Thank you for your interest in the Kogan Academy. The reason for setting up the institute was to find, if possible, criteria for looking at art in general and acting & directing in particular. This means having points of reference for tutors and students so they can compare their judgements and decisions. This led to the name ‘Science of Acting’.
The Science of Acting (SofA), the main acting technique taught at the Academy, underpins the actor’s creative process and is, we would argue, the single most complete acting technique in the world today. It provides clear, testable points of reference to how good acting (acting as though unobserved) can be achieved. It also arguably demonstrates that as long as a student is taught good points of reference and that they are applied appropriately, then a talent for acting or directing can be developed (rather than regarding talent as only being something that is inherited). It is this body of knowledge, together with the expertise and integrity of its teachers that sets the Academy apart from other drama training establishments. As a result, since its opening in 1991, many of KADA’s graduates have sustained high profile careers on the stage and screen, behind the scenes – as directors and producers, and also in education.
The term ‘Science of Acting’ comes from the English actress Ellen Terry (1848-1928). She, like so many others, felt the need for the knowledge that would make good actors. Gordon Craig said ‘Art arrives only by design’.
The science of an art form is not a new idea. Five hundred years ago Leonardo da Vinci found certain regularities in the process of painting and in the human perception of works of art. This led him to write about the science of painting. It is because of this knowledge that he is still one of the best-known artists to have ever lived. The logo of our school, the man on the flying machine, was inspired by Leonardo’s idea. We feel this picture clearly expresses the idea that “knowledge is freedom”.
Michelangelo said: “A man paints with his brain and not with his hands, and if he cannot have his brain clear he will come to grief”. This seems to mean that an artist is only as good as his thinking; and judging by Michelangelo’s achievements, he knew what he was talking about. His statement goes against the idea, which a lot of drama education is based on, that an actor acts with his voice and body. This is not true because an actor’s voice and body can, without ignoring the importance of the training of these, only be as good as the way he or she thinks.
We believe that to act and direct well you need the knowledge of how to do it – this will give you peace of mind and leave you with more time for perfecting your skill. The finished quality of the art will depend on what you do with this knowledge and on your understanding of life and culture.
Most actors shape each and every one of their characters’ thoughts according to their own ‘mould’. We will teach you how to create a different ‘mould’ for each character depending on the playwright and director’s wishes. A good actor’s way of thinking will be able to accept any character’s way of thinking. A good director will be able to understand any character and direct any play. Acquiring these skills is a challenging but tremendously fulfilling process for which the student has to be inquisitive, understanding and dedicated.
For almost a quarter of a century the Kogan Academy of Dramatic Arts, formerly known as the Academy of the Science of Acting and Directing has been offering ground-breaking and pioneering education in the field of drama and theatre to newcomers and professionals alike. Notable alumni include Eddie Marsan, David Bark-Jones, Philip Bulcock, Pooky Quesnel, Sara-Marie Maltha and theatre directors Alex Dower, Audrey Sheffield, Emma Taylor and Marie Parker Shaw, to name a few.
The Academy offers a wide selection of professional courses, from the 3 year Acting programme, the 4 year full-time Directors Course,to evening courses, short courses and 1-1 tutelage.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.