Theatre for Life, Life for Theatre – Fortune Theatre Summer School

Fortune Theatre, with generous support from the Dunedin Fringe and Dunedin City Council, is thrilled to present a three week summer intensive with John Bolton as part of Otago’s stunning summer offerings.

The course will inspire participants to use their own stories to make theatre and use theatre to illuminate their lives.

Students will explore their personal histories using different theatrical styles including, Bouffon, melodrama, storytelling and clown. John will guide students through exploration via movement, writing, drawing and contemplation.

John will take theatre-making to the sea and the countryside and remind students how the world around us informed our growing up, how we got messy and mucked about, and how the world outside continues to nurture us.

Participants will recreate their nightmares and sweet dreams, the fevered imagination of the nighttime and the bright impulses of midday. They will explore the mundane, the seemingly unimportant as well as the big events (the stepping-stones of our lives) to fully realise their fool as well as their hero and villain.

This course is an artist’s way to make use of the self, the body, the personal story, to create powerful, subtle and funny theatrical events and images. John will be working with the literal and the metaphoric; it is not psychodrama, it is not therapy. Participants will be challenged to enter into the new and the unknown, to be daring but they will never be coerced into sharing parts of their lives they wish to remain private.

In the final week students will create short autobiographical pieces to be shown in the last days of the workshop as part of Dunedin Fringe 2017 in a live performance at Fortune Theatre.

About the teacher

John Bolton trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and Ecole Jacques Lecoq, Paris.

A Fellow of the Australia Council, he has received numerous awards for directing and teaching including two Melbourne Green Room Awards, The 2002 Kenneth Myer Medallion for services to Theatre in Victoria, and the 2005 Teaching Excellence Award at the Victorian College of the Arts.

He ran his own school in Melbourne for 9 years and was Head of Acting at The Victorian College of the Arts between 2002 and 2006.

With work invited to many world stages he has created many award winning solo shows based around the actor/ writer’s life.
These include;
Odyssey by Andreas Litras
I Don’t Wanna Play House by Tammy Anderson
The Baby Show by Donna Jackson
Thumbul by Tom E. Lewis


“John Bolton’s skill, wisdom, generosity, passion, humour, and humanity, infuses every aspect of his teaching. He has inspired generations of students, many of whom have gone on to create shows whose theatrical vocabulary, diversity and imaginative scope can be traced directly back to their training with John – me included.”

Jacob Rajan
Indian Ink


“Working with John in the 2014 John Bolton School was a boon. It allowed me to grow with others, feel new sensations, awaken imagination and experience a lot about myself at 49 that was joyfully familiar as well as much that felt totally new.”

Jonathon Hendry
Fortune Theatre Artistic Director


Course Dates

20/2/17 – 10/3/17

Performance Dates



Earlybird: $750 NZD (If paid by 27/1/17)

Full Fee: $900 NZD

For applications click here.