“You are no longer creative when you give up”: technical theatre’s creative sleight of hand .

Renée Newman, Maggi Phillips


The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University contains vocational education training programmes including technical design courses with broad reach covering arts administration, stage management, stage lighting, sound design, set and costume design. In an unsettling problematic, teachers and students in the broadly themed Production and Design courses often find themselves isolated from the other creative disciplines or battle with the perception that their work is in fact not creative but entirely the technical implementation of ‘someone’s else’s vision’. This approach seems to dismiss the creative thinking required in the development and orchestration of the design and denies the complexity inherent in anything ‘technical’. This paper will address this disparity by drawing from the perceptions of a select number of current staff from Production and Design subjects. We understand that this is a very specific take on the subject from a small number of interested folk, in fact it is deliberately idiosyncratic and narrow in research scope, and in no way indicates the viewpoints of the Australian production and design community at large. Rather, we put forward a particular point of view, given at a particular time, in order to argue that there is merit in addressing what we see as a ‘hierarchy of value’ and seek further conversation about how we may find a way that the technical/mechanical and the creative are not considered as mutually exclusive. By doing so this would not only be a pedagogical shift, but a movement in cultural paradigm.


creativity; innovation; design; technical

Full Text:



Anderson, C. (2016). Meet the new wave of entrepreneurial actors. Retrieved from http://www.artshub.com.au/education/news-article/sponsored-content/arts-education/cathy-anderson/meet-the-new-wave-of-entrepreneurial-actors-252694

Australia Council for the Arts (2016) Major Collaborative Arts Projects. Retrieved from http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/strategies-and-frameworks/mpa-collaborative-arts-projects/

Berkeley, A. (2008). Changing theories of undergraduate theatre studies, 1945 to 1980, The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 42(3), 57-70.

Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Chen, M., Pulinkala, I. and Robinson, K. (2010). Polyphonic dynamics as educational practice, Theatre Topics, 20(2), 113-131.

Farthing, A (2012) Mapping Technical Theatre Arts Training, A report for the Higher Education Authority, Arts and Humanities, UK.

Kern, A (2006) Exploring the Relation between Creativity and Rules, International Studies of Management and Organizationi, 36.1, 63-80.

Rebellato, D. (1999) 1956 and All That: The Making of Modern British Drama. Routledge: London, 71-100.

Salzer, B (2012) The Subtext: In Praise of Techies TD&T, 48 (1), 8-9.


  • There are currently no refbacks.