workshops for companies

Theatre Workshop for Leaders
training leadership on the stage

 

 

Awareness, courage, influence, vision, emotional impact, authenticity. These and other skills are often listed in leadership profiles of organizations and are the subject of endless books and seminars. The truth is that these traits cannot be taught, nor can they be learnt in an intellectual sense.
These traits exist in every single individual; they may lay dormant under a cover of conformity or indifference, or they may be reawakened, nurtured and trained. For leaders this is a valuable and crucial activity.
The stage is an ideal venue for this type of self development.
The stage represents a ‘place of the possible’, where leaders can experiment with and consolidate different possibilities of ‘feeling’, ‘communicating’ and ‘being’.
This is because the theatre plays by different rules than those that govern normal, everyday behavior.
Participants will undertake a theatrical journey thet includes on-stage exercises and workshops. They will become actors, under the guidance of a director (being guided) and stage directors, creating the work of other actors (guiding). The journey will culminate in a real play that is planned and enacted by the participants.
The techniques of the theatre involve emotional intelligence as well as relational skills such as listening, empathy, trust, motivation and the ability to influence others.
This reawakens creative and spiritual energies, which all leaders need.
The variety and nature of the exercises of this very special journey enhances self-awareness, both as a person and as a leader.


OUTLINE OF THE PROGRAM – 1

Duration
The workshop lasts two days.
Facilitators
The workshop is run by three people: two experienced directors/actors and a senior leadership consultant.
Location
It takes place in a theatre.
Dress code
Participants wear comfortable clothes and sneakers. Stage clothes will be given out.



OUTLINE OF THE PROGRAM- 2
First day.
Being an actor, guided by a director.
The journey starts with classical training exercises for theatre actors, under the guidance of two directors. The exercises develop some basic acting techniques which allow leaders to explore the language and creative possibilities of the stage. These exercises are taken from two repertoires of acting studies: the work of actors on themselves and the work of actors on the character they are playing. The exercises are carried out both individually and as part of a group.
These exercises are regularly debriefed, which provides an opportunity to crystallize insights and surface the awareness of leadership experienced through the actor/director relationship.

Key skills: self awareness; awareness of others; influence; personal authority; manage ambiguity.



OUTLINE OF THE PROGRAM- 3
Second day.

Being a director who guides actors.
In the second part of the journey the approach changes. The activity still takes place in the theatre, but we move from a workshop based on being an actor to one based on being a director.
The participants take responsibility for specific theatrical scenes and work with professional actors to stage these.
The high point of the workshop is when the participants, as directors, place their trust in their actors and put the scenes they have created and directed on stage in front of an audience made up of their colleagues.
The directing experience is an excellent reinforcement for advanced leadership, for the stage director must know how to inspire experienced actors, providing them with general input, but also allowing them to unleash their own talent and expertise. It is a powerful metaphor for leaders of knowledge experts.

Key skills: inspire individuals and teams, including those more expert than yourself; balance challenge and support; stakeholders awareness; set priorities; diversity sensitivity;
generate engagement.

 

 

 

 

 

Team building on stage

The actor’s training work has got a number of similarities with the organizational one, either as far as managers or professionals are concerned. Being reliable, having a positive impact on people, working in team, being flexible: these are only some examples of the actor’s qualities that everyone working for a company should have. During the stage workshop, participants play as actors, they work on stage, supported by expert teachers. The different experiences come with moments of theoretical meditation which are proposed by a skilled trainer who supervises the whole training process by enabling the sharing of activities and approaching the situations that are experienced in the company to real life situations.

The group of participants have an active role in all the different steps of the work: from warming up their body and their voice to improving their emotional awareness and preparing and playing a number of improvisations. 
The stage training enhances self-esteem and awareness and enables having better relationships with others.
The workshop may focus on a specific skill related to the behaviour; for example the effective communication, the emotional intelligence, the leadership, dealing with conflicts, the feed-back and change management.
Sharing a stage project is a wonderful teambuilding experience, too. That is the actors’ metaphor who, as single players, may become a real “stage company” thus creating something beautiful all together. In that way, new and strong energies and a deep sense of belonging are felt by participants.
We are going to describe the two typical steps of the stage work.



OUTLINE OF THE PROGRAM – 1

Duration
The workshop lasts two days.
Facilitators
The workshop is run by an experienced directors/actors.
Location
It takes place in a theatre.
Dress code
Participants wear comfortable clothes and sneakers. Stage clothes will be given out.



OUTLINE OF THE PROGRAM- 2

First day

The first phase: the lab
The stage workshop starts with the actor’s lab: participants/actors start their “journey” getting closer to the stage that symbolizes a “safe space”. Here, they can explore, improve their listening skills (how to perceive themselves, the others, the group), the ability to get in touch with others by developing
empathy within a specific environment and improving their emotional and relational skills that stage techniques imply.
Afterwards, the point of view of the participant/actor shifts to the participant/director’s one. This alternation of glances has got two main targets: exploiting the similarities between the role of the stage director and the role of the manager in the company environment. The actor-director-trainer teaches a number of exercises that help participants to embody different characters and roles thus discovering the best similarities and differences.
Trainers alternate during the whole work thus making easier for participants to shift from the active, experiential mode, to the reflective mode. They even teach how to internalize and understand lived experiences, the needed bridge for an ever-lasting learning.



OUTLINE OF THE PROGRAM- 3 

Second day

The second phase: the performance
During this phase, participants shift from a simple inner exploration of themselves, the others and their own skills to the choice of the role to be played in order to build a common project: putting on stage a simple show.
The participant/actor is engaged in giving shape to what he/she has learnt, he/she practices with the help of the other participants so that he/she will be able to change the acquired skills into eloquent actions.
Thanks to the improvisation technique, whose main principle is: “If I were…how would I behave…what would I say…how would I react…”. The participant/actor is always invited to react and find creative answers to possible unforeseen events.
All activities aim at putting the project on stage: working on the plot, choosing the right character to be played, organizing the stage design, choosing costumes and so on. All those aspects are a way to put into practice the different experiences, discovering the different and fascinating mechanisms that are implied in a role to express yourself in the most stimulating and unattended way.
The putting on stage phase metaphorically embodies the whole training project.


A final “space” will be used to understand all lived experiences. Participants, helped by their trainers will be invited to remember through their feelings and senses all the dimensions they have lived during the course, finding similarities between the leader manager’s skills and stage techniques, between the complexity of the actor/director role and the leader/manager’s one.
Our stage method is based on a main principle: considering the “stage space” not only as a simple space where you can train your skills but also a sort of protected space where each individual has got an active role and represents the core of the learning process.

© 2013 by Theatre for you. All rights reserved.