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Task One

Responding to a stimulus

Your teacher will give you a choice of three different types of stimulus. These might include the lyrics of a song, a picture or a quotation. Your devised practical performance must be based on one of these.

Where to start?

When you're first given your stimuli, study them carefully and make notes about:

  • what you see or hear
  • what you read into the stimuli
  • how the stimuli make you feel and what they make you think about

Don't aim to write paragraphs, just simple one-word points or phrases will do. Noting down your first reactions to the stimuli can help you develop your work later. When you've made notes on your stimuli, your teacher might suggest doing some research into the themes and topics you've discovered. It's a good idea to do this - it will help you in developing your drama.

Your choice of stimulus is going to be key to the success of the final piece. Take some time to brainstorm ideas for each of them.

As a group discuss the following questions:

  • What roles could we include?
  • Would everyone have an equal part?
  • Which style / practitioner would best suit our approach to a given stimulus?
  • How could we develop the structure?
  • Where would we set it?
  • What angle would we use to approach the stimuli? eg a narrative style
  • Does it need to be set in a specific time period?
  • Who is our target audience?
  • What type of strategies and techniques could we use eg monologues [monologue: An extended speech performed by one person only ], flashbacks etc.
  • Which stimulus excites us and would let us create an exciting piece of theatre?


A stimulus is just given as a starting point; you don't need to stick rigidly to it. Often the best work comes from thinking outside the box!

Back to Devised performance index

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