Relaxation and letting go of tension

This helps you to release tension and find a state of neutrality from which to create character. It will also help with breathing and voice production.

Lie on your back, making sure that you’re straight. Your arms should be either by your side or with hands resting loosely on your stomach. Close your eyes but stay focused. Become aware of your own breathing but don’t change or force it. Feel the fall and rise as you breathe out and the breath drops in again. Take your time.

Now, in your mind’s eye, put the focus into your feet, one by one. You don’t have to move them, just be aware of them. Try to relax them and let go of any tension you may be holding in your feet or ankles. If you feel they are still tense, try squeezing the muscles and then releasing a few times until they feel looser and heavy. Try to let go. Slowly, bit by bit, move the focus up your body, staying aware of any tension you are holding along the way. Pay particular attention to shoulders, neck and jaw as these are often tense areas.

Let everything become loose and feel yourself sink heavily into the floor. Imagine your head moving upwards and away from your feet so your neck is lengthening and your whole torso widening. The key is not to try, but to let go of tension litle by little. When you feel you are really relaxed, roll over slowly on to one side and rise up to a straight standing position. Move around slowly in this neutral state. You’ll look and feel taller!


Illustration to represent 'Hot Seating', of a man sweating, sitting on a chair on fire

Hot-seating is a rehearsal technique or explorative strategy to discover more about a character. It can also help the actor relax and get to know the character better. The actor is questioned in role and forced to think about aspects of a character’s life or personality which may not be in the text. It can also throw up new ideas to explore in rehearsal. Look at Explorative strategies to learn more.