Jo Loth and Rob Pensalfini – Creative negotiations: Combining Suzuki and Linklater actor training techniques


Jo Loth and Rob Pensalfini

University of the Sunshine Coast and University of Queensland

Creative negotiations: Combining Suzuki and Linklater actor training techniques

How can training methods from contrasting cultural, artistic and pedagogical lineages be successfully combined? This paper will reflect on the findings of a four-day workshop exploring ways to combine the Suzuki actor training method and Linklater voice. The workshop was led by the authors and held at The University of Queensland in June 2018. Both presenters have trained in these methods, one being a Designated Linklater Voice Teacher and the other an experienced teacher of the Suzuki Method. The workshop participants were actors and/or acting teachers, with previous training in at least one of the methods. The workshop was designed with the hypothesis that Suzuki and Linklater can be combined to create a performer who is powerful, responsive to impulse, expressive and capable of nuance. Within a phenomenological, intercultural framework and using reflective practice methodology, this paper will reflect on participant responses to discuss the value and challenges of integrating these techniques. Using this framework, we will observe and evaluate the ways that previous training experiences related to participants’ experiences of the workshop exercises. This paper draws on Zarrilli’s concept of an ‘aesthetic inner bodymind’ and McAllister-Viel’s insights on intercultural actor training, to argue that there is value in combining the techniques through processes of: layering; speaking from the physical experience; and creative negotiations between actor training methods. This research works towards the development of our own teaching practice to enhance and enrich actor training processes. 

Dr Jo Loth is a movement, voice and acting teacher, and Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at The University of the Sunshine Coast.  She has trained in the Suzuki actor training method with The Suzuki Company of Toga (Japan), P3/East (Seattle) and Oz Frank (Brisbane). She has trained in Linklater voice with Kristin Linklater and Rob Pensalfini.  Jo has worked as an actor, cabaret performer, director and writer and was a recipient of Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Performing Arts Fellowship in 2004.  

Associate Professor Rob Pensalfini has published several books and numerous articles in both linguistics and drama, including ground-breaking work on the performance of Shakespeare in prisons. He leads Australia’s only ongoing Prison Shakespeare program and is the Artistic Director of the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble. Rob is a Designated Linklater Teacher. 

Jonathan W. Marshall – On Not Leaving the Stanislavskian Stage: A Descriptive Survey Of Opinions Regarding the Stanislavskian Heritage in Australasia


Jonathan W. Marshall

West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth

On Not Leaving the Stanislavskian Stage: A Descriptive Survey Of Opinions Regarding the Stanislavskian Heritage in Australasia

On 8-10 April 2021, WAAPA will host (in association with The S Word) the annual S-Word symposium ( I have therefore conducted a survey the opinions of Australasian pedagogues and artists regarding Stanislavski’s approach today. I was particularly interested in stories, opinions, tales; about what we might want to remember with regards to, for example, the epic battles between followers of Lukacs’ model of social realism versus local avant-gardists, between Stanislavskian Naturalists versus the Australian New Wave, all of which must be set against the vast array of alternative acting approaches which face artists today. I sought from my subjects thick description and illuminating anecdote, rather than objectively mapping teaching in the region (see Ian Maxwell, Peta Tait, Melanie Beddie and others for analyses which include such mapping). In the today’s world of not just the postmodern but the postdramatic, many of us have yet to leave Stanislavski behind and (albeit often grudgingly) still place him close to the heart of any definition of acting. Like Vladimir and Estragon, whilst many of us planned to take our leave of Stanislavski’s stage, we have yet to do so.

The responses I received to my inquiries were generous, informative, and often funny. I heard about classes in which adults rolled on the ground pretending to be oranges (surely all of us in theatre once wanted to act a tree?), about visits to Russia where “What stayed with me was … the prick of doubt that what I had been taught at … our national drama school was … compromised by a Cold War sleight-of-hand.” I heard of teachers who insisted Stanislavski’s “objectives” apply to performance art as well as drama, and that the influence of German theatre and Ostermeir’s version of realism is causing a revival of in (post-)Stanislavskian Naturalism. In this presentation I will offer some initial propositions as to what might be gleaned from this, and share some historical anecdotes and personal observations.

Dr Jonathan W. Marshall is an interdisciplinary scholar with a background in history. Marshall’s 2016 monograph “Performing Neurology: The Dramaturgy of Dr Jean-Martin Charcot” examines the theatrical qualities and associations of the sometime visitor to Russia and contemporary of Stanislavski, the French neurologist Charcot (who worked with Ribot and others on reflex, emotions, etc). Marshall has written extensively on butoh dance, nervous performance, photomedia, landscape performance, and other topics. Marshall is based at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth. See

Pedro Ilgenfritz – Bienvenue au théâtre du geste – Welcome to the theatre of gesture: Welcoming Jacques Lecoq’s theatre methodology in New Zealand


Pedro Ilgenfritz

UNITEC & University of Auckland

Bienvenue au théâtre du geste – Welcome to the theatre of gesture: Welcoming Jacques Lecoq’s theatre methodology in New Zealand

This presentation looks at the arrival and dissemination of Jacques Lecoq’s theatre methodology in New Zealand via the work of the graduates of L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, France. It presents the timeline of the diaspora of Lecoq’s graduates in New Zealand based on the examination of archival material from Lecoq’s school. L’École officially opened in 1956. Thirty-five people attended the school between 1958 and 2019, and went on to disseminate Lecoq’s knowledge in New Zealand. The first local to attend the school was Yvonne Cartier in 1958, and the spread of Lecoq’s approach to the theatre in New Zealand gained momentum with Francis Batten and Theatre Action’s arrival in 1971 and continued through for another four decades.

This presentation is part of my PhD research at the University of Auckland about the genealogy of Jacques Lecoq’s theatre methodology in New Zealand and Brazil. This study looks at the diaspora of Jacques Lecoq’s theatre methodology and the history of the importation of his mimo-dynamic approach to theatre creation in both countries.

The presentation is a voyage through images of the descendants of Jacques Lecoq in New Zealand and a reflection on the welcome of Lecoq’s approach to theatre in New Zealand.

Pedro Ilgenfritz. BA Theatre – UDESC/Brazil, MTA Theatre Directing – Toi Whakaari & Victoria University of Wellington/New Zealand. Pedro Ilgenfritz a Brazilian born theatre practitioner and a senior lecturer at Unitec – Performing and Screen Arts Department in Auckland, New Zealand. His work is centred on the investigation of acting training methodologies and he researches popular forms of theatre such as clowning, mime and mask training. He is currently a PhD candidate at University of Auckland where he is investigating the genealogy of Jacques Lecoq theatre methodology in New Zealand and Brazil.