Commedia dell’Arte – Two-Day Course with Didi Hopkins

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Date(s) - Sat, 30 Jul 2016 - Sun, 31 Jul 2016
10:30 am - 4:30 pm

Toynbee Studios


Saturday 30th July – Sunday 31st July 2016 10:30am – 4:30pm
Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London E1
Tutor: Didi Hopkins

commedia-places Commedia dell’arte is a highly effective tool for students of all abilities and ages. It is a template that can be applied to classical text or contemporary theatre making. No previous experience of Commedia dell’arte or mask-work is necessary. There will be a half-day session on the first day to introduce participants to the Commedia characters. The rest of the course will give everybody the opportunity to improvise, explore and perform Commedia scenarios in depth.

Didi Hopkins returns to lead this course after working as Commedia Consultant for the RSC production of Love for Love (Swan Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon). Didi is one of the world’s foremost practitioners and experts on Commedia dell’arte and was a huge influence on the National Theatre’s One Man Two Guvnors, (starring James Corden) working closely with the writer, Richard Bean, who adapted the original Italian popular play Servant of Two Masters.

The highly practical two-day course gives a solid foundation in commedia, exploring masks and character types, physical storytelling, improvisation, lazzi, stagecraft, grommelot and developing scenarios. Each element of the training can be used to launch other work with actors and students. The strategies, exercises and techniques together form the ABC of commedia for the classroom and the day will culminate with the development and performance of classic two-person scenarios. Professional Commedia masks are supplied.

We shall explore:

  • Masks and Commedia character types
  • Physical storytelling
  • Improvisation
  • Lazzi – comic business
  • Stagecraft
  • Grommelot – the emotional ‘babble-speak’ of Commedia
  • Developing scenarios

NB Attendance Certificates will be supplied.


The Tutor

didi-hopkinsAs actor and director, Didi Hopkins was co-founder of Beryl and the Perils who toured internationally exploring the politics of gender through Brechtian cabaret sketches and cartoon-style physical theatre. As well as consulting for the Royal Shakespeare Company, she has devised and delivered Commedia work for 10 years for the National Theatre. The National Theatre has made five films about her practice that can be viewed on YouTube or downloaded for free from iTunes. Hopkins also uses the experiential work of the rehearsal room to work with women in business.




The fee for two days is £275 per participant. 10% discount available when booking more than one course or for two colleagues from the same organisation.

NB Please complete and return the booking form below with your purchase order or payment. An official invoice will be dispatched and payment can be made by cheque, BACS or using the Buy Now button below.

What to bring

Yourself – and a friend or colleague if you like! Comfortable clothing to move in. Light refreshments are included and at lunchtime we usually walk, to eat a delicious lunch at Leon at Old Spitalfields Market (lunch not included).

Toynbee Studios is part of the Toynbee Hall complex at 28 Commercial Street, London E1. Download directions to Toynbee Studios by car, tube, bus, train or bike.

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Please visit the Cancellation page if you wish to cancel your booking.

The online booking form is below. Payment must be made via PayPal, bank payment or cheque.

Prefer to download the booking form? Click Here to download booking form



Ticket Type Price Spaces
Standard Ticket £275.00

Even if more than one person will be attending from your organisation please enter the details of just one participant in the following section. You may enter further information in the final section of the form.

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