A to Z of Fourth Monkey... what makes us "Monkey"?
As we get ready to welcome our latest cohort of actors-in-training to the Monkey House, we thought we would take a moment or two to look at what makes Fourth Monkey unique…
We have had a light-hearted look at what it is that helps stand out from other drama schools, plus how we encourage our students to be bold and play throughout their training journey via the theatre techniques and principles at the core of our training approach, in an A to Z of all the things that make us uniquely “Monkey” (with apologies to those letters that proved just a little too elusive…)!
A is for Alumni – our Monkey alumni are an amazingly talented bunch, and can be found acting, making, moving and collaborating across a wide range of creative spheres. We aim to shape actors and performers who are trained, employable and industry-ready, and we love seeing them create their own opportunities, from writing plays to forming theatre companies.
(Image credit – Ali Wright; Sadie Clark, Class of 2014 graduate – Algorithms)
B is for BA (Hons) Acting Accelerated Degree – offering comprehensive, contemporary actor training aimed at creating performers who are employable and industry-ready as well as passionate, enthusiastic and never afraid to be bold and play, our innovative
two-year training programme received full accreditation in May 2020 from our degree-awarding partner Falmouth University.
C is for Collaborative – our students work in an ensemble setting whilst training, with a focus on creating work celebrating the collective and how performers connect and collaborate with each other as well as looking at the individual – every voice matters, and everyone is important.
D is for Development – we offer a range of short courses as part of the Evolve Programme. In the past, these short courses have been aimed at trained actors looking to hone their skills, however we have some exciting plans up our sleeve to “evolve” the Evolve Programme over the coming months and we can’t wait to share these as soon as they are ready!
E is for Ensemble – Fourth Monkey Ensemble is our professional tour arm, telling untold stories from unheard voices under the direction of Artistic Director Steve Green and offering employment opportunities for Fourth Monkey alumni following completion of their training. We are currently working on our latest Ensemble offer, In The Shadow of Walls, which we hope to be touring by Spring 2021 – keep your eyes peeled for news and updates…
F is for (the) Fourth Monkey – “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil… do no evil”. Fourth Monkey takes its name from the seldom-quoted fourth monkey of the ancient Japanese proverb, who embodies the principles of doing good, something we always keep in mind when shaping our training programmes and outreach collaborations.
G is for Grotowski – one of the central principles at the heart of our approach to
actor training, this physical theatre practice, founded by the innovative Polish theatre director and practitioner Jerzy Grotowski, allows actors to explore movement and shake off their automatic reactions and impulses as a way of exploring a character’s essence.
H is for Henry V – every year, our second-year students on the BA (Hons) Acting programme tackle two Shakespeare or similar Elizabethan-era plays as part of our Classical Season, culminating in a run of public performances by our two ensemble casts. Our Class of 2019 graduates took on historical heavyweight Henry V – bravo, Monkeys!
(Image – Classical Season 2019, Henry V)
I is for Impact – we have an ongoing commitment to support the creative development of our alumni, as well as to work with a range of collaborative partners within the local and wider arts community. From offering in-kind studio hire for alumni rehearsals, to giving young people access to cultural opportunities as part of Islington Council’s “11 by 11” programme, we’re always keen to see how we can act, make, move and collaborate with other organisations, and we’re always looking for like-minded partners to team up with on future projects!
(Image – Fourth Monkey students with guest speaker, Timberlake Wertenbaker)
K is for Kitchen – the social hub of the Monkey House! A communal space ideal for lunch breaks and discussing ideas, it also plays host to our student social events, from our infamous ‘Monkey and a Mic’ scratch nights to ‘Poetry in the Kitchen’ sharings.
L is for Lecoq – the work of French actor, physical theatre, movement and mime pioneer Jacques Lecoq is central to our Movement training – we want our actors-in-training to embrace the sweat whilst they delve into their physical understanding of the discipline and explore this key aspect of acting, performing and creating!
M is for Monkey House – our London training base since Fourth Monkey moved to the specially renovated site in 2015, the Monkey House has studios and communal spaces ideal for collaborative work, as well as a quieter study room for peaceful moments of reflection and meetings, and is the heart of the Fourth Monkey community!
O is for Open Days – a chance to experience life at our London training base, the Monkey House, our Open Days give prospective students an opportunity to meet some of our team of specialist practitioners and speak with both current students and alumni about their experiences of training with Fourth Monkey, as well as get a taste for our approach to actor training by taking part in ensemble workshops focused on various disciplines. As we head into the new academic year, we will be taking a fresh look at our Open Day offering to make sure we can still give anyone thinking about actor training the chance to see whether Fourth Monkey are the right fit for them…
P is for Performances – our actors-in-training benefit from five performance seasons, giving them plenty of opportunities to put into practice the skills and techniques learned during their training and to share their work with an audience, be it with members of the public during our Classical and Contemporary Seasons or with their fellow students as part of a sharing or scratch night session.
R is for Regional Auditions – we have made a commitment to deliver regional audition days across the UK to ensure that accessibility really does start at audition. Like all Fourth Monkey auditions, our regional audition days are free of charge and we offer a travel bursary scheme for those who need it most to enable visits to London for recalls or visits to the school following a regional audition.
S is for Studio Hires – the Monkey House has six studio spaces, ideally suited for rehearsals, movement classes or meetings. Our spaces boast features from fully sprung floors, to mirrors ideally suited to dance classes, to full technical specifications in the Emrys Johns Studio, our largest space which is used for public performances, internal student sharings and scratch nights.
T is for Taster Workshops – we offer a free Taster Workshop at the Monkey House every month for anyone aged 17 years and over who wants to see if our approach to actor training will be right for them. As well as giving an insight into Fourth Monkey’s physical and ensemble-based training, there is also a chance to chat with Artistic Director Steve Green and ask any questions you might have. Just like our Open Days, we will be taking a fresh look at our workshops to make sure we can still offer an opportunity to sample actor training in a way that is safe and enjoyable!
U is for Untold Stories – Fourth Monkey was founded in 2010 to offer an alternative to traditional conservatoire training in an environment that welcomed a wide variety of voices and performers. As part of this mission, we aim to share those stories that are often untold or unheard through our student performance seasons and we can’t wait to discover more writers and creatives as we head into our next decade.
V is for Voice – as well as being encouraged to be bold and physical, our actors-in-training are taught how to effectively use their voice as a performer through the extensive variety of
vocal training classes, with the chance to put these techniques into practice during play projects studying classical and contemporary texts throughout the year.
Y is for Year of the Monkey – our one-year intensive actor training programme, designed to help those at the very start of their training journey develop their skills and grow in confidence as an actor, to prepare them to embark on further training or to step out in the industry.
Z is for Zero Audition Fees – Fourth Monkey audition days for all our training programmes are completely free of charge, whether they are held at our London training base, at a regional location or via virtual audition, to ensure that our auditions and our training opportunities are as accessible as possible for all those who want to experience them.