This is what theatre is about for me – people coming together as a community. And there aren’t nearly enough opportunities to do this which is why this Lab is so amazing. It’s often that we find ourselves diving into the isolating corners of shopping malls, office spaces and Ipods. Or in regards to the creation process, staring at laptop screens alone in a coffee shop (just as I am doing now). But I don’t believe that’s where we enjoy being. Truly inspiring things happen in a room full of people, who enjoy being silly (with conviction of course) and I am fortified to go forward for I am not alone.

                                                                                                      –Alexandra Watt Simpson, Lab Member

Mayhem and the Naked Muse (the devised theatre lab) is a diverse group of artists at various stages in their careers, who gather on Monday nights to explore, develop, and create. Similar to a pick-up game of basketball, or a musical jam session, this weekly event is neither class nor rehearsal, but a creative workspace to develop skills and new work.

Members of Mayhem are invited in through an application/invitation process. Some have a history with the company, through the winter show or play development projects, and others have joined the company here for the first time. Some artists are recent graduates from professional theatre programs across the country, and others are turning or returning to devised work from other career paths. All of us create from a physical, comedic space, and incorporate the work of Mayhem into our own practices.

Mayhem and the Naked Muse is a place to gather and experiment as creators and leaders. The work generated can be performed at Common Boots Theatre’s annual birthday party in May. We dive into the creative cupboard of Lecoq, Gaulier, Theatre Comlicite, John Wright, Anne Bogart, Spy Monkey, and Keith Johnstone, to name a few. We bring in our own writing and questions, and we jump into the foundational material of Common Boots Theatre. Together, we challenge each other to be better artists, leaders, and citizens of our creative city.

We are led by Artistic Director Jennifer Brewin and Associate Artist Courtenay Stevens. We are hosted by the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto.

Past Members of The Devised Lab:

A terrific summary of the key principles to guide a devised theatre project from The Guardian:

Devised theatre: ten tips for a truly creative collaboration.