Collaborative and Devised Theatre was the name of my course at Central, and if those words mean nothing to you I’m not surprised; when I arrived on my first day I only had a vague idea what I was enrolling for.
Broadly, our course differs from other actor training because it is geared towards making theatre.
Devised work is a cover-all term for new plays made by an ensemble of actors (and, if you’re lucky a whole range of creatives). There may well be a writer involved, but a script is often the last thing that appears in the rehearsal room, rather than the first. Devised theatre includes physical theatre, dance theatre, multi-media, circus…anything really. A play that has been devised could end up looking like a kitchen sink drama or installation art.
Many theatres are reluctant to program devised work because there is no guaranteed outcome, but I love it because it is a collective rather than a singular vision.
We trained classically as well, performing in Chekhov, Shakespeare, Restoration comedy and American realism. Alumni can be found at Shakespeare’s Globe, West End musicals, London fringe venues, film and TV. Some have taken to writing or directing in venues around London and the world.