T – 2.4 Recommendations

It is good practice to deliver trainings in team of two, ideally of different genders, so that one person can lead an exercise while the other offers support to the group. It is particularly useful in multi-lingual groups to be able to demonstrate with a co-leader. While many of the exercises are non-verbal, the presence of a translator is very helpful, particularly as the group develops the work further, and participants want to discuss the meaning of what they are doing.

The process of creating devised theatre encourages participants to use their own experiences, and explore their emotions and attitudes towards others and to the world around them. The facilitators must create a safe space for this process, so the participants are comfortable to experiment without fear of failure. Every group is different and the facilitators need to take time to get to know the participants, and vice-versa. Every group needs to work at a different pace and have the time and space to grow in confidence. Exercises often need to be adapted depending on the age, experience and dynamics of participants. The facilitator needs to trust their instincts and be prepared to change direction or do something in a different way. It is also important to encourage the group to experiment and to reassure them that it is ok for things not to work, trusting the process.

It is fine for someone not to share or join in if something is uncomfortable for them: the facilitators should gently encourage them or help them find a way they are happy to join in. It could be that they simply observe the process until they are ready to participate actively. In small group work the reluctant person can still work with a group so they are not isolated, and can adopt a role such as director to be part of the process without performing back to the rest of the group. Usually when the pressure had been taken away from them, they start to join in more and more.

It is important to leave enough time for reflection at the end of each session. The facilitators need to keep an eye on the group and give people space to process and be mindful that the work of exploration can bring buried emotions and feelings to the surface. Through sharing and reflection the group can work together to make things better, and to support one another.

It is good practice for the facilitators to debrief with each other at the end of each session and to share observations on how well the session went. They should discuss any needs or issues that need further development and make adjustments to the programme as necessary.