into one vibrantly harmonic unit? (And then have it all fall apart again catastrophically?) Using the principles of clown that will be familiar to students of Spymonkey’s work - vulnerability, generosity, pleasure, optimism, complicity - we will explore all these things and more.
If participants have an instrument they’ll be asked to to bring it with them. But they won’t need to be able to play an instrument, or to sing, or to have done a Spymonkey workshop before, to stretch their musical and comedic sensibilities in order to create new work unique to them.
AGE 18 and upwards
GROUP SIZE up to 20 participants.
LENGTH Usually five days, but we can also provide shorter one- or two-day courses and taster sessions
Please contact us for more details of how our workshops can be tailored to specific groups.
GEMMA ROGERS singer/songwriter, performer, playwright says:
“Imagine being in a class with a group of people wearing luminous tutus, beaver tails and loo paper scarves where you are praised for being an idiot. In fact you revel in those words. Because on some level, It means you have succeeded (temporarily) in the complex art of clowning.
“As a writer, words are my ammunition. Without them and armed only with your face and physicality, it can feel strange - scary even - but under Toby Park’s magical guidance I began to push through the boundaries. With the use of funny improv exercises, discussions and musical instruments ( not to mention Toby tuning several bottles of water to fit the notes for a song from Carmen ) - a group of us performed songs and one man acts to a hell of a lot of laughter. I left the Toynbee studios feeling I’d shed 15 years of my life.
“If you ever get a chance to embark on a Spymonkey clowning workshop- be brave and jump at it - no red noses or big flappy feet required.”