This article attempts to examine the nature of imagination and creativity in the acting process. It argues that successful acting is the ability to extend the imagination into the creative act of developing a role and building a character. Of particular concern will be the identification of significant personal, social and professional factors that tend to inhibit the creative process. It will close with some observations about the work of Jose Quintero of the Asolo Conservatory, in terms of the specific ways in which he inspires creativity in our actors. It is important to differentiate imagination and creativity. Imagination is that act or power of forming mental images of something not present or perceived before in reality. This would suggest that imagination is entirely an internal process and impossible to measure in any observable way. Indeed, when people say that someone is very imaginative, it is only because they have communicated their imagination in some creative way. The suggestion is that imagination is the emotional foundation for creativity. It is the gasoline which powers the creative act and not the act itself. At some level we are all imaginative, but for some unknown reason artists (and others) seem to have the need to transform this imagination into the external world. In the acting process, imagination is the actor's ability to clearly and vividly connect with the emotional given circumstances of the character and acknowledge analogous feelings and experiences in their own lives.
Pope, B. L. (1993). Unlocking creativity in actors: Inhibiting factors. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 2(2), 35–38.