When you start looking for a devising company that you want to explore, it helps to know a little bit about them and also have some videos of their work to watch. Over the last few weeks I have been gathering ideas from many teachers about companies they would like to explore with their students, so here are a few that you may want to look at yourself or as a class. I hope that some of these companies and resources are new to you and of help.
Here is a video workshop ‘Building Blocks of Devising’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC9uJrY9Bh8
Here is a breakdown of workshops and activities to start devising: http://fod.infobase.com/http/49800/49817_guide.pdf
Here is a workshop focusing on lifts used in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4mXhW7TXQ8
Information for the MA in Collaborative Theatre: https://www.franticassembly.co.uk/ma-collaborative-theatre-making
Article about Frantic Assembly: https://theatreanddance.britishcouncil.org/artists-and-companies/f/frantic-assembly/
Interview with Scott Graham (full interview on Digital Theatre): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVs_-Rq3BT0
Frantic Assembly YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/franticassembly
The making of ‘Fishy Clouds’ puppet show: https://vimeo.com/208960475
Article and video on director Nana Dakin: https://www.linktv.org/shows/bodies-in-motion/director-nana-dakin-draws-on-personal-experiences-to-promote-cross-cultural
Articles about and productions of B-Floor Theatre:
Told By An Idiot
Told By An Idiot is a company in London, England whose process is highly collaborative and whose style is completely nonrealistic. On their information page alone, they state ‘We acknowledge the artifice of performance and make no effort to put reality on stage, but we inhabit the space between laughter and pain which exists in the real world’ (toldbyanidiot.org).
Their creative process is very collaborative. They are very intentional about including as many different voices and artists as they possibly can throughout their process, they find it creates richer theatre. It’s hard to get a feel for exactly what their creation and development process is, but it seems to have some roots in improvisations that happen in rehearsal, as well as the informal moments between artists in the room. ‘As often as not, the ideas you contribute as an actor could be off-the-cuff remarks, little jokes at a coffee break, or random observations that Paul will pick up on and run with’ (thestage.co.uk).
In addition to the more traditional theatre artists, they are intentional about collaborating with, in their words, non-theatremakers.
Another interesting part of their process has been to open the rehearsal doors to the outside, and just have an audience as they are rehearsing their show. They also run ‘Taught By An Idiot’ to bring younger artists and even offer an MA/MFA program in partnership with Rose Bruford College.
- Live stream of one of their rehearsals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypmT6Ftw944
Theatre Passe Muraille (translates to’beyond walls’ or ‘without walls’)
About: Created in 1968 by Jim Garrard and Paul Thompson, this alternative theatre company connects with local Canadian community to produce theatre that speaks to them. The company aims to have diverse voices in its original pieces. One of the most famous productions would be The Farm Show where actors lived with farmers and then created a play for the farm community based on their experiences.
Mandate: Theatre Passe Muraille is mandated to develop and produce innovative and provocative Canadian Theatre, and to nurture new and established artists and companies.
Process: Company members are encouraged to record oral histories, anecdotes, jokes and songs for inclusion in the production which was then, often, first presented before the audience it concerned. The idea is that communities get to see themselves reflected on stage with stories that relate to them.
Plays: The Farm Show, The Drawer Boy ( An more accessible script that is a play creating The Farm Show)
I would also add that I live in Toronto so this is a great theatre to study because its accessible and is actually remounting The Drawer Boy this year. Also, this company’s importance to the Canadian theatre community especially in English Canada.
- General Knowlege-https://passemuraille.ca/about-contact
- General Knolwedge http://www.canadiantheatre.com/dict.pl?term=theatre%20passe%20muraille
- Fallis, Alex. ‘Without our past, we are just any town, no town at all’. City of Wine. Canadian Theatre Review, vol. 142, 2010, pp. 90-94. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/ctr.0.0021
- McKinnie, Michael. ‘Space Administration: Rereading the Material History of Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto.’ Essays on Canadian Writing, no. 68, 1999, pp. 19-45. ProQuest, http://myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/docview/197246898?accountid=14771
- Interview with creator: https://vimeo.com/73966295
- To see the space and hear about a show from the past: https://globalnews.ca/video/2238688/history-of-theatre-passe-muraille
Rude Mechanicals is a collaborative theatre that operates in Austin, Texas: https://rudemechs.com/
- Creating new canon work
- Mentoring young professionals and youth through the sharing of materials and space, the invitation of collaboration, fostering confidence and creativity in young people through the power of performance, and sharing the process of collaborative performance.
- Attune performances to the artistic identity of the community
This is Not a Theatre Company
This a NYC collaborative Devising Company that follows a few unique processes:
- They develop and present their plays in unconventional locations.
- They invite audiences to participate in the development of their work.
Their website has wonderful samples of their products, including Pool Play, a piece performed entirely in a swimming pool.
The Paper Birds
Devising theatre company with a political agenda. They are a British theatre company that uses verbatim technique.
Curious Doings is Northern Ireland’s leading devised theatre company under the creative direction of internationally acclaimed actress and theatre maker Mary-Frances Doherty.
- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CuriousDoings/?hc_ref=ARQ7FHtBhovGSGomKjfrfNb7JDVjab-ysIbajGYG_xZyBV5ndcGAJa8_r7f6PM5k8zI
- Mary-Frances Doherty’s productions: http://www.maryfrancesdoherty.com/curious-doings
- Curious Doings on vimeo: https://vimeo.com/curiousdoings