Train With Us - Red Ladder Theatre Company

Red Ladder Theatre Company

Train With Us


Red Grit, Red Ladder’s free actor training course, is a popular training course that shares the Red Ladder approach to actor training, from character to relationships to ensemble and participants range from professional actors to total beginners. Participants will be introduced to neutrality, the voice and movement training.

A typical Red Grit course will run for 8 evening sessions either one evening a week for 8 weeks or two evenings a week for four weeks.  The aim is participants attend all eight sessions because the course is designed chronologically and to miss sessions means the sequence of learning is lost. The course starts with the actor’s body and then moves into character and voice. Then we look at stage relationships and finally sessions on ensemble. The course is unique in that it is based very much on physical work and the artisan-ship of acting – we do not work on improvisation or working from scripts – as there are plenty of actor training sessions across the north which offer this. Influences on the teaching include: Jacques Lecoq, Laban, John Wright, Phillippe Gaulier, Simon Edwards, Marian Masoliver, Mike Shepherd, (Kneehigh) Emma Rice, (Kneehigh) and a range of other practitioners with whom Rod has worked over the decades.

One of our participants of the course sent this wonderful testimonial which completely describes the ethos of the course and Rod’s aims as a theatre-maker:

“In the wake of a landslide Tory victory with the depressing reality that the collective good will be further eroded with cuts to public services and more privatisation, it is vital that we connect and be part of the collective – to effect change.

This testimony could not be written at a better time. The beginning of a New Year when hope for better things to come are most keenly felt. The Red Ladder 8 week training course, led by Rod Dixon, firmly places the emphasis on the collective in an exploration into ensemble acting. One activity moved seamlessly into another – intelligently structured with a rationale based on theories of practitioners such as Laban, Meyerhold and the medieval bouffon with the emphasis on archetypes.

If you subscribe to the ‘be a tree’ stereotype of theatre training – then Red Ladder’s course will challenge your preconceptions; far from being a tree you will find you are part of a forest where each element is interconnected. The first three weeks were instrumental in getting each member of the group to work as a whole, listening hard, warming up with singing African chants in rounds and working as a chorus. If it wasn’t clear at the beginning, then it was at the end where an analogy to a jigsaw was made. We were asked to think about a jigsaw with a piece of the sky missing and an appeal made to not be the missing piece in the jigsaw; the one who is not pulling their weight, the one not seeing the virtue of being part of the whole.

On a personal note, I wish I had done this course when I was 18 and not embarked on a three year diploma in Theatre Studies at Manchester, where I was told I would have to learn RP to get rid of the flat vowel sounds in my Yorkshire accent, and confusingly, in the same breath told I would only be considered for Northern roles in soaps like Coronation Street, and only take part in a pantomime if I had pantomime legs! I left halfway through the course. In leaving, I wrote myself off, disillusioned and with the anguish that somehow I had failed. The Red Ladder course with its ensemble approach, has gone a long way to restore my faith in theatre as a language that can effect change and be part of the greater good… I cannot recommend it highly enough. ” (Liz Alcock, Red Grit participant )

Details of our next Red Grit course

The Red Grit course has been postponed until the Covid19 crisis has ended but it is our intention to commence again  as soon as we can. We will be busy in production right through to autumn 2021 – so hopefully the next Red Grit course will be early in 2022. Sounds ages away (!) but it will come around quickly. This has been a tough time for everyone but we want to be sure that we can work in a studio again safely.

Applying is easy – just email

Are you a company planning on touring to non-traditional theatre spaces? 

We have knocked up a Programmer’s Guide with top tips for touring to non-traditional spaces for performance companies, off the back of our experience touring work with our Northern Social Circuit. You can download the guide here.