The Silent Approach

Ssssh…Its a theatre revolution

What is it?

The silent approach is a way to remove the biggest barrier to equality in a rehearsal room- language.

It’s a technique based on Stanislavskian precepts of action, objective, given circumstances and character.

Its a dynamic way to direct general audience facing theatre to standard timescales with casts with all kinds of neuro-divergencies.

Its also a great way to work creatively with lots of different kinds of people.

The silent approach is for everyone.

Why does it exist?

As a director I had to find way to work with non verbal actors with learning disabilities and actors without disabilities in text-based plays.

I developed the approach through training actors with learning disabilities and directing integrated mid scale touring work.

I want more work to include vocational actors with learning disabilities on main stages; the barrier to this inclusion in professional theatre is a wall of words, the silent approach breaks it down.

Can I learn it?

Yes, and some directors and theatre makers and playwrights and actors in the UK are doing this right now.

How can I find out more?

Via the Separate doors website

You can find responses from peers who’ve experienced the silent approach in the testimonials section of this website.

You can also email me via the contact page on this website.

Thank you.

Vanessa Brooks has created a truly integrated rehearsal process for learning disabled and non-learning disabled actors with her Silent Approach, which achieves high quality results. Through her game-changing Separate Doors research projects she has worked tirelessly to open out this process to other organisations and industry professionals across the UK to interrogate actor training and to make sure that learning disabled actors are represented in mid-scale touring work. Taking part in two of her Silent Approach rehearsals I have seen first-hand how beautifully she holds the space and works completely non-verbally in a rigorous, effective process, where there is such an intense level of focus as well as a safe space to create and be playful. I would love to see this approach used more widely. There are some incredible tools from this approach which can be adapted to fit with directors existing processes to make sure that rehearsal rooms are more accessible and that directors feel confident that they can fully support an integrated company – to make sure all actors are getting the most from the process, and make sure that the work created is properly representative of the UK population. The theatre industry is still a long way behind where it should be in terms of representation and here’s hoping we can all take note of this incredible work and incorporate it within our own practice, our own organisations, so that in time there can be a step change across the industry as a whole.

Jo Newman, Associate Director Salisbury Playhouse