Academic Research

Joseph's research inquires into the uses of play in the collaborative devising process.

Play is vital to our development as human beings. It allows us ‘…to connect with and interpret symbols and metaphors in a way which may allow us to connect with deeper truths about human existence’ (Louise Peacock). Yet too often when developing performances I see performers working without play but with tension. Forcing their work to develop to a fixed idea of the performative outcome rather than discovering the possibilities within their work and letting the performative outcome change and evolve. This page explains the different forms of practice led research I have been engaged in and how it has helped me to use play in the collaborative devising process. 

Watch this space, new research update coming 14/06/19


Pulse Jams

May 17th - October 4th

Pulse Jams have been led student and alumni of the VCA since 2010, every Tuesday from 12pm - 2pm.

In 2016 I facilitated these sessions to gain experience as a facilitator of pulse. As well as investigate the different ways play could be used to develop material in a collaborative devising process.

I drew on a number of strategies and techniques that I observed and practiced under the guidance of different practitioners through out the year. The practices I developed in these sessions were then implemented in creating 2.0 Contact.


2.0 | Contact

July 19th - September 30th

This show was a means of testing a building the practices I developed in my research this year. By doing this I was able to see how these practices worked in a rehearsal room and this translated into the performance. 

I specifically tested the idea of building and refining parameters for improvisation. So that performers can playfully work towards a non-fixed outcome, discovering material rather than forcing it.

Refer to the link below for an example.



April 11th - May 6th

In order to understand the uses of play in a creative process I worked with two teachers this year to see how they facilitated play in their own practices.

Stephen Phillips: I helped Stephen teach Pulse to the 1st year students at the VCA.I have spent many years under the guidance of Stephen. He has taught me Pulse and been a mentor for all of The Human Project's shows. In my research Stephen aided my transition from Practicing Pulse to Facilitating it. 

Scott Witt: I observed Scott Witt teach 1st and 2nd year students improvisation techniques at NIDA. In his classes Scott draws on a number of techniques to allow students to teach themselves and work playfully. During my time with Scoot we had many discussions around the nature of play in performance and how to facilitate it. 


Reading and writing

March 1st - October 31st 

Whilst reading and writing for honours in 2016 I focused on performative play, pedagogy, physical theatre improvisation and collaborative devising processes. 

The Research Paper in the link below is the culmination of both my physical and theoretical research and is the most articulate and comprehensive presentation of my research so far.