One Thursday night in November, a group of four intrepid LGBTQIA+ people impressed the audience, at a Performance Skills Workshop Showcase. Starting the course with varying degrees of experience (from no stage experience, to one or two open mic attempts to a Hammer and Tongue poetry slam finalist) two lesbians, a gay man and a Trans* man had been working hard for six weeks, to learn various performance skills, to apply to their own material.
From comedy monologue storytelling to entertaining yet poignant and thought-provoking poetry, the performers shared their ten-minute pieces with an invited audience of supportive friends, family and partners.
Course facilitator, Annabel Pribelszki, explained the ethos behind the workshop. “As an experienced performer, I can remember what it was like to go on stage for the first time. The blinding lights, the fear of taking the mic off the stand, the literal ‘rabbit in the headlights’ feeling of pure angst at sharing my words with an unknown audience.”
“I wanted to share the performance skills and knowledge which I have built up, across fifteen years of performing spoken word, stand-up, in addition to the audience engagement skills I use as an MC and event host.”
“As a lesbian, I feel that is essential that members of our LGBTQIA+ community are given the opportunity to share their experiences, thoughts and dreams, with a wider audience, through the medium of performance. The self-esteem and mental health benefits of building the confidence to speak in front of any audience are empowering; they can be applied to many life situations. The opportunity to learn and play with others bonds the workshop group and new friendships are formed, which go beyond the six weeks of the course.”
The six-week course is intended for the beginner, or those with a little experience of, writing and performing for the stage. The course will provide you with the tools you need, to present yourself, with confidence, in front of any audience. By the end of the course, you will have a five-minute performance, to showcase to an invited audience.
Workshop participant Aiden Bex summarised the six-week course: “It’s a really friendly, supportive, and safe space. As a result of the activities, it isn’t long before the group has bonded and people are no longer feeling very self-conscious. It also helps that Annabel is more than ready to throw herself into the activities and lead by example.”
“In a group of four students, it has been evident that we all started the workshops at different stages and levels of ability. However, Annabel has done well to keep things very level and to tailor things to suit all students’ abilities without it having a negative impact upon the group dynamic. In other words, the more advanced have felt suitably challenged and the less advanced haven’t felt lost or out of their depth. Each student has been continually working on their own individual areas and has been learning all the time, even though the group has been of mixed ability.”
The next Performance Skills Workshop will be held on Mondays at the Caroline of Brunswick from Mon 7 Jan 2019. There is one discounted bursary place available, to a person on a low income, who otherwise would be unable to access the workshop. Please contact Annabel for more details about how to apply for this bursary place.
Annabel also runs one-to-one performance skills coaching, whether for a work or university presentation, job interview, poetry slam or for applying the final polish, to your comedy set. Contact her for more details.
Aiden talks about attending a one-to-one coaching session: “Annabel is lovely. She is very experienced as a writer, stand-up comic, and spoken word artist. She is very straight-talking and is not afraid to point out areas that need improving – but she is also very nurturing and does so in a supportive and informative way. I also took a couple of 1-2-1 lessons with her to prepare for the Hammer & Tongue final and found them incredibly useful. We went through a lot of my poems and I received some very valuable feedback on loads of things, including suggestions on how to edit things down to concentrate on moving the narrative along and how to deal with time constraints.”
Annabelszki has toured her solo show ‘Professional Breakup Artist’ internationally in 2017-18 Follow her @annabelszki on Facebook and Twitter.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.