Questo numero monografico raccoglie una serie di saggi che mettono a fuoco un tema solo in anni recenti entrato nella ricerca accademica, soprattutto italiana: il possibile impiego del teatro e delle tecniche di matrice teatrale nel mondo dell’impresa e, più in generale, del lavoro.
Bringing together the world of work and the world of the theater is often considered a seductive but ‘scandalous’ operation in our culture, since it relates a system directed towards productivity, rationality and profit with a system of an artistic nature based on play, expressiveness and creativity. And yet the points of contact, real or potential, between the work-system and the theater-system are multiple: forms, instruments and techniques of theatrical origin have been used for some time now by businesses with different objectives. The world of work explores the world of the theater and is fascinated by its strength, its power to communicate, its playful dimension, the stage presence of the actor, the use of the body and the voice. This paper presents an overview of instruments of training in theatrical mediation. The last part reflects
on a possible line of development for the future, hypothesizing the experience of the workshop and the training of the actor as an instrument for discovering the centrality of the worker-actor’s body-mind.
The knowledge and application of techniques of oratory, far from hindering originality, individual talent or
limiting sincerity, help to achieve a full mastery of one’s power of communication within any system.
Rhetoric is not very different from the conventional systems that regulate the figurative arts, music or
literature, whose expressions require practical and technical means to convey emotion and passion.
A good mastery of the techniques of the body and of public communication is thus indispensable in
enhancing the effectiveness of the network of interpersonal relationships in the workplace.
The Italian League for Theatrical Improvisation, draws on many years’ experience in the field of communication
in the business sector. Based on the relationship between actors and audiences, it is transferred to the
relevant contexts through the flexibility of the methodology of improvisation. The character specific to this
type of theatrical training – which has also become a basic choice in the practice of work in our company –
is a playful approach in the broadest sense of the term.
Agood improvvisatore is capable of finding solutions to unexpected situations, making decisions, using
the information and abilities one possesses (creativity, intuition in actions and relationships, the ability to listen,
the experiences that underlie everyone’s training and experience). The essential features of the work on
improvisation can be summed up as follows: Communication, Creativity, Listening, Integration, Action on the
Styles of Relationships and Contact, Action on the Dynamics and the Cohesion of Work Groups. Fields of
application to business range widely: from convention to training and intervention in the social field.
This approach does not form part of the traditional methodologies of intervention in business, but it
supplies tools that are well-suited to the new needs. It responds innovatively and effectively to changes in the
quality of business relationships and enables staff to cope with and manage creatively the difficulties imposed
by the rapid and continuous transformations of society.
This paper runs through some personal memories of almost twenty years and the evolution of the relationship
between the theatre and business with its needs in training, communication and problem-solving. It ranges
from the period when ‘Business Theatre’ did not constitute either a clear and experimentable concept, and
even less a conflict of copyright until the subsequent emergence and progressive development of a new practice
that saw theatres and businesses open their doors to each other, often through the mediation of the
immense archipelago of training.
And with the memories there emerge questions and also doubts that have accompanied my exploration
of a territory at first unknown and alien and then gradually more familiar, interesting and stimulating. There
follow, finally, some concluding observations that are intended as a small contribution to a discussion with a
great variety of accents and points of view, about the present expansion of the phenomenon, which is as
dynamic as it was slow in germinating in Italy.
All too often our working and personal life is constrained by seriousness. Duties, obligations, precepts,
whether of a social nature or self-imposed, absorb our attention, our effort to live our lives on the planet.
Laughter, however, embodies the need to communicate and is a creative force: the relationship between
laughter and well-being has always been understood. We discover our creativity by clowning. We need to
bring out, to liberate, the creativity that is inside each of us, with its whole charge of freshness and enthusiasm,
leaving space for playfulness and joy. Laughter needs to be completely rehabilitated because it has noble
origins, being even related to the genesic act of Wisdom (Proverbs 8,30-31). By reconstructing an inner space
in which to allow silence to speak, we can again listen to the echo of the divine joy and delight at a creation
that is achieved day by day. And if, on recreating an inner space, we rediscover the joy we have lost (the ‘perfect
joy’ of St. Francis), of which laughter is the outward expression, it is likewise true that by spreading
smiles around, we facilitate the reconstruction of this spiritual place. This is why today, more than ever, we
urgently need laughter. It is a primary need whose urgency and scope are perceived whenever we go to work
in a theatre, in a classroom, in a business, in a gymnasium or in the wing of a prison.
Activating theatrical communication in a business, both as a premise for the creation of a real community of workers and as the result of a possible community in action, satisfies the profound urge for relationships inherent in today’s society and world. A ‘bottom up’ business theatre can help to eradicate the roots of disquiet and malaise and restore the circulation of an ethical paradigm, starting from the aesthetic experience of an enacted and participatory theatre, not merely contemplated, so restoring the individual to his/her reality, infusing new strength and bringing about change.
The new hero of our time is the homo sentiens, bulimically in quest of a hyper-emotive dimension. After the
aegis of rationality, emotion is therefore the key word for our century and its unceasing motion is a manifestation
But the emotional sphere lacks the complexity of the affective sphere, which pertains to collective
dynamics, debate and dialectic. Individual expression and collective requirements are the nodal points of the
business theatre experience, a form of training that acts on the business universe to reveal the web of connections
between the Self, the Other and Reality.
The case history examined is based on many years’ work with the Gruppo Norman, an Italian group for
the dynamic management of real-estate assets, a firm with a strongly humanistic culture. The paper ranges
from creative workshops to the foundation of the first Permanent Business-Theatre Company, which staged
the theatrical production Rumors, freely adapted from William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, at
the Teatro dell’Arte-CRT in March 2006.
The paper is divided into two sections. The first describes the fundamental aspects of social theater: a theatrical experience very common today, which develops outside the normal contexts of the professional drama and embodies the evolutionary interaction between artistic-theatrical procedures and practices and the socio- affective needs and possibilities of the person, the group and the community to which the group belongs, so restoring open forms of drama and festivities. The second section of the text inscribes the experience of the theater in business as part of the broader field of social theater and so identifies some of its distinctive features through a description of certain exper- iments that have been conducted. The text brings out the specific nature of the contribution that the theatre can make to the development of productive organizations. The theatre is particularly interesting for both a training in areas inherent in relationships and communications – soft skills – and in the development, in phas- es of change, of processes of observation and evaluation in participation with the organizational culture, fol- lowed by paths of integrated and supportive training. Finally the text presents the need for a strong contrac- tual partnership with the business, given the intensity of the work that the theater presents. Also desirable is an adequate training in social theater for those who intend to work with this method in business training.
A small web agency is taken over by a big firm. The staff is expanded with the arrival of new professional figures and the consequent necessity of forming a team in which roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. To overcome the problems of relationships, a series of encounters are proposed to the people involved in the process of transforming the business. The encounters are structured making use of the techniques of a theatre workshop, with a close concern for interpersonal and group dynamics. The introduction of the sphe- re of role play and performance made it possible to deal indirectly with critical situations and accelerated an otherwise long and laborious process.