No mystification, no academia, just pure vocational actor training with bucket loads of sweat.
The Fourth Monkey Pedagogy
We cultivate bold, connected and imaginative creatives, ready to enter the industry. We work with body, breath and impulse in an ensemble setting, creating work that celebrates the collective as well as the individual. We are inclusive and we raise people up together as a collective to empower the growth of everyone: there are no stars here. Everyone has a voice and everyone matters.
Fourth Monkey’s unique training practice focuses on nurturing the actor’s ability to work from their impulses. Our teaching develops the students’ skills in connecting with their body and breath; key elements to accessing impulse. We then transfer this impulse from the physical to the emotional through the extensive study of the Meisner technique.
Our approach was developed as a direct response to various cerebral acting techniques taught to new actors, where the emphasis on intellect and logic inhibits the actor’s ability to discover theatrical truth in the moment. New actors will often be taught techniques that get them stuck inside their heads, leading to a performance that demonstrates the work, rather than allowing the actor to embody it. This physical embodiment is the focus of our training. the way that is the central goal of our training.
MEISNER TECHNIQUE: An approach to acting developed by the American theatre practitioner, Sanford Meisner, focusing on getting the actor ‘out of their head’ and acting using their impulses
Although we cover a range of core acting practitioners and practices in our training Fourth Monkey’s main actor training technique is Meisner. We are the only school in the UK using it as the central acting practise of our training pedagogy. It is coupled with our core physical practices – Corporeal Mime and Grotowski – to foster the most rigorous physical training that enables the actor to seek out physical truth and specificity.
CORPOREAL MIME: A physical theatre practice that focuses on the body as the central tool for storytelling.
GROTOWSKI: A theatre practice where the actor explores physical movement with the specific aim of ridding themselves of automatic reactions in order to get to a character’s essence.
Our training is designed to develop physically and mentally fit actors who work on impulse. They become performers who use the connections within their body, breath and voice to embody honest characters and create robust connections with their fellow actors through our ensemble philosophy.
ENSEMBLE: A group of people performing together with the focus on the collective performance, rather than on any particular individual.
Every training discipline included in our programme is designed to generate a rigorous discipline in our actors. This is how our students become versatile, full of stamina and invested in the collaborative environment.
We train actors, but we also nurture theatre-makers who make their own theatre and generate their own work. Our training places emphasis on imparting a detailed and far-reaching skillset that allows each individual to achieve success in the creative industries. This is reflected in our alumni retention figures* marking a shift in actor training that provides graduates with genuinely sustainable careers.
Why we created Fourth Monkey:
We operate within an industry than can often capitalise on the sale of false dreams. But at Fourth Monkey we work in realities. We empower each individual to take control of their own career, no matter their background or perceived obstacles in their way. We celebrate the individuality of each student who trains with us and the assets they bring to the ensemble and offer a targeted way they can make the most of their career. Our goal is to remove the mystification and intellectual exclusion that currently exists within the industry.
Our training is the beginning of a life-long relationship with our alumni: we want them to stay engaged and be supported through their careers.