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Devising & Ownership

 Through many years of working with young people in schools, theatres and summer programmes, SAVVY Theatre has given me the opportunity to embrace directing and devising a play from scratch. It was an exciting chance to explore and put the skills I have learnt through drama school and evening courses in improv and working with different community groups though drama into practice. It allowed me to take a moment to see how my facilitation style has been established over a long period of time.


This last term, I had the pleasure to work with SAVVY’s Young Company, giving me the perfect opportunity to dive in with new ideas I have been keen to put to the test. The group was made up of eight participants with four coming back from previous terms and four new members. At the start of the term in January, we discussed how the sessions would play out; the main skills the group wanted to work on developing was their improv. The first four weeks were spent looking at different drama techniques starting with script work and adapting the lines to physical theatre exercises, allowing the group to explore what they were most drawn too. Following this, the next six weeks were focused on creating and rehearsing the chosen story and devising this into a play using improv and physical theatre.

I wanted it to be entirely youth led, so we made a few mind maps about the story, the characters, and themes. The group decided to use the story of Narnia as the starting of point and adapted it to have different fairy tale stories going wrong throughout the quest in the style of The Play that Goes Wrong with comedy and slapstick jokes; this definitely made the audience laugh!


We ended up with one of the characters - Lucy - going through the wardrobe and getting lost, as in the original story. Then the other children go in after to find her. We then discover, through a TV news report, that she has caused carnage whilst wandering through the forest, and ‘accidentally’ changed some of the fairy tales on the way. We ended the story with a lavish ball the scene was like the red carpet at the Oscars and we interview each guest as they arrived to which the final scene was the veil queen getting her come up once.


The group tackled the term with a new found maturity which was nice to see. They all helped each other and made friendships whilst developing their drama skills and talent along the way. In playing a variety of drama warm up games, the group found their imagination was kick-started each week in a fun and engaging way allowing new ideas to flow. We even invented a new game - The Hunger Games; this is just as insane as it sounds literally bringing the energy making participants jump through the space using strategy and communication.


Overall, the term, the group and the performance were a success in exploring new ideas in a fun way creating lasting friendships and all those involved learnt new skills, both myself and Alice included. The audience loved the play and could see the effort and time taken to cultivate the story and the group and the fun that was had in creating the end performance.


  • Kieran Rose, Workshop Facilitator

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