Drama for Life Performance Solutions – Just Business
The Performance Solutions project is based in the Drama for Life department at the University of the Witwatersrand. Drama for Life draws from a pool of knowledge and a community of alumni to put together teams of facilitators, performers, directors, coaches and researchers to craft unique processes in support of organisation development projects. We collaborate with all stakeholders, including our client, the community the organisation functions in, board of investors, employees and relevant entrepreneurial enterprises to craft solutions that are sustainable, ethical and efficacious for all involved.
Drama for Life enhances dialogue for purposes of social transformation through research, teaching and learning and community engagement. We achieve this through a critical reflexive and therapeutic approach that relates to current social realities and the rich indigenous knowledge of Africa.
Dr. Petro Janse van Vuuren has worked in the field of community and organisation development for the past 16 years. She is an executive coach, trained by the Gordon Institute of Business Science and currently a research fellow at Drama for Life, Wits university. She has a PhD in Drama and Performance studies and uses her art to craft organisation training and development processes. She has run successful projects with Mediclinic, Discovery Health, the Shanduka Group, Sanlam Investments and British American Tobacco among others.
Other project members
Munyaradzi Chatikobo is currently the Cultural Leadership, Fundraising and Partnerships Programme Manager at Drama for Life-Wits School of Arts. He has work experience in Cultural Leadership and Arts Management, which is backed by sound academic background, in-service training and 18 years of hands-on experience. Munyaradzi graduated from University of Zimbabwe in 1995 with a Special Honours in Theatre Arts. In 2009 he successfully completed a Master of Arts Degree in Applied Drama and Theatre under Drama for Life. His area of interest is Cultural Leadership, Creative Industries and Cultural Policy in Southern Africa.
Caryn Green has a Masters Degree in Arts and Culture Management from the University of the Witwatersrand. Since graduating, Caryn has supplemented her knowledge and practice of management with market research experience and financial management training. Her qualifications and experience in the field is based in a reflective approach to monitoring and evaluating applied drama practice and measuring the impact of the discipline on social development.
Tshego Khutsoane is a Performer, Facilitator, Educator, and Theatre-maker with a M Dramatic Arts from The University of the Witwatersrand. Tshego has experience directing for stage, site and community based theatre. She has extensive experience in facilitating applied drama and theatre processes with schools, target groups and communities as well as collaborative-educating in the areas of performance, improvisation, voice and applied drama and theatre techniques. Recently Tshego has become involved in organisation development and coaching as facilitator and coaching assistant.
Hamish Neill is an applied facilitator, theatre-maker and performer. Having completed an MA in Applied Drama and Theatre with Drama for Life at Wits University, Hamish is currently the projects manager at Drama for Life and lecturer of the third year Applied Theatre course. He specializes in performance ethnography, diversity workshopping, community dialogue facilitation and strategic theatre production.
Sibongile Bhebhe has a Masters degree in Applied Drama from Drama for Life, Wits University. After graduating, Sibongile has lectured Theatre of the Oppressed pedagogy and research at Drama for Life. She has vast experience in the field of practice based research. She is currently pursuing her PhD studies at Wits University and is focusing on how Appreciative Inquiry can be used to enhance the life experience of marginalised and oppressed people. Her study has a profound impact on the social transformation and development of women in particular.
Apart from these team members, we draw on a large pool of alumni that have all been trained in our methodology and ethic. These include individuals from a representative number of African communities and we can supply actor-facilitators in every official language of our country as well as many African countries including Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Malawi.
POSSIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS TO A DIVERSITY FOCUSSED PROJECT
Catalysing theatre productions: In collaboration with our client, we craft a theatre piece that can open up conversation and training processes around the challenges the organisation wants to address. The theatre performance is catalysed out of data gathering from baseline research to ensure the performance and supplementary interventions are relevant and responsive to the client and community. This process will further ensure that the content and method are appropriate to the data gathered.
Theatre based workshops: Complimentary to and depended upon the catalysing theatre productions, we facilitate workshops that involve role-play and embodiment as training methodologies. These processes allow participants to rehearse new behaviours in new contexts and get immediate feedback on their performance.
Community dialogues: Flowing from the catalysing theatre productions, we run conversations that invite the responses and input of the worker community in relation to the organisation. This process is based on an Appreciative Inquiry approach that values the strengths and contributions of the community and builds on these to forge a healthy organisational culture.
Ongoing coaching and mentoring: We provide ongoing support of selected teams and individuals as they integrate learning into organisational life. We offer both team coaching and individual coaching support.
Integrated training solutions: Our process and learning designers collaborate with other trainers and consultants to design processes that can integrate metaphors and language generated through the theatre work and role-plays into more traditional training programmes. We also provide coaching and facilitation support for such trainers to encorporate embodied learning practices into their work and further extends the sustainability of the training through whole brain and behavioural integration.
Monitoring and evaluation: As a research based project, we ensure that all our work is based on the latest insights from research in the fields of applied theatre and organisation development. We also monitor and evaluate our progress against a combination of criteria including those that flow from our research and those pre-negotiated with stakeholders and investors at the outset.
Creative Business Strategising: To support leadership, we hold workshop space that allows stakeholders to assess, process, and strategise their responses and actions in relation to data produced in the preceding workshops and interventions.
It is important to us that our clients understand and resonate with our ethical approach and values. These can be articulated as follows:
1. Deep collaboration: We craft our work in deep collaboration with all stakeholders involved. We do not use the powerful tools of storytelling and theatre to ‘download’ information top down to participants. Rather, we create work that introduces ideas and then facilitate conversations to allow audience members to interrogate and make sense of those ideas for themselves. It is important to us to value the input of all stakeholders equally.
2. Sustainability of humans as resources: Sustainability to us means that no process can be a fly by night affair. It requires relationship building, negotiation and development over time. We are deeply interested in the sustainability of the organisations that we support, but also of the human aspects and assets of the community that will inform the organisational culture.
3. Symbiotic negotiation: We support and enable leadership styles that seek to negotiate solutions between the organisation and the community, between leaders and workers, between skilled and unskilled labour so that all impacted parties benefit. This means that all parties also have to be willing to adapt and rework solutions based on multi-stakeholder input.
4. Intrinsic value and contribution: we support the notion that every individual and every social grouping has value and can contribute positively to the workings of an organisation and its health. This means that every person working in an organisation, but also the community outside of the organisation that supports the individuals have value and can contribute something unique to the organisation that the leaders may not be aware of at the outset. We work to surface and incorporate these in all the work we do..
5. Rigorous self reflexivity: We hold ourselves and everyone we work with accountable to honour their responsibilities and agreements they make. We train and support everyone involved in our projects to be self reflexive and able to see their own perspectives and positioning in relation to those of the other stakeholders so that prejudice, egoism, nepotism, domination and corruption is never an option