My name is Tony Stow, I am 21 years old and I have had the pleasure of being Assistant Director with both the Level One and Level Two summer schools with Bruiser at the MAC this year. I have participated before with Bruiser's summer schools before, once as a participant and a few times as a Production Intern.
As a participant I found Bruiser hard work at first. It is a different way of approaching theatre and storytelling altogether, one that I had not encountered before. Rehearsals are intense, exciting and fast-paced, and a lot of sweat is shed in the course of one rehearsal! As a fresh A-Level performing arts student, I had very little experience with theatre and drama as a whole, however this probably went in my favour, as I quickly found out that this summer school was a real training experience. Bruiser focuses on 'minimal set for maximum impact', and this really struck a chord with me. It expanded my horizons and allowed me to think 'outside the box' in terms of creativity and character development.
As a performer, I was encouraged to really think about my timing and physical awareness, and my body's usefulness as a performer became much clearer to me. It complimented my formal drama education too as the Bruiser style of physical theatre relies as much on what you don't say on stage (Non-Verbal Communication!) as much as what you do. Some of the lessons I learned as a performer through Bruisers summer schools will stay with me forever.
My experience as an Intern and Assistant Director with the Bruiser summer schools have been invaluable to me as a Facilitator/Director. I had the opportunity to learn about the production process, from finding scripts, photocopying them and handling paperwork, and generally working in a real life theatre environment. My skills as a facilitator have had the chance to flourish as well, as I had time to lead rehearsals, help block out scenes and give direction to pieces, an opportunity I would not find easily elsewhere.
The idea behind Bruisers summer schools is to give young people, be they experienced performers or completely new to the game, a chance to experience an Actor's rehearsal schedule and to promote professionalism therein. This has always been what has drawn me to Bruiser, as I believe wholeheartedly in young people being given the opportunity to see how this type of business works from a professional point of view. I really think it is invaluable and I am proud to support it.