Acting Collaboratively


Interdisciplinary work teams made up of participants from different professional cultures can find it particularly difficult to work together. In the theatre, building ‘ensemble’ is a fundamental element of all actor-training programs and is vital to the collaborative process of both text-based theatre and improvised performance, and actors are trained to be both ‘in the moment’ on stage at the same time as being ready to respond. The process of simultaneously listening, thinking and reacting can be challenging for interdisciplinary groups who need to listen carefully (to what the parties are saying to them and to each other) and at the same time be ready to respond authentically and usefully without pre-supposing the outcome. In 2008 and 2009 I facilitated interactive workshops for interdisciplinary collaborative dispute resolution teams that included lawyers, accountants, counsellors and mediators. These hands-on workshops utilised improvisation, story-telling and theatre games to develop empathy, active listening and communication skills. This presentation will explore the value of actor training methodologies to develop collaborative skills outside the theatrical environment.




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The Author:

Ms Jane Bergeron