The Rehearsal Process

Inquire : Create : Perform

Developing the relationships that promote creativity and innovation. Applying those relationships to create performances to meet challenges.

The Rehearsal Inquiry - An Overview

Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since my first blog post inviting you all into the inquiry around building ensemble and the process of creation.  Apologies.  From this point forward I will be putting through regular entries (every two weeks).  As well there will be other posts on various topics (later this week watch for one about improvisation the Upright Citizens Brigade way).

But now on to the inquiry…..

This post will lay out the foundations for the work over the next six months.  It shares the basic assumptions, the approach, and the best thinking for how to begin.

I should also warn you will be receiving the ideas raw.  Usually there is a long process of creation and revision when sharing material and for this project I am going to put that tendency aside.  I am going to embrace the MVP idea of Lean Start Up (MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product and it is a concept used by software developers to get material into the hands of people and have them use it and learn from direct feedback rather than fuss away in private). 

I invite each of you to share your ideas ideas and practices about developing relationship and creating in groups.  If there is something amazing you have been working on and want to share it, please do.  If you have suggestions of areas to inquire into, send those along as well.  I see myself as the instigator of the discussion but never the leader.

One bias I do have will be a focus in this work around the intersection of cognitive psychology, social psychology and neuroscience in the practice of developing relationships and creating in groups (what I will refer to as acts of social creation).  In my work as both a director in theatre and in teaching acting I have worked from a point of view that I needed to remove the obstacles for people creating so they could realize their full potential and expression.  That is still the place from which I operate with people in organizations and I think the work coming out of the three areas I mentioned above is pointing a way to making that belief into an evidence based practice.  As we move through the work I will be referencing material and exploring ways to embodying the emerging work.

Below is a basic outline that I will cover over the following months.  I have broken both the Ensemble Development phase and the Creation Process into chunks of ideas.  These may change – probably will change – but it will give us all a place to start.  There are a lot of terms will not make sense yet (and are still vague for me).  Make note of them and keep an eye out for when we get there to see if they become clearer.

The Project:

·         To craft a practice based approach which deepens the capacity of people to create (inquire, reflect, make, act).  This would focus on establishing the conditions that promote individual and collective creation, then articulating the craft / practices that support ongoing acts of creation.

·         To design a heuristic (rule of thumb) based approach to creating in response to a challenge.  The process would use the individual / group capacity developed during the ensemble as the platform for operating


·         To give people the ability to be confident creators as they face challenges within their organizations or communities

The Method:

·         Identify and articulate every concept and step in the process

·         Identify the heuristics for each phase of the work

·         Create the practices that embody those heuristics

·         Develop the cleanest / clearest application of the work for each phase

·         Build the clear narrative of activities and practices


Ensemble Creation and Capacity Development areas of inquiry:

1.      Spaces of Creation and Performance

2.      Act of Performance

3.      Act of Creation

4.      What defines an Ensemble

5.      When is an ensemble needed

6.      The Central Role of Status

7.      What is meant by Play in an Ensemble

8.      Expanding Attention

9.      Creating Intimacy

10.  Radical Curiosity / Rapid Prototyping

11.  The role of autonomy within Ensemble (being independent and interdependent)

12.  Tools for ensemble capacity development (Liberating Structures – what else?)


Rehearsal Process areas of inquiry:

1.      Ensemble as Second Order Environment

2.      Cycle of Creation

a.      Inquiry / Reflection phase of creating insights

b.      Selecting for Promisingness

c.       Testing / Prototyping

d.      End of Cycle reflection / Identifying of Options

3.      Diagnostic for Locating Project along Continuum between Creation and Performance

4.      Early Stage Cycle of Creation

a.      Characteristics and Focus

5.      Middle Stage Cycle of Creation

a.      Characteristics and Focus

6.      Late Stage Cycle of Creation

a.      Characteristics and Focus

b.      Introducing Practice for Performance


That is everything.  See you in two weeks with the next installment.

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