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The Art of Gesture

Using historical movement and gesture in modern performance

A workshop led by Kat Carson with Musica Antica Rotherhithe

How great a role did gesture play in historical performance, and how can we use it effectively today? Amsterdam-based soprano Kat Carson sheds light on how historical gesture and movement can be used to craft engaging, passionate and emotive performances through a workshop centred on two acting manuals from the end of the 18th Century, which sought to record, in remarkable detail, a complex and emotionally powerful performance practice that seemed otherwise to be dying out. As part of a tradition stretching back to ancient times, these texts present crucial source material for anyone with an interest in the performance practice of music and the spoken word throughout the European Early Modern Period.

This workshop is recommended for anyone with an interest in historical performance, and suitable for ages of 15* and over. Participants will be welcome to engage on a level they feel comfortable with, and solo performance will not be required.

*anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a guardian. Guardian tickets are free.


Kat Carson is an English soprano based in Amsterdam. She specialises in Early music, with a passion for the Baroque repertoire and has worked extensively in the UK and the Netherlands.

After graduating with a first-class degree from Sussex University, she moved to Amsterdam and completed her Masters in Music Performance at FONTYS Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. The basis of her prize-winning thesis was interdisciplinary work with a focus on a combination of Historical Gesture and Modern Movement, which was the foundation for her ensemble Nymphes et Monstres who are active both in the Netherlands and abroad.

This interest has led her to the Dutch Historical Acting Collective, of which she is an active member. The group meets regularly to experiment and research Historical Acting Techniques from the Baroque period all the way up to the 19th Century. Kat incorporates aspects of Historical Acting into everything she does, and finds that this historical approach creates engaging, passionate, and emotional performances.