About the book


As an actor, awareness of your movement is the key to transformation. By making deliberate physical choices you can fully and articulately embody different ways of being: you can become someone or something else. Laban’s Efforts give you a way of identifying and making these choices. Working with them helps the actor to create wholly present and physically ambitious performances.

This book outlines Ewan’s practical process, which allows the actor to understand their own movement and that of others by exploring one key part of Laban’s work: the ‘Efforts of Action Drive’.

This complete, stage-by-stage, working process has been developed through over thirty years of work with actors in the studio. Clear instructions for practical exercises are woven throughout the book, as well as exciting ways to apply the work in rehearsal, performance and on set. This allows the actor to learn and apply Laban’s Efforts for themselves. Full video and audio resources allow the reader to experience the practical work in action.

Vanessa Ewan’s work with Laban and the Efforts, as you will find in this inspired book, provides performers with an incredibly fertile foundation from which to create. She has found an astoundingly practical way of applying Laban’s work to the quest of being a fully embodied actor. You will find tools in this book that will open door after door to your own creativity and awaken you to the endless possibility of what you can create on stage or on screen.
— Andrew Garfield [Actor]


  • Clear instructions for practical exercises spread throughout the book, so you can follow the process being explained during your own work in the rehearsal room / training studio.

  • Extensive online video footage allowing you to see the practical work in action.

  • Original photographs by fine-art photographer Pavel Dousek.

  • Newly-drafted tables and diagrams, clearly setting out the information you need during the process.

  • Real-time sound recordings of instructions for key exercises which allow you to be guided during practical exploration in the studio.

  • A glossary of key terms for this working process and related theatrical vocabulary

  • Comprehensive references for further reading


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[ PUBLISHED 18.10.2018 BLOOMSBURY / ISBN-13: 978-1472533241 / ISBN-10: 1472533240 ]