Workshop: Besides its traditional meaning as a place where construction and repair work is done, the term workshop is used in a range of ways in theatre. Related to the concepts of Experimental theatre and Laboratory theatre, though perhaps with less of the accent on "scientific research processes" implied by experimental and laboratory.
As a concept
As a verb (“to workshop a play”, "workshopping")
Process of creating a performance by experimentation and improvisation. The notion of creating or shaping a theatre text through a workshop process, i.e. by having the actors and director create or adapt a play through a improvisation process(hence the term workshopping a text/play. Theatre made in this way is usually referred to Workshop theatre
Related concepts are improvise
As an adjective (“a workshop production”)
As a noun (
Used to refer to a company or venue where workshop processes (play development, experimentation and improvisation) take place. (e.g Theatre Workshop '71, *** ). it is a concept introduced into the South African scene via the American avant garde movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s, but came to real prominence as an alternative creative form in the 1970-1980 struggle period among writers in English, gradully becoming the dominant form of play creation, really ousting the traditional playwright as dominant creative figure in the local industry. After 1994 this position has slipped a little. ****
As a verb: A theatre workshop thus most often refers to a temporary or permanent venue/company/facility to facilitate such work.
As a venue
The Workshop in Cape Town
Organisation of South African Artists (OOSAA), initiated “The Workshop”: a series of artmaking activities and events during the course of 1976 in the space in Mowbray that would subsequently become the Community Arts Project (CAP).
For more information
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page