Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned from running Devising Workshops is that a lot of people are terrified of physical theatre and an equal number of people don’t quite realise physical theatre isn’t the only devised theatre. Everything we write, all the ideas we scrawl in a notebook, all the conversations we record or materials we collect are all part of devised theatre. We’re constantly making things and having ideas, even without realising it. And that’s what we encourage here with these workshops.
I can’t touch my toes and I’m really into surrealist, minimalist and personal works. So that’s what I write about. Someone who regularly comes to the workshops loves writing naturalism, and another is a dancer and yet another enjoys working with recorded voices. So we’ve played with all of those things and they’ve really, really come along. In the first few weeks, I was greeted with the eager eyes of a small group, wanting to know what they could learn from me. Now I’m welcoming in people who are willing to discuss, to try, to fail and to try again. And actually, more often than not, they succeed in actualising something we’ve discussed. No longer am I leading discussion or the creative process, but rather facilitating it and providing a space to devise theatre of all kinds.
Take Scratch Night for example: we had three pieces from the Devising Workshops, including a monologue that split one person into many, a dance class that reflected the trajectory of someone’s life and a glimpse at the Department for Inane Conversations. It’s been wonderful to see how diverse each person’s devising style is given the time to refine it, and the quality of work that’s come out of it, even if we’ve only seen a five minute snippet. There’s so much more to come from them and I hope that this continues next year with the next committee with new people ready to make theatre and learn about new types of performance they’d never have encountered had they not had the opportunity to make work with such a diverse group of performers.
It’s been a pleasure to work with such talented people and I can only hope that more join the ranks. I’ve learned so much from running these workshops and clearly so have they.
Why not join us in Bryn Gogh, Mondays 8pm-10pm?
Marcus Paragpuri, Leader of Devising Workshops and Vice resident 2016-17