top of page

When a group of creative artists begin the Pulse process they enter the unknown. All they have is an empty space; words on a page and a shared language of process that will help them reveal that which is hidden.

Tanya Gerstle

In/Stead Journal 


Delicate Codes and Invisible Lines

The process of collaboration is the work of an ensemble.

Joseph Chaikin


Pulse Training

During the Pulse process performers initially engage in training where they kinaesthetically embed and integrate a selection of performance and compositional principles. They then respond to external sources and internal impulses enabling them to create structured improvisaitons. Working from a place where the unconscious and conscious meet they attempt to synthesise inspiration with technical understanding. The only framework that exists for them is the shared language of Pulse.


During the process of making new work source material is introduced into the improvised session. During the making of a text-based work the principles are applied in a four-layered rehearsal process.


Pulse as a Process for Narrative Text

When Pulse is used in a text-based rehearsal context, it becomes a shared rehearsal language, a shared vision of collaboration and a shared physical aesthetic (the way bodies move in space and the composition of kinetics). It is a process map and a set of working tools. It is a working premise, not a fixed method of rehearsing, more a mutual understanding and a framework of how to proceed.


Working with this physical approach an instinctive dramaturgical translation of the original material begins where the performer develops a visual and visceral relationship to space and text. The emotional inner world of character is revealed through physical metaphor; the hidden story implied by the text is manifested through action. What emerges through this theatrical investigation is the emphasis on the body – the actor’s body paints the space through direct physical experience and memory. The
body is content, is image and is witness. The Pulse process demands that the actor ‘thinks with the body’.


Pulse Rehearsal Culture

Ensemble practice is about the continuity of working with the same group of performers so there can be a possibility of developing a time efficient and yet more profound process. A disparate group of performers can work effectively together if they have at some time trained in Pulse. They immediately share a language of process and can work with ensemble consciousness as if they had been in continuous practice together. Creative technicians engage in the process from their own perspective resulting in a collage of contributions, shaped and framed by the director, contributing to the dramaturgy of the performance text.


If a rehearsal room is a blueprint for a community, then Pulse is a model for co-operation, building upon ideas, honouring difference and diversity and the utilisation of different strengths. A performer must be willing to work within the process for the good of the whole, for the piece itself and not for their own ego.


For more information about the Pulse process click here.

A film following OpticNerve Performance Group as they rehearse George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, adapted by Helen Edmundson, using the Pulse rehearsal approach can be viewed here (password: pulse).

bottom of page