Michele McNamara – How do we gather for rehearsal?


Michele McNamara

Deakin University

How do we gather for rehearsal?

Theatre rehearsal is an ‘Act of Gathering’ occurring in a designated space with a select group of people for a predetermined time. While rehearsal practice differs from practitioner to practitioner, it contains common rituals, a distinct language and a number of shared understandings. This paper draws on a recent study of the rehearsal practices of a small number of Australian women theatre directors undertaken for my MA entitled: In Plain Sight: Australian Women Directors and their rehearsal room practices in the contemporary theatre context. I will present the results of interviews and rehearsal observations and report on the techniques and skills they employ in rehearsal to research, plan, communicate, negotiate and collaborate with diverse casts and creatives. Specific aspects of leadership will be highlighted in the four key areas: responsibility, proximity, attention and balance. The paper concludes with a discussion of an approach to the challenges inherent in contemporary rehearsal practice and how these subtle skills and techniques underpin the way in which the mood of the room, the co-operation of others, and the shared commitment to the creative process transform a social workplace into a heightened gathering.

Michele McNamara. An emerging researcher, Michele recently completed MA at Deakin University following a Graduate Diploma of Creative Arts and BA (Drama), Graduate Diploma of Education at LaTrobe University and choreography studies at Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. As an independent theatre practitioner, Michele has produced and directed productions in many venues, small and large, all around Melbourne. Michele had a long career as teacher specializing in VCE Drama, Dance and Theatre Studies and has held leadership positions in educational settings at leading private schools. Current research interests include actor well-being, psycho-physical acting techniques, interpreting text through non-verbal means and ethical practices.