after 46 years of being on stage, and 15 years of theatre-based facilitation
for Leadership & High-Performance Team Dynamics, I never stop getting
amazed by the power of Theatre as an intuitive and transformational learning tool.
while ago I did a workshop for a high profile team engaged in the development
and productivity of rural and tribal communities. Being into a significantly challenging and
high-value proposition, most of the participants were specialists in their
field and committed professionals in the areas of genetics, social work,
economics, and environmental subjects.
There were some concerns regarding communication, collaboration, goal
clarity, resource innovation, and community-focus that they wished to address.
on the brief from the HR and Learning & Development stakeholders who were willing
to address the concerns head on, we decided to do a 2-day “CorporateTheatre” Organizational
Transformation workshop. It was decided
that everyone in the team right from the top to the youngest member should be
full time participants and that they should come with the willingness to
evaluate the existing work situation and their own working styles with ruthless
objectivity and vulnerability.
a half-day process where the team became comfortable with using theatre as a
form of self and collective expression, we split them into two groups and asked
each group to realistically enact an actual workplace problem as they perceived
it, without suggesting any solutions.
Both groups did a good job projecting key concern areas that they felt
needed addressing. When we asked the
audience what they perceived as the problem from the enactment that they had
seen, we were amazed to find that perceptions were significantly different. Many hidden areas which were not in the
conscious perception of the performing groups surfaced, and everyone had a more
relevant and deeper insight into what the actual problems were.
the second day we switched groups and asked them to enact solutions. Here again, we were happily surprised that
several practical solutions emerged intuitively, which were different from what
the team had expected, and which were implementable even with the existing
resources and empowerment. More importantly,
being a collective and intuitive exploration, the self-evaluation and the
learning happened without any condemnation, negative criticism, or ‘blame-storming’. It enabled the group to take collective
responsibility for the problems as well as the solutions.
to me, and in fact to the entire participant team, was a reinforcement of the
wisdom of the body, and the power of unfettered collective consciousness to enable a deeper perception and understanding of core issues, beyond what is seen on the periphery, purely intellectually and rationally!