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Episode 236: Interview with Guildhall's Wendy Allnutt

acting training Jun 14, 2023

Learn about Wendy's Class

About Wendy:

Wendy Allnutt trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She held the post of Head of Movement at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for 25 years and is a founder member of L'Oltrarno, Acting School in Florence. Other teaching credits include Colorado College USA, Conservatoire Stratford Ontario, Canada, Penn State summer schools, Laboratorio Internationale Teatro Degli Astrussi in Montalcino/St Mineato, l'Accademia SilviovD'Amico, Rome, LAMDA, Colby London Programme, BESG, and BADA.

Movement Director: Sky TV's Fungus the Bogeyman (2016), BBC's Walking with Cavemen, and The Iceman Murderer. Wendy has been the Master of Movement at Shakespeare's Globe 1st season and recently Henry V1 parts 1, 2, and 3. Revival choreographer for Welsh National Opera's Magic Flute (Out of Joint / RNT) She Stoops to Conquer and A Laughing Matter, Romeo, and Juliet & Private Lives (Mercury) Brothers Karamazov, Maybe and Private Lives (Manchester Royal Exchange) India Song (Clywd), Goliath, Voyage in The Dark, and A Wedding Story (Sphinx).

Bad Habits


Animals into people

Being in your body as an actor

Just standing in the space. It takes quite a lot of understanding where your weight is in the space.

Do you lean forward, which gives maybe an air of anxiety or enthusiasm? I would hate to say that if you stand in a certain way, it is a certain thing. Right. But we do read bodies.

I work on trying to find a neutrality

Neutral plus, so that your body is relaxed in line and ready to go.

Your body and your voice, and your everything are ready to go. That's why you see so many British actors that you think are mind-blowing because they're ready.

Musicians train every day. The actors don't, and if you're lucky enough, you need to be ready to play Hamlet now.

Not in five weeks when you've done the work. No. Now. Yeah. And I think actors are a bit lazy about that.

Are you keeping up with your instrument?

It's about finding your inner self, your inner balance, and how your body works.

It's a tough old business. It's not a nice game to play.

We mustn't do mindless movement.

Maybe you should challenge yourself on the treadmill, run towards something, or somebody's chasing you. It alters the way you run on the treadmill.

I love it because it's talking about being conscious in your movement.

I think that if we can apply a little bit of thought to why we do something about finding the weight in a movement.

We have to keep the mind alive. There are so many things that block the mind off.

You're going to be exploring conscious movement, that one to warm up the body, but also that can be used in learning what the conscious movement of your characters would be.

I think you have to start with yourself. And discover maybe that your rib cage is very tight and that perhaps you can find a way to make it move a bit more. And also, if you change the thought, the quality of the movement changes.

So again, if I reach up and I want to hail someone over there, it's a different kind of reach.

That's what interests me about movement. How we move and why we move rather than just, it's an exercise.

So that is actually if you are going to play an old person just for argument's sake. Why is their body decreed? What is it about their body? What are they? What are they working against?

I mean, fears, for instance, in the Cherry Orchard. What is his body like? Is it just arthritis? What is it that makes his movements? And if you know the why and the how, then it's easier to inhabit the body of fears.

To be bringing questions to you.

The language changes the body.

A physical imagination.

Just try it. And try not to judge.

Variation is what's interesting. It's not about being a clone.