Rowan Winter
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In September 2008 I commenced studies on the MA Professional Acting course at ALRA in London.

The course was intensive in nature with regular classes in Voice, Movement, Acting Technique, Improvisation, 20th Century Social Dance, Stage Combat and Singing. We did a number of productions covering a range of genres including C19th and early C20th Realism, Shakespeare, Contemporary and Devised Dramas. We were also involved in the production of a number of pieces for Radio and Film, as well as having regular workshops with industry professionals such as Gordon House, Peter Cregeen and Baz Taylor. Workshops covered a wide range of topics from Commedia to Meisner, from Roy Hart to Dancing for Film, all of which were geared towards expanding our performance practice.

The course culminated in a fully mounted production of ‘Unprotected’ at the ALRA Theatre, followed by our showcase at the Criterion.

The opportunity to study my craft so intensively over this period allowed me the unparalleled opportunity to hone my craft and expand my skills base. I feel that not only did my abilities as an actor grow over this period, but that I as an individual grew as well. This time to focus on my work means that I now feel in full control of my career and vocation, and have my eyes set firmly on where I want to take it in the future.

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The Bear Went Over the Mountain
Whilst I was fortunate enough to secure a place on the MA Professional Acting course at ALRA, I have sadly struggled to source funding to pay for the not insubstantial tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of my studies. In an effort to meet this deficit I decided to embark on a project that I hoped would not only catch people’s interest and motivate them to sponsor my efforts, but that would have an artistic merit of its own. The project was as follows:

One Munro: Ben Lomond, 3,196 feet high

One Play: ‘The Bear Went Over the Mountain’

  • Three allegorical mountain tales: Moriah, The Bear Went Over the Mountain, and Prometheus the Artist.
  • The Bear Went Over The Mountain was a series of very short plays of well known stories which, through a thin veneer of familiarity, thrust important questions to the heart of the nation. Where is the veracity in inherited faith? Is dissent the true path of progress? Why, exactly, did the bear go over the mountain?
Click here to enlarge

Five Actors: Rowan Winter, Ben Blow, Jackie Brown, Lorna Dalgarno, Renae Sayers

Twelve Characters: Actor, Official, Gabriel, Abraham, Isaac, Announcer, Bear, Director, Hermes, Prometheus, Pandora, Zeus

Writer: Ben Blow

Publicity: Natasha Watson and Rowan Winter

Editor: Renae Sayers

Special thanks for their input: Emma Taylor, Danielle Farrow, Paul James

Our Mission: To climb Ben Lomond on Saturday 6th September in costume, over a period of approximately four hours, and perform a piece of new Scottish theatre at the summit. The play was episodic in nature allowing potential audiences to dip in and out of the narrative as they finished their ascent and began their descent.

The Day: We arrived at Ben Lomond on the Saturday and began our ascent at 10.30am. By 2.00pm in glorious sunshine we had reached the summit and were greeted by a wonderful audience. We performed The Bear Went Over The Mountain to one side of the summit at 3,196 feet, with a backdrop overlooking the breathtaking Scottish scenery. The play met with a fantastic reception and we have since been inundated with requests to screen the film footage online (I shall add a link to the appropriate website in due course). After a bite to eat and some photo opportunities, we decided to descend down over Ptarmigan Peak and return to base camp along the shores of Loch Lomond.

Please feel free to browse the gallery of photos (below) to catch a glimpse of this high altitude theatrical event. Click a photo thumbnail to enlarge.

 

How You Can Help: In the run up to the performance I received sponsorship from many generous individuals for the project, and the money raised has gone towards helping me pay for my tuition fees (£12,100). Although the performance itself is now over, there has been a continued interest in the project and so I have decided to upload the photos and video for people to enjoy. If you are interested in what we have done and would like to support my efforts to gain further training and advance my career, then the website is still receiving donations to help towards paying the final installment of my tuition fees in December. So please, however large or small it may be, whatever you can give will be gratefully received and will make a profound and lasting impact on my life and career.

May I take this opportunity to thank everybody that has contributed to this project to date, and who, through their continued support, are actively helping me realise my dream- I could never be where I am right now if it wasn’t for all of you. Thank you.

Rowan