VITAL THEATRE WORKSHOPS
"The best example of someone
to watch how to perform
In a 25 year career acting in films, tv and on stage, including more than 20 productions at 13 Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, George Dillon has become known for his association with Steven Berkoff and his 7 solo shows which have toured extensively in the U.K. and abroad, winning a Herald ‘Angel’ award and two nominations for The Stage’s ‘Best Actor’ Award.
George has worked on 12 productions of Steven Berkoff's work, including 3 with the man himself. He was assistant director for Salomé in 1989 and also appeared in Metamorphosis at the National in 1992. For his own Vital Theatre he has staged 4 world premières of Berkoff’s writing, among them his award-winning solo performance of Graft - Tales of an Actor.
As well as five of his own solo shows, George directed the première of Berkoff’s Brighton Beach Scumbags; directed and starred in Hamlet at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh; and conceived and directed Guy Masterson's solo Under Milk Wood which has won international acclaim.
George Dillon is also a trained and experienced class-room teacher, having spent 2 years teaching English as a Foreign Language during the 1980s. Since 1990 when he was invited by the National Theatre Education Department to give workshops on Berkoff’s Metamorphosis, George has led more than 100 workshops with students, professional performers and business groups both in the U.K. and abroad.
Based upon his experiences as performer, director, teacher and martial artist, George Dillon’s workshops are intense, enjoyable and provocative. The primary objective is always to allow the participants to make their own discoveries, leaving a lasting and even life-changing impression.
Workshop topics include ‘Berkoff & Physical Theatre’, ‘Acting Solo’ & ‘Playing Shakespeare’, but workshops can also be tailored to request.
As well as leading workshops, George Dillon may also undertake freelance directing of productions/projects at student or professional level.
"George Dillon workshops have become a regular and popular event at St Christopher School. An authority on Steven Berkoff and physical theatre, he is also an outstanding teacher who always tailors the workshops to suit the needs of staff and students.
This year, he worked with AS Level students studying Berkoff. As someone who has directed him, George can give privileged insights into Berkoff’s work. His “Introduction to Berkoff” workshop gave students a firm and highly enjoyable grounding in the key concepts of Berkovian performance style. He then returned later in the term to do a masterclass on the students’ production of Metamorphosis. His ideas and encouragement were invaluable and I’m pleased to say the whole cohort of students went on to get A grades with two gaining 100% on their performance.
He has also worked with students on their devised pieces. Again his professional insight is invaluable. He offers sound advice and practical suggestions which help students create excellent theatre and achieve outstanding results.
George is an inspiration and students and staff alike at St Christopher School have benefited enormously from his work."
Hamish Wilson, Head of Drama
St Christopher School,
"Just a line to thank you again for yesterday's workshop. The feedback from the students has been extremely positive: they felt challenged, ennervated, enriched by the three hours they had with you, and it has already set the Sixth formers thinking about how they can incorporate that style of theatre into their forthcoming scripted pieces. I enjoyed your easy rapport with them all, the discipline of the session, and the manner in which you challenged orthodoxies as required by curriculum exams. A thoroughly excellent afternoon, which more than met my expectations and blew the kids' Christmas cobwebs away. Many thanks."
Matt Smith, Head of Drama
"A well-planned session which really did meet the
demands I had requested. George was sensitive to the needs of the group and
responded accordingly. Extremely useful for Upper 6th students to relate
practical aspects to theory (practising for examination)... powerful induction
programme for new 6th formers.
All students felt they had benefited tremendously from the
day. Time went very quickly. In an ideal world a 2 day workshop would be
tremendous. Thanks very much for this valuable opportunity."
Stratford High School
"You cannot teach anyone anything;
you can only help them
to find it within themselves."
- Galileo Galilei
Terms & Conditions
Whether tailored towards a specific topic or a
more general brief, George Dillon's workshops are designed to
give a genuine and inspiring insight into
the thoughts and practices of a professional
theatre-maker, while increasing awareness
of the skills needed for a heightened performance
style and the impact it can have on an audience,
and also providing a few practical tools for
George regards students as future creative artists
rather than exam fodder, so his workshops are NOT
designed to directly address examination type
questions. However, he is aware that teachers have
a curriculum to follow, targets to hit and rarely
enough time to 'play' within the timetable and so
he is happy to tailor sessions to a specific brief.
If you have specific questions or topics which you
would definitely want to be addressed during the
session, please make this very clear in advance,
preferably by email with at least a week's notice.
Workshops are typically 3 hours long (and are better without a break). 1-day, 2-day and week long workshops are also undertaken.
Costs will be calculated according to the
circumstances by taking a standard fee for a workshop
(of up to 3 hours) or a full day's teaching
and adding travel costs and a supplement for time
spent travelling (if more than 4 hours) and/or for overnight stay if needed.
Travel costs are for a return train fare from
Brighton plus taxis if the location is more than 15 minutes walk from a train station.
Taking peak time and rail network card discounts into
account this means that morning sessions usually
work out costing more than ones in the afternoon. If you want to estimate the train fares yourself
visit nationalrail.co.uk and look up train times and fares from Brighton.
As ever in this biz, fees are negotiable (a bit),
and discounts can be done for more than 1 booking or
Workshops can be booked at long/short notice but please see the note below regarding rearrangement/cancellation.
This website is usually kept up-to-date with
George's public performance/workshop schedule, and
can serve as a guide to George's availability (see the foot of this page).
It is rarely possible to do a workshop and a show on the same day. Quite apart from travel and technical get-in time, George's workshops and performances both demand a lot of energy and some clear recovery time is needed in between. It can work to arrive the evening before, and do a workshop in the morning and a show the same evening, but it is usually best to have a performance on one day and then a return visit, or overnight stay for a workshop on another day.
Any number from 4
to 40 participants can be accommodated in a session, as long as there is large enough
space in which to work. If you only have a small group you may want to
consider combining students from different years
or even teaming up with another school. Quite apart from better "value for money" - a lot
of the focus is on chorus work and the actor
/ audience relationship, which can be hard to get
across with groups of less than 8. On the other hand,
combined groups can be less
successful, as the students tend to be more nervous.
A CD player.
A white/black board (and marker/chalk).
Table and 4 stools / chairs (not too particular).
Large enough space.
REARRANGEMENT / CANCELLATION
In 20 years it has never yet been necessary, but...
as a working actor, George Dillon reserves the right to cancel
or postpone any workshop in the event of being offered other acting work.
In practice this has never happened, and it is
extremely unlikely that it could happen with less
than a week or two's notice (or more likely a
month or two) for a jobbing role or several months'
notice for a solo performance. Since Since 2007 George has
concentrated exclusively on his solo
productions, (and does not even have an agent for jobbing work)
the likelihood of cancellation is
Should a cancellation
ever be necessary, as much notice as
possible will be provided and, as far as is humanly possible,
alternative dates will be offered (at a reduced rate).
Email is generally best - fast, clear and written. Once a workshop is confirmed it will be advisable to exchange home and mobile phone numbers, as well as a school
If you have any questions please ask:...
George Dillon's Tour Dates
(as of Thursday, 21 November 2019)
9th January 2020
Manchester Grammar School
22nd January 2020
24th January 2020