Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Learning for business through drama

This was me as Sam Pickles pleading with my 'daughter'
Rosie to visit her estranged mother, Dolly.

Annie, as a drunken Dolly, tells her daughter Rosie
that she shouldn't hate her

Annie and I got back from our week on a residential summer drama school and I didn't really give much feedback on my Blog. We were 2 of a group 24 completely unconnected people thrown together with two directors and two assistant directors. The task was, starting from scratch, to rehearse and perform in a public setting - within a week - the Australian play (set in the 1940's) called ‘Cloudstreet’ by Tim Winton

An amazing week for many reasons. I've been thinking about what I learned in that week from a business/organisation perspective;

1 – Getting out of the comfort zone …. A long way out!! ... is good!

2 – Seeing two talented directors illustrate real leadership

3 – The joy of being part of a team committed to delivering a product in a very tight schedule

4 – Realising how much we rely on others when the chips are down and when we feel vulnerable and out of our depth

5 – Seeing how much business can learn from the arts

6 – Keeping going when half way through the week our heads were telling us ‘we’ve made a big mistake coming here’

7 - Feeling the exhilaration of a successfully completed ‘project’ that customers enjoyed

8 - Realising life needs to be as much about doing different stuff as that stuff we are used to doing every day

More pictures can be seen here on Annie’s Blog


Joel D Canfield said...

One of my greatest thrills is seeing the converging of business and the arts. Artists learning to operate as a business; business folks appreciating the emotional art of business.

Seven years ago (wow! has it been that long?) I was talking about my music with a fellow web designer who's a classical pianist. We started creating a list of web developers we knew who were also musicians. There were a bunch.

My newest project is creating a seminar for authors and musicians who want to get a grip on business basics, and the gent I'm partnering with (coincidentally, another classical pianist) wants to co-author special versions of my new book for each of the two segments. He's an artist first, but he's learned the business side. Now he's fired up (as am I) to do some speaking, writing, and teaching.

I envy you the acting experience, Trevor. Makes me want, very much, to track down a local troup and see what might happen.

(And speaking of my book . . . )

Unknown said...

Wow. It sounds like a wonderful experience Trevor. And for what it's worth, I believe that theatre will be the defining business metaphor for the 21st century - finally displacing "war."

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Trevor, in the states I'm hearing a lot about seminars on acting for business leaders - perhaps an idea whose time has come. Joel, I love your project. In a parallel vein, I'll be leading seminars on "rock & roll teams" for business leaders. Tom, if I'm successful we'll be hearing rock & roll metaphors in the business lexicon as well.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks guys – we have unanimity about how much the arts can and should influence business.

Annie and I use drama in all our work in customer care workshops, communication workshops and our unique 'Trust Me I'm a Patient' workshop.

Joel - Great news about the book – congratulations – it looks great – is it now published?

Tom – I love the fact “war” might disappear from the business vocabulary – people die in wars. I agree with you ‘theatre’ is a much more appropriate metaphor – thanks for your comment – hope to see you visit Simplicity Blog again

John – I'm looking forward to your book – is it on target for a launch in 2008?

Anonymous said...

Most people don't realize how "businesslike" drama really is. It requires all of the discipline of business operations, only under tighter constraints and usually requiring more passion! My day job, working for the US Government, is balanced with an occasional film/video acting gig. Last summer, I played a fire chief in a promotional video for a commercial concern. Challenges included:

--A night shoot after a full day on the day job, with the need to maintain energy levels nonetheless.

--Marginal weather conditions, including periodic rain and decreasing temperatures.

--Considerable committed resources from the local fire department, including a fire training building and ladder truck with crew - all coordinated with, and dependent on, my properly delivered lines.

--A change in technology when my pre-recorded lines on my ear prompter were rendered useless by last-minute script changes. After attempts at re-recording, followed by the "why am I here?" thoughts, I abandoned the technology for on-the-spot memorization.

A lot of lessons for application to business scenarios to be had acting in a production, I'm sure you will agree!

Joel D Canfield said...

Trevor, I'm making final changes to the proof copy today, then we're ordering the first case of real live sellable copies for my book release party October 4th at our local It's A Grind Coffee shop. Live loud rock and roll from Remley (Best Independent Band in Northern California, 2008) and legal stimulants.

Of course, it'll be available from my website and hopefully all kinds of other online venues as soon as the final changes are made.

Trevor Gay said...

Dick – I agree 100% - sounds like you had many challenges and I’m sure it helped you in the day job. The sense of achievement must have been great – well done. Best regards to you and the family – particularly little Lucy who remains in our prayers every day.

Joel – Great news. Do keep me in the loop and I will promote your book whenever I can on my Blog. I'm sure John O’Leary (just like me) will be pleased to see 'only legal stimulants’ will be allowed at your party – I’m sure John has only ever known the 'legal' stuff – eh John? :- )

JOHN O'LEARY said...

I'm sure that's true, Trevor, although there are large chunks of my life I don't seem to remember.

Trevor Gay said...

That's the right answer John - brilliant! :-)

Judith Ellis said...

Business and drama? I love it! You look like quite the thespian!

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Judith - many thanks - a fascinating experience indeed!

Steve Sherlock said...

Great work, Trevor. I love the stage and there are some many connections to be made with business.

BTW you qualify for posting at the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog this month, we do a Rapid Fire Learning each month picking five things we learned. This month we up'd it to eight as eight was our theme for the month. How many learnings did you list? Eight! Bingo!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Steve - good to hear from you - hope you are well. I will visit that site - thanks for the heads up.

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Trevor, I just ran across a perfect quote for your blog (tho I wouldn't be surprised if you've already discovered and used it), by the French aviator Antoine de Saint Exupery: "Have you ever thought...that all of man's industrial efforts, all his computations and calculations, all the nights spent working over draughts and blueprints, invariably culminate in the production of a thing whose sole and guiding principle is the ultimate principle of simplicity?...Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take way."

I found this gem in "Let My People Go Surfing" by Yvon Chouinard, the founder & owner of Patagonia.

Trevor Gay said...

Wonderful quote John - thanks and Amen to Antoine de Saint Exupery

Ava Venson said...

Hm, well wow, that's a rather unorthodox way to learn something business-related. Still, you make some good points there. You can find a lot of life-lessons to help you in your everyday life, after all. Glad to know that you found a connection between the production of a drama and running a business.