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Combining theory with application, The Alchemy of Astonishment: Engaging the Power of Theatre by Will Weigler is a new book that anyone can use to powerfully express the stories they want to tell through theatre.

About the Book

When stage director Will Weigler analyzed nearly 100 stories from people about their most unforgettable experiences at the theatre, he realized that even though the plays were very different, they all had one thing in common. After discovering just what it was that made them so astonishing, he turned the results of his research into a vocabulary of staging strategies that anyone can access to powerfully express the stories they want to tell through theatre. Combining theory with application, “The Alchemy of Astonishment” is a useful resource for scholars, educators, students, theatregoers, and theatre artists of every kind. For those who facilitate devised theatre with communities, this book and its supplementary deck of teaching cards offer professional artists and the people with whom they work a shared language that will allow them to meet as equitable partners in the creative co-authorship and staging of dynamic and compelling plays.

The Alchemy of Astonishment is available for sale from the UVic Bookstore.

About the Author

Will Weigler has been an Applied Theatre director, teacher, and playwright for over twenty-five years. He is the author of several books including Strategies for Playbuilding: Helping Groups Translate Issues into Theatre, From the Heart: How 100 Canadians Created an Unconventional Theatre Performance about Reconciliation, and Laughing Allowed! – A How-to Guide for Making a Physical Comedy Show to Build Neighbourhood Resilience. Will completed his PhD in Applied Theatre here at the University of Victoria.

Praise for the Book

“With this book and its supplementary deck of teaching cards, Will offers direct access to creating… images [of magnificence] on stage. Beautifully observed and meticulously explained, community performers and trained professionals will treasure it.” – Richard Owen Geer, PhD, Community Performance Director

“Reading along, I experienced something of the feeling of being let in on a magician’s secret knowledge, and also the pleasure of engaging with a vivid storyteller who enables the reader to see and feel as well as hear what is being told. I can imagine so many uses for this book as a teaching aid, an inspirational instruction manual for artists, even a creative spur for sermons, speeches, and conversations having nothing much to do with theatre.” – From the foreword by Arlene Goldbard