CFP: WHY DEVISE? [working title]

Type of post: Association news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Glen McGillivray
Status: Current
Date Posted: Mon, 13 Nov 2017

Volume editors Heather Fitzsimmons-Frey & James McKinnon

Devised theatre, performance creation, collective creation, performer-created theatre – by these or many other names, “devising” is increasingly visible in the global theatre industry, and as such it invites attention in post-secondary theatre studies and training contexts. How and why is devising embraced (or not) in advanced training centres, universities, and colleges? What are the perceived risks and rewards? While there are many collections suggesting techniques for devising, or analysing devised practices and projects (Barton 2008; Bicat and Baldwin 2002; Milling and Heddon 2005; Oddey 1994), this collection seeks contributions examining devising and performance creation in the contexts of post-secondary teaching, training, and research. Editors Heather Fitzsimmons Frey and James McKinnon are looking for essays investigating the purposes, practices, and outcomes of devised theatre projects in institutions of higher learning and/or advanced training.

This book is geared toward practitioners, students, scholars, and anyone with a stake in the issue of what post-secondary drama, theatre, and performance programs do—and for whom. We invite practice-based approaches reflecting current research, and/or case studies focusing on how devising aligns with or challenges the traditional disciplinary boundaries, praxes, and policies. Acknowledging that our curricula and practices vary enormously worldwide, we seek contributions representing a range of perspectives (including students, alumni, industry professionals, scholars, scholar-artists, and others) on “devising” in a variety of post-secondary educational contexts, including (but not limited to): liberal arts, drama in education, applied theatre, and conservatory training programs. Essays might explore any of the following areas:
  • Pedagogy: What do we learn from devising? How does this learning prepare students for life after study, either in or out of the professional theatre contexts? How are outcomes (for both faculty and students) defined and evaluated?  How does devising align with—or how can it be aligned with—evidence-based theories of teaching and learning? What special risks or rewards does it offer? What assumptions about student learning and devised projects do educators need to reconsider?
  • Inquiry: How does devising present or catalyze unique opportunities for participants to practice and/or participate in inquiry, investigation, and dissemination, or interdisciplinary scholarship?
  • Diversity: How do devising projects address local contexts, cultural difference, language, previous theatrical skill training and performance traditions? How, for example do potential identity markers like racial constructs, gender, sexuality, ability and disability, age, religious affiliation, or language knowledge influence planning, process, and reception of the projects?
  • Tradition, lineage, and methodology: Through what channels do knowledge and techne of devising and performance creation—including well-known systems such as the RSVP Cycles—flow between training institutions and practitioners?
  • Devising and Campus Theatre Production: How do theatre and performance training programs position student-devised new work in their public performance mandates? When (and why) is this work featured, or marginalized?
  • Devising’s mantras and myths: What clich├ęs, truisms, and assumptions need to be carefully examined and re-evaluated when placed in post-secondary/tertiary training and education contexts?
  • Disciplinary division: Embracing devising implies moving away from traditional models of drama studies and theatre production; how do practitioners, students, scholars, and programs perceive and address this implication?
  • Industry and stakeholders: How does training in performance-making and devising align with our perceptions of what the theatre industry needs, and what graduates need to succeed in it? Contributors may also want consider professional contexts like drama therapy, drama educator, community facilitator, cultural venue animator, etc.
Submission guidelines:
  • Email a 300-500 word abstract to both editors: James McKinnon ( and Heather Fitzsimmons Frey (
  • Please include a 150 word bio and/or 2 page CV highlighting your creative & scholarly contributions.
  • Final length of accepted essays will be 4000-6000 words
  • Illustrations welcome, 300dpi
  • Queries welcome!

The deadline for proposals is 15 January 2018