If there is one thing we’ve learned about theatre it’s that we all must be a little malleable when it comes to the spaces where we work. This is especially true when working with other people. When creating as a group (which we hope you’re all doing in preparation for our June 1st submissions deadline! 😉 ), it is important to have a versatile space that can be used for both writing and rehearsing, and if you haven’t already discovered, these can be challenging to find.
If you are looking for a creative group space, here are some tips to help you find one that fits your needs.
First, you must determine how you – as a group and individually – work best. Does each member write a sample piece that is shared at a round table discussion? Do some work best through improvisational exercises? There are so many different ways to create. We suggest trying a few different approaches to find out what is ideal for your group as a whole.
Tip: Be open to trying anything and everything—some of the best work comes from trying something new.
During the “brainstorming phase” you may find that sitting in someone’s living room is all you need to get started. Alternatively you may want to consider someplace similar to Theatre Passe Muraille’s Rehearsal Hall, which is good for multi-purpose rehearsals.
Next, you need to find a space that allows you to create freely. A large, mainly empty room would be a great place to start. Consider something like a backspace (one similar to Lemon Tree Creations’ rehearsal space for instance) that is centrally located but also quiet. While the early stages of any project may involve sitting around a table discussing ideas, there will come a time when those ideas must be tested off the page.
If you are finding your rehearsals, creation time, line-runs or bonding moments in general are feeling a bit strained, stressful or stuffy, why not take it outside? Find a place that is private and full of nature to re-energize and inspire your group to get moving! There is nothing more motivating than a change of scenery. Finding a nearby arboretum or river that is calming can send writer’s block out the door—literally!
Our last and most important piece of advice is to make every space feel safe for all group members to be creative. Trust your group and their ideas. It is important that you feel comfortable and supported no matter where you choose to work. Be honest but kind. Vulnerability can generate great ideas.
Tip: Try to do something with your group aside from rehearsing. You don’t always have to be friends with the people you work with but spending time outside of rehearsal can help strengthen trust within your group. During our creation of Finding Temperance we spent a lot of time with one another, even if that meant going for drinks after a long day or partaking in terrifying “Ouija Nights” (parts of which actually ended up in our show!). This helped bring our creative team together and create a trusting space.
We hope these suggestions help you find the perfect space to create your own work. Remember, The Muddy Mary Project is calling for submissions from both individuals AND collectives—so if you or a group of creators have a piece that you think fits into the “Women Past, Present and Fictional” theme for this year’s festival: submit, submit, submit!