TakeAway is a live learning and communications company. We specialise in tricky workplace issues, such as fraud, substance abuse, wellness management, disability, change management, employment equity and diversity management, amongst others.
So why is theatre so effective when it comes to dealing with these issues?
- Theatre gives a workplace audience an opportunity to reflect on an issue without being complicit in it. Basically, audience members have a rare opportunity to discuss the behaviours, attitudes and choices of people very much like them – the characters the performers are portraying – without fear of implication, blame or reprisal. For example, a show on cultural diversity and transformation for a client in East London allowed us to portray some commonly held attitudes in the business, which in turn had people in the audience nodding their heads and telling us afterwards: ‘when such and such happened in the play, it was good to see the person reacting differently to how I would act. I learnt there is another way, that is probably better for all of us…’
- Creative license means that performers can speak the unspoken, for the audience’s benefit. Audience members also get a chance to evaluate their own behaviour when they see someone else’s interpretation of it. In this way, Anything that doesn’t ring true then, that’s not real for the audience, fails them. As such, poorly researched, badly written or weakly performed theatre in the workplace involves a betrayal of the audience – and can cause resentment and alienation. We are always very aware that we have just one chance to connect with an audience – generating a good type of pressure which results in shows of a high standard, which we – and most importantly you, our client – can be proud of.
- Another key reason why theatre is such an effective workplace tool for tricky issues is that it is startling in its execution – mesmerising, live, colourful… crazy, even – and this is not something that happens every day. It’s unique and unusual, which is why it is so memorable. It’s not a powerpoint or a speech - it’s different, it gets your atention – and that’s why it works so well.
- Lastly, there’s the fact that the issues we tackle are usually the ones that no-one wants to talk about, but desperately need to! Like fraud, or HIV, for example. It’s in your interest that your staff understand the business’s stance on these things, as well as the services and structures that surround them – yet no-one in the business will voluntarily educate themselves about these things if they feel it doesn’t effect them.
Our shows might be understood as ice-melters. Dan Baron Cohen, cultural activist and elder sibling of the legendary Sacha Baron Cohen (creator of AliG, Borat etc.), taught us in a workshop in 2009 that thinking of shows as ‘ice-breakers’ reveals a lack of respect for an audience’s resistance. And resistance is what we’re working with. Thus we prefer melting… besides, it’s more seductive.
We have performed in all of our beautiful provinces and most of our neighbouring countries. Every show we do has integrity and is performed to the same high standards.