What We Do
We provide DEIB training using drama-based methods that demonstrably increase people’s sense of belonging at work. When people feel like they belong in their workplace, organisations experience improvements in recruitment, retention, productivity and innovation. This drives growth.
Many people in organisations face barriers due to their race, gender, religion, sexuality or socioeconomic background. Company websites and social media sometimes paint a picture of harmony at odds with reality. Conventional equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) training can feel disconnected from the lived experience of individuals and teams.
For people who have never experienced discrimination, it can be hard to see or even believe it happens in their organisation. For people who have experienced discrimination or seen it happen to others, it can be hard to speak up because of the fear of confrontation or damage to their career.
Ignoring the issue impacts recruitment, retention, productivity and innovation. This damages growth. Addressing the issue requires systemic cultural change. Systemic cultural change starts with acknowledging challenges.
And so do we …
We use drama to hold up a mirror to organisations, showing the reality of colleagues who face barriers at work. And we give staff at all levels of the organisation the confidence to have uncomfortable conversations about bias and exclusion. Working with organisations and individuals in the following ways, we aim to contribute to a world in which everyone feels like they belong in the workplace.
Inclusive organisations begin with inclusive leadership. We work with HR, EDI and other professionals to help define what truly inclusive leadership will look like at their organisation. Getting this right, ensures buy-in from leadership teams. By “buy-in”, we don’t just mean “tick-box-buy-in”. We mean “whole-hearted-we-get-this-buy-in”.
We then co-create DEIB training programmes that enable these organisations to create and sustain such inclusive cultures. Each programme is as unique as the client but typically draws on lived experience recordings, forum theatre, and practice conversations.
Lived experience recordings
We start by interviewing people in the organisation who feel marginalised. We record actors speaking their words, conveying the emotional impact while maintaining the speaker’s anonymity. We play these voice recordings to staff in facilitated sessions to prompt reflection and discussion.
Drawing on interviews with staff, we script and present a scene that shows one or more workplace challenges. The scene is re-run, with the audience encouraged to shout “stop!” when they see something they want to change. This freezes the action and audience members suggest different actions. The actors take on an agreed audience suggestion and re-start the scene from the point at which it was frozen.
Through further rounds of suggestions, the audience explores the impact of different communication behaviours. They can try out different approaches and see the outcomes. The actors share their feedback, how it felt for their character, and the impact of trying a new approach.
We run separate sessions for executives, managers and staff to encourage sharing, experimentation and learning with peers in a safe space. We also run one-off practice sessions for individuals wanting to practice tricky conversations with trained DEIB professionals.
Practice conversations focus on participants’ real-life experiences. These might be conversations from the past that they want to revisit and learn from. Or, they may be future conversations that they wish to rehearse and train for, rather than just jumping in and hoping for the best.
After discussing the situation and their goals, participants choose options they’d like to try out. They practise the conversation with the actor-coach, who plays the other person in the conversation. The actor-coach gives feedback on how the participant did, how the participant made them feel, and specific, actionable advice on what to do differently. Participants get a chance to re-run the conversation and implement the feedback there and then.
Practice conversations suit individuals or small groups of two to three participants.
People with professional development budgets or those who wish to self-fund can book and pay for practice conversations directly via our website.
For event organisers
If you run an industry event and want to shine the light on diversity and inclusion challenges, we can help you put well-researched challenges and co-created lived-experience solutions on the stage, literally.
Our professional researchers, script writers, and actors can create a bespoke forum theatre performance for your event. During an interval, an experienced actor facilitator will lead an audience discussion. The performance is then re-run. Audience members are invited to shout out “Stop!” and suggest different ways characters can act out the next part. They get to change the script – and the outcomes – for the better.
Read a review of our ‘Below The Surface’ event at Dive In 2023, the festival for diversity and inclusion in the insurance sector.
“This was such a great session and a totally different way of engaging with the topic… you make people feel it, not just talk about it. Powerful stuff.”Linda Miller, Head of Sponsorship & Events, Lloyd’s
Whether you work for one of our clients or not, if you have a difficult conversation you think you could benefit from practising with a trained DEIB actor-coach, we can help.
Our practice conversations focus on real-life experiences. You may wish to revisit and learn from past conversations. Or, they may be future conversations you wish to rehearse and train for. It could be that you want to speak up for yourself. It could be that you want to speak up for someone else. It could even be that one of these short videos showcasing some of the typical workplace conversations we help people navigate is all you need to help you speak up.
After discussing the situation and your goal, you get to practise your conversation in a safe and confidential space with one of our actor-coaches playing the other person. The actor-coach gives feedback on how you did, how you made them feel, and specific, actionable advice on what to do differently. You get a chance to re-run the conversation and implement the feedback there and then.
Practice conversations last for one hour and cost £249.
You can book and pay for practice conversations directly on our website.