in collaboration with
Bildungshaus Schloss Retzhof 
barrier-free international education center in Styria, Austria!

International Directing Workshop and I
UGTE Conference
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
December 12 - 20, 2016 

If you are a practicing director at the start of your career or feel the need to refresh and refill your directing arsenal, IUGTE intensives offer a great chance to improve skills, to find new international network opportunities and collaboration. Share and exchange your ideas with colleagues from different parts of the world, gain new helpful tools and professional tips under the competent guidance of IUGTE experts. 

The workshop is organized in the framework of the Stage Directors Lab, IUGTE International Department which offers unique “launchpad” opportunities for directors and choreographers from all over the world working in various creative genres, techniques and styles. 

IUGTE Directing intensives open the door towards unique professional development opportunities for directors - participation in collaboration projects and performance productions with professional actors at repertory theatres. Find out more.

The workshop is open to practicing theatre directors working in various genres, techniques and styles interested to acquire reliable director's toolkit to create contemporary professional productions. 

Ostrenko Method will introduce some of the effective techniques and approaches towards contemporary performance practice in the context and the circumstances of the short rehearsal time and multicultural aspect of creative team.

The programme includes the intensive practical training, lectures and discussions with the theatre director and teacher Sergei Ostrenko and the programme of IUGTE annual International Conference with performing arts teachers from different countries. 

The training is designed as the multidisciplinary intensive lab with participation and practice together with performers from different techniques and countriesMultidisciplinarity and multiculturality is one of the most important priciples of IUGTE programs. In real life in professional practice directors always have to work and collaborate in a team of specialists. This means the ability to establish effective relationships with all colleagues involved in a production. This requires mutual understanding and particular art in today's changing world. Thus, IUGTE programs for directors provide a unique opportunity to practice in groups with performers and artists from various disciplines - choreographers, dancers, actors, etc. Such practice creates a "full circle", completeness, mutual exchange and complementarity, so valuable and unique in any creative process in the world of arts.

The morning practical sessions develop in the form of various exercises based on improvisation, space exploration and interacting with partners. Individual, pair and group exercises develop in particular sequence from simple to more compound. According to Ostrenko Method, each set of exercises follows out of the previous and is connected with the subsequent one. In this way directors practically explore the role of the physical training in working with actors, how the systematized psychophysical approach fosters connection and cohesion among the actorscreates 
particular atmosphere and dynamics in the group. After the lunch break the group proceeds to ensemble structural improvisations which gradually evolve to little etudes and performances. Directors will observe the practical process of how to provide the guidance to the actors in creative process: how to help the actor to build up images, how to connect various modules and elements into the whole performance fragments, how to unfold the actor’s creative nature, encourage his relationship with artistic space, his freedom in improvisation and spontaneity on the way to the light and joyful actingThe practical study of the relationship director ----> actor is essential in Ostrenko method of preparation for directors. This means creative "interpenetration" and living experience which can gained only in living practice with performers, and not merely intellectually. The method of a director who works with actors is never static, it is in constant development, improvement and growth.

In the evenings participants will become acquainted with Ostrenko Method of director's preparation, formed and inspired by the Russian Theatre Tradition. The group will develop enlightening and informative discussions, analyze their discoveries and explore relevant topics on contemporary theatre making. 

1) Director's preparation from reading of the play until meeting with the actors.

Analysis of the play:

- Emotional penetration into the play - repeated reading, contemplation of images, active story telling, etc. 
- Formulation of the plot - brief story about the main conflict. 
- Discovery of the basic events and actions - initial, final, main and central events; through actions of all characters; counter-actions and conflicts.
- Analysis the given circumstances - space, time, objects.
- Exploring the main traits of the characters - what does the script itself reveals about the characters and what do the characters reveal about themselves and other characters.
- Immersion into the material - exploring the epoch, biography of the author, personal correspondence of the author, critiques and reviews of the time. 
- Formulation of the super-objective of the performance - connecting all characters through actions and the super-objective.
2) Ostrenko method of rehearsal - from exercises to building up a scene.

The workshop is highly recommended to directors interested in learning about ensemble building, directing, structuring the rehearsal process, to clarify and hone what they already know and to get exposed to new techniques and methodologies, and ultimately, to network with practitioners from different countries and establish future creative partnerships with like-minded people. 

Practical workshops, presentations, works-in-progress, lectures and discussions with performing arts teachers from different countries. Please follow the news of the programme.

The schedule is designed so that participants will be able to take part in all events of the programme -
the workshop and the Conference.

The workshop working language is English

To apply for participation, please fill in the online Application Form.

If you have questions about this program, please contact

Participation fee is 550 EUR (early bird reduced fee) / 650 EUR
The fee covers participation in all events of the programme - practical training, lectures and discussions with S.Ostrenko and the full conference program.

The organizers reserve the right to make changes and add-ins in the schedule.

The official arrival day for the Lab group is Monday, December 12th. 

December 12th: 

From 13:00 - Group arrival and check-in.
16:50-17:00 - Programme Coordinator meets the group. Short tour around the Castle.
17:00-18:00 - First group meeting and introduction.
18:00-19:00 - Dinner.

December 13th, 14th and 15th:

7:00-8:00 - Warm-Up.
8:00-9:00 - Breakfast.
9:30-12:00 - Practical training with S.Ostrenko.
12:00-13:00 - Lunch.
13:00-14:00 - Break.
14:00-18:00 - Practical training with S.Ostrenko.
18:00-19:00 - Dinner.
19:00-19:30 - Break
19:30-21:00 - Creative diary: evening lectures, discussions and creation.

December 16th:

7:00-8:00 - Warm-Up.
8:00-9:00 - Breakfast.
9:30-12:00 - Practical training with S.Ostrenko.
12:00-13:00 - Lunch.
14:00-16:30 - Practical training with S.Ostrenko.
16:30-18:00 - Break.
18:00-19:00 - Dinner.
19:00 - IUGTE Conference opening and first meeting. 

December 17th, 18th, 19th:
Conference programme: practical workshops, presentations, works-in-progress, lectures and discussions. 
The conference programme will run full day with breaks for meals. The registered participants will receive the detailed daily schedule.

December 20th: 
7:30-9:00 - Breakfast
9:00 - Check-out and departure.


The accommodation for the participants is organized at the guest house of the beautiful 15th century refurbished Retzhof Castle in the landscape of natural beauty in Leitring bei Leibnitz, Austria. 
The group will stay and practice all together in the same venue. 
The meals are also organized at Retzhof Castle restaurant. 
Click here for transportation details, room information and prices.

IUGTE Staff will be glad to help you in planning your travel itinerary, information on accommodation options and practical details.

"I learnt how to give clear and brief instructions to actors through the process I was given instructions. Compared with knowledge learnt through words, what I could learn through body was wisdom, which might last longer with a greater effect. As a director, I realized that getting actors involved and experienced somatically was much more effective than intellectual discussions".
Siu Hei Chung, Hong Kong

"I would definitely use this work with actors, in both developing an ensemble energy, trust and dynamic and also ongoing throughout rehearsals to develop sense awareness and physical presence".
Michelle Miall, Austrialia

"You changed my entire approach to acting and directing that my students and I will treasure forever. 
It's wonderful to see that you continue to spread your technique to theatre artists from around the world."
Lorna Strand (USA)

"The opportunity to share and debate topics ranging from various aspects on performance, directing and theatre work was a stimulating end to the day’s activities and an informative forum on performance theory and practice in Greece, Portugal, China, Ireland, Singapore, etc."
Steve Shade, USA

"I would definitely take part in another International Directing Laboratory or recommend it further to other performing artists. I was a great opportunity to learn new skills, refuel sources of inspiration and energy and make great contacts with theatre professionals from all over the world. I hope these contacts will last and be a platform for future collaborations". 
Kathrin Bigler, UK

"I greatly miss everyone I met and worked with in the workshop and I truly hope that I can work with all of them again one day. I ended the workshop on a positive note, knowing that I have grown and developed in my acting skills - with knowledge that I can also impart to my very own young speech and drama students in Singapore".
Jamie Shawn Tan, Singapore

"I loved the international aspect of the group, connecting with people from different cultures and the cross-disciplines of actors, directors and choreographers. I enjoyed the social outings to dinner and the laughs, fun and conversations we shared. It was stimulating to discover how other people made theatre work in their country and what challenges they faced, both personally and professionally."
Audrey Jenkinson, UK

"Throughout my long career in theatre I have had the chance to study with a great number of instructors, unfortunately an excessively great number of them were a waist of my time, where I had to force myself to find what was it exactly the thing I was learning. I am so grateful that you made this few days of training so creatively rich. There was so much substance to work with and develop, that the time seemed to be always too little".
Daniel Dewald, Finland

"The methods and techniques that I experienced were varied and I could relate to them from my own practice but these were of a deeper level and intensity in terms of action and energy. The style of taking a participant, be it a director or an actor was of equality and an openness to ‘play’ it was this sense of safety and clarity that enabled the theatre moments to spark off one another. 
I am committed to the development of my directing craft within an international context and becoming pat of the IUGTE theatre family has made my vision clearer of creating new work by giving way to more questions about identity, action and story. I hope to continue my journey with IUGTE and to continue to deepen the excellence of my directing".
Nazli Tabatabai, UK

"This was an eye-opening experience, and I feel that I’ve learnt so much in a week."
Youngsuck Kim, USA

"As I look back on the workshop 
I realise I’ve taken the first steps in my journey to develop a coherent way of working, and of thinking like a director. I’ve been shown the key to form, style, atmosphere and the emotional palette in contemporary performance. I know now the job of a director is to hold the attention of the spectator ‘always’, and to think about what makes the spectator respond ‘constantly’" 
Donna Maria Banicevich Gera, New Zealand

"...What struck me at the workshop was not so much the difference between the participants’ styles and personas but the common language of theater that we were able to so
quickly develop, without loosing any of our individuality or connection to our backgrounds. Thanks to all at IUGTE!"
Teddy Crecelius, USA-Thailand