Calling all would-be actors

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Do you dream of being an actor, but are stuck in the rat race? Starting this month, veteran actor Rajesh Gopie (pictured) is offering a four-week acting 101 course at his “Pop-Up Studio” in Johannesburg, designed to appeal to young working professionals and mature students alike.

Acting 101 – acting for film and television – is a part-time certificate course that offers a professionally led series of workshops focusing on developing fundamental acting skills.

The four-week course starts on February 22 and runs until March 19, with classes held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 pm to 9 pm, and on Saturdays from 12 noon to 3 pm. The venue is the Wits University School of Education at 27 St Andrews Road in Parktown, Johannesburg.

Headed by master teacher Gopie, these intensive sessions will also include industry experts such as casting director Christa Schamberger and cinematographer Eran Tahor.

Gopie recently returned to South Africa after completing his master’s degree in actor training and coaching at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Last year he served as the artist/scholar in residence at the Wits Drama Department, and he was previously head of performance at AFDA’s Durban campus.

Gopie has extensive experience producing theatre at community, university and professional level across the country, and has acted in local and international films as well as in television series such as Scandal and Zero Tolerance.

His stage work repertoire includes his acclaimed and much-travelled self-penned solo show Out of Bounds and his ensemble piece The Coolie Odyssey, as well as playing the lead in Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Baxter Theatre under the direction of Dame Janet Suzman.

His latest passion project is his Pop-Up Studio’s Acting 101 course, which made its debut in Lenasia last year. “All classes are geared towards providing the building blocks needed to develop acting skills,” Gopie said. “The compressed length of the course and the focused level of study needs commitment and intensive collaboration among the participants.”

He says the workshops are designed to orientate and connect participants to the mainstream performance industry, while motivating artists to produce work within their communities.

Across the various modules, students will learn about acting methodologies and how to develop dramatic and comic roles, with a strong emphasis on the value of movement and bodywork. Analysing a text, understanding a role and dissembling a scene will be dealt with in detail. Developing solid vocal techniques, working in front of the camera and nailing auditions are also part of the course content.

At the end of the course, students will be required to use their newfound knowledge to present various scenes and monologues on the final day. It will be an open class, which family and friends are encouraged to attend.

Sign up for these fun, interactive and practical acting classes by experienced, award-winning teachers. Meet and engage with professional actors while seeing how you shape up in front of the cameras.

The entire four-week course (comprising about 40 hours of intensive training) costs R7500, with a 50% deposit required to secure your place and the balance before the course commences. Certificates of participation will be issued. For more details, contact Rajesh Gopie at 082 872 5487 or email popupstudio101@gmail.com

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