How To Train Your Child In Various Acting Methods During The School Holidays

Ever thought about how actors deliver impactful dialogues or perform actions that say so much more than words could ever tell? The reality is, plenty of hard work goes behind what’s put on stage and the screen. 

If your child wants to get into the craft of theatre and drama, starting them off with the fundamentals is key. That is, understanding the various acting methods out there. 

When they explore the different acting techniques and practise them, they’ll familiarise themselves with the basic principles that’ll form their foundation. 

While finding a suitable approach can help them further their artistic pursuits, they’ll still have sound knowledge and practical experience in the rest. This is important for any versatile performer. When a situation requires them to use any acting method apart from their preferred one, they’ll still be able to apply the technique and fulfil their roles.

Of course, understanding and practising takes time, so what’s better than having your child explore these over the school holidays? If you’re thinking of introducing theatre to your child, this is a fantastic place to start. Set aside a day or two each week and let your child have a go at these acting methods! 

1. Stanislavski Method By Konstantin Stanislavski

With the Stanislavski Method, your child steps into their character’s world through artistic imagination. The emotional, physical and spiritual connection your child makes with the character based on the information they gather allows them to perform a truthful depiction of the individual they are playing. The outcome? Acting that is impactfully compelling.

How To Train In The Stanislavski Method

One of the most effective ways to use Stanislavski’s technique is to break down the character’s circumstances by having your child answer these questions:

  • Who am I
  • Where am I
  • When is it
  • What do I want and why
  • How will I get it
  • What do I need to overcome 

Begin by introducing a character to your child. This could be anything, from a cotton farmer to a child athlete. Next, have them map out the characteristics based on the questions above. After which, explore role play where you create various situations in which your child has to act out how the character would react. Here are some prompts:

  • You are sowing the seeds on your farm. What would you do if there was a cry coming from behind you?
  • You turned up for practice one morning. What would you do if you were told you’re no longer competing in the tournament?

2. Method Acting By Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler and Sanford Meisner

Method acting encourages the use of personal experiences to emotionally connect with a character. This is unlike the Stanislavski technique that emphasises on physical action as a means to achieve emotional expression. That is to say, your child will find themselves mapping the character’s psychological, sociological and behavioural qualities to their own to produce an expressive performance that is real and believable. 

How To Train In Method Acting

Adapt the Stanislavski Method exercise for this. This time, consider a range of sensations to trigger memories. These could be anything, from the aroma of granny’s food to the sound of a football being kicked against the wall. These actions, alongside a well-crafted prompt script, enables your child to authentically deliver their lines based on how they feel, in contrast to what they think they should feel.

3. Meisner Acting Technique By Sanford Meisner

Focusing more on instincts than thoughts, the Meisner Acting Technique relies on improvisation and spontaneity. Meisner believed that instincts were more important and honest than thoughts, which means actors respond to stimuli based on how they feel at that very moment. Your child doesn’t need to think, they just have to do.

How To Train In Meisner Acting Technique

The Meisner Acting Technique is effective in getting your child to focus in the present. That way, they can react spontaneously to stimuli, instead of thinking how they should respond. Create a scenario with your child and kick it off with a prompt. Encourage your child to simply respond based on what first comes to mind, while you play along to facilitate. Include various behaviours such as gestures, movements and body language to aid the improvisation.

4. Chekhov Acting Technique By Michael Chekhov

Combining both imagination and intuition, the Chekhov Acting Technique will inspire your child to deliver creative impulses in the physical world based on the inner life of characters. It does away with real feelings of actors; instead, it encourages observation and understanding of others to convey the character’s persona on stage or screen, through speech and movements. 

How To Train In Chekhov Acting Technique

One of the best ways to train your child in this acting method is to give them the free reign to conceptualise what a character is all about. When they create their own character, they can prescribe attributes and then ask important questions that’ll invite them into the inner life of their character. 

For instance, suppose the character works at a run-down factory for a low wage. Have your child come up with various scenarios and situations the character would find themselves in, and ideate how the character reacts and behaves in each situation. They may also read up more about the societal group such a character belongs to truly understand what goes on in the mind of the character. Once your child internalises the life of the character, he can then perform the role more realistically.

5. Practical Aesthetics Acting Technique By David Hamet and William H. Macy

Leveraging the teachings of Stanislavsky, Mesiner and the philosopher Epictetus, the Practical Aesthetics Acting Technique focuses on the simplicity of theatre through four key pillars that will help your child break down any scene:

  • The literal: What is happening exactly
  • A want: What the character wants the other character(s) to do
  • The action: The action required to achieve the “want”
  • As if: Imagining the characters and situation as real in the actor’s life

One key aspect of this acting method is that it does not rely on memory. As such, “as if” portion is simply an imagination of a situation that could occur in your child’s life but has not happened yet, simply to draw an authentic response and involve your child deeper in the scene. 

How To Train In Practical Aesthetics Acting Technique

Consider a simple script with an outcome. This could be a child who is seeking permission from a strict father to participate in a school activity and is denied, or a high school student looking to run away from home but is found by the police. Have your child break down each scene, finally personalising it at the “as if” stage to create that authentic scene by way of – this is how I would react.

Let Your Child Dive Into Acting Methods At MindChamps Académie of Stars School Holiday Workshops

Parents may not be the best performing arts trainers – nothing comes close to the learning experience when taught by professionals. At MindChamps Académie of Stars, performing arts practitioners extend their acting and theatre programmes to school holiday workshops where children learn, among various other aspects, different acting methods for impactful delivery. Relying on the principles of the Champion Mindset, your child will be nurtured into a confident performer who knows what it takes to stand out from the crowd. Why not book a visit to the centre to learn more?