What is it?

An improvisation workout that skills participants for the future world of work, facilitated by some of South Africa’s top drama therapists and practitioners (Paula Kingwill, Heather Schiff and Lesley Bester) in collaboration with a team of uniquely experienced players and musicians, including music therapists and psychologists.

Improvisation? What exactly do you mean?

Improvisation rests on a simple philosophy: acceptance and extension. When someone offers you something – accept it, and add to it. Applied in the workplace, this technology enables us to recognise, develop and reward potential in the people around us, and has immense benefits for collaborative thinking, teamwork and collective knowledge. A culture of possibility develops – essential for any business or organisation to meet the challenges of today and the future.

OK. But does it really work?

Improvisation has been well documented as a theatre tool with powerful resonance for organisational development. In the USA and UK, and closer to home, practitioners are pushing the boundaries of systems evaluation and skills development, helping to build communities of craft and practise. Within organisations, improvisation skills lead to enhanced creativity, innovation, effective strategy, organizational vitality and alignment, better relationships, conflict resolution and storytelling.

But it’s scary… I don’t want to stand in front of a group of colleagues and make a fool of myself…

We improvise all the time. A lot of business is improvisation: ‘managing’ people, brainstorming, creating. However, the global workplace is changing fast, and sharpening our interactive skills is essential in order to flourish in a diverse world. As tempting as it is to think that we can live behind screens, or alongside machines – communicating effectively:  listening, encouraging, and speaking with clear purpose – is a critical – and valuable – skill in the workplace.

OK. I’m interested. What’s unique about this program?

PlaySkill is about working with your people. We simply become your partners in a problem-finding, problem-solving process, while developing skills at the same time. PlaySkill is also adaptable, allowing us to direct activities towards exploring pretty much any workplace challenge, such as performance, transformation, racism, depression or substance abuse. However, we’ll never tell you what you’ve learnt.   We’ll just empower you to connect the dots yourself.

So it’s unstructured and open-ended?

Absolutely not. To facilitate productive improvisation takes immense skill. We always know where we want to be going, and have a plan – but it’s subject to change at a moment’s notice. The years of exposure TakeAwayTheatre has had to the workplace, and the myriad issues we’ve explored, combined with the improvisation know-how of our colleagues at the Bonfire Theatre Company (they’ve recently worked with UCT’s Graduate School of Business as well as Sanlam) make the PlaySkill experience dynamic in the true sense of the word, and a highly enjoyable way to energise and develop the potential of the people around you.

Still. It’s not essential to the running of my business…

OK. Fine. You work in a business that makes bolts. But somewhere, some part of the system is swelling, flexing, straining. Perhaps it’s the orders department or dispatch. Improvisation will reveal that – which is why, as part of our offering, we’ll provide an (anonymous) executive summary of each session we conduct. Our sessions are as much about problem-finding as much as they are about problem-solving.

Fine. How much?

People? Ideally 8-15 people per session, but depending on the project, maybe more.  Boodle: Between  10-25K, depending on task, volume, personnel and duration: most often between 2 and 4 hours.

Mmm. I’m not sure I have that much in my budget.

You’ll make it back very quickly, and in different ways. People who’ve taken part typically work more effectively – and are happier and more fulfilled – after the process.

Maybe for a while! But the effects won’t last.

Not true! People learn best when they’re enjoying themselves. But it’s true that these are skills we’re teaching: and they need practise. While ‘quick wins’ do occur, the process of improvisation skills acquisition is something that most participants tell us they’d like to continue. Which is why we offer…


A series of Coaching Workouts, after the start-up session.

Another fortune!

Not at all. It’s an investment that depends on volume. They can be as little as 3.5K a pop. That’s good value for an entertaining, effective and well-directed problem-finding and solving process.

OK. I think I understand. But I want to know more… What next?

Contact Sean O’Connor at or try him on his cell: 083.9888.258. And start considering what transformation you want to see within and around you…

TakeAWAY Theatre
TakeAway Theatre and Training est 2001