Video: Creating from a Blank Canvas

I created a course called Studio Lab. The purpose of Studio Lab is to learn techniques in effectively brainstorming within a group (collective brainstorming).

As part of this course, students must learn to work quickly, to create something from nothing. They are taught how to create from a blank canvas (with no preconceived ideas as to what the outcome will be), how to create structure for themselves, a willingness to kill one’s best ideas when necessary, how to collaborate with others, how to lead and also follow. They are taught to have and build their ideas or visions and to trust and follow their natural creative instincts and impulses. They are taught to do so, as they actively and regularly build original projects.

The video below is one such project from this year. They have engaged in many and we have witnessed probably 30 some pieces this year already in just the first year class.

The Assignment:

For this assignment, I told the students that they have an entirely blank canvas. Contrary to the typically structured assignments of most weeks, this week they have liberty to create whatever they will.

The Parameters:

It must not be longer than four minutes and they will be given little to no formal rehearsal time during the week (they must structure their rehearsals themselves). The assignment was due the following Friday and must involve all persons in their 5 to 6 people groups. They must write the piece, act it, direct and perform it. Any and all resources brought into the piece, they must provide themselves.

The Process:

This group began their process on a Monday afternoon. They scheduled time together to rehearse outside of class and considerable amounts of homework and shared their creation four days later.


Our final goal is that our students become self-sufficient as artists and use their creativity to make things, to create and to serve their communities with their creations.

We want our students to learn how to effectively exercise their imaginations so that when they call upon their imaginations, there fantasy is active and available. We want our artists to know how to seek and follow inspiration, as well as generate inspiration themselves. We want them to know how to effectively and willfully create, as this is the gift of all creative artists–the ability to make, to manifest, to bring about.

In the first year alone, students will engage in the creation of over upwards of 100 original works of theatre, each of varied size, aesthetic and goals They will work individually, within small groups and as a whole).
This is what one first year group chose to create with their Blank Canvas assignment over the course of the week. They created this after having only been at school for two months. Imagine their development after two years.


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