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Manchester Children's Book Festival: Events


Saturday, 14 July 2018 at 10:00 am – Saturday, 14 July 2018 at 4:00 pm

Acting up: using performance techniques to bring your characters to life on the page

Location: Business School, Manchester

Northwest British Isles Workshop with Steve Hartley and Connie Hartley.

The NW and Manchester Children’s Book Festival with Manchester Metropolitan University are proud to bring this workshop to Manchester. It will offer an unusual take on characterisation, by using techniques that actors employ to build characters, and apply them to our writing.

This is what Steve has to say about the day:

‘We’ll start with the behavioural model, looking at voice, posture, body language, decision-making and reactions to stress. We’ll then look at the importance of understanding how real and perceived status drives interactions. By studying a scene from Lord of the Rings we’ll show how subtly changing status has a massive impact in creating tension and drama. In the final part, we’ll use classic animal-work as another way to give insight into character, and to pull the learning from the previous session together. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing, and come prepared to get on your feet and get beastly!

Homework to do before the day:

Choose a land-based animal (birds count too). Watch some videos of the animal and make notes on how they move, eat, sleep, hunt, groom, interact (or not!). Then choose three words to describe what kind of “personality” the animal has.’

We will break for refreshments and for lunch. These can be purchased in the cafe of the Business School, or you are free to bring your own and use the free space.

Steve’s workshops are never to be missed. Because of the interactive nature of the workshop, numbers are limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Steve Hartley is the author of the Danny Baker Record Breaker series, and the Oliver Fibbs series (both published by Macmillan Children’s Books), including the 2014 Surrey Children’s Book of the Year, Attack of the Alien Brain. His daughter Connie graduated as an actress from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she studied the techniques of Stanislavski and Lecoq, for developing character and movement respectively.

Together with Louise Hartley (Steve’s wife/Connie’s mum) they make up the Pig in a Ginnel scriptwriting team. They are currently working on the pilot for a TV comedy series, in collaboration with BAFTA nominated actress Julie Hesmondhalgh and BAFTA winning director Noreen Kershaw.

The BBC Comedy Commissioning Team said of their writing:

“The scripts are lovingly crafted pieces and there’s a very impressive ear for the rhythms and idiosyncrasies of everyday speech throughout.”

Actress Julie Hesmondhalgh says:

“I really love the script; I mean, really love it. It made me laugh out loud, and also a bit teary. The tone of it is perfect, gentle and fond but a bit cheeky. I read so many scripts and rarely feel as connected to one as I do to MONDAY AT MO’S.”

For more information, please contact:

Northwest British Isles · northwest@britishscbwi.org

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