Interview with PEM instructor Peter McAllister at RCSSD

We announced yesterday that the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama has been rated as the top drama school in the UK! Due to this, we would like to share a brief profile on Peter McAllister, Senior Lecturer and PEM instructor at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Peter trained in an 8-month PEM course and qualified as an instructor last year. He now uses PEM techniques in his teachings in the BA Acting Course. This is his interview:

How long have you taught acting at Central?

I began working at Central in 2000. I teach on the BA in Acting where my focus is on developing the actor’s creative imagination. My practice is based primarily on the work of Stanislavsky, Michael Chekhov, Richard Boleslavsky, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Uta Hagen and Susan Batson.

When did you first become aware of the Perdekamp Emotional Method (PEM)?

I was looking at some articles on the Internet. I happened to come across a video of a group of actors doing some emotional exercises. As a result I wrote to the Head Office in Hamburg, took part in a two-day introductory workshop in London, and signed up for the PEM Certified Instructor Training with the help of financial support from Central.

How is PEM unique in its approach to actor training?

It is a holistic process that is completely free from any memory or personal association. It is one of only two emotion techniques based on a non-psychological process.

When did you qualify as a PEM Certified Instructor and what did that process entail?

My training as a PEM Certified Instructor took place over eight months. During that time I learned to access the basic emotions, to know how to clear any blocks, and to learn how to teach PEM to others. I have just completed my second year teaching an introductory course to the first and second year actors.

How has your certification in PEM influenced your teaching?

It has given me a deeper understanding of the bio-physiology of emotion, and a new language with which to discuss the emotions. It has also helped to dispel some of the mystery about how emotion actually happens in the body.

Is there a specific reason why you looked for a new approach to the emotions?

Many young actors struggle to access emotion freely. While I use a lot of imaginative, sensory and emotional work in my teaching, some people feel uncomfortable about using their own private experiences as part of their acting. I was looking for another approach to use in addition to the more traditional Stanislavsky-based techniques.

How does PEM help your actors?

It gives them an increased confidence in exploring their emotions, and it helps them to discover a wider vocabulary of dramatic expression. In addition, it’s a very safe process as it has been tested on more than 4,000 people worldwide, and it has been approved officially by „DeuZert“, the German certification agency for Education. For those actors looking for a new approach, PEM offers a secure, reliable and effective means of producing authentic emotions on stage.

Thank you, Peter, for sharing our knowledge with acting students at Central!

Peter’s profile on RCSSD: