Blood Ensemble

Making Theatre Essential

Scared of Devising?

1 Comment


A moment brought in by a company member of Blood/Sailing

There are many actors, designers and directors who have been burnt by “Devised” work. To be fair, that word is very very broad. What does it mean? For Blood Ensemble it means creating a show from creators’ ideas in a room, not from a script a playwright has written first. That does sound scary. There is no net. You can’t know what the play is going to be before you audition. So, here’s a run down of how we do it!

Blood Ensemble’s method of devising is highly structured. We use Moment Work, a technique which was taught to us by the Tectonic Theatre Project. They used it to create The Laramie Project, Gross Indecencies, among others.

We use elements of the stage. What are elements? Set, Costume, Lights, Text, Sound, Music, Tempo, Architecture, Suspense, Isolation, Repetition, Synchronicity, Breath, Fire, Water, Fabric, Texture, Temperature, Smell, Proximity, Gesture…Well, it goes on. An element is really anything that you can use to tell a story onstage. And by breaking it down into elements, we start with giving everything the same importance, including text.

That’s a small explanation of what we do. There are also structured ways of presenting moments, responding to moments, and creating a show out of moments. We believe that within structure is the freedom to really create. When you are told you can only use “proximity” to tell a story, you can focus on that element to make it work. And you unlock images you never thought you could come up with. I am constantly surprised at what I can think of when thinking strictly about one element.


A shadow telling a story

Alright, class, that’s your lesson for the day. If any of this interests you, we are looking for 4-7 good creators (including designers) to help us out with NDGM. You can find auditions here.


Thanks for listening,

Emily Harvey, CoArtistic Director

One thought on “Scared of Devising?

  1. I swear to god I wanna get into this stuff with you guys. I love devising and collaborating and feeling like something has been created, and I don’t get to do it often enough. ❤

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