Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Theatre to help firms deal with workplace bullying

Theatre to help firms deal with workplace bullying

Feelings and emotions are often marginalised in the rational world of business, but Massey University’s expressive arts and business programmes hope to change all that with the development of a play about workplace bullying.

Dr Margot Edwards, a senior lecturer with the School of Management, wanted to create an effective intervention for dealing with bullying at work. Instead of
producing the usual seminar, she decided to write a play.

“I wanted to actually create something interactive to get people thinking in a different way about how bullying makes people

feel and what the reasons behind it might be,” Dr Edwards says.

“A play allows people to have a discussion about the characters and their behaviour, without accusing a colleague. It also allows you to reflect on your own experiences and how they made you feel. We all remember those scenes in our head when the boss came in and shouted at us, for example, and we think ‘I wished I’d said this’ – you can use those experiences to effect change.”

Now Dr Edwards is teaming up with the university’s theatre studies programme to get her play, titled ‘In the Red Corner’, ready for performance. Students from the Massey University Theatre Society will workshop it through an open reading in the Albany campus’ state-of-the-art Theatre Lab next week.

School of English and Media Studies lecturer Dr Rand Hazou says the project is a great opportunity for the business and expressive arts programmes to collaborate.

“The reading will be part of the students’ creative development and we’ll hopefully bring some clarity to Margot’s ideas and what she’s trying to achieve,” he says. “Plays always sound different when they are read out loud so we will help Margot to see and hear how her words come alive and give insights into how it can be redrafted and improved.”

Dr Hazou says the play fits well within the tradition of applied theatre, which he has a particular interest in.

“We introduced a new Applied Theatre paper here at Massey last semester – it looks at theatre applied outside conventional performance spaces as a way of bringing about social change.

“When Margot told me she had written a play about bullying and she wanted to develop it so it could be presented in workplaces to spark discussion, I thought, ‘Great, this is exactly what I’m interested in – theatre with a real-life application that tries to bring about change in the way we see things.’”

‘In the Red Corner’ is set in the fictional Blackrock General Hospital and shows the interaction between a bullying director of nursing and a nurse union representative. The content is inspired by the research findings of one of Dr Edwards’ PhD students whose thesis looks at workplace bullying in nursing.


“The researcher, Kate Blackwood, interviewed both nurses and management in hospitals and they are all really desperate for research that can lead to effective interventions,” Dr Edwards says. “Hospitals are high pressure workplaces so the impact of bullying on a person’s mental state in that environment can lead to serious mistakes.”

Dr Edwards says she first began to think about writing plays after using role play when teaching leadership skills.

“Role-playing can bring an idea alive – it might put students on the spot and make them feel awkward, but that’s what life is like. We’re always looking for ways to flip the classroom – I mean, who wants their lecturer to put up a slide that says here’s five things you should know about leadership?”

Dr Hazou agrees: “The expressive arts afford different ways of knowing. If you stage something like a play, it opens up different types of spaces in which people can engage and discuss, which is what you need if you want to bring about cultural change.”

There are already plans to perform ‘In the Red Corner’ at a harassment workshop later in the year and Dr Edwards hopes customised versions of the play will be taken into workplaces where bullying is known to occur. She says her hope is that workers “walk out of the room as different people to when they walked in.”

Down the track, both Dr Edwards and Dr Hazou would like to see Massey offer the services of an acting troupe to businesses, with theatre students being paid to perform thought-provoking plays in workplaces around the country.

“If there’s a gap there and Massey can play a role in filling it, fantastic,” Dr Hazou says.

Workshop details:

The open reading of ‘In the Red Corner’ by members of the Massey University Theatre Society will take place in the Albany campus Theatre Lab between 1-2pm on Wednesday July 30. The Theatre Lab is in the Sir Neil Waters Building and media are welcome to attend.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Eddie Izzard: UK Comedy Legend Returns

Hailed as one of the foremost stand up comedians of his generation. Star of stage and screen. Tireless supporter of charity. Runner. Political campaigner. Fashion Icon... February 2015, Eddie Izzard will bring his massive FORCE MAJEURE world tour to New Zealand with tickets going on sale at 10am on Tuesday 28th October. More>>

Festival Starts 28 Oct: Improv Fest Makes Up New Show

For any other festival, finding out less than two weeks from showtime that half the cast of a programmed show can’t make it to New Zealand would be a nightmare. Instead, the New Zealand Improv Festival Director Jennifer O’Sullivan saw an opportunity ... More>>

NZ Music Awards Finalists: Lorde, Sol3 Mio Top 2014 Tuis Charge

Lorde has taken the music world by storm during the past year and she co-leads the 2014 Tui charge with five finalist spots. Joining her is newcomer family opera trio, Sol3 Mio. They are followed closely by Ladi6 and David Dallas, both up for four awards each. More>>

From 'Luther' Creator: Major New Zealand Crime Series For BBC

Libertine Pictures and writer Neil Cross have teamed up with leading international TV producer Carnival Films to develop a major new crime series set in Rotorua. Libertine will develop the contemporary drama series with Carnival, producer of internationally-acclaimed British period drama Downton Abbey, for the BBC. More>>

ALSO:

Family Statement: Death Of Ewen Gilmour

“Ewen was a much loved and cherished member of our family, he was a larger than life character and by his very nature was kind, generous and always giving of his time to those who asked for his help." More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: St. Jerome's Laneway Festival - Line-Up Announced

Traversing seven cities and three countries, the festival has well and truly settled into its home in each state. From the grassy knolls and towering silos at home in Auckland, to the sparkling backdrop of the Maribyrnong... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: No Longer An Island

Simon Nathan reviews 'Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed': The idea that New Zealand is part of a large submerged continent is not new... There was renewed interest in the extent of offshore New Zealand from the 1970s onwards with the start of offshore drilling for oil and gas, and this was given impetus by a UN agreement which allowed countries to claim an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). More>>

Art: Simon Denny Recreates Kim Dotcom’s Personal Effects

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news