Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Theatre and Dance

Committee Chair

Bernadette Swenney

Commitee Members

Jillian Campana, Jere Hodgin, Michael Murphy


playwriting, theatre making, devised theatre


University of Montana


This thesis documents and explores specific writing practices in the theatre. As a playwright and deviser, I examine the two commonly practiced methods of making theatre; the pre-written play creation model, often known as the hierarchal model, and the collaborative creation model of devised theatre, in order to establish certain differences and similarities. These comparisons allow for a synthesis of the two approaches into one inclusive order that can account for the necessary stages of play creation, whether approaching it from the page or from a devising studio. The six chapters herein are dedicated to the influence of both creation modes on my own work, and the discussion of practical case studies in order to draw applicable conclusions about writing practices in the theatre. Through interviews with writers and theatre artists, and discussion of my own Practice as Research study into writing within a devising ensemble, I have been able to chart my own practice within each mode and draw relationships between this practice and that of others creating contemporary theatre. Through an examination of my charted processes, which I have labeled my orders of operation, I make comparisons between how plays are created on the page of the playwright and in the collective devising ensemble. I then offer a synthesized approach as a potential method of inclusive theatre practice.

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