I’ve directed, written and co-written a dozen shows for Drama Ties, notably Robin Hood, eco-warrior, Snow White’s Black Heart and Prince Academy (in English), and Beautiful Thing (in French). Many of these have been produced at the Vingtième Théâtre in Paris. Beautiful Thing also played in the Fringe Festival in Avignon in 2010, and toured France until 2012.
I’m equally at ease working with English or French actors. My directing feeds my teaching and vice versa. I presently teach acting in English at the CNSAD in Paris. I have also taught at Cours Florent and La Générale. I run auditions for assistant directors for shows at Disneyland Paris.
I coach French actors, and I run communication and public-speaking workshops, in companies, notably with Bord de Scène, Processus and Avant Scène Conseil. I also translate French plays into English, notably Abilifaie Léponaix, by JC Dollé, winner of the Adami award for best new play in 2010 (English title, How mad am I?, soon to be published…).
In 2004, I co-wrote with Joëlle Aden, 321 Action, using drama in the primary classroom, a practical guide for teachers.
Please contact me if you’re looking for a director, if you need a coach or help in practising a speech, or if you’d like a French-to-English translation…
Beautiful Thing | Trailer
Jonathan Harvey’s play premiered at the Bush Theatre, London in 1993, and has been performed around the English-speaking world for over twenty years. It was made into a feature film by Channel Four in 1996. The play was adapted into French by Pascal Crantelle.
"It was cleanly staged and had some excellent acting, and most importantly, it had a soul. I was moved by the tenderness of the young love, and was quite touched by it."
"It was really refreshing to see something like this in a French theatre, in French... I thought the staging was great... very interesting experience to see a (friendly) boxing match between Brit humour and French delivery... very courageous of you and very successful..."
"Directing the cast, Kester has done an intelligent job and has brought out all my favourite aspects of the play; the love, the angst, the fear, the hope and the comedy….I don't think that Jonathan Harvey ever saw this production. If he had, I have a feeling he would have been even more proud of his "beautiful thing”."
"It seemed like a Ken Loach film, with a bit more humour."
Photo: K. Limmany
As a drama student, Peter Brook’s work was inspirational. Not only his productions, but also his writing, in particular, The Empty Space.
Keith Johnstone’s seminal work Impro is equally a constant source of inspiration, not just for the games and exercises, but for his insights about humans relationships and creativity. Declan Donnellan is another director, who’s work I admire, and his book, The Actor and the Target is a must-read for actors and directors alike. It’s not just a practical book for actors, it’s a book about overcoming fear and problem-solving in life in general.
In directing, teaching or coaching, I don’t adhere to one particular method, but try to find the approach that suits the actor(s). It can be playful, linguistic, physical or emotional. I’m particularly keen on using contemporary material, be it theatre or cinema, and I’ll even use a Cicely Berry voice exercise with a Monty Python sketch…