Devising and Adaptation

This week, Theatre student Abi, talks to us about her favourite module ‘Devising and Adaptation. This module is available on both Theatre, Acting and Performance BA & Touring Theatre MTheatre. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice:

Hello Readers, Abi here – as a Theatre student I have had the opportunity to creatively express and explore my ideas. In this blog I will take you on a journey through my favourite module, ‘Devising and Adaptation.’ 

In my second year I took the ‘Devising and Adaptation’ module. This module gave me the opportunity to express my ideas, whist adhering to the director’s vision and schedule. Personally, I found this to be an incredibly valuable skill as it reflects what is needed in the professional industry of theatre.

Throughout the course the lecturers were accessible and eager to provide constructive and positive feedback. Taking on lecturers’ revisions and feedback prepared me for the reality of the professional theatre industry. Although at times at times they didn’t like some of my ideas, it was vital lesson in being adaptable and open to change (I know, tough, but true!).

This year our performance was an adaptation of the poem, ‘The Waste Land’ by C.T Elliot. Our lecturers wanted us to create a world for this performance, so we all collaboratively agreed upon a dystopian future that consisted of a waste land with bottles and rubbish strewn everywhere. Each group were assigned a section of the poem, ours was the section titled ‘Death by Water.’ We then went about creating the piece.

  • The first thing we did as a group was create a mood board and filled it with ideas such as, semiotics, narrative information, music, images, and social politic stances that we wished to address.
  • The second thing we did was to assign roles according to individual’s strengths and capabilities, which ranged from prop design to physical movement.

Originally, as our section had a morbid title, we wanted to devise a comic adaptation. Through this we would investigate the environmental impacts of plastic in the ocean and then, yup… you guessed it, we made the only logical steps, and before you know it, we had a Jellyfish falling in love with a plastic bag. Love is love… right?

In the end, with lecturers’ input, we devised a new concept we agreed to make our performance about a drowning sailor that transforms into a jellyfish using physical theatre. Although we removed the comic elements, what remained was a beautiful scenic piece with the physicality of bodies moving like the soundscape you experience in the ocean.

If you are at theatre student looking for an opportunity to channel your creativity, then ‘Devising and Adaptation’ is the module for you!

Abi Xx