Write for us, control us like puppets.

We’re really pleased to announce that we’re now accepting scripts for immersive performances. Writing for immersive performance is a completely different way of imagining and creating work and presents a completely new set of challenges that, we know, will develop the way that writers consider their practice.

The call is open so there’s no specific deadline for scripts. You can submit them whenever you think they’re ready and we’ll consider them for whatever we’ve got coming up next.  

There are a couple of examples of scripts from previous performances linked at the bottom for you to have a look at but please do refer to this guidance before you download these.

1. Scripts integrate a high degree of interactivity. So high in fact that the piece cannot fully exist except in the period that a participant spends in the space with the performer. This doesn’t mean that there has to be a conversation about something, touch or staring deeply into a participants eyes are equally interactive.

2. We don’t really do character or acting or learning specifically phrased lines. What this means is that the performer has to be able to ‘be themselves doing something unusual’. If there is dialogue they should be allowed to draw from their own experiences rather than, for example, yours. What this might look like in a script is where, for example, you want a performer to talk about a dream, they shouldn’t have a paragraph of dialogue to recall. You might want to include this as an indication of the tone but also acknowledge that the performer needs to talk about the most scary dream they’ve ever had.

3. Scripts should resemble a normal play script (see examples) but don’t feel restricted by what you can and can’t include. If you need to give us some information to help us understand what your aim is then do. If you need to insert dialogue and then give an overview of how a performer might talk about this then that’s fine. Present your script clearly and consistently but don’t get bogged down in formatting.

4. We’re probably much more likely to produce low-tech work so focus on the interaction between the performer and participants’ bodies and minds.

5. Our normal mode of presentation is one participant to one performer but you should feel free to play with this if you like. We’ve done small competitive group pieces (4-5 participants / 2 performers) and larger group work. Remember that the more people are in the room the less time each person has to engage with the performer.

6. Pieces can be of any length but your work is more likely to be shown if it’s a relatively short piece (approx 15 minutes) that we can repeat. Feel free to consider the accumulative effect of repetition on the performer and environment. For example, if each participant is asked to remove an item of clothing from the performer the performer will, over the course of an evening, become more undressed.

7.  Feel free to suggest essential props. If you have a specific aesthetic in mind then do include this but we might want to change this to fit our overall aesthetic. Again, the simpler the better.

6. Because it’s us then you should feel free to push the limits of the performer in whatever way you wish. Feel free to also push the limits of the what’s socially acceptable. We like work that challenges social convention. we may need to have a chat with you to discuss the ethics of the piece and make changes accordingly but that will very much be a collaborative thing. We won’t make changes without consulting you beforehand. Nudity is fine. Sexual acts are more problematic (mainly due to the ethical consideration surrounding the participants) but we’ll consider your ideas. Touch is fine.

8. We’re unlikely to select anything that will cause long-term or permanent physical damage to a performer and won’t select anything that aims to cause physical or mental damage to a participant. Challenging people is good, aiming to harm them is not what we’re about.

9. It may take us some time to get back to you. If you submit something then accept our thanks now. We’ll consider work when we need to and if we’re excited by what you’ve produced we’ll make contact. I know that’s not ideal but it’s all we can manage with time constraints.

10. We won’t automatically give feedback on individual scripts. That takes time and resources that we don’t have. If you do decide that you want feedback then we will ask you to pay a charge of £20 for this to cover our time. If that sounds unreasonable or money grabbing we apologise but we’re a business at the end of the day. If we don’t accept your work, don’t necessarily think it’s ‘bad’ – it’s more likely that it just doesn’t fit with what we’re trying to achieve.

11. We can’t offer a fee for scripts that are produced. Obviously, you’ll get free tickets to the event where your work is being shown.

12. If we like what you do and work well with you (as in we don’t find out that you’re not an egotistical, self-obsessed twat who doesn’t understand the notion of collaborative working and that the end result might not completely match the original idea) then we’d be really keen to developing a more long-term relationship with you. We don’t know what exactly that would mean at the moment but essentially getting produced once means you’re likely to be produced again.

If you’re still interested, take a look at the scripts below. You’ll notice that they’re quite different in style. The first is more conversation based (although it’s important that you realise that this was then reduced back (what we’d call retroscripted) to just the specific points of conversation as opposed to the specific word. The second is much more scenario-based and gives the participant more free choice in their interaction with the performers.

Links here:

A Thousand Leaves script

Ghost Flowers of the Sub-Night Reverie

please send all scripts to: collectiveunconsciousuk@gmail.com

Look forward to hearing your ideas.


About collectiveunconsciousuk

Collective Unconscious are a theatrical company who create immersive adventures where audiences are incorporated into the fictional world of the performance and are invited to interact with the characters. We aim to initiate conversations about feelings, about philosophy, about life and ultimately, about death. We ask the kinds of questions that rarely get asked and provide a safe environment for audiences to consider those questions and to respond honestly. Our performances take place in unusual locations and respond to the sites in which they are held. We see the potential in empty buildings and unused spaces and want to find ways to deliver engaging and exciting theatre in a safe way. We ask our audiences to come as themselves rather than requiring them to play a role. We are interested in who our audiences are, what they’re life experiences have been and how they feel about the world in which they exist. We do not set out to embarrass audience members by asking them to engage in behaviour that they might find embarrassing or by singling them out in front of a group of people, in fact, most of the time audience members experience our fictions alone. We believe in allowing audiences to make an informed choice about the suitability of a performance without spoiling the surprise. Our aim is to provide the opportunity for our audiences to engage in transformative theatrical experiences. We aim to challenge our audiences, providing a safe environment in which they can explore and possibly break down perceptions of themselves. Currently the company is formed of the following collaborators: Mark Ellis: Artistic Director / Writer / Academic (The University of Bradford, The Open University, The University of Huddersfield) Sarah Dobbs: Writer and Academic (The Open University / University Centre Blackburn College). Michelle Pogmore: Performer / Director / Artistic Collaborator. Rebecca Lawes: Choreographer / Performer Kristian Rowe: Set Designer. Performance Collective Unconscious are interested creating exciting and challenging theatrical performances that incorporate audience members into fictional worlds. Our current performance work is aimed at adults. Past and current projects include: Menagerie (January, March, August 2011): An encounter in attic filled with junk that asks the participant to think about their life and consider their untimely death. Forever Falling (May 2011): A solo encounter with one’s own reflection. A Thousand Leaves (June 2011): An immersive adventure into the world of nightmares. Baptism 1 (July 2011): A group ritualistic performance developed for Harrogate International Festivals’ psychogeographical piece “Across the Town”. Jane Mills (August 2011): An audio-facilitated self-performance. Atrium (August 2011): On her death bed, my grandmother told me a secret that I’ve kept hidden until now. Together we will build a pot to contain our secrets and each place one inside. Epiderm (August 2011): A novel written on the bodies of participants. Photographed and published online during its development. Baptism 2 (September 2011): A ritualistic self-performance directed by an anonymous voice at the other end of the telephone. Three Kisses (September 2011): An exploration of the meaning and circumstances behind three very different kisses. Wonderland: An immersive adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland set in real venues across an entire city. Artist Development Collective Unconscious are committed to working with other artists, performers, promoters, venues, set designers and musicians to provide a means for new work to be created. Currently this is articulated through Alone a festival of performances for one audience member that has commissioned pieces by companies around the UK and Europe to be experienced in Worcester on the 7th August 2011. On top of this we are keen to work with local tradespeople and volunteers in assist in the creation and administration of our productions. Enrichment We are in the process of developing a full programme of enrichment opportunities, aimed at young people of various ages, to take into schools, youth centres and other institutions. Our philosophy is ‘”Naughty but Nice” and we see the benefit providing novel opportunities to challenge young people and push boundaries as a means of exploring the world around them. Our immersive work aims to provide personalised affective experiences that are impossible to create in a normal classroom environment. Projects currently under development include: Schism: An immersive encounter in a hotel room which asks participants to consider the emotional landscape surrounding sex and relationships to provide advice to a woman who has got herself into an emotionally complicated situation. Horrorshow: An immersive theatrical workshop which utilises a room or set of rooms in a building and asks participants to collaborate on creating a scary experience for their colleagues or classmates. Litscotheque: A collaborative project where excerpts of participant’s writing, generated in preliminary workshops are incorporated into the mix of professional DJ during an evening event. Research As practicing academics, Collective Unconscious are committed to undertaking research relating to our creative practice and to articulating the results of our explorations through the publication of articles in relevant academic journals and presentation at academic conferences.
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