Surrealist theatre and design

The other day I went to see a play entitled 'Bells and Spells' by Victoria Thierree Chaplin with Aurelia Thierree and Jaime Martinez where walls move, lamp shades come to life, waistcoats turn into horses' heads and a lady could sleep on top of the washing line. This was the first time for ages where the design of the production was the key focus on the piece and we were transported into a magical world of mystery and surrealism. It was ...

Peter Pan’s Shadow

Source: Wikimedia Commons The last few weeks I have been researching a range of starting points to use at a theatre festival to inspire original pieces of theatre. The key theme I have been looking at is SHADOWS. For this blog I thought you would find it enriching to see what types of stories, music and poems I found. Hopefully some will inspire you, and they will be used as starting points in your own devising work. To start with I ...

‘He’s Behind You’: Working Backstage at a Pantomime

If you find yourselves in the UK during the Christmas season then it is pretty much impossible to ignore the Pantomimes (called affectionately Pantos by the locals) that are on at pretty much every theatre about. These are done by community groups, schools and professionals alike and are all about family fun, a good afternoon or evening out for the whole family and lots of laughs (at terrible jokes). The laughs come from the silly jokes, visual comedy, sexual innuendos ...

What Does the Audience Really Think?

Some of you may have read my blog last year that shared the many ways that adult devisors gathered feedback from their audiences. Recently I have been running a lot of devising workshops with IB Theatre students, and we have managed to add to and refine the ways that the adults did it!!! Below is what we managed to develop. Included in this blog are ideas from Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process, which you may be familiar with. Happy reading!!! ...

Devising Companies to Explore

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 ...

At the Devising Crossroads

Recently my first year IB Theatre students have had a go at creating their first devised piece based on a starting point. We worked with six starting points initially (one TED Talk, one piece of music, one poem, one painting, one piece of graffiti art and an object) and, then, as a group decided the following: What do I bring to the devising process and how do I promote my self? (What is my theatre world of experience, passions and knowledge, and ...

How to Assess IMPACT on Your Audience

Recently I have been working with small devising companies to explore how they can obtain meaningful and accurate data to assess audience impact. I am going to give you three scenarios of their process of evaluating impact, and then how they re-worked this data gathering the second time they performed. The first performance was a ‘soft’ sharing or rather a ‘work in progress’, which is common practice for many devising companies, so they can evaluate their work before it is ...

Making an entrance – TEAM

This week I have been running a Theatre Laboratory with my grade 10 and 11 students on what we bring when we enter the stage. We are moving onto exits next week, but I thought I would share with you what they explored with entrances for this blog. We discovered that with an entrance you can establish: character mood motive environment relationships objects in the environment status atmosphere conflict story backstory other characters off stage foreshadowing subtext and more... When you are ...

Theatre for change – ‘Disorder contained’

Many of you will know about Brecht and Boal, and will probably have come across some other theorists or theatre companies that create theatre designed to make a specific impact, and hopefully bring about some change in ways of thinking, behaviour or spur people on to take action to bring about some sort of change in their environment or society. Brecht work for us deals with history, so we can look at this issues from a distance, and relate safely ...

Your responsibilities as a creator of theatre

The other day I went to the theatre to see the culminating performances of theatre students that had been studying devising and theatre creation at my local University. I was excited to see what they would come up with. Having spent many years working with High School students on devising processes I was intrigued to see how University level students were different in terms of choices of themes, influences, techniques, styles and use of space and production techniques. To be honest, ...