Mulholland Academy

The Physical Actor

Essential class for developing the Actor’s core skills.

A foundation in grounding and strengthening the actor’s physical instrument with voice, mime, mask, movement, improvisation, working on text and devising their own work.

This class is for beginners, intermediate and advanced.

A practice based training.

The goal is to provide a solid basis of performance tools and skills for the physical actor. Although we often consider the actors speech to be paramount it is the body, in posture, and movement, that expresses the bulk of non-verbal communication.

Using the technique of mime corporel as a basis for physical expression, William adapts this technique to include the physical expression of emotions, breathing, sound and the rule of three. Improvisation will be individual and group work.

There is an apparent contradiction that if we want to be taken seriously we have to be prepared to take the risk to be ridiculous. William encourages students to be absurd as well as melodramatic. In this way laughter becomes a path to greater understanding and expressive freedom.

Life is a lot easier when you stop taking yourself too seriously.

Mask Workshop

‘Nothing is for Nothing’.  Every movement has meaning. This is especially true for film and theatre. Whether it is the large theatrical gesture, or the tiniest movement for the camera, the actor must know their body to convey character and story.  If you turn the sound off and watch the great actors like Daniel Day Lewis, William Defoe or Meryl Streep, you will see pure character, movement, and story.

This series of classes will open the student into the world of gesture and movement.  An essential foundation study for all actors.

What are the elements you need to build a believable character? We will work to answer this question.

“The function of a mask is to reveal’”  Etienne Decroux

The three elements that compose the course form a comprehensive structure that leads to creating a believable character.


Perhaps the most difficult element of the work, the neutral mask seeks to identify and eliminate personal idiosyncrasy. Thus the body becomes a ‘blank canvas’ on to which a new character can be formed.


A character has a predominate emotion. This does not exclude playing other emotions, which may be layered on top of that dominance. After finding neutral we can rediscover emotion, not in a random fashion, but at the service of the mask. The character of the mask determines how the posture and movement are formed.


Having worked with the full-face masks and established characters purely in movement, the half mask  adds the possibility of sound and words. Although the work takes on an apparent grotesque quality it is possible from this extreme to reduce the play to a more naturalistic quality. You have to go to the extreme to find out where the border is.

This series form a comprehensive basis for understanding mask-work and the development of character.

Sundays: May 5th–July 7th.
10 weeks.
3 hours – 11am to 2pm.

Hours:   Fee: €950

Teacher: William Dashwood

william dashwoodWilliam Dashwood has been teaching mime and dramatic movement for more than 35 years. His enthusiasm for the subject is infectious and his workshops are full of humour whilst communicating clear and achievable tools for expression. His approach to this serious subject is light-hearted. He is a generous teacher with a desire to share his deep knowledge gained over many years of experience.