The Performer’s Guide to the Collaborative Process

(Illustrations from the book are below.)

Book coverDo you work with a group and wonder if there’s a better way? This book demystifies the collaborative creative process and gives you simple tools to create original performance happily and efficiently. Part I starts with generating ideas for a piece; it walks you through researching, creating, and shaping material; and shows how to continue to move forward. Part II, about group dynamics, shows how to build safety and trust, share power and make decisions openly, and communicate skillfully using constructive critiques and peaceful conflict resolution. Teachers and professors of Dance, Theatre, Community-Based Performance, and Devising Performance use this book as a foundation for their courses.

Here is a link to the digital version:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/sheila-kerrigan/the-performers-guide-to-the-collaborative-process/ebook/product-22964815.html

About the Book

The Performer’s Guide to the Collaborative Process is in two parts.

Part One is about Creative Processes. Chapter One starts with how to handle the fear of starting and proceeds with how to get an idea for a performance piece, including twenty-two ways to come up with an idea. Once you have latched onto an idea, Chapter Two reveals tools and rehearsal processes to help generate material about it and ways to shape the material you are gathering. Chapter Three explains how to continually move forward with the work, even when you don’t know what to do next, with the One-Element-at-a-Time Creative Process. The last chapter of Part One explains how to organize your material into an aesthetic whole, what to do when you get stuck, and how to handle cutting.

Part Two is about Collaborative Processes. Chapter Five explores how collaborative groups build safety into their rehearsal processes so that they can take the risk of creative thinking. It lays out equitable power-sharing structures that enable groups to make decisions efficiently and happily. Group dynamics are explored and charted in Chapter Six: what people need in groups, ways people get power, roles people play, and how groups behave and evolve over time. The last chapter deals with communication: how to communicate well in groups, the basics of peaceful communication, several formats for constructive peer critiques, and conflict resolution techniques.

The book is brim full of games and exercises and practical techniques you can use in your studio as you follow your own creative process. It has quotations from interviews with dozens of collaborative creators, including members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the Dell’Arte Players, Five Lesbian Brothers, Duck’s Breath Mystery Theater, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Canada’s Jest in Time Theatre, and Argentina’s Diablomundo. Artistic directors like Tony Montanaro, Steven Kent and Liz Lerman, as well as group therapists, professional conflict managers, and even a computer design team leader at the CIA contribute their expertise.

Table of Contents:

PART ONE : Creative Processes

Chapter One; Getting Started: How to Get an Idea for a Performance Piece

Chapter Two; The Next Step: How to Generate Material About Your Idea and How to Begin to Shape It

Chapter Three; Deepening the Work: The One-Element-at-a-Time Creative Process

Chapter Four; Organizing Your Material, Getting Stuck, and Cutting

PART TWO : Collaborative Processes

Chapter Five; Structuring Safety, Time, Power, and Decision Making

Chapter Six; Group Dynamics: What We Need in Groups, Ways We Get Power, Roles We Play, How Groups Behave

Chapter Seven; Communicating Well in Groups: Peaceful Communication, Constructive Critiques, Conflict Resolution

Image from Chapter Three: Figure 3.2 The Web of Compositional Elements. Art Credit: Steve Durland

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Image from Chapter Four: Page from Just One of Those Days binder. Art Credit: Steve Durland

Figure 4-2. Page from Just One of Those Days binder. Art Credit: Steve Durland

Figure 4-2. Page from Just One of Those Days binder. Art Credit: Steve Durland

Image from Chapter Five: Consensus Decision-Making Flow Chart:

Figure 5-1 from The Performer's Guide to the Collaborative Process. Thanks to Butler & Rothstein, On Conflict and Consensus, 1991, Food Not Bombs.

Figure 5-1 from The Performer’s Guide to the Collaborative Process. Thanks to Butler & Rothstein, On Conflict and Consensus, 1991, Food Not Bombs.

Site designed by Steven Durland

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