Artist Development Courses


How do you make a show from scratch? This workshop is designed to understand the process from early conception through to production.


In our devising workshop we open up our creative toolbox and show you how to create material from the smallest seed of an idea, how our greatest ideas are right under our noses (if only we knew how to look), how to build a number or scene and how to keep the work fresh both in rehearsal and in performance. We look at the context of the spaces we are creating for - large and small theatre spaces, cabaret, variety, street theatre, circus. We investigate the fundamentals - use of costume, props, lighting and sound. And we explore more advanced concepts - writing tools, devising games, character, group dynamics, status, narrative, dramatic structure, musicality and physicality.


Spymonkey have over 15 years of experience in creating devised shows with leading directors: Cal McCrystal (Mighty Boosh, Peepolykus, National Theatre’s ‘One Man Two Guvnors’), Jos Houben (Theatre du Complicite, The Right Size, École Jacques Lecoq Paris), Emma Rice (artistic director of Kneehigh) and Paul Hunter (artistic director of Told By An Idiot).


SUITABLE FOR groups of up to 18 with some workshop or performance experience of devising or clown. This workshop can also provide a starting point for a longer residency for students and professional companies (see Residencies section below).


WORKSHOP LENGTH 5 days or 10 days (over 2 weeks).

We like to conclude the 2-week workshop with an informal performance to an invited audience, providing both a creative catalyst to the process, and a chance to test work out in a supportive performance environment.


LUCY HOPKINS creator of LE FOULARD, winner Adelaide Fringe Best Theatre and Best Performer Awards, Prague Fringe Creative Award, says:


“I’ve done three Spymonkey workshops - the first when I had just started developing a solo show. I asked Aitor about the Spymonkey approach to making shows and he said: pick three things you really want to do on stage, do them, and then the rest of the show is what you do so you can get away with doing those things.


I thought that sounded like an immensely fun and liberated approach to theatre making, so I had a go. I used the second workshop to play hard and find amazing fun with experts who I knew wouldn’t tolerate my boring habits and I found a spirit of play that informs pretty much everything I make. The third was with Hijinx Theatre in Cardiff. I watched-and-learned the process of getting performers to reveal their humanity however that might be and it was completely beautiful. I’m always banging on about Spymonkey. Whatever, I think they’re totally inspiring.”

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