Frequently Asked Questions
What Techniques Does Play4Real Use?
We typically use any of the following:
We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
There are times when everyone needs to have a conversation at work that takes courage. Getting a tricky issue out in the open, dealing with the other person’s behaviour – or both – can be a nightmare.
We’ll help you rehearse that ‘nightmare meeting’, to give you some powerful new ways of getting it to go well.
Most people hate roleplay – but the beauty of our method is that all the acting is done by professionals. First, you’ll brief the actor on why you find a person and/or situation difficult. Then we try out the conversation, in which you interact – as yourself – with the actor-in-character.
Every so often we stop to give you coaching and feedback about tiny changes you could make to your own behaviour. You have the chance to put those into practice immediately – and see for yourself that those slight adjustments can have a huge effect on the way others respond to you, and the success of your conversations!
What is Forum Theatre?
The Play4Real team creates a customised piece of drama on the basis of careful research into the story of your chosen business issue. A metaphorical or ‘parallel universe’ approach brings your story to life, but never points the finger at particular people.
Our actors perform this play as a way of illuminating business relationships and behaviours afresh for you and your colleagues. The action is usually open-ended; it could concern past or present experience, or could depict a future scenario with which you’d like to play ‘what if…?’
The facilitator then guides you, the audience, ‘in forum’. You redirect the actors-in-character, who improvise around your suggestions.
This may bring the fiction to a happy resolution; it will certainly show up the behaviours that are getting in the way, giving everyone a chance to voice opinions on how to improve things – and instantly see their ideas succeed or fail in practice.
It’s ‘roleplaying by proxy’: engaging with a fictitious world in a way that seems so real, you go away with new insights and new inspiration about tackling actualities.
Below are some extracts from The House that Danny Built, a custom-written play commissioned by Arts & Business in association with St Andrews Knowledge Consortium.
Using the metaphor of a couple going through some difficulties in their marriage, the play explores the relationship between two companies working in partnership on a joint project.
Part 1 shows extracts from the play, professionally performed in situ by professional actors, to an audience from both companies.
In Part 2, the actors engage in character with the audience to draw out their insights about the behaviours and relationships. The actors then replay scenes, improvising around the suggestions made by the audience on ways of behaving differently to see whether these work or not.
In Part 3, the audience discuss what they’ve learned.
Forum Theatre Demo - Part 2
Forum Theatre Demo - Part 1
Forum Theatre Demo - Part 3
How does Shadowing and Feedback Work?
"How am I coming across?" Sometimes the more senior your company status, the harder it is to get straight answers to that.
Play4Real will 'shadow' you - or your whole team - as you conduct or attend meetings, interact informally around the workplace, negotiate on the phone, compose emails... whatever business activity you all most want to receive feedback about.
Every effort is of course made to carry this out with sensitivity and as much 'invisibility' as possible. Periods of observation are sandwiched between private consultation and coaching sessions, in which practical exercises help participants with voice, body and all aspects of personal impact.
It's an invaluable way to raise awareness of behaviours, and help each individual to understand the non-verbal nuances that can make or break successful working relationships.
How can ‘PLAY’ be ‘REAL’?
Would you have me play false to my nature? Rather say I play the one I am.
If you're in business, the chances are that you're concerned about performance - personally, in a group, or as a company. So how much value do you also put... on rehearsal?
Actors know they're unlikely to get the real thing right on the night unless they first rehearse - play, try out, experiment with - whatever they need to deliver. That's how they make sure they're really reaching the audience.
Play4Real brings the world of the theatre into business – in order to help business people rehearse. That means getting to grips with what’s going on in every moment of your business performance – by discovering how your voice, your body, your behaviours help or hinder the impact you want to create.
By creating a supportive structure in which to play around with ideas and behaviours, we’ll enable you to discover which ones work best, and how to perfect them through practice.
We’re not here to turn businesspeople into actors – but rather, to use the power of an actor’s approach to help you become fully yourself in the business world, both as an individual and as part of your team or organisation.
How does 'Rehearsal' help me in my business role?
Life's like a play; it's not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.
Have you ever prepared for a difficult meeting by playing out a “what if” scenario, either alone, or perhaps with a colleague or partner?
Or tried out a presentation in advance, on your feet, out loud – and then asked yourself “what if I did it… a different way instead?”
If so, great – that’s rehearsal!
Rehearsal enables you to experience before you actually deliver. You can then adjust things in the light of new insights – and wind up feeling a lot more confident when you deliver for real.
Playing “what if…?” enables you to break free of unproductive patterns of behaviour. Rehearsal opens up choice – which you can then apply anywhere, with anyone. Not just in formal presentations, but wherever you need to make an impact as:
…a team player
…or in any other role your work demands of you.
How will it work for my business?
Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.
We believe in starting with exactly where you are in order to help you get to where you want to be. That’s because the smallest change to the way you behave can make the biggest difference to the impact you have on others.
…You or your business may already be performing well – but want the extra edge to take you from excellent to exceptional.
…Or you may feel held back by a specific issue between people or teams that’s getting in the way of you working as one company.
…Or you may have a new idea that you’d like to try out, without worrying about the consequences if it doesn’t quite go according to plan.
…Or you may want to improve the impact of your presentations, meetings, or general business interactions – but don’t know where to begin.
Whatever you need, we’ll work with you to design and deliver the perfect programme.