Devised theatre

WOU students with a passion for theatre arts had a unique chance this year to be involved with a devised theatre production. Generally speaking, devised theatre is a collaborative effort to create a script and production from scratch. Dr. Michael Phillips, associate professor of theatre, worked with students all year to develop “Frankie’s Flights of Fancy,” a devised production to be performed on campus May 27 through 30.

In fall term, Phillips worked with students to build the story and narrowed it down to a basic plot. In winter term, the course was about creating elements for the story, like puppets, masks and specialty props. There is no formal class in the spring, instead students participate in rehearsals for the performance. Different students were involved each term—unlike the devised production he led two years ago, which featured the same group of students during the year.

“The process changes every time because of the nature of the show,” Phillips said. “This show in particular had so many technical elements that we took a divide and conquer approach in terms of how students were engaged.”

Phillips wanted as many people from across campus to get involved as possible; he’s worked with graduate music students to create the score and an art class to create animations. “I think devised theatre has really exploded lately and gives students a different type of theatre to experience,” he said, adding “It’s important that we do it.” He noted that some have loved the opportunity to create their own art, while others prefer to work with an existing script.