Skip to main content

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

Devising Theatre & Performance

Curious Methods

A hands-on guide for artists, students, and teachers of devised theater, at any stage of their practice.

This book is packed with thoughtful exercises distilled from twenty-five years of interdisciplinary artist workshops and teaching devising and performance making at universities in the United States and the United Kingdom. Created and curated by Leslie Hill and Helen Paris, artists who work internationally at the interface of academia and professional practice, this collection provides exercises for devising, composing, and editing original works. The exercises are clear and accessible, enhanced with vivid examples from contemporary performance practice and relevant political contexts. Moreover, the authors offer tools for giving and receiving feedback, fostering critical reflection, and framing artistic work within academic research contexts. Hill and Paris’s compelling approach does more than merely provide performance recipes; it highlights the vital cultural relevance and potential personal impact of the creative explorations that the authors invite us to undertake.

168 pages | 10 color plates | 8 1/2 x 8 1/2

Intellect Ltd image

View all books from Intellect Ltd


"I can imagine how I would be more successful in soliciting creativity and engagement if I gave my creative writing/ drama students these exercises over a textbook that described the formulas of writing or the components of an engaging storyboard... for the innovation in these ideas, this is a curious book for teachers to explore..."

Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


1.         Curious Methods

2.         Pep Talk

Daily Practice

Outfoxing the Censor


A Time and a Place
Failing Better

3.         Working from the Body

Arrivals and Departures
Begin Again


Body Map

Body Memory

The Sense of Smell


Olfactory Portraits

Fight Flight Freeze

Gut Feelings

Secret Duets

Inheritance Tracks

Family Traits and Mannerisms


Walk This Way

Building a Persona

4.         Working with Objects

Tactile Memory

Exquisite and Mundane

Inherited Objects

Box Stories

‘The Lovers’


5.         Working with Site

Give and Take

Ghost Library

Ghost Duets

In Search of a Gesture

You Are Here
Map Making, Three Ways

Blurring Time and Place

Things ain’t what they used to be

Best Foot Forward

Marks and Scars

Dancing Place and Space

Private, Keep Out!

Taking Up Residence

Infinitesimal Detail

Fifteen Quick Freewrites on Place

Autotopographically Speaking

Silent Stroll

Closing Thoughts

6.         Working with Pairings

Failure & Text

Desire & Proximity
Ritual & Object

7.         Activism


Impulse Manifesto

Make Manifest

Lending and Borrowing


Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

On Location

Stand Up, Speak Out

Living Newspaper

Ripped from the Headlines


Choose Your Battles

Verbatim Theatre

Explosive Material – a Journalistic Exercise

Explosive Compounds – an Ethnographic Exercise

One-Minute Plays

Mix Tape

Produce, Adapt or Devise?

A Moment in History

Cross That Line

Closed Border

Open Border

Tactical Toolkit

Make a Spectacle


8.         Production Workbook

Operating Instructions

Kick-Starting Process

Realm of Concern

I’ve always wanted to be able to …
Feathering the Nest

Look Book


Space and Composition

Dream Island

Fleshing It Out

Dancing the Dynamics


Index Card Storyboard

Dear Dead Darlings

Remember the Audience

Dear Audience


Three Adjectives

Performance Response

Brief Hauntings

Companion Piece

Invited Guests




Pen Pal

Favourite Performance You Never Saw

9.         A Practice-Based Research Workbook

Performing Knowledges

Back Stage

Escape Velocity

Glorious Manifestations

Generative Research

Mapping Your Practice

Diagrammatic Praxis

Secret Fear

Abstractions on Secret Fears

Defining Your Dramaturgy

Signatures of Practice


Love Letter

Artist-Scholar Family Album



Doing a Phenomenology

Phenomenological Journal


Project Descriptions in 1st and 3rd

Specialist Knowledge

Autoethnographic Journal

Keeping a Lab Notebook

Designing Bespoke PBR Exercises – Two Case Studies

Gut Feelings


Sowing from Seed

PBR Evaluation and Critique

Bespoke Evaluation Rubric

Amalgamated Evaluation Rubric

Bibliography and Further Reading


Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press