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Why Theatre based learning for adults in the work environment?  

The best way a child learns to stay away from danger is to experience it. Guardians may even allow the child to go through it as long as they can handle the situation, and use other methods for situations they cannot. These real experiences create a deep understanding at the intellectual, conscious and subconscious level, resulting in long lasting behavioural change.

Obviously anything learnt from experience has the best impact on the learning curve. Unfortunately as we grow older, neither all real experiences are safe, nor will we be fortunate enough to be given second chances based on real experiences. And no guardians to protect us from the unexpected.

So what is the next best tool for learning? – A simulation of the stark reality in a safe environment?

In modern times, technology helps create some beautiful simulations. We can play around with these to create companies, design & market products, plan financials, acquire, sell, build, and just about do anything when it comes to interacting with inanimate commodities. What happens when real people, real conflicts and responses are needed? When connections beyond the intellectual realm influence results? The easiest (and cheapest!) technology here is to pretend-play with each other and/or to sit back and watch our points of view come alive, in our simulated safe environment that allows for experimentation.

Using theatre as a tool for training by involving every participant in the process, stimulates varied perspectives. It immediately showcases the conflicts, the impact of decisions, styles of communication, team chemistry, leadership challenges, personal strengths/improvement areas, understanding of organizational values, unconscious biases, impact on diversity and a whole range of human emotions that will need attention.

The effectiveness of using theatre can be measured firstly for identifying improvement areas, and secondly for involving the participants to be solution providers. Since this is done as part of the role play and storytelling, it brings about a deep emotional connect and the truth of the moment, resulting in very high ownership and involvement for the solutions. Multiple intelligence engagement promotes profound understanding and very high retention of the ensuing drama. The safe and fun environment of imagination and human emotions, opens the mind and helps bring out the child inside to respond with delight, honesty, recognition and hope. It raises awareness unconsciously and helps in building an environment of trust, education, reflection and debate, resulting in ACTion for progress and change.

– Shridevi

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