A NOTE ON DEVISED THEATRE
Devising is a way of working which often upsets the hierarchical structure of the standard way of creating theatrical work. Eric Grode on the Theatre Dictionary website states that a devised process “typically begins with little more than a rehearsal space and a group of eager, committed theatre practitioners. Through a series of improvisatory theatre games, they start to tease out the kinds of stories they’d like to tell and the way they’d like to tell them. Over time a text emerges, one covered with the fingerprints of each and every participant.”
Articles on Devised Theatre to Get You Inspired and Working
-“What is Devised Theatre?” Posted by Martine Kei Green-Rogers, 28th Sept. 2016, THEATRE TIMES,
-“On the Case for Devising Theatre on Social Justice on College Campuses,” Joan Lipkin, THEATRE TOPICS, John Hopkins University Press, Vol. 26, Number 2, July 2016
Find collaborators you want to work with and dive in! All works this year will be created for performance on Zoom and may be performed live, recorded, or a combination. All pieces must incorporate at least some aspect of live performance in their presentation even if that is a creative introduction or bow.
We encourage you to find and work with a faculty member or other mentor who can facilitate your process.
- The Showcase will take place over Zoom
- We are accepting ensemble pieces, solo works, and works in progress
- Work may be live, recorded, or a combination
- All pieces must have some element of live performance in their presentation even if the live-ness is incorporated into the introduction or the bows
- Pieces may be any length but no longer than 20 minutes including the introduction
- Faculty may act as mentors and facilitators but the work must be student driven
- Each piece will receive a response on Saturday morning, January 15, between 9-11a.m.
- During the response session we want to hear from all members of the ensemble about the process of creating the work
- Remember: devising is not an aesthetic. It’s a process, and each process is unique.
- This approach to creating new work includes multiple aesthetics, production value spectrums, and performance styles.
Intent to Participate:
- To secure a place in the Devised Theatre Showcase at Region 2,
please send an “intent to participate” email to Terra Vandergaw at email@example.com.
- Schools may enter multiple pieces.
- Ensembles and soloists may choose to work with or without the national prompt.
- Time permitting, works-in progress and experiments created at the festival are welcome to be part of the Devised Theatre Showcase!
Terra Vandergaw, Coordinator Devised Theatre Initiative
Terra Vandergaw is a performer, director, producer, activist, and Associate Professor of Theater at Ramapo College of New Jersey where she teaches all levels of Acting, Voice and Movement, and the First Year Seminar, Exploring Issues Through Performance. Directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Arms and the Man, A Bright Room Called Day, an original adaptation of Candide in collaboration with French company Zephyr Theatre, “Short Works by Samuel Beckett,” “Alice,” an original adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, Our Town, The Glass Menagerie, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, Moliere’s Les Precieuses Ridicules co-directed with Raphael Bianciotto, Handke’s Self Accusation,and the devised works, “The Big Unknown,” and “The Big Unknown /1.5 Degrees.” She has produced Shakespeare at Ramapo for the past 13 years, Climate Change Theatre Action, Earth Day/Earth Week, and the Walt Santner Speaker Series which brings important theatre artists and cultural workers to campus. She founded and is adviser for Ramapo’s Devised Theatre Performance Ensemble as well as for the Dance Company. Her production of the new play,“ Beauty is Prison Time,” by Zoe Mavroudi, toured to the Edinburgh Fringe, Glasgow, Nicosia, Paris, and London where it ran for three weeks and received Best New Play, Best Performer, and Best Director Offie award nominations. She has performed at the Public Theatre, Lincoln Center, on national tour with the Acting Company, at the Guthrie Theater and in many other NYC and regional venues. Originally from Alaska, Terra received her B.A. in Drama from Stanford University, her M.F.A. in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and her yoga teacher certification from Kripalu. She has served as Coordinator and co-coordinator of the Devised Theatre Initiative for Region 2 since 2018 and as a respondent for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival since 2015.
Photo by Ryan Collerd, courtesy of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Tell’em Why You Mad!
“Tell’em Why You Mad!” is a pressure valve release/moderated discussion in which student artists are invited to bring their deep frustrations, profound head-scratchers, less than ideal circumstances and any and everything about the artistic process that might make one rage or scream to discuss with other people. Trusting the strength of collective wisdom, interconnectivity and the fact of shared difficulty, this is a space of recognition and showing up for others whose experiences might resemble your own. Or, if nothing else, a space in which you can safely, with care and respect for others, let off some STEAM.
Jennifer Kidwell is a performing artist. Upcoming projects – PearlDamour’s Ocean Filibuster, Tall Order’s Those With Two Clocks, Michelle Ellsworth’s Body on a Table. Recent projects – Underground Railroad Game (2017 Obie Award for Best New American Theatre Work; 2018 Edinburgh Fringe First Award; Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes nominations), Adrienne Truscott’s Still Asking for It (Joe’s Pub), Jaamil Olawole Kosoko’s Chameleon (Asst. Director), Geoff Sobelle’s Home (2018 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production), Dan Hurlin’s Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed, David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group’s I Understand Everything Better (2015 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production), Fat Ham and Antigone (The Wilma Theater), Being/With and The Octopus and the Interview (Nichole Canuso Dance Company), Superterranean, Fire Burns Hot: Little Reno!, I Promised Myself to Live Faster and 99 Break-Ups (Pig Iron Theatre Company), Dick’s Last Stand (Whitney Biennial 2014, as Donelle Woolford), Zinnias: the Life of Clementine Hunter (Robert Wilson/Toshi Reagon/Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon). Wilma Theater Associated Artist, co-founder of JACK. Published in movement research Performance Journal #45 and at hyperallergic.com. 2020 Visiting Artist Duke University, 2021 Visiting Artist UPenn. 2013 TCG/Fox Resident Actor Fellowship, 2015, 2021 Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant, 2016 Pew Fellow, 2017 Independence Fellowship, 2020 Ruthie Award & Hodder Fund Grant.
Introduction to Devising
Devising is an act of collaborative creation. It offers an inclusive, democratic approach to playmaking that involves all ensemble members closely in the process of creation. In this workshop we will use physical exercises, choreographic games, and verbal improvisation to introduce the tools needed to compose original work.
Brian Rhinehart is a freelance actor and director, and a full-time lecturer at The Actors Studio Drama School in New York City. Since 2001 he has worked primarily as a director of devised theatre and collaborative playmaking; his productions have been seen in The Czech Republic, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Scotland, Germany, and the U.S. Brian is a part-time instructor of theatre at S.W.U.F.E, in Chengdu and Born Drama Studio in Beijing, China, and has given numerous seminars and workshops on ensemble-based playmaking in the U.S., Europe and Asia. He is a TEDx and Fulbright teaching scholar, and for the past ten years has worked as an actor with the company Forum for Arts and Culture, in Heersum, Germany. Brian assistant-directed the first national Broadway tour of The Wedding Singer, was named “Best Director” of the 2001 New York International Fringe Festival for the play Einstein’s Dreams, and was a member of the 2006 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. The plays/performances he has written or co-written have been seen in a variety of Off-Off Broadway, regional, and site-specific venues. He is an internationally published scholar of contemporary theatre and is co-author of a book on comedy acting, titled Comedy Acting for Theatre: The Art and Craft of Performing in Comedies, published by Bloomsbury/Methuen. He has an MFA in Directing from the Actors Studio Drama School and a PhD in English from the University of Florida.
Yoshiko Usami (Yokko)
Butoh & Movement for Devised Theatre
Butoh is an experimental, avant-garde dance form, and experimental theatre which originated in Japan. It opens many possibilities in the creative process. Working with the body as both a vessel and a tool for storytelling, participants in this workshop will cultivate their creative instruments allowing access to both internal and external materials for use in creative circumstances. We will practice letting go of the self in order to access the most “possible/ available body.” Through movement exercises, we will learn to integrate our instruments (Body, Mind & Soul) and apply them to the work functionally.
Yokko is an Actor, Interdisciplinary Artist from Japan, specialized in Acting, Butoh Dance, Physical Theatre, Movement for Actors, and solo performance. She is also a choreographer, director, writer, sound designer, film maker, clown, Theatre educator, certified therapeutic essential yoga & Yoga Nidra instructor and USUI Jikiden Reiki Master Teacher as well. Her works have been presented across the USA and Europe, and received several awards including Best One Woman Show Best Choreography, & Best Physical Theatre at United Solo 2014-2015 (Butoh Medea). She has acted in, devised, and choreographed a variety of local and international shows and films. Her choreographed & directed work, SHINKA won Outstanding of premier Production of a play and Outstanding Choreography & Movement at New York Innovative Theatre Award 2019. Most recently, her Butoh work has been seen in several music videos, including I Don’t Know Where We Went Wrong (HOKO, 2020) and Ready To Let Go (Cage The Elephant, 2019). She has been regularly offering workshops (Butoh & Movement, Butoh & Physical Theatre, Transformation, Movement for Actors) nationally internationally: Atelier Teatro Fisico Performing Arts University in Turin (Italy), Edinburgh (UK), Warsaw (Poland), Izmir (Turkey), St. Lawrence University (NY), SUNY New Paltz (NY), Amherst College (MA), Stella Adler Academy of Acting (LA), The Actors Studio (NYC), Ecstatic Dance (NYC). She is also producing artistic director of UNFIX NYC as well as the artistic director of a New York based butoh theatre group, Ren Gyo Soh. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty in Movement for Actors at Actors Studio Drama School MFA, BA Acting and Directing at Pace Performing Arts International Ensemble at Pace University, and BFA Acting Studio program at the New Group /LIU Brooklyn. Latest news: she just presented her devised theatre project, In Our Hands: voices from young artists with BFA Acting program students at Kumble Theatre at LIU Brooklyn. (Dec. 2021)
“Don’t Steal the Story! – Creating Ethical Devised Theatre with Diverse Communities
Devised performances are becoming more commonplace, as well as the demand for socially conscious theatre. But the stories of many culturally-centered communities are being crafted by either individuals outside the community, or are the results of brief partnerships that fulfill unrelated goals and whose participants are abandoned at the end of the performance activity. Learn how theater artists can avoid such “tokenism” as they attempt to become more diverse and confront social issues, and how to ensure that diversity is actively leading artistic creation. Session leader Elena Velasco will share current practices for creating performance grounded in a community’s unique aesthetic through ethnographic drama. Student theatre artists and theatre professionals will learn to intersect with various expressions of culture, and to identify the necessary collaborative consultants to make truly equitable theatre that represents a community.
Elena Velasco is a theatre artist whose work encompasses many aspects of performance, production, activism and education. She firmly believes that through a redefined actor-audience relationship and a “multilingual” approach to performance, theatre can be the catalyst for change in society and identifying intersections in humanity. During her 25 year career she has devoted her time equally between performance and residency work. She has taught theatre through the lens of community engagement and education throughout the DC metro area, with a focus on Title 1, migrant and disinvested communities. Ms. Velasco is the Artistic Director and Co-founder of Convergence Theatre, a multidisciplinary performance collective that creates work centered on social justice. Her directing and choreography credits include Convergence Theatre, Synetic Theater, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Adventure Theatre, Keegan Theatre, Imagination Stage, Mead Theatre Lab, Young Playwrights’ Theater, Capital Fringe, Source Theatre, Discovery Theater, Catholic University and the Kennedy Center’s New Visions New Voices Festival. She has choreographed for Avant Bard, Theatre J, Mosaic Theatre Company, Keegan Theatre and Catholic University. Ms. Velasco has been a member of SAG/AFTRA and AEA, and has performed at the Kennedy Center, Theatre Alliance, NextStop Theatre, Discovery Theatre, Imagination Stage, Signature Theatre STAGES, and in several films, commercials, and TV shows. She currently serves as the Co-Director of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and has provided consultation for EDIA in theatre programming for organizations such as Theatre Washington, Women’s Theatre Festival of North Carolina, Gandhi Brigade, and Southeastern Theatre Conference. She has been a featured speaker for Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Montgomery College, The Actors’ Center of Dc, and Theatre Washington. Ms. Velasco is the theatre production coordinator and an assistant professor of theatre arts at Bowie State University.
Devising with Beauty
We typically think about story, character, emotion, and action when conceiving a production. We tend not to discuss beauty in our rehearsal spaces. In this exciting workshop, we will take a journey into beauty. We will discover the inherent beauty in movement and action utilizing “The Viewpoints.”
Jody P. Gazenbeek-Person is an interdisciplinary artist working in dance, video, theatre, and performance art. Along with Alex Defazio, he founded Elixir Productions Theatre Company in 1998 and has been producing work with Elixir in NYC ever since. Some of his NY directing credits include: Christine (The Raw Space), “Mixed Up Molly Eden” (Surf Reality), “The Lady of Larkspur Lotion” (Roger Hendrick Simon Studio), Bones and “The Existence of Being (or Am I Here?)” (TSI), Radium (The Jewel Box Theatre), To Be Loved (chashama & FringeNYC 2007) and 1-900-SELFPLEX (FringeNYC 2009). He trained in Performance Art with Holly Hughes and Lenora Champagne. Performance and interdisciplinary art pieces include Two Side Walks Out of Eden (The Raw Space), The Black Egg (CUANDO), Wrath (MCCC) and Writing Ground Zero (Dixon Place/The Raw Space) and Thérèse Raquin Desire (Project Y Theatre Co. & Stage Left Studio). Video art pieces include: Myth for the Camera #1 (NJ Film Festival), Moving Through Portals (Late Night Series, West Windsor, NJ), and Tempography (Galleri Jonas Kleerup/Zita Cinema, Sweden/Gallery Factory in Seoul, Korea and Goethe-Institut Hanoi, Veitnam ). He received his M.F.A. in Directing from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts and his BA in Drama Studies with a dual concentration in Dance from SUNY Purchase. Jody has received many awards and support for his work including the Abbot Kaplan Award and Frank Wadsworth Prize for outstanding work, two Puffin Grants, two NYSCA SOS Grants, and Support from etant donnes, the French-American Fund for the Performing Arts, the association beaumarchais, and the Florence Gould Foundation. Jody heads the Theatre, Dance and Entertainment Technology Programs at Mercer County Community College.
Jee Duman is an actor and director. He worked as an assistant director with Avra Sidiropoulou in “And God Said”, and with Brian Rhinehart in “Butoh Medea” – which were performed in Italy, Iran, Germany, Poland, Turkey and all over the U.S. Jee teaches Directing and Devising at the Actors Studio Drama School, where he works as the Program Manager. Jee is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.
Devised Theatre Coordinator
Ramapo College of New Jersey