The Training Group


Session 5: Accessing Comedy
with Oliver Dennis

We are excited to be shaking off the winter blues with another session of The Howland Company’s newest initiative – The Training Group. 

  • The Training Group is an opportunity for actors, both emerging and established, to explore the actor’s craft and seminal plays in an intimate training group setting guided by one of Toronto’s leading theatre artists.

Oliver Dennis, Actor / Instructor

Join us this winter for the fifth session in this exciting new training series as we explore how we access comedy by looking at different ways we can use the text, the space around the text, and our bodies to mine for comedy gold. The Training Group aims to integrate advanced text work while engaging participants in active dialogue focusing on exploring the actor’s process. We are honoured to continue the series under the guidance of one of Toronto’s leading actors Oliver Dennis.

This intensive 12 hour Training Group will be set up over four consecutive Sunday workshop sessions: February 24th, March 3rd, 10th and 17th. 

About the Session:

Welcome to Accessing Comedy – a four-session masterclass on using text and physicality to build character and mine for comedy gold. Using Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well a selection of modern texts, as a foundation, we will develop tools on how to remain open and available in the rehearsal hall for unexpected and unplanned magic to happen. There will also be time to explore how to discover the comedy in monologues, adding a vital skill to your actor’s toolkit.

Dates: February 24th, March 3rd, 10th and 17th

  • Sunday, February 24th, 2019: 5-8pm
  • Sunday, March 3rd, 2019: 5-8pm
  • Sunday, March 10th, 2019: 5-8pm
  • Sunday, March 17th, 2019: 5-8pm


Soulpepper Theatre’s Baillie Hall West
50 Tank House Lane, Toronto

Price: $375

*Space is limited.

Final Deadline to apply is Friday February 22nd at 5pm.

Applications are now closed.

Please fill out the following information and send your headshot and resume to

For any questions, please email us at:

This is the fifth session in an exciting new training series held twice a year.

About Oliver Dennis

Oliver Dennis has been an actor for over 35 years. He trained at York University in the early 80s and spent a year at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He was in the original company of Crow’s Theatre and did many plays with the company. He has had a very long association with Theatre Columbus/Common Boots Theatre and developed many shows with them. He has also had a long association with Soulpepper Theatre and has had nearly 100 opening nights there. He has been nominated for awards numerous times. 

We think he’s pretty terrific and we can’t wait to explore comedy with him in this next session of The Training Group!



Past Training Group Sessions & Instructors:

Session 1: Strengthening the Actor’s Process with Nancy Palk, exploring Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

Session 2: Contemporary Canadian Monologues, a scene study approach with Ken Gass

Session 3: Performing Shakespeare, an exploration of text with Ben Carlson

Session 4: August in August, and August Wilson scene study with Tanisha Taitt

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