When students are preparing for their PPP the things they probably find challenging are thinking outside the box and coming up with something original. This blog will introduce you to a way of thinking and a process of creating a vision that will enable you to explore ideas in a methodical way. I will introduce you to Design Thinking.

The model (taken from Design Thinking, Business Model, Creativity, Service, Design, posted by Geoffroi Garon) you can see below is a wheel where you can start of end at any stage. Let me give you a suggestion about how you can use this wheel when approaching your stimulus. I will break it down into stages so that you can work through the process to get your own ideas, or just use is to get some ideas of your own about how to generate ideas. 

As you can see, the model is broken down into 5 areas. They are:

  • Empathy: understanding the issue, your goals, what you want to address
  • Define: Clarify the goal and make it more defined in your mind.
  • Ideate: Generate ideas that you can use in the future
  • Prototype: Create a model or vision of your production
  • Test: Share your ideas and test your vision to a constructively critical audience.

Once you get your stimulus you will want to work with it, and also think about how to you will tie all this into productions you have seen, work you have done in the course and also plan what areas you will include in your report. Below is another image that may help you visualise the process before I walk you through the stages.

Linear Design Thinking model

Empathy: Starting with the stimulus – understand the stimulus and do some research on the social and political ideas/influences related to the stimulus. Use your gut reaction to see how you feel you should develop this stimulus in terms of style, meaning and impact. What has INSPIRED you about the stimulus and your understanding of it?

Define: Start to look at what your main goal is for the performance. What will you IMITATE from work you have done yourself, studied or seen? What INFLUENCES will you draw on in terms of theatre cultures, theatre companies and practitioners? Will you draw on historical context for theatre that was created as a reaction to events in the past or the culture of that time? Will you draw on theatre that is rooted in religion and ritual? Make your decisions clear and let this breathe into your ideas. Make sure you SOURCE all material used.

Ideate: Get all your ideas down on paper. This is the CREATION and CLARIFICATION phase, where you have mind maps, charts, images, designs of set etc. In this phase you also need to write your PITCH with a CONCEPT.

Prototype: During this phase you are getting all your ideas into a solid form. You are enabling your VISION as a director and designer to be put into practice. This where all your drawings are created, link to the concept and also relate to your pitch by expanding on it and explaining your influences etc.

Test: Now you are working on your report and putting all the elements together. You are making sure that what you mentioned in your empathy and define phase are now coming to fruition in your entire PPP. Communicate your ideas to a friend and see if they can tell what your concept is and are you consistent in your ideas. Are you ORIGINAL? Have you explained how the production elements work together in practice? Are all your IMAGES sourced? Does your original stimulus have a connection to the final product? If not, make sure there is a clear journey from the stimulus to where you are now, there does need to be some connection.