Polyphony of the Creative Process, Authorship, and Content in the Devised Theatre Practice

  • Monika Klimaitė-Daunienė
Keywords: devising theatre practice, horizontal vs. vertical hierarchies, democratic creation, director’s role


In this article, the object of study is the concept of the devising/devised theatre practice, which recently became a quite popular creative practice in Lithuania. Despite rising practical interest in this model, there is still a lack of research that would help to comprehend and apply it properly in practice. It has been noticed that the term ‘devising/devised theatre’ is often used to emphasise the novelty of the creative practice or the originality of the performance and it is used as a ‘catchy’ concept in contradiction to the conventional theatre practice. Moreover, the notion of devising/devised theatre is frequently perceived as a self-evident experimental practice and thus it might prevent the further development of new creative strategies and concepts.
The aim of this article is to define the main principles of the devising/devised theatre practice by distinguishing the specifics of creative strategies and positions of the roles. Three main characteristics, which are the pillars of the devising theatre practice, are distinguished: (1) the structure based on a horizontal hierarchy, (2) shared authorship, and (3) dramaturgy devised during the creative process. All these characteristics are analysed in comparison with the conventional theatre practice in order to define the limits of the devising theatre practice. The attempt to identify the boundaries of this practice or its very notion should rather be perceived as a stimulation for a discussion about possible (ab)use of this term or its insufficiency than as an attempt to reveal its limitation.