Building the Chaos

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th April, 10:30am-5:30pm

Toynbee Studios, London

Earlybird (first 5 places booked) £125 + VAT / Standard £135 + VAT

To book a place on the workshop, click here

Are you a performer interested in honing your improvisation, devising and comedy skills?

Taking inspiration from the greats of silent comedy,  Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton, this two-day workshop will explore the idea of adding a fresh twist to some classic routines, led by Associate Idiot and experienced performer, director and theatre maker Stephen Harper.

We will draw on clown, commedia dell’arte and the work of Michael Chekhov to look at the technique and spirit needed to create brilliant comic set pieces.

You will take away a toolkit of ideas and practical approaches, which will enable you to make your own gags, numbers and comedy routines, including: hand to hand combat techniques in order to create slapstick violence, pratfalls, double takes and throwing custard pies.


About Stephen Harper

Stephen has worked with Told by an Idiot on productions including Get Happy at The Barbican, Beijing Comedy Festival and Luxembourg, Never Try This At Home, I'm A Fool To Want You, Shoot Me In The Heart, I Weep at My Piano and Don't Laugh It's my Life. He has also been a visiting artist on many Taught by an Idiot projects, including the MA/MFA in Collaborative Theatre Making at Rose Bruford. He specialises in clown, mask, slapstick, commedia dell’arte, improvisation and devising.

Stephen's other recent work as performer includes; Don Quixote with Little Soldier at the Vault Festival and Chicago Physical Theatre Festival, Opening Skinners Box with Improbable Theatre, The Mouse and his Child and Merry Wives of Windsor at The RSC, War Horse and Theatre of Blood with the National Theatre, Laurel and Hardy at the New Vic Theatre, Home from Home at Polka, 1966 World Cup Final and Ben Hur for BAC, and Commonnonsense at Reykjavik City Theatre. He can also be seen in Channel 4 comedy Blap LowDown and the pop video Absurd playing Gazelle Boy and The Man Who Falls On Bread.

Directing credits include: Cabaret of Blood with Hi Jinx and Told by an Idiot and Flat Pack - based on Buster Keatons Film One Week and I Had a Black Dog with Smallnose productions; Government Inspector BA 3rd year Classic season, Saudade MA Ensemble Theatre final show and Crowbar Hotel ETA 3rd year show at Rose Bruford; slapstick director on Pippi Longstocking at Reykjavik City Theatre, The Twits at The Royal Court Theatre and Comedy of Errors with The Lord Chamberlains Men.


Feedback about Stephen and our recent Artist Development Workshops

“An incredible opportunity to learn from the experience and hard won knowledge of a brilliantly innovative company"

“A hands on extravaganza on how to be an idiot and produce work organically”

“Inspiring, evocative, informative and fun, fun, fun.”

“It was exceptional. This was the most enlightening, liberating, inspiring workshop I've ever done.”

“100% the most engaging workshop leader I have encountered”

“ opportunity to work with someone already in the industry was very helpful”

“...completely entertaining from start to finish...something I could do a million times over”

If you have any questions about accessibility or the workshop in general, please email Natasha at