Top American actor to train local artistes


CELEBRATED American actor, William Billy O’Leary will be in the country next month for a two-day training workshop organised by Rooftop Promotions, where local actors are expected to sharpen their skills.


O’Leary will be making his first return to Zimbabwe in three years. He was in the country in 2012, where he trained seven theatre practitioners including Eunice Tava, Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi, who is now pursing his theatre studies in America, Irvine Parwada and Jerry Mugwenhe.

Rooftop Promotions spokesperson, Robert Tapfumaneyi said eight local actors will benefit from the workshop pencilled for December 18 and 19.

“The programme will involve camera auditions, were actors will work the scene in pairs using Billy’s approach, scene work and memorisation technique, which will allow them to memorise and deliver the toughest dialogue overnight,” he said.

Tapfumaneyi said the actors will also be trained to analyse film and television material and how to effectively translate “ink on the page into camera appropriate performances”.

The training programme, according to O’Leary, was suited for film, television comedy or drama.

William Billy O’Leary

“The training allows actors to be much more specific in their work and because actors can be certain of their choices, they become much more confident and that takes away the fear so many actors have in their auditions,” O’Leary said.

“I will teach actors how to arrive at a screen performance without using those words and the actors will do it completely organically and using the training they already have.”

Rooftop producer, Daves Guzha said this is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for the selected theatre practitioners to add a cutting edge to their creative careers.

“University training can be amazing as it gives one tools, but it takes more for one to be a professional actor or actress as this requires additional skills,” he said.

O’Leary has been a professional actor for over 30 years. He graduated from Illinois State University. He was trained at University of Washington, and received his Master of Fine Arts degree.

He paid for his last two years of graduate school playing lead roles at the Seattle Rep and other theatres before moving to New York.


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