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workshops for directors

The grammar of the stage
Outline of theatre semiotics. Theory and practice on the stage.

This seminar lasts 20/30 hours.

The seminar aims to lead participants to discover the elements of the language of drama by  breaking each code into elementary units (action, gesture, word, lights, stage design, music...) that will be put together again later into meaningful sequences.
A fascinating journey into the world of theatre communication.

The seminar will focus on the exploration of the expressive potential of each communicative code involved in the performance. It will start from the actor and from his elementary actions (his presence on the stage is a communicative act itself), then it will analyse the various communicative ways of voice expression. Finally, the written theatrical text will be studied. Through direct experience on the stage, participants will be able to understand the richness and the complexity of the communicative act that we call “performance”.
The seminar won’t follow the strict structuralist approach of some studies of theatre semiotics, but it will have the same thoroughness in analysing the various parts of the performance.

Practical work on the stage will focus on the following topics:

  • basic elements of semiology
  • semiology applied to drama: the attempt of the structuralist approach
  • actor and stage: blocking
  • actor and stage business: analysis and experimentation of movement parameters, the meaning that originates from a series of actions linked together
  • actor and voice: from breathing to sound
  • actor and props
  • actor and text: text, subtext: “basic units of meaning”
  • semiological analysis of scenes taken from classical texts
  • from text to staging (performance)
  • figures of speech on the stage
  • music and rhythm on the stage
  • the communicative value of stage lighting
  • elements of stagecraft
  • practice on the stage: making short performances as examples of the concepts learnt during the seminar.


This seminar aims to lead participants to discover the methodologies and strategies that directors use to work together with their actors. Participants will be aware of the great difference between “stiff directing”  and “leading a process”.

Being credible, exerting an impact, working well with the group, being flexible, being able to tune in  with other people, communicating positive feedback to actors, training the talent to create a vision that will be shared by the actors to be performed on the stage: these are the qualities of a director who is the leader of complex processes, of challenging projects.
In this seminar directors and drama teachers will lead participants to experience at first the work of the actor on himself; then, they will practise how to lead and direct, seeing the creative process through the director’s eyes.
Practice is followed by moments of theory.

This kind of work will be
• deeply experiential
• in a space (the stage) which is by definition the place of direct involvement, action, play, enjoyment and complicity, of creativity and success, of awareness and responsibility, where participants are direct protagonists in the process of learning and discovery.

Through activities on the stage, participants will deal with the following topics:

- study of the historical and anthropological peculiarity of the stage as a protected space
- analysis, understanding and study of the grammar elements of the stage: notions of theatre semiotics
- analysis of the difference between dramatic text and performing text
- comparison between director and actor with theatre improvisation
- “budget” management: the director coordinates the various elements he has got and creates “meaning”, builds up “discourse” and narration on the stage
- practical activities in order to:
• Develop better awareness of oneself and how to be an effective leader among people.
• Boost skills such as listening (to oneself, to the other, to the group), the ability to feel and to look at other people according to the context, developing the emotional and relational competences that theatre techniques bring into play.
• Experience the success of team work built up with ingredients such as trust between actor and director, deep sharing of objectives, search for effective communication.
• Develop the ability to motivate people, making the most of their qualities instead of relying on the results given by stress, fear, competitiveness (elements which inhibit and limit the actor’s performance and his creativity).
• Experience an effective management of unexpected events and a careful analysis of available resources  in order to achieve complex objectives in a short (but non hasty) time. This will be done by following strict work rules that will become useful tools rather than obstacles to achieve success.
• Realize how important it is to a leader the ability  to create a “protected space” where set rules help people to do their best in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

Directing actors
How to lead the complex process of creating a performance.
Methodology and practice to exercise credible and effective leadership.
This seminar lasts 20/30 hours.​

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