Devising Theatre and Performance: Curious Methods



Devising Theatre and Performance is a hands-on guide for artists, students and teachers of performance at any stage of their practice. It offers a wide range of creative prompts and pathways enriched with critical thinking tools and questions, a hybrid approach Hill and Paris call 'Curious Methods'.

This is a welcome addition to the field, created and curated by two experienced artists who have operated at the international interface of academia and professional practice for over three decades.

The collection is packed with fun, creative, thoughtful exercises distilled from over twenty years of running interdisciplinary artist workshops and teaching devising and performance making. As well providing numerous exercises and suggestions for devising, composing and editing original works, this book offers tools for giving and receiving feedback, critical reflection and framing artistic work within academic research contexts.

Readers can choose to dip in and out, to follow the book as a course, or to work section by section focusing on organizing principles such as working from the body, working with site, working with objects or performance activism. The book includes a detailed Production Workbook and a Practice Based Research Workbook you can tailor to your own projects. The Curious Methods approach encourages users to take the time and space their practice deserves while offering tools, nourishment and encouragement and inviting them to take risks beyond their comfort zones. The exercises are carefully described so that they can easily be tested out by readers, and are well contextualized in relation to vivid examples from contemporary performance practice and relevant political contexts. This compelling approach goes beyond many other books on theatre devising which merely provide performance recipes; they do so by repeatedly highlighting the vital cultural relevance and potential personal impact of the experiments that they invite us to undertake.

The primary audience for this important new book will be academics, instructors and students in courses on devised theatre, improvisation, performance art, experimental performance and practice-based research. It will be essential for classroom use, for students of theatre and performance and live art - undergraduate, postgraduate and Ph.D. and teachers and all those needing strategies for getting started.

It will also appeal to readers from the broader arts, humanities and social sciences who are seeking resources for integrating creative methods into their research.

Curious's methods are at once tender, lyrical, soul-stirring, and politically charged. To practise their methods with them is joyous and inspiring.

  • Jen Harvie, Queen Mary University of London

For the student/teacher/creator of performance practice, this work is a gift from the gods. The original gods - the muses - where creation takes shape from within the body and the body politic (the necessary "I" and "we" of it). If you imagine you don't need this book, you especially need this book. The very reading of this text brings the reader's body into being and we are suddenly prompted to get up and create in response. The best advice: "Start with a question." This, the first step, in the journey of original work that Paris and Hill invite us to return to with every new day as artists and scholars; and, they have created a compelling cartography of design to guide us along the way. I am deeply grateful for their wisdom.

  • Cherrie Moraga, University of California Santa Barbara

A deep dive into creative practice, Curious Methods makes available a generative range of excellent ideas, prompts, exercises, and inspirations for bringing forth performance as research, as experience, as finely crafted art form, as surprise. Working with this book, whether alone or with others, will help harness the power of the impulsive and open doors marked non-linear to expand the boundaries of creative possibilities in as yet unimagined directions. This is an invitation to your own artistic journey! Pack light. Hill and Paris help you find what you need all along the way.

  • Rebecca Schneider, Brown University

This is an essential resource for both artists and scholars and I can't think of anyone better placed to make this offering than Helen and Leslie and their incurably curious minds.

  • Lois Weaver, Artist, Activist, Split Britches

Curious Methods offers an invaluable resource that brings insights, at once practical and profound, into methods of performance making. The pragmatic wisdom that illumines this book is vital for anyone making creative work, from the beginner amateur to the seasoned professional. The thoughtful and meditative quality of these exercises will enrich not only your creative work, it will also attune you to glimmers of everyday redemption and enable you to cultivate a joyful ethic of practice.

  • Jisha Menon, Stanford University

This inspiring, energizing, and curiosity-inducing collection of exercises, lessons, and prompts will activate performance-based artists at all levels. Whether building a daily creative practice or making a performance, readers of Curious Methods will quickly become participants in Hill and Paris' generous and generative project.

  • Stacy Wolf, Princeton University

One of the most compelling aspects of the book is Hill and Paris's offer of "companionship" - encouragement to test out, to dream, to fail spectacularly, to seek out and be receptive to deeply personal discoveries with these generous, vibrant, and compassionate artists.

  • Laura Levin, York University, Toronto

This beautifully executed and crafted book is the ideal companion for anyone working in the field of contemporary performance and theatre-making. This is a very generous offering of a resourceful and inventive toolbox from one of the most prominent performance duos working in Live Art. I can very easily imagine delving into it on a regular basis to feed my practical pedagogy as well as my own creative processes.

  • Chloe Dechery, University of Paris 8, France

What a gorgeously tasty, seductive, and inventive set of invitations to create new performance fill this remarkable book. The "curious methods" of Leslie Hill and Helen Paris help us follow our noses into the myth and memory that live loud in devised work. An invaluable user's manual for being human!

  • Tim Miller, solo performer and author of A Body in the O

Product Details

Intellect Books
Publish Date
BIC Categories:

Earn By Promoting Books

Earn money by sharing your favourite books through our Affiliate programme.

Become an Affiliate
We use cookies and similar methods to recognize visitors and remember their preferences. We also use them to help detect unauthorized access or activity that violate our terms of service, as well as to analyze site traffic and performance for our own site improvement efforts. To learn more about these methods, including how to disable them view our Cookie Policy.