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Artists at school


Elsa Perez

Performing arts


Elsa Perez

Elsa Perez has been performing in French- and English-language theatre plays for many years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from McGill University  and a Master’s Degree in Theatrical Interpretation from the Chicago College of Performing Arts in United States, where she lived and worked as an actress for four years. She went on to study clowning and Japanese theatre in Paris. Upon returning to Montréal she began actively working as an actress and a story-teller, mainly with Théâtre de l’Esquisse, Collectif Arbraconte, Théâtre champêtre du Moulin Fleming, Théâtre de la Source and Théâtre bilingue de Montréal, which she founded. Elsa Perez regularly hosts theatre courses and workshops: she uses a methodology that allows her to convey her knowledge and passion to young students, whatever their age or level of experience.

Proposed approach and type of activities

Why present theatre plays in schools? Because theatrical expression allows students to develop their imagination and their self-esteem, to exercise their memory and to deepen their appreciation of literature. The aim of the proposed workshop is to introduce students to theatrical expression in a simple way in an atmosphere that is both creative and respectful. All sessions begin with a physical and vocal warm-up in which each student actively participates. Activities are adapted to the school level of the participating groups.

Examples of activities

Workshop 1 – Improvisation
Improvising simply means reacting to our environment in a structured manner. By improvising without a text or costume, we discover the building blocks of theatre: imagination, emotion, use of one’s body and voice, listening to one’s partner, and contact with the public. The purpose of this first workshop is to introduce students to the magic of theatrical encounters. Through a series of improvisations, young actors learn how to listen to themselves and to take risks. Examples of exercises: 

  • The artist presents a neutral object to the young people which they must then transform and use in an improvisation. An ordinary piece of fabric becomes  a sultan’s turban, the handkerchief of a woman in mourning turns into a flying carpet or into the dress of a princess...
  • Young people are invited to explore “open scenes” with three or four lines, then to give them meaning by playing them with an objective (to convince, to win over, to outwit the partner…) or an emotion.
  • Under the artist’s direction, two participants improvise a scene that is interrupted by a third student, who then changes the direction of the improvisation.

Workshop 2 – Creation of a character
We all have the possibility to create living characters and to invent a story for them. This workshop introduces young people to the physical creation of characters through exercises that draw inspiration from the techniques of Rudolf Laban and Michael Chekhov. Participants will first be asked to choose the physical characteristics of their character (where is the centre of the character located?, with what part of his/her body does he/she play his/her role?, what are the characteristics of his/her movements?). Participants will quickly realize that the world of emotion often ensues from the physical world. After this exploration period, students will stage their characters through guided improvisation exercises.

  • Entering and leaving. During this classic exercise of clowning and physical theatre, the young actor comes on stage playing the part of a character, sits down and then, guided by the artist, shares a moment with the public, before leaving the stage.
  • The park bench. Two characters meet and improvise a short scene in which there is some kind of conflict followed by a resolution.
  • The bus. Several characters are on a bus. Each time a new character gets on the bus, the other passengers must transform themselves and imitate his physical characteristics.

Workshop 3 – From the page to the stage
The leading theatrical texts have all been written to be performed and not to be read. Intended for young people at the secondary level, this workshop aims to allow them to increase their appreciation and understanding of theatrical literature, from Sophocles to Moliere to Tremblay. In collaboration with the teacher, the artist prepares short scenes and monologues from a text examined in class by the students. During the workshop, the artist plays out the texts while young participants discover the foundations of the work of an actor: diction, comprehension of the text, defining the objectives and listening. Examples of activities:

  • Classics: how to turn the rhythm of Alexandrian verse to one’s advantage.
  • Contemporary plays: how to choose an objective for one’s character in a scene.
  • Monologue: how do you talk to someone when you are alone on stage.

Workshop 4 – Creation of a mini-play
This workshop, which may take place during one or more sessions, allows young people to live the magic of the creation of a performance in concentrated form. Prior to the session, students choose a theme from among those proposed by the artist. At the start of the session, the artist gives them a simple scenario, within which they will have to improvise scenes. Participants then divide up into teams, who will work under the artist’s direction with the aim of putting on a presentation before a small audience. Simple props and costume elements can be provided by the artist. Examples of themes:

  • A modern-day fairytale: Mount Royal Plateau Cinderella.
  • An abbreviated version of a major theatrical text: Romeo and Juliet in ten minutes.
  • A current event: staging of a trial or some other event.

Special conditions

For information

Elsa Perez
Phone : 514 239-2777
Other phone : 514 678-6377
Email :

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