Belleherst offers a variety of training experiences with three objectives:

To provide knowledgeable training which emphasizes systematic and professional pedagogy.
To provide a safe and encouraging environment in which a student can explore and develop their abilities.
To provide inspiration and an entrepreneurial atmosphere to help students apply learned skills in a variety of cultural settings.


Instructor: Kathleen Ann Thompson is the artistic director of Belleherst Productions and director of Poland’s The Lion’s Mouth Theatre and Latvia’s Purple Line Theatre. Kathleen holds several degrees from the University of Michigan in drama and San Diego State University in Musical Theater, as well as, an honorary Professorship from The Yunan Institute for the Arts in Kunming, China. She studied dance, mime and commedia dell’arte at world-renowned schools: The Jacque le Coq School for Movement Theatre – Paris, The Institute for Advanced Studies in Classical Theatre – New York City, with premier dancer Carmelita Marracci – Los Angles and at The Dell’Arte School for Movement Theatre – Blue Lake, California

She has taught modules, master seminars, workshops and master classes at The Bulgarian State Drama Academy – Sophia, Bulgaria, The Yunan Art Institute – Kunming, China, The College of Arts – Riga, Latvia, Every Tribe film set – Panama, University of Johannesburg – Johannesburg, South Africa, San Diego State University and Grossmont University – San Diego, CA. As well, Ms. Thompson is the artistic director of The Polish Christian School for Movement Theatre and the Kuldigas Arts Studio for Movement Theatre.

*Regional Director of Affairs in Latvia – Inguna Milliere. Contact:ingunamillere@yahoo.com

Workshops (4-6 hrs.) – Open Level

Corporeal Mime

What does the body know that the mind is ignorant of? Much! Using improvisation and applied techniques of gestural languages the geometry of the bodies’ movement is explored and developed as we connect the inner and outer body. Introduction to specialized body skills help the body to become the architect of inner life, making the invisible—visible and translating emotions and ideas into movement.

Universal Body Language

Learning to communicate effectively and persuasively, rather than miscommunicating requires the awareness of the body’s universal language which communicates across all borders. Understanding the body’s capacity to clearly speak and being able to tap into the techniques of accurate and powerful body language increases every individual’s effectiveness in expressing their own identity and ideas.

50 Plus – Your Good Body

Improved breathing and increased awareness of the body and its manner of operating is the doorway to increasing the flexibility, strength, balance and expressiveness of the plus 50 body. Self-help practices and safety techniques inspire an appreciation and desire to move and live in the body with new enthusiasm and creativity.

Master classes (6-8 hrs.) – Graded Levels

Breath In Motion

Breath is life and the key to all human activity. Changing the awareness and use of the breath can make a radical difference how your body and soul function together. It can also dramatically improve your ability to communicate effectively. Our breath is a psycho-physical phenomenon which is also subject to the effects of social and cultural values. Improving your breath through a conscious awareness and participation allows access to creative and health-giving enhancements. Release of tensions, both emotional and physical, improved immune system, better sleep, eased movement, creative expression are just a few of the rewards.

Masks Alive (commedia dell’arte)

Three Hundred years of acclaimed fame in Europe and the sway on playwrights such as Shakespeare, Moliere, Goldoni and Farquhar support the obvious fact that Commedia dell Arte is possibly the most famous, entertaining and influential theatrical genre known in the Western world. Speed, masks, skill, and just plain fun (comedy, song and dance) are its attractions. The fact that its versatility was able to cross over the existing religious, political and culture borders of its time has given birth to its re-discovery in the 20th century, as we entered an unprecedented era of plurality in global communities. The basic techniques in improvisational drama, mask work, characterizations, lazzi (the comic formula) and grummelot prepare the performer for an unprecedented experience in comedy.

Secrets of Rhythm in Theatre

Rhythm is the basis of all art, giving it focus, dynamics and the ability to create understanding for the public. It is a deep organic response to life and theatre is about putting life on the stage in a multitude of forms. An analysis of the elements of time, space, flow and weight from the work of Rudolf Laban (famed movement specialist, Laban school London), Jacque Le Coq (founder of Le Coq School for Movement Theatre, Paris) and Aristotle along with practical exercises explore rhythm techniques from an inner and outer perspective. Rhythm maximizes characterization, focuses the eye of the audience and creates structural dynamics and audience emotional involvement.

Cornerstones of Dance

A systematic analysis for understanding the body mechanics of balance, coordination and rhythm in dance is taught by experiencing the seminal elements of the ballet barre and center work as a corporate unit of mind, body and spirit. The use of imagery and careful demonstration insures a high degree of successful improvement and self-esteem. Performance technique is made accessible by acquiring the cornerstones of dance.

Broadway Choreography

The uniquely American art form of musical theatre incorporates one of the richest and most varied dance art forms in theatre. The students will learn how to use dance to enhance, enrich and further the stories that are being told through musicals. The influence on Broadway dance by ballet, lyrical jazz, synchronized choral movement, specialized characterized movement, acrobatics and the adaptation of everyday movement to the stage has created an unprecedented wealth of brilliant musical stage choreographers whose innovative dance technique will be studied. George Balanchine Bob Fosse, Onna White, Gower Champion, Jerome Robbins, Tommy Tune, Michael Kidd, Peter Gennaro, Michael Kidd and Michael Bennett are just a few of the bold innovators who used dance to further and enrich the plot of the musical and further the art form of dance. Dance can express emotions in ways that words and music cannot. The elements of set, costumes, lighting, lyrics, and storyline are all integrated in the dancing of Broadway choreography.

Prophetic and Liturgical Dance

Man, made in the image of god, carries in his inner being, as in his body, the imprint of his triple causality; the life, the mind and the soul. The practice of bodily movement awakens images of the mind and can give dramatic expression to the liturgy of the church. Gesture is an agent of the heart which we see in the prophetic gestures of the Bible.Words are arbitrary mental symbols and interpret thoughts and ideas. They describe, label and limit but gesture relates us to other beings, expressing our emotions. The body should act in perfect harmony with the thoughts to be expressed. Profound spiritual truths can be translated via the body and brought into the genre of dance in a very effective manner.

Master Seminars (2-3days) – Graded Levels

Acting Level I

Space! Character! Action! This seminar offers experiential introduction to the craft of acting and makes accessible the possibility to develop basic stage instincts. From improvisation to expressive masks, a sense of learning to “play” on the stage and the ability to command attention, while clearly communicating from a genuine inner and outer ‘truth’ the student will have a comprehensive understanding of acting.

Acting Level II

Developmental character, the mask and the counter mask, ensemble work, rhythm and organicity are the architectural elements of professional acting. These elements explored in monologues, intense scene study and analysis can strip away all the unessential baggage that keeps an actor from the bare truth of reacting not acting.

Acting Styles (Elizabethan, Restoration Drama and Greek Tragedy)

Understanding the customs and manners of a particular period of history which determines the style of drama written in these periods is essential in effectively performing period drama. Subjects such as fan language, dance styles, weapons handling, courting customs, speech fashion and clothing restrictions and demands necessitates a thorough understanding to master. Scene study, characterization and movement studies provide an opportunity to exercise skills in three major historical drama periods; Elizabethan, Restoration drama, Greek tragedy.

Modules (5-6 days)

The Gift of Voice

  • Preparing the voice for influential communication will include instruction in:
  • Voice in Production- mechanics, awareness and body knowledge
  • Voice freed in Movement – discovering full vocal power and increasing its control and strength.
  • The Voice as an Interpretive Tool – exploring the flexible vocal tools for interpretation.
  • The Voice and Song – moving the speaking voice into singing-sung speech.
  • The Voice and Dramatic Style – developing different vocal styles on the stage.
  • The Voice Amplified and Projected – using electronic amplification

Dance to Love, Dance to Live

Here is a comprehensive exposure to the joy of dance and the discipline of foundational technique.

  • Seminal techniques in all genres of dance
  • How to learn choreography
  • The ballet barre
  • Essential dance vocabulary
  • Moving in orbit with turns
  • Arms come from the heart
  • Springing up with jumps, jumps, jumps
  • Dancing in ensemble

The Sense in Directing Theatre

Directing a play requires a sound awareness of all aspects of theatre and the ability to unify every aspect of production.

  • Developing your directorial vision
  • Play Analysis – extrinsic and intrinsic
  • Aristotle’s elements: character ,the argument, speech, music and sound, the mise en scene or visual spectacle
  • Preparing the Production: auditions, casting, prompt book, rehearsal schedule
  • Blocking the Play
  • Rhythm, tempo and pace
  • Polish and pace
  • Tech week
  • Opening night

All training opportunities are by booked by demand. Please contact Bellehest Productions with any query.

Additional opportunities:

The Christian Polish School for Movement Theatre

All instruction is by Belleherst’s artistic director, Kathleen Ann Thompson and is conducted in English with translation into Polish.
Foreign students are accepted.

Kuldigas Arts Studio for Movement Theatre

All instruction is by Belleherst’s artistic director, Kathleen Ann Thompson and is conducted in English with translation into Latvian.
Foreign students are accepted.