If you are interested in doing some research on who and how to devise theatre, these books, articles, and visual media resources may be useful on your journey. These resources are broken down by categories such as company, individual practitioner, etc. and the synopsis of the book is from the publisher’s website or abstract. Please feel free to email me at the email address listed in the bio below if you have other sources you would like to add to the list or suggestions of other categories. NOTE: This list does not include work by those who devise in the realm of applied theatre.

Companies

The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre by Scott Graham and Steve Hoggett

As Frantic Assembly move into their twentieth year of producing innovative and adventurous theatre, this new edition of their well-loved book demystifies the process of devising theatre in an unusually candid way. Artistic directors Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett offer an intimate and invaluable insight into their evolution and success, in the hope that sharing their experiences of devising theatre will encourage and inspire students and fellow practitioners.

Individual Practitioners

Women, Collective Creation, and Devised Performance: The Rise of Women Theatre Artists in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries by Kathryn Mederos Syssoyeva and Scott Proudfit

This book explores the role and centrality of women in the development of collaborative theatre practice, alongside the significance of collective creation and devising in the development of the modern theatre. Tracing a web of women theatremakers in Europe and North America, this book explores the connections between early twentieth century collective theatre practices such as workers theatre and the dramatic play movement, and the subsequent spread of theatrical devising. Chapters investigate the work of the Settlement Houses, total theatre in 1920s’ France, the mid-century avant-garde and New Left collectives, the nomadic performances of Europe’s transnational theatre troupes, street-theatre protests, and contemporary devising.

Techniques

Devised and Collaborative Theatre: A Practical Guide by Tina Bicât and Chris Baldwin

This book is written for all companies, student and professional, who are interested in non-text-based theatre and shines a practical light on the passionate business of the devising process. Suggestions and advice on: Getting started and developing trust and communication within the devising company. How to research and use the results to stimulate ideas and discussion in the rehearsal period. Encouraging, channeling and developing ideas in the rehearsal room. Discovering and incorporating the unexpected in rehearsal. Backstage and design work, with sample checklists. Raising money and organizing budgets. How to stop talking, start playing and develop the performance for an audience.

Devising Theatre: A Practical and Theoretical Handbook by Alison Oddey

Devising Theatre is a practical handbook that combines a critical analysis of contemporary devised theatre practice with descriptions of selected companies, and suggestions for any group devising theatre from scratch. It is the first book to propose a general theory of devised theatre.

A Practical Guide to Ensemble Devising by Davis Robinson

New England-based Davis Robinson has condensed over thirty years’ of knowledge and expertise into this thorough examination of ensemble theatre, to lead the reader through the process of making collaborative performance. The book explores the whole process from warm-ups and generating ideas to editing and polishing a performance.

Video

Frantic Assembly – A Guide to Devising

From humble beginnings, Frantic Assembly has emerged as one of the boldest and brightest stars in the theatrical firmament. Given unique insight into the devising process from ‘first thoughts to first night’ this film celebrates Frantic Assembly’s approach to production and offers in-depth interviews and practical demonstrations that will excite facilitators and inspire students as they begin their own ‘devising’ journey.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.