Creativity and management

Given that the name of the website refers to creativity, it’s about time there was something here about the processes of creating theatre. What’s set me off is that I’ve just been asked by my friend Gail Pallin to comment on her research paper about creativity and stage management. It has triggered an impulse to try to quantify my own thinking on these matters.

There a different issues here. Some are about the whole issue fo creativity in a cultural context; about value sets , about use value, and about power operations – whose culture, whose creating, and who is consuming the production of creation. We live in consumption-oriented society (so did the Victorians but not in the same sense) and there is a whole literature about the relationship of culture to meaning, cultural production and use.

The question here is about creating meaning however.. and how that gets managed – specifically, in a theatre performance or event context. A few thoughts, coming from Gail’s original book, from the paper, and from thoughts I’ve been having:

1 Creative process as recombination of existing things (“Standing on the shoulders of giants”).

2 Following on from this, the value of contextualised knowledge

3 The ability to recognise the value of unforeseen outcomes, to seize on them and capitalise on opportunity

4 Understanding the rights of the SM to engage in the creative process, and the responsibilities and duty of care that come with it.

5 Creating environments within which creative process can happen; including the social psychology of creative groups.

6 The application of imagination, both in conceptualising the outcome of the developing event, and in plotting missing or conflicting components.

7 Inventiveness in problem solving on all fronts

8 Understanding the visual, spatial, and dynamic aspects of live and recorded events, and being able to correlate the intellectual , emotional and spiritual impact of the performance on its audience.

9 The values of craft skill in refining and developing aspects of the event

10 Chaos and complexity models, comedy and surprising turns

These issues come to the fore in particular when working ina devising situation, whether as actor, director stage manager or designer. I’ll flesh this sketch out in the next few days.

Ken Robinson – address to TED conference
Pallin G, Miller Judd P Stage management and creativity 2008

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