Working Together: Performer Training for Collective Creation (DRA3087)

StaffDr Bryan Brown - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesDRA1004, DRA2067
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to provide in-depth learning in a range of forms of performer training for collective creation. This training aims to develop a strong foundation in strategies for collective creation and collaboration as well as psychophysical bodymind practices applied to acting/performance, scenography, dramaturgy, and/or directing. All of these skills are applicable in future performance work, as well as transferable to other employment opportunities. You will learn about the political and social ramifications of collaboration and thus will be more informed global citizens, capable of critical reflection, ethical engagement, and adaptable problem-finding and problem-solving. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an advanced ability to collaborate with others in the creation of a new piece of theatre
  • 2. Develop and execute an advanced level of individual practice within performance
  • 3. Articulate a critical, self-reflexive understanding of the mechanisms that underpin successful creative collaboration

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Relate to others in theatrical processes and performances; to work effectively with others in small task-orientated groups and to initiate and sustain creative, analytic and interpretative work within strict time limits and to solve a number of specific technical problems and apply that understanding to performance work
  • 5. Demonstrate the advanced ability to utilise research tools and to translate theory into practice
  • 6. Demonstrate the ability to engage critically and analytically with physical discipline; the development of thoughtful creative processes, understanding of physicalisation in performance and the capacity to articulate that understanding in appropriate ways.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Develop advanced personal research skills using personal initiative; to set personal objectives that are linked to a sense of challenge and extending boundaries and to identify and evaluate personal learning strategies that are self-critical as much as self-reflective
  • 8. Develop group cooperation skills, including the ability to give and receive constructive critical feedback, and to improve communication skills and advanced analytic abilities in discussions
  • 9. Demonstrate the ability to balance between self-direction and collaborative work; to adapt and design working methods for each new situation, self-management, collaborative working skills, problem solving, critical analysis and valuing own and others’ ideas and beliefs.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that this module will develop along three strands:

  • Individual and ensemble training based on psychophysical principles alongside the creation and refinement of group devising strategies from a variety of performance and interdisciplinary contexts and histories
  • The creation of solo and group performances that adapt themes and ideas from a set source material
  • Discussion around the principles of collaboration, collaboration skills and their role and value in society/culture at large.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching66Staff-led workshops and seminars on performer training, ensemble training, collective creation and theories of collaboration
Guided independent study44Staff-set student tasks including individual and group training, group creation strategies, and performance creation
Guided independent study190Guided Independent Research: Preparation for seminars, workshops and performance

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practical15-20 minutes 1-6, 8Oral
Logbook3 pages3-8Written
Essay500 words1-5,7-9Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Process-into-Performance7030-40 minute performance, selected Log Book material, preparation and engagement in taught sessions1-9Written and oral
Essay303000 words1-5, 7-9Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Process-into-PerformancePortfolio (5000 words or equivalent if using audio-visual materials)1-9Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay (3000 words)1-5,7-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Britton, John (ed.)(2013) Encountering Ensemble,London: Methuen Drama
  • Brown, Bryan and Petrakova, Olya (2018) “Educating the Director: Meyerhold’s pedagogy for a theatre of conventions” in The Great European Stage Directors edited by David Barnett, London: Bloomsbury Methuen
    • Brown, Bryan and Petrakova, Olya (2016) Devising a Playground: ARTEL's Strategies for Embodying Research and Text [unpublished conference paper]
  • Catmull, Ed (2014) Creativity, Inc.: overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration, London: Bantam Press.
  • Fisher, Iris Smith (2015) Mabou Mines: making avantgarde theater in the 1970s, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press
  • Goldberg, Natalie (2010) Writing down the bones: freeing the author within, Boston: Shambala.
  • Hill, L, Brandeau, G, Truelove, E and Linebeck, K (2014) Collective Genius: the Art and Practice of Leading Innovation, Boston: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Lerman, Liz and Borstel, John (2003) Critical Response Process: a method for getting useful feedback on anything you make from dance to dessert, Dance Exchange
  • Nachmanovitch, Stephen(1990) Free Play: an improvisation in life and art, New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam
  • Roznowksi, Rob and Domer, Kirk (2009) Collaboration in Theatre: a practical guide for designers and directors, New York: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Syssoyeva, Kathryn Mederos and Scott Proudfit (eds) (2013) A History of Collective Creation, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Syssoyeva, Kathryn Mederos and Scott Proudfit (eds) (2013) Collective Creation in Contemporary Performance, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Sennett, Richard (2013) Together: the rituals, pleasures and politics of co-operation, London: Penguin BooksWangh, Stephen (2000) An Acrobat of the Heart: a physical approach to acting inspired by the work of Jerzy Grotowski, New York: Vintage books
  • Yorke, John (2014) Into the Woods: how stories work and why we tell them, London: Penguin Books

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • DVDs of collective creation performances or training, such as Theatre du Soleil’s 1789, Mabou Mines’ Dead End Kids and DollHouse

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Performer training, adaptation, collective creation, collaboration, ensemble, craft