The first week of training was held in the community room inside the Withington fire station.
In a circle we were introduced by Annika Edge and Anne-Marie Crowher. They each explained the background history of the scheme and what would be involved in the apprenticeship and training over the next to weeks and the workshops to follow. Afterwards we introduced ourselves to our new team mates by telling them our name and we have done previously and what we were hoping to achieve through the Foot in the Door Scheme. Next we were put into groups of three groups of four and within that group you would get to discuss each others lives and experiences and what made us want to take on this scheme.
Mentor 1: Aliki Chappie
Aliki Chappie was our first mentor for the first day of training. Aliki was a Greek/American actress and writer based in Manchester who had much experience in theatre and character building as well as a respected member of the Manchester theatre and arts scene. Aliki started the session with a few breathing and vocal exercises to get us prepared for what was coming. We played a few name games from the walking circle game, in which we all stand in circle and one person walks towards you and through just eye contact you and the person you are staring at swap places. We began the game with calling each others name before swapping to eye contact. Then we played Zombies in which someone would be the zombie and woulld walk up to someone and if touched would become a zombie as well. In order to avoid turning into a zombie, the person being chased would call out someones name and the person whose name was called would then become the zombie and do the same as the person who was previously a zombie.
Next we were split into a groups of two and would play Human clay. The aim of the game was, in turns someone would be the artist and the other person would be the clay and it was the artist's goal to shape the clay into a pose or action and the clay had to remember the pose they were in so when the group examine them and would shout out what emotion, pose or action the artist was trying to portray through the human clay and Aliki would make points in how some people would interpret the artist's intentional goal as something different and ask how we could improve it so the emotion or action could be portrayed effectively.
After lunch we played another exercise that required us to all stand in two opposite line, facing the person opposite us. We had to imagine that we were in a museum and we were staring at a long bolted door and once we opened this door we would either see a hot, fire atmosphere or a cold, Icelantic like atmosphere. You would close your eyes, have one of the chosen atmosphere's in your head and then open your eyes and from there your partner would have to figure out if it was either the fire or ice atmosphere. The aim of the exercise was to read from your partners visual reaction through their facial reactions as well as eye movement, reading the details through their facial actions.
Through Aliki's exercises we learned how controlling our breathing and visualization we would would achieve the effective way to speak and have no fear when talking to a crowd. The would use these new found exercises for out next game. A chair would be placed in the centre of the room and one by one we would have to take turns in sitting down, 1 minute to look directly at the team, control our breathing and then say a few facts about ourselves. This exercise helped me with my nerves and I was able to give a 1 minute conversation about past experiences with theatre and what were hoping to achieve from both Foot in the Door and in the future.
At the end of the session we all thank Aliki for her time and training and she informed us about when she would be next with us for another training session next week.