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The benefits of a theatrical approach to management training

Drama has provided a form of entertainment across many different cultures and time periods, but it's also frequently used for much more. The theatre turns a spotlight on the human condition and many practitioners have used this spotlight to educate and inform as well as to entertain.

Plato was philosophising and educating through drama as far back as the 4th Century BC, while a Saxon nun named Hrosvitha wrote plays to educate her largely illiterate congregations on moral issues in the 10th Century AD. Closer to the modern day, psychologist Jacob L. Moreno introduced the concept of psychodrama to help people investigate and evaluate their lives and behaviours.

Increasingly, businesses and organisations of all types and sizes are incorporating drama into their overall training programmes and you can find these services from companies such as Steps. Stepsprovides drama based management training and the company has clients as diverse as Disney, British Airways and the DVLA. This diversity is a testament to their success and makes them an example of one firm you might want to talk to if considering your own theatrical approaches to training.

Of course, before you make this decision you need to understand the benefits of this kind of experiential approach to training – so here are some of the advantages of management training which use drama-based techniques.

One of the key benefits is that this kind of training can be more engaging than other concepts. It is also incredibly versatile and can be used to train across many different fields and subject areas.

There are various different techniques, some of which involve direct participation on behalf of the trainees. Exercises such as role-playing can be an effective way to work through hypothetical situations, but scripted and interactive performances can also be great for stimulating discussion and working through complex or challenging issues.

Drama-based training can easily be tailored to meet the size and composition of the group and to achieve the desired learning outcomes.

Drama-based training can also be used in conjunction with more traditional training techniques. It needn't form the whole or even the majority of any specific training programme, but it can augment other parts of the programme in an effective, memorable and often fun way.

Sceptics can rest assured that there's nothing 'woolly' about drama-based training techniques. Professionally run programmes have clear structures and learning objectives that are tailored to the business, setting and context in which they are being applied. Crucially, it must provide learning that can be transferred from the training arena to the workplace, and an increasing number of national and global brands are coming to realise that drama-based training can do just that.

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