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Devise Session Listings
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Sessions 1

A) Devising A Hip Hop Theater Piece

Presenters: Psalmayene 24 and DJ Nick tha 1Da
Room: Kogod

Facilitated by Psalmayene 24 and DJ Nick tha 1Da, this workshop gives participants the opportunity to devise text and movement with a live DJ. Sharing a slice of their creative process, these longtime Hip-Hop Theater collaborators will enable participating artists to create short Hip-Hop infused theater pieces based off of original writing, classic Hip-Hop Theater text, and hip-hop influenced movement.

B) Live Action Cartooning

Presenters: Natsu Onoda Power
Room: Kogod

Natsu Onoda Power has incorporated techniques of comics, cartooning and other visual arts into theatrical work since 2001. This workshop explores some of the techniques developed through her performance group, Live Action Cartoonists. The workshop is particularly suited for participants who are interested in devising work but do not necessarily identify as “actors”; groups that are interested in exploring ensemble work, space, nontraditional spectacle and “task-based” performance; also suited to those who have always wanted to learn how to draw but never had the chance. No visual arts experience needed.



Sessions 2

A) Devising Across Borders

Presenters: Anita Maynard-Losh, Ashley Forman, Fareed Mostoufi (Arena Stage)
Room: Kogod

How do you create theater with international communities? How do you build performance skills while exploring a community’s stories and social concerns? How do you create art responsibly with a community you may not be a part of? This workshop explores how Arena Stage’s Voices of Now program has been adapted to work with communities in India, Croatia, Peru and Ukraine. Voices of Now works with groups of artists from a variety of backgrounds to devise autobiographical theater pieces that use the expertise of the artists to investigate topics relevant to their communities. Within the last four years the program has expanded from working with DC Metro area artists to creating theater with artists across the globe. In this session participants will use writing, movement, discussion and collaboration to explore a variety of entry points for creating original theater.  View samples of the work of international Voices of Now ensembles; discuss the challenges of working with limited rehearsal time in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural environment; and investigate avenues for building international partnerships. 

B) Creativity Beyond the Theatre Walls

Presenters: Rachel Hynes
Room: CE Classroom

Take your creativity beyond the walls of the theatre! Site-specific theatre offers opportunities for creating added social, historical and political meaning to dance and theatre performances, as well as creating new opportunities for audience engagement. Through exercises and exploration, participants will learn how to discover a site's opportunities and challenges, enhance textual meaning through visual and physical theatre techniques, work with audience interaction and avoid common pitfalls when creating site-specific work.


Session 3

A) The Art of Colliding

Presenters: Pearl Cleage, Chris Moses, and Patrick McColery (Alliance Theatre Company)
Room: Kogod

Discover the art of colliding with a classic text to create wholly original, contemporary theatrical experiences.  Wrestle with the relevant themes from the anchor text and through a series of writing responses and physical theater, learn techniques that will empower young artists to devise their own work.  Join celebrated playwright and novelist Pearl Cleage, and Alliance Theatre staff to learn how to explore the most current and divisive issues through thought-provoking theatre created by teens, for teens, and about teens.  Collide with us!

B) Devising with Puppets: an outside—in approach

Presenters: Matt Reckeweg (Pointless Theatre)
Room: CE Classroom

Participants will discuss the process of devising puppet performance, and explore the act of conceptualizing, sequencing, and choreographing for the puppet theater. Pointless will present performance techniques focusing on puppet manipulation, as well as defining the puppeteer’s identity as a means of multi-layered storytelling. In small groups, participants will collaborate to devise a short movement piece using Pointless' three-person operated table top puppets. The workshop will culminate in  presentations, as well as an exploration of ways to translate workshop activities to a broader, non-puppet-based devising process.

Collaborative Devising Process Panel

Investigate devising in process with artists that work in a variety of mediums. What is it like to collaborate with a composer, playwright, designer or visual artist as part of a devising process? What are the challenges and opportunities that emerge when working with a variety of artists as part of pre-rehearsal, rehearsal and production processes? Panelists will explore these questions by showing samples of their work and discussing ways seemingly disparate artists can join forces and work together in innovative ways.


Pearl Cleage
Roc Lee
Natsu Onoda-Power
Amrita Ramaman
Matt Reckeweg

Moderator: Fareed Mostoufi


Applied Theater Panel

In addition to creating art, how can devised theater be used in educational, professional and community contexts? How can applied drama achieve the goals of devisors, partners and participants? From community building and leadership training to the creation of art that meets educational and therapeutic objectives, panelists explore the various ways that theater skills can be applied to achieve substantive objectives.


Ryan Conarro
Rachel Grossman
Paige Hernandez
Sandra Holloway
Fareed Mostoufi

Moderator: Amrita Ramaman
Session 4


Devising + Documentary

Presenter: Ryan Conarro
Room: Kogod

In this special three-hour double session, performance maker and community-based artist Ryan Conarro invites participants into an in-depth exploration of methods and materials for generating theatre from interviews and other documentary sources. You will experience practical approaches for conducting interviews and facilitating story circles; you will engage with questions of ethics and representation in interview-based art-making; and you will activate strategies for creating performances. This is a collaborative workshop; participants are invited to craft shared definitions of Devising and Documentary, and to contribute their own experiences and approaches to this work. Finally, Ryan shares concrete strategies for making collaborative interview-based performance in education settings. Ryan brings to this session the approaches he's developed and learned in his work as an Alaskan radio journalist and independent artist, as well as Artist in Residence at Ping Chong + Company; Theater Mitu Resident Artist; Perseverance Theatre company member; and as a teaching artist creating interview-based work in numerous urban, rural, and international contexts. This is a double session.

Audience Completes our Ensemble: Audience Integration and Connectivity Primer

Presenters: Rachel Grossman (dog and pony)
Room: CE Classroom

What if we reversed the playmaking and production models we’re accustomed to and thought about audience first, before anything else? dog & pony dc passionately believes the audience completes our ensemble and has created a body of work grounded in the guiding principles of Audience Integration (for devising) and Connectivity (for producing). In tandem, they allow audience members to become intimately entangled with interactive artworks on their own terms. These principles are also highly malleable, applicable in the production of non-interactive plays and musicals.  This workshop is comprised of hands-on devising “sprints” that serve as a primer on Audience Integration and Connectivity theory and techniques. Over the course of the workshop, participants form ensembles, conceive of new participatory theatrical productions, and create strategies for engaging communities around them.

Session 5

The Artist & The Clinician: Devising with Specialized Populations 

Presenter: Stephanie Handel and Ashley Forman
Room: CE Classroom

What modifications do you make to a devising process when investigating an emotionally challenging topic? What makes a theatrical partnership with a counselor or clinician successful? How can theater be applied to meet therapeutic goals while not necessarily being employed for therapy? For the past five years Arena Stage has partnered with the Wendt Center for Loss & Healing to work with young artists who have experienced a death of a loved one. Through the Voices of Now program, artists create plays which explore the stigma around grief and the process of healing as well as investigate ways in which a community can support a young person who has experienced a death. In this session participants will meet the artists and clinicians who are connected to this work and learn about their devising process. The session will explore “ways in” to the topic, rituals to create a safe and productive space, and the role of the clinician in the rehearsal hall. Participants will see samples of the work, participate in key devising activities, and discuss the benefits and challenges of specialized partnerships.

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