May 20, 2009


with jOHN bOLTON 


Bring your imaginations, crazy dreams and unusual skills
and work on a Vaudeville act with John Bolton. 

Make your Vaudeville act, develop it and explore its’ full dramatic potential.  From naive clown routines to filthy rhyming couplets;  from eccentric dancing to burlesque fan dances, from grotesque singing to swallowing goldfish to diving into a bucket, Vaudeville acts are only limited by your ability to delve into your imagination and come up with the goods.
This workshop offers you the opportunity to come with an idea you are currently working on or just turn up without any ideas, prepared to co-create a brand new routine.  We will be working on both solo and group routines. We guarantee fun and frollicks.

wHEN:  6-10th JulY Mon-Fri;  10-5pm each day

cOST:  $450.00

wHERE:  Irish Club Hall, 10 Fifeshire Ave (off Cambridge Tce), Wellington City

fOR bOOKINGS aND mORE iNFO cONTACT: jEN mCaRTHUR / 021 321 508/ 04 3813037

Class size is limited so bookings are essential. Please send expression of interest and a short bio to apply – by Friday 19 June.  A deposit of $50 will then secure your place.

John Bolton, of English descent and Melbourne residency, trained at Ecole Jacques Le Coq and has since established himself around the world as a master teacher, director and performer of imaginative and significant physical theatre. His solo show Jumping Mouse toured extensively throughout the USA, Scotland and Australasia over the last 30 years and was invited to the Dublin Festival and New Zealand International Festival. His school in Melbourne has spawned theatrical companies and performers of originality and reknown – to name two in NZ, Red Leap Theatre (The Arrival, The Butchers Daughter) and Theatre Stampede (Head). After closing the school in 1998 he has travelled extensively, teaching and directing. He has directed Toi Whakaari students on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and then done the same play with refugees in Thailand. Some of his trademark qualities are highly visual and original imagery, humour and depth.

NB! There will be the chance to perform your act in a vaudeville show later in the year! Ask Jen McArthur (contacts above) for more info.

Vaudeville (from Wikipedia) was a genre of a variety entertainment prevalent on the stage in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s .  Each evening’s bill of performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts. Types of acts included (among others) musicians (both classical and popular), dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, female and male impersonators, acrobats, one-act plays or scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels, and short movies.

Medicine shows traveled the countryside offering programs of comedy, music, jugglers and other novelties along with displays of tonics, salves, and miracle elixirs, while "Wild West" shows provided romantic vistas of the disappearing frontier, complete with trick riding, music, and drama. Vaudeville incorporated these various itinerant amusements into a stable, institutionalized form centered in America’s growing urban hubs.

Lured by greater salaries and less arduous working conditions, many early film and old time radio performers, such as W. C. Fields, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, Edgar Bergen, and Jack Benny, used the prominence they first gained in live variety performance to vault into new media. (In so doing, such performers often exhausted in a few moments of screen time the novelty of an act that might have kept them on tour for several years.) Other vaudevillians who entered in vaudeville’s decline, including The Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello, Kate Smith, Bob Hope, Judy Garland, and Rose Marie, used vaudeville as a launching pad for later careers. Many of the most common performance techniques and "gags" of vaudeville entertainers are still seen on television and on film.

Some typical acts in Vaudeville: (Wikipedia)

Aerial acts, Adagio, Magic acts and escapologists, Cycling acts:consisting of either a solo or a troupe of trick cyclists. (There was even seven-piece a cycling band called Seven Musical Savonas, who played fifty instruments between them, and Kaufmann’s Cycling Beauties, a troupe of girls in Victorian swim wear), Ventriloquists, Electric acts, using the newly discovered phenomena of static electricity to produce tricks such as lighting gas jets and setting fire to handkerchiefs through the performers fingertips, Knife throwing and sword swallowing, Juggling and plate spinning acts, Diabolo , Feats of strength by both strongmen and strongwomen, Fire eaters and other eating acts, such as eating glass, razor blades, goldfish etc, Wrestling and jujitsu exhibitions were both popular specialty acts, forming the basis of modern professional wrestling, Mentalism acts, Mime artists and impressionists, Trampoline acts,Animal acts: Talking dogs, Flea circuses, and all manner of animals doing tricks, Stilt walkers, Puppet acts, including human puppets and living doll acts, Comic pianists, Cowboy/Wild West acts, Shadow puppet acts. 


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