A mirror, a mask and an actor

By Julianne Eveleigh | ITM

May 10

Congratulations to Julieanne Eveleigh and Paul Hampton, whose work is is featured in a new book edited by Cathy Madden and Kathleen Juhl.

Here Julieanne tells the story of their collaboration

Paul Hampton and I have spent the past eight years cooking up and re-imagining a team teaching activity that introduces first-year acting students enrolled in a BA in Acting at Federation University, Ballarat, to the Alexander Technique and the Neutral Mask.

Alexander Technique underpins our teaching practice because it affords the actor in training time to attune the senses to appreciate the beauty and clarity of their three dimensional ‘self’.

We begin with the human design as the central organising principle that is key to all human movement. We frame this fundamental value that Alexander termed ‘primary control’ as a place of possibility – a place that is not restricted by unnecessary tension in either the body or the mind, a place where the imagination can respond with immediacy, creativity, and spontaneity. Alexander Technique provides a context for students to recognise the space between a stimulus and a reaction and gives them an opportunity to make choices and respond appropriately to the moment.

In 2015 Cathy Madden sent out an invitation to AT teachers working in a performing arts context to submit an outline. Paul and I decided that we would like to document the work we do with Neutral Mask and Alexander Technique in the first year of an actor training program.

Over a five-year period, we have been collecting student responses to our work that provide not only evidence of fundamental changes in these students’ psychophysical awareness but interesting reading, so we have woven their experiences and understanding of what they were experiencing into our chapter.

We have had the extraordinary privilege of working in detail with many students over the years, whose questions and insights have helped shape our teaching.

We also feel privileged that our work will receive a wider audience, to ensure that the rest of the world knows that the Alexander Technique is alive and kicking Down Under!

About the Author

Julianne Eveleigh MPVA, AuSTAT, Advanced Dip Alexander Technique, LSDA, Grad Dip Ed&T, Dip Acting UK