'A series of simple tasks that speak of life and nature' Joseph Chaikin, in The Presence of the Actor
In 2005 a group of actors and directors began to meet to read plays, aiming simply to rediscover and enjoy great works of dramatic literature. By 2007 Presence Theatre was formed. The company has since presented a number of performances and staged readings and continues to hold workshops approaching different genres of drama from the actor's and director's perspective and with the audience always in view. In 2009, the company acquired charitable status.
We believe that the theatre is a form whose primary strength lies in the enriching power of the actor's presence in relation to the word-in-action. We think this must remain at the core even, and perhaps especially, when the form of a production is innovative and/or its ideological dimension explicit. We embrace the classical and modern repertoire as well as new plays, and broadly we seek to heal divisions between the various forms of theatre, hoping to advance the medium in every sphere: art, production, education and community.
We look for material that inhabits a different imaginative or moral universe, that can enrich, inform and 'quicken' our present moment with fresh experiences, perspectives and intensities and that favours elemental resonance over topicality. Lorca defined theatre as 'poetry standing up'. Poetry, whether verbal or physical, is surely the point
In this approach we are inspired by the American actor/director Joseph Chaikin, from whose book The Presence of the Actorour name is derived. This is principally about engaging with the form or forms of a drama before making decisions about behaviour or character, in order to achieve 'a series of simple tasks which speak of life and nature'
In addition to productions, we run a very popular and long-running monthly professional actors' play reading group, exploring new writing (often with the writer in attendance) as well as unfamiliar UK and International repertoire, the latter often in new translations. We also run developmental workshops and projects, and maintain this website as a forum for exploring and promoting new and unfamiliar drama and furthering debates and discussions.
And we look to link up with practitioners around the world. At the moment we are planning workshops and stage readings of new work in collaboration with writers and companies in Quebec, Norway, Argentina The openness is all.
Presence Theatre is a Company Limited by Guarantee Registered in England & Wales no. 6315043 Registered Charity no. 1132900