Professional actor and Frantic Assembly theatre practitioner, Steve Miller recently came into college to deliver specialist workshops to our Lower Sixth A-level Drama and Theatre Studies students. Students learned how to choreograph work and add lifts, before layering meaning into pieces. The physical work was truly excellent and all students pushed boundaries to create precise, exciting work which allowed the audience to interpret the story and themes within each piece.

Steven Miller is a Scottish actor best known for his role as Lenny Lyons in the long-running British medical drama, Casualty. He trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and played Iago in Frantic Assembly’s ‘Othello’.

Steve’s Theatre Credits: Paradise Lost, Cargo, Richard II, Long Short and Tall, Fiddler on the Roof, Lord of the Rings, Blackwatch, 2014: The Perfect Murder UK tour – Detective Roy Grace, 2016: James I: The Key Will Keep the Lock

Miss Sherwood – Drama and Theatre Studies and Performing Arts Teacher

Student Comments:

During the Frantic Assembly workshop on Wednesday I enjoyed the challenge; the teacher made us push ourselves physically and gave us a space to explore the boundaries of performance. He taught us how to devise a small piece and how to open your mind to possibility within physical theatre. I loved the lifting activity – the lifts were so simple and satisfying to perform once understood. The part I found the hardest was the hand/trust activity we did, in the beginning neither of us could find a balance and it was a constant power struggle between us, however when we closed our eyes I found the leader actually truly became the leader. Charlie

I really enjoyed the section of the workshop where we learnt the three types of lifts because we got to see how the professionals do it, learn exactly how to do them safely with the teacher’s help and begin to understand how they can be intertwined in a story and performed effectively. I loved the way Steve got us to create a short physical sequence in partners and then develop it into a fast paced, dynamic, fluid piece because I often feel very overwhelmed trying to create a full scene in physical theatre with depth and meaning from nothing, but during the workshop I learnt how to build up a motif and give it a meaningful story with well-rounded characters. Although I found performing our pieces absolutely terrifying, surprisingly I enjoyed showing others what I had created as I was quite pleased with it. Overall, I thought the workshop was excellent and I’m very grateful to have learnt some physical theatre which I can easily use and adapt to make my choreographed pieces more effective. Laura

I absolutely loved the workshop with Frantic Assembly-it was SO FUUNN!! I haven’t had much experience with physical theatre or devising in such a different style, so I found it really insightful. I watched Frantic Assembly’s choreography in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ and so it was really cool to learn the lifts that they made look so effortless onstage. Although they were hard to do at first, Chloe and I kept working at them until they were right. This has made me feel less intimidated and more confident about the physical side to theatre as I know that I can overcome anything that I get asked to do. After we had learnt the lifts, we created a sequence of 4 steps each (e.g. placing hand on shoulder, then touching an elbow, then touching waist, then holding hand) and then mixed our patterns with our partners. I realised, while doing this activity, how much easier the division process was than what I thought. At the end, Steve showed us how by changing our focus and giving our character’s certain motives, we could develop these simple sequences into really effective pieces. It has also made me even more eager to go to drama school, because I would love to do that kind of thing every day. Thanks for giving us the experience! Anna H

I thoroughly enjoyed the energetic energy of Steve and how he made us all feel comfortable with the activities we were doing. I learnt that you don’t always have to start off with an idea, you can just improvise and then an idea will come to you based on how your improvisation looks. It has inspired me to add more physical theatre and movement to pieces I will create the future. I found the lifts the most challenging as I was doing them wrong at first but once Steve had talked to us about sharing the weight they became much easier and flowed in our performance better. I would 110% recommend to anyone!  Emily.

I really, really enjoyed the Frantic Assembly workshop; it was hard work but so fun! I really liked the lifts that we did as I have never even attempted anything like that before. I also enjoyed getting a feel for what it’s like to work in the style of Frantic Assembly. I learned that you can create a story just by starting off with 4 simple movements and gradually improving them until you have a duet, in which you can give yourself a focus and a story is created. I also learned how to do lifts and how to incorporate them into a piece and hopefully in the future I will try and do more movement in my drama pieces. Although, the lifts were fun they were quite challenging but me and my partner just kept trying and following Steve’s corrections until we could do it.  Overall I really enjoyed the Frantic Assembly workshop and will defiantly try to use more techniques that I learnt in my drama at college. Eve.

I thought it was very fun as really interactive; I learnt that physical theatre needs just as much chemistry between actors as a naturalistic piece and I saw the variety of ways to use physical theatre effectively. Luke.