DEVISED THEATRE WORKSHOP
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH LIBRARY@ESPLANADE
WHY DEVISED THEATRE?
In the book Devising Performance: A critical history (2006) Scottish Theatre specialist Deidre Heddron defines devised theatre a set of strategies that emerged within a variety of theatrical and cultural fields, for example in community arts, performance art/live art, or political theatre. Most importantly, Heddron identifies that within these diverse strategies, a shift occurred that placed more importance on the creative process and less on the final product. ‘With the emergence of interest in improvisation, experimental theatre practice and devising practices, the language of rehearsal was replaced by references to ‘labs’, ‘workshops’ and ‘sessions’, drawn from the discourses of science, craft and the music industry’ (24).
Theatre is made in teams; it is naturally collective. As Heddron identifies, perhaps it is this aspect of theatre what has caused a global interest in the strategies and techniques of devising. In Singapore, many companies use devising as their basic methodology for creation. The methodology has reached such a high profile in the local arts scene that it has since been included as a possibility in the extra curricular activities in MOE´s accepted programs. Yet, what makes devising so popular in so many creative platforms? For The Art of Strangers the importance of devising rests in its ease to provide an environment for audience and community development. The project that is presented here aims to implement a workshop on devised theatre with that in mind. Communities, as theatre, are made in teams. This workshop will provide its participants with the experience of creative and community collaboration.
The Art of Strangers approach to education and outreach is foregrounded by an interest in community and audience development. Our teaching philosophy is aligned with nurturing our students and we understand our roles as facilitators of their own creativity. We aim to set an environment that is conducive to allow the participants to experience knowledge for themselves before any theoretical condition preempts them of their own ways of knowing.
In line with our teaching ethos and the specific characteristics of our target audience for this workshop series, the sessions will be carried out in three different modalities: Seminar (theoretical and historical introduction to theatre making and devised theatre), explorations (exercises aimed to generate common language and material), and rehearsals (preparation for an open performance). In turn, the strategies of each of these modalities, while distinct from one another, are blended in order to deliver a session that adapts to the very precise circumstance that the group presents on every single day of the series. As facilitators, we negotiate what modality and which strategy is needed at a precise moment of the session in order to flesh out the best results and guarantee that the participants take away the best educational experience possible. In sum, every session will include a brief theoretical component (20-25%) and a large exploratory or rehearsal component (75-80%).