ho Creativity In The Time Of Covid | Peter Sardi School of Acting

Creativity In The Time Of Covid

Sophie Sardi

Our Acting Classes and COVID.
There is much to celebrate this year, much to reflect on, despite the onset of this horrible pandemic.
We are asked to stay home, stay safe and we do so knowing this will save lives. The creative realm of acting in its truest sense is being able to stand present with another human being or with a group of actors in a room. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible for us. Many classes have gone online but our classes having so much to do with working with the actor’s body in a space cannot be practiced this way. Listening and communicating through behavior, having close contact and connection in the present moment is what our classes are all about.  There’s a sacredness to truly connecting to another person or group of people in a space. We know that when the time comes again, on the other side of this pandemic, the yearning for contact and human connection will be strong. The arts as a whole will have renewed vigor and strength. We look forward to the time when we can be reunited with our students, with those that have been with us for many years and also to those who have only come to know us more recently. For others who have yet to meet us, we welcome your presence in the near future.

What do we do now?                                                       Peter Sardi

It’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve achieved thus far.
For Peter, this year is his 40th year of teaching, a well-deserved time for him to have an extended break. It’s a time to truly appreciate the years of giving to his students and the community as a whole. It’s a truly epic achievement for someone who began acting and teaching in the early ’80s. His passion for the craft is unceasing, his generosity unwavering, his sensitivity to actors and their journey of growth unlimited. I have learned much from this man who I work with and have been a partner to over the years. Studying under him in the ’90s, and co-teaching now alongside him for 10 years, I have to say it’s been an incredible time. I’ve had the privilege of seeing students grow exponentially.

How do you measure the growth of acting students?

Sure you can measure it as many other schools do in how they become gainfully employed in this industry and abroad. This has been true for us as well, but what Peter and I get even more excited about, is the way in which we see acting students grow within themselves as people. In the actor’s effort to master the skills of the craft of acting we see a wonderful by-product; an innate confidence in oneself and the ability to genuinely embrace one’s own humanity, including one’s own strengths and weaknesses.

It’s soulful work and we are forever grateful that we have been able to walk this path. We are so thankful to also be celebrating our tenth year at our studio in Hawthorn. Many thanks to the West Hawthorn Uniting Church for accommodating us all these years.             ~ Sophie Sardi


A message from Peter Sardi ~ (Then… along came COVID)           

On the eve of my 40th anniversary of teaching acting, I was contacted by The Victorian College Of The Arts and asked if I would be interested in teaching at the university.  The timing was great, as I needed a new challenge in my life. Having taught in my own school for so many years I had arrived at a place where I felt very secure and confident in what I was teaching. You learn something in a very deep way when you have to teach it.  There is a very strong foundation, a method, a technique I have been practicing and developing with Sophie and our students over the years. This method encapsulates all that I have acquired over the years in the way of knowledge and seeing students grow from this learning has been extremely satisfying.  I have consistently challenged myself and our students by re-evaluating, adjusting, and re-inventing the content of our teachings along with our teaching methods.  As an artist, I believe it’s crucial that we don’t get too attached to a specific dogma or method.  The familiarity that has come with teaching drama under the banner of our own school for such a long time has been and continues to be incredibly rewarding, but I am always on guard to make sure that I don’t get too comfortable, too settled in the techniques we use. Being ‘comfortable’ doesn’t feed creativity, on the contrary, it thwarts it.  So when the offer came from the V.C.A. I accepted it because I knew it would take me out of my comfort zone and offer me the opportunity to work in a totally new environment with brand new acting students.  Then… along came COVID.   I was so looking forward to this new challenge, teaching at the V.C.A., but then a couple of weeks before I was due to start all classes were canceled due to the pandemic. I have since been informed that my teaching stint at the V.C.A. will re-commence next year in 2021 when restrictions are hopefully lifted.

The Opportunity of No Activity.

So in these times when most things, particularly in Victoria, (where our school is located) have shut down, I feel it’s important to see the opportunity that this pandemic presents. For myself, this is a time where I can STOP, simply stop and do nothing. It’s in these times of non-activity that most artists if they choose, can rest in simply ‘being.’  ‘Resting in being’ can offer opportunities for ‘discovery’ when we ‘let-go’ and just simply BE.  As creatives, it’s often when we take a step back and stop all that we’ve been doing that a space opens up, a space where new insights and new ideas materialize. 
                      On the surface, it may look like you are doing nothing, but if you have some awareness and allow yourself to slow down for a time, you will be rewarded. So that when things do start moving again when you start moving again, you will have been energized having discovered some new idea, some new thought or a new way of doing things that you would not have found, if you had not stopped or slowed down.
                      This virus has caused and continues to cause a lot of suffering worldwide, but it also offers an opportunity, an opportunity to slow down, to slow down enough to allow a space to open up, a space full of potential, potential for new insights and discoveries that will light the path ahead and energize you for the time when we get to the other side of this pandemic.  We will see you on the other side.   
Keep Safe! ~ Peter Sardi and Sophie Sardi

Nick Cave ~ An opportunity to reflect, to STOP.

“As an artist, it feels inapt to miss this extraordinary moment. Suddenly, the acts of writing a novel, or a screenplay or a series of songs seem like indulgences from a bygone era. For me, this is not a time to be buried in the business of creating. It is a time to take a backseat and use this opportunity to reflect on exactly what our function is — what we, as artists, are for.” ~ Nick Cave


My love of acting was ignited the moment 
I walked through the doors and heard Peter’s calming voice, filled with passion & wisdom for a craft I was so fortunate to find. Pete & Sophie are the reason I stand on stages. Their care & love for student growth is unique, it’s special, & how lucky you are if you find yourself under their guidance to learn not just about acting but about yourself. They nurture & challenge us to achieve things not only in performances but also within ourselves. Those private battles we have within & with scenes & characters, no one else sees, except for Pete & Soph. They see it because they pay attention, they care & are so generous with their support. It’s the stuff inside that counts, and this is one of the key lessons I walk away with. A place I could go every week & LEARN important things that matter. No mask, no feeling the weight of life. Just actors being taught the value of being present & alive ‘in the moment’ by passionate teachers always reminding us to CONNECT. How lucky I am to have found this place. Thank you for being so patient, supportive, and kind. For the lessons I have gained, I am most grateful for knowing you both. I’m taking a break from class, but I know I will eventually return to continue growing as an actor & as a person. Thank you so much for everything you have taught me & for giving me the confidence to fly.” ~ Reschelle O’Connor

“I want to give you millions of thanks for everything that I have learned in your Acting Course. These last months have been full of excitement, enjoyment, constant discovering of myself, and others. I hope you carry on teaching for years and years, hence people will have the amazing opportunity to learn and enjoy acting in the most useful, powerful, and fun way as I did. In two months I’ll be in Spain, don’t know if I’ll be back in Melbourne or not, but certainly, I won’t ever forget this astonishing experience.  All the best.” ~ Aroa


MORE TESTIMONIALS:—>  www.peter-sardi.com.au/students/testimonials/

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