The Prodigal UPG approach to theatre and dance is one which values teaching as part of the work of the performer.

Prodigal’s first client was the Education Action Zone in East Brighton where Henderson & O’Loughlin cut their teeth working with some of the most underprivileged children in the region. Delivering Shakespeare to raise literacy standards, we quickly understood the need to invent and import games and physical tasks which brought texts alive in a meaningful way. Teaching has been embedded in our work ever since, through a huge variety of contexts and projects. We’ve taught gender politics in primary schools, worked on Shakespeare and the Jacobean Tragedians for everyone from GSCE students through to professional actors in the UK and abroad. For those actors and acting students we’ve taught technique classes and directed projects at a range of universities and colleges.

We’ve taught performance-parkour as we’ve developed it. Malik Diouf’s presence in the company since 2006 brought a unique insight in to the development of Parkour, and together we’ve sought to create an accessible, choreographic language that remains true to the core values and original aims of ‘L’art du deplacement’. A fun, non-competitive approach to the work of moving on and around obstacles, then extending that in to a language of dance which communicates way beyond its own ability. Often this has been through the creation of participant-performances. Currently our participant age range extends from 3 to 95 years old. We’ve taught disabled and inclusive groups. We’ve taught boys dance and all girls ensembles. We’ve taught on the streets of five continents.

"Our participant age range extends from 3 to 95 years old."

Qualifications & CPD

In 2017 Henderson & O’Loughlin graduated with the Diploma In Dance Teaching and Learning from the Laban Conservatoire. Focusing every assignment around real work with at-risk communities of young people, the course required reflection on the company approach, placing it in the context of best-practice within current education theory. We came to understand the work of the UPGTeam as a community dance company and as a result we’ve started working with the Foundation for Community Dance; People Dancing, delivering CPD for Dance & Parkour Teachers as the start of a formal network.

Miranda Henderson currently teaches Dance for Acting students on the CDT course at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Alister O’Loughlin is becoming an associate lecturer at Falmouth University. Malik Diouf teaches stunt performers at Campus Univers Cascades and the general public through his weekly Gravity Style classes in Paris.

If you would like to discuss teaching and/or the creation of participant performances with a community you know, please get in touch