© 2016

Women, Collective Creation, and Devised Performance

The Rise of Women Theatre Artists in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

  • Kathryn Mederos Syssoyeva
  • Scott Proudfit

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. First Wave, 1900–1945

  3. Second Wave, 1945–1985

  4. Third Wave, 1985–Present

About this book


This book explores the role and centrality of women in the development of collaborative theatre practice, alongside the significance of collective creation and devising in the development of the modern theatre.

Tracing a web of women theatremakers in Europe and North America, this book explores the connections between early twentieth century collective theatre practices such as workers theatre and the dramatic play movement, and the subsequent spread of theatrical devising. Chapters investigate the work of the Settlement Houses, total theatre in 1920s’ France, the mid-century avant-garde and New Left collectives, the nomadic performances of Europe’s transnational theatre troupes, street-theatre protests, and contemporary devising. In so doing, the book further elucidates a history of modern theatre begun in A History of Collective Creation (2013) and Collective Creation in Contemporary Performance (2013), in which the seemingly marginal and disparate practices of collective creation and devising are revealed as central—and women theatremakers revealed as progenitors of these practices.


female playwrights theatre practitioners women's studies political theatre agitprop alternative theatre democratic collective contemporary theatre collaborative theatre modern theatre collaborative practice collaboration dramaturgy avant-garde marginalisation plurality activism transnationalism improvisation Europe theatre women

Editors and affiliations

  • Kathryn Mederos Syssoyeva
    • 1
  • Scott Proudfit
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of TheatreDixie State UniversitySaint GeorgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of EnglishElon UniversityElonUSA

About the editors

A theatre director, teacher and scholar, Kathryn Mederos Syssoyeva’s publications include A History of Collective Creation and Collective Creation in Contemporary Performance (2013). Work in development includes Meyerhold and Stanislavsky at Povarskaya Street: Art, Money, Politics, and the Birth of Laboratory Theatre.


Scott Proudfit is Assistant Professor in English at Elon University, USA. Previously, he worked as an editor for Back Stage and Back Stage West, while collaborating with the Actors’ Gang, the Factory Theater, and Irondale Ensemble Project.  He was associate editor of A History of Collective Creation and Collective Creation in Contemporary Performance (2013). 

Bibliographic information


“This ground-breaking collection on women’s often obscured contributions within theatrical models of collective creation is an urgent addition to studies of collaborative theatre practice in all its forms and national manifestations and will be required reading for all working in this area. It rigorously traces complex genealogies of influence across professional, amateur and educational theatre as driven by female theatre-makers.” (Charlotte McIvor, Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies, National University of Ireland, Galway, and co-editor, Devised Performance in Irish Theatre: Histories and Contemporary Practice)

“Women, Collective Creation, and Devised Performance is a welcome exploration of the extensive contribution of women to devised theatre practices. This volume expertly unpacks the deep and often under-exposed world of collective creation and the female-driven underpinnings and lineage that inform the entire movement.  It is exciting to see this performance history and chain of influence so ingeniously displayed. This new work will prove invaluable to practitioners and scholars alike.” (Katharine Noon, Artistic Director, The Ghost Road Company, and Professor, Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, Loyola Marymount University, USA)