NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2020
The Centre reopens!
We hope you are all well. Good news: the Roy Hart Centre reopens on July 1st! This reopening will be a smooth reopening, with only one workshop the first week of July. The list of cancelled or postponed workshops is regularly updated on our website. You can refer to it. This reopening will of course be done in compliance with health regulations. Welcome!
“Kevin Crawford : « Pathways to become teacher”
Kevin Crawford is one of the members of a team who have been reflecting on the training of future teachers. The process and definitions of this transmission are now established. Kevin replies to our questions. (This team was composed of Jonathan, Ethie, Edda, Linda, Ian, Kaya, Kevin with advice from Zwaan and David).
What are the broad lines of the transmission process ?
We have created a working group called the Body of Mentors, which brings together mentors and the most experienced teachers, in all sixteen or seventeen persons.
We have deliberated at length on the stages that the training of teachers might take. The exact name for these new teachers is still to be formally confirmed but in the interim we are using the following formula : « teacher recognised by the Roy Hart Centre ».
These definitions are now articulated. The guiding principle is: the process of transmission is best handed down from person to person, as in traditional arts, from master to pupil.
There is no manual or text of reference. Transmission occurs uniquely between a person, the teacher and another person, the apprentice.
To the degree to which there is a wide range of personalities within the Roy Hart tradition, this transmission takes place differently depending on the persons or groups – there are individuals but also groups that are a point of reference ( for example Pantheatre with Linda and Enrique, or the Advanced Pedagogic Group with Carol, Edda and Saule, formerly known as Teacher Training Group).
There is no Royal Road to becoming a teacher recognised by the centre : there are multiple pathways, reflecting the diversity of the members of the Body of Mentors.
How will it be evaluated, decided, if someone is ready to be a teacher ?
We don’t want a rigid protocol, but in order to have a common trunk we have clarified two stages.
First stage : deepen one’s work as a person and artist, through workshops, lessons with a variety of teachers, engage in on-going or intensive training programs . It is important however to develop a special relationship with one or several teachers, who can follow the student’s evolution over time.
Continually changing teacher may prevent fully engaging with someone. Both sides are necessary: meeting a variety of teachers: constructing a continuity in the work over time with one or several persons. There is no time limit to this ‘deepening’ stage.
Second stage: the person has now gone deeper with the work and is ready to move to another level, that of apprentice. They will have identified their mentor. The mentor and two other senior teachers now need to recommend that the student be admitted into this second level : the apprenticeship program.
There is a form to be filled out by the would-be apprentice that has to be returned to the AST (Administrative Support Team) with the three required recommendations. The team of the AST (composed of Edda, Ethie and Kevin) does not decide unilaterally who may enter into the apprenticeship program with a view to becoming a recognized teacher. It’s there in order to facilitate the process, and support communication between students, mentors and the Body of Mentors.
In principle, a demand with the recommendations is normally accepted. However the AST may ask for advice from other teachers : for example if someone has worked with Pantheatre in Paris for some years but no one from Pantheatre has given a recommendation, Pantheatre might be consulted.
The student admitted into an apprenticeship program, that is individually tailored between the apprentice and the mentor(s). Together, they draw up a study plan. This may include further workshops, lessons, observation of teachers’ lessons, or inversely, apprentice may be observed whilst teaching : collaborative teaching ventures and other aspects of teaching or cultural studies may also be a part of this plan.
It is recommended that the apprentice meets as wide a range of teachers in the Roy Hart tradition as possible : thus they will discover its different strands. Not all approaches will suit them, but, at least, they will understand the breadth of teaching that is offered.
We recommend also that apprentices develop a strong relationship with Malérargues, as it remains an important point of reference for the work, as well as reaching out, where possible, to the wider diaspora of teachers.
There is no time limit on this second stage of the process : it may last two or more years depending on the apprentice. At a given moment the apprentice and the mentor feel ready, and with the support of four other senior teachers, they present a request to the Body of Mentors.
How does evaluation happen?
The mentor must decide the form the evaluation takes. We have decided to keep some of the obligations of the previous conditions, for example writing a short dissertation. But, in essence, the approach is based on on-going evaluation.
Once the Body of Mentors has agreed that the apprentice becomes a ‘teacher recognised by the Roy Hart Centre’, the request is submitted to the Board of the Centre, who accepts the proposal and has the final authority.
Recommended reading : « Vocal Traditions: The Roy Hart Tradition », a thorough article by Kevin Crawford and Noah Pikes in Vasta
In preparation: Kevin Crawford, biography of Roy Hart, extracts and exercises, to be published in Routledge Performance Practitioners.
Who was Alfred Wolfsohn? By Ralf Peters
At the cemetery of Golders Green in London, you could find for almost 50 years a plaque with the german quotation “Lerne singen, o meine Seele”, “Learn to sing, o my soul”. It was put there in memory of Alfred Wolfsohn who died in 1962. This year (2020), the plaque will find a new home in Malérargues, the very place that was founded and inspired by the most important student and successor of AWE (as Wolfsohn was called by his pupils): Roy Hart.
This might be a good moment to ask once again: Who was this man who changed the idea of the human voice forever? There is quite an amount of written material about him and I will give a list with it below.
Born in 1896 in Berlin (Germany), he was forced to join World War I when he was only 18 years old. Somehow he survived these four years, but got out of it deeply traumatized. It took him a very long time to even find a path that might help him to become a “human being” again: AWE was convinced that his soul had died in the trenches of the war and it was his voice that helped to revive himself.
Voices of dying soldiers played a strong role in his traumatizing war experiences and the story of how he connected these experiences with his own voice became one of the famous founding myths of our voice work (myth in the very best sense!). Since then this myth has been retold in different variations. All of them are true.
AWE started to explore his voice and in the 1930s he became a voice and singing teacher. He wrote his famous manuscript Orpheus or the Way to a Mask where he developed his vision of an unchained voice, unchained from cultural restrictions as much as from personal inhibitions and limitations. In AWE’s sense, the process of unchaining has very little to do with singing techniques but a lot with exploring the relation between your voice and your soul! Learn to sing, o my soul!
In his times, AWE´s ideas of the human voice were absolutely new. With his ground breaking work he opened the field for the liberated voice and without him the similarily ground breaking work of Roy Hart and the RHT would not have been possible.
As a German Jew in Nazi times, AWE emigrated to London in 1939 and started to teach voice again after World War II. There Roy Hart met him and decided to work with him for the next 12 years. After AWE´s death in 1962, Roy Hart created his own artistic and social version and vision of the human voice and this approach is evolving until today. Nevertheless the roots that were planted by Alfred Wolfsohn are still present in our work and our ideas of the human voice.
Some material about Alfred Wolfsohn
his writings are available at La Mémoire, the archives of the Roy Hart Centre in Malérargues. Most of it exists in an English version, mainly translated by Marita Günther who became AWE´s heiress. There is very little in French.
The Orpheus manuscript is also available as PDF in an English edition by Jay Livernois, translated by Marita Günther and revised by Sheila Braggins.
At La Mémoire, there is also audio and video material with AWE and his students, edited by Paul and Clara Silber, the German versions mainly with assistance of Ralf Peters.
Sheila Braggins wrote an biography of AWE: The Mystery behind the Voice, available in Malérargues.
There is a lot of material about AWE on www.roy-hart.com. Also on the Center´s website, www.roy-hart-theatre.com. Click on “Legacy” and “Resources”!
Kaya Anderson is the last of our teachers who worked intensely with AWE. A unique source of “mémoire vive”!
In Noah Pikes´ book Dark Voices, there is a chapter about Alfred Wolfsohn
In Ralf Peters, Wege zur Stimme“, a German book about our voice work, you find material about AWE.
Performance ZAUBER August 7 and 8, in Malérargues
Ian Magilton informs us: « Our Magic Flute. Die Zauberflöte has been woven into the research of Roy Hart Theatre ever since Alfred Wolfsohn’s first inspiration of the ‘human voice’ a hundred years ago in Berlin. He insisted that everyone was capable of singing all of the archetypal roles in it, from the Queen of the Night’s, highest, to Sorastro’s lowest note of classical music, that in each of us there is a lover, a victim, hero, fool, wise man, dictator, witch, evil slave and more. In every emotion we have are pathways to all of the others.
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Musical arrangements by Sašo Vollmaier, Orly Asody and the cast : Kaya Anderson. Orly Asody, Caroline Boersma, Juliette Flipo, Stephan Koch, Douglas Macarthur, Ian Magilton, Ivan Midderigh, Emma Pannell, Anne Piffard, Nike Redding, Anita Roksvåg, Laurent Stephan, Sašo Vollmaier.”
Appeal for donations
We are making an appeal for donations and inviting you to contribute, if you should wish to do so, to a fund of support. And since small streams make big rivers, please do consider donating even if just a modest amount. We would be immensely grateful. And please feel free to share the link below either by email or on social networks, with anyone who loves the Roy Hart International Art Centre
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