Image courtesy of RCA Archive.
The Theatre Group
We organise ourselves as a de-centralised experimental theatre troupe, a mode which allows us to work collaboratively as a company of theoreticians and practitioners. The group takes its’ name from the RCA Theatre Group, a collective of theatrically minded students from across the RCA departments, which ran intermittently from 1930 through to the 1970’s. The group staged annual productions ranging from Jean Genet and Artaud to Shakespeare, at times collaborating with neighbouring institutions such as the Royal Academy of Music and Imperial College and occasionally taking their productions to festivals such as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
By adopting ‘post-dramatic theatre’ as our guiding approach, we have employed improvised sessions, workshop series (with guest practitioners), contextual seminars and live performance. We explore the potentials of theatrical expression, and utilised the format of the live rehearsal to force private thinking out onto the social grounding of the company. Our dramaturgical technique has been to insert critical thinking directly into the dynamics of narratives; by posing as sleuths, detectives, or active agents in the plot. In this way we hope to traverse the fourth wall and profit from theatre’s immanence and vocality.
Our approach to story likens it to a string of non-fiction events, we approach a plot in the same way a detective might grapple with a beguiling case. We regard fiction as an astounding if not implausible factual account (a view in keeping with the quasi-realism of many narrative genres, such as sci-fi). By suspending our scepticism and concentrating on representation, concept and significance, insights into the theatre’s reach and relevance have emerged.
The Theatre Group was founded by Letitia Calin & Natascha Nanji. Brett Walsh & Natascha Nanji presently run the group.
Adaptation + Experimentation
An experimental adaptation of the J.G. Ballard short story The Thousand Dreams of Stellavista from the book Vermillion Sands. A series of contextual seminars & workshops took place at the Royal College of Art & culminated in a performance at Anglia Ruskin University.
Performance & Lecture | How is Emotion Aestheticized Through Technology? | J.G. Ballard and the Sciences, Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy, Anglia Ruskin University 25 November 2017
Experimental Residency | The Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art Character & Structure Development / Material Experimentation / Sound & Dialogue | 27 February - 3 March 2017
Performance & The Director’s Craft | Ruth Mariner (Director, Gestalt Arts) | 19 November 2016
Bodywork & Flux | Despoina Zacharopulou (Performance Artist) | 19 January 2017
Close Textual Reading & Group Improvisation | run by Natascha Nanji + Letitia Calin| 5 February 2017
Dramaturgy & Adaptation | Dr. Sarah Sigal (Queen Mary, University of London) | 18 March 2017
Bauhaus & The Black Mountain College Theatre | 3 November 2016
Futurist Theatre, Liberated Scenography & Mobile Architectural Forms | 24 November 2016
Martha Graham & Alwin Nikolais - Modern Dance & Theatre | 8 December 2016
American Theatrical Traditions - 1960s & 1970s | 12 January 2017
Vsevolod Meyerhold & The Russian Constructivist Stage | 26 January 2017
1952 production of Jean Genet's Orphée staged by RCA student. Image courtesy of RCA Archive.