This book is particularly aimed at secondary drama teachers who help young people to make devised theatre for examinations.
The book is divided into three parts. Preparation looks at the nuts and bolts of managing a devised project with students, such as how to manage several groups at once, how to make sure that boys are engaged and how to avoid cliches as well as guidance on text, themes and costumes. There are clear instructions on practical arrangements and ways to organise sessions to allow for successful and productive work.
Part Two, Making, outlines ten devised projects with a range of stimuli incuding conceptual art, song lyrics, oral testimony, montage, mime, music and text. Each project is broken down into three helpful stages:Generating and Exploring, Selecting, Structuring and Developing and Rehearsing. These should provide several terms' worth of work for students.
The final part of the book is the part that many teachers will jump to straight away. Entitled Refining, Troubleshooting and Finishing, the section describes 45 stand-alone exercises covering such topics as voice and movement, characterisation, communication and the relationship between style, content and form.
Bennathan demonstrates a thorough working knowledge of theatre-making with young people, along with a clear understanding of the limitations of working towards an examination, the potential difficulties of managing the work with young people and the pitfalls that may be encountered by any teacher devising for an audience. His exercises and frameworks should go a long way towards guiding the less experienced teacher through these potential traps and will undoubtedly provide fresh inspiration for those with more experience.
Download a free 23-page extract (PDF) courtesy of Nick Hern Books.