Yculture Drug Aware Riptide Masterclass


Thanks to Country Arts WA and the Healthway Y-Culture Drug Aware program, the Riptide Youth Performance Company undertook a series of masterclass workshops with professional storyteller Allan Girod in June. This workshop series focused on skills development in storytelling and the creation of a new show, which will be performed in early 2017.

Some of the ensemble members reflected on what they took away from the workshop.

Storytelling is…

A beautiful type of theatre which simply adheres to the idea of storytelling- stories, whether fact, fiction or half half, are told without the frills and flair of regular theatre, creating a more intimate connection with an audience.

The most important thing I took away from the workshop was…

How varying the light and shade in a collection of stories keeps it interesting, either through how the audience is engaged by the storyteller, the content of the story or the complementary action on stage with the storyteller. Weaving together a balance of dark and light through these and other elements creates the interest in the story and keeps the audience in the dark about what will happen next, which happens in most types of theatre, but it felt really different to learn as storytellers because we were writing that balance on the go rather than having it set out for us in a script.

That one of the best skills for a story teller, or for any performer, to have is to be able to envision what the audience is seeing while you perform. This includes being aware of the whole space, and where the focus is at any moment. By being mindful of those aspects, you can easily shift the focus of the show, or leave it as is, whichever lends itself to improving what the audience sees.

It is extremely important to utilise control over storytelling techniques to maximise the affect your acting has on the audience. Without being able to purposefully use techniques such as commenting, connection, and emphasis – among others – within your work, you may be missing opportunities to create really powerful or meaningful moments that highlight the importance of an issue of an experience.

The best moment in the workshop was…

When we did an improv for an hour (or so), and there wasn’t a single dull moment.

The whole atmosphere that we all carried into the workshop. We were all comfortable to try new things and comment constructively on what worked and what didn’t, and help build each other up and improve our overall understanding of story telling as a both a type of and a device in theatre. Everyone contributed something meaningful to the experience and they were all awesome to work with.

I like working with… because…

I like working with Allan because his vibe is so gentle while at the same time he’s so excited about teaching and people sharing ideas.

I like working with my fellow Riptide members, because it was extremely fulfilling to see us not only enjoying the workshops, but also clearly developing our skills in storytelling and performing as we progressed

I was most excited by the following ideas…

How the narrator and how perspective influence a story

How perspective influences the audience’s perception of a story, and how one idea can be articulated by someone and then completely redevised and retold by another. Just the idea that we all bring our own baggage and experiences to everything that we do is really interesting and the affect that this has on the retelling of a story from an actors point of view (through the working and reworking of ideas), and how this also affects individual audience members perception of what they see on stage.

The show we are making is (probably) going to be about…

Our feelings about the state of the world, how we relate to this planet and its issues and how we can draw on the examples of change makers we admire to apply our own passions to global problems that worry us.