The alchemy of the acting process : transformation and embodiment, in, and beyond, the theatre space

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What makes it possible for actors to create impacting, transformative performance? This thesis refers to theories of acting, performance and devising in western traditions, and theories of consciousness, embodiment and neuroscience. A methodological bricolage approach to a devised theatre project was instigated to collect data during a three-week rehearsal. The thesis presents the empirical basis for a new theory to understand actors’ creativity, and its transformative impact. The actors’ felt-experiences and the creative processes and strategies they used were determined from video diaries and recorded discussions. The analysis highlighted the complexity at the heart of the actors’ creative process and signified six component elements – a quiet mind; activated senses; perceptively minded-body; imaginative exploration; investment of time; transformative, vulnerable instrument. The research revealed that the interaction of the combined elements transformed the actors through an alchemy of the actor’s process to achieve an authentic, impacting performance. These findings have implications for the enhancement of creative potential in other areas of life.
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