In order for our work to have the greatest impact possible, it is important for you to share as much as you can about the climate in your department/discipline/institution and the goals you have for your performance. Early in the planning stages for your event, we will schedule a meeting for you to discuss these topics with a theatre program staff member. In preparation for this meeting, please consider the following questions.
Thinking critically about the 'status quo' in your context may help you to identify specific needs that the Players could be helpful in addressing.
Knowing how much familiarity your audience will have with the selected topic will help us to know how much orienting information we'll need to provide and how we might best facilitate discussion. This information will also give us a sense of what kinds of resistance we might encounter.
Would you like to use the Players performance at your event to:
- Provoke a conversation within a group?
- Prompt an exchange of ideas between groups?
- Diagnose and surface context-specific climate issues?
- Raise awareness about experiences that fall outside of participants' personal history?
- Collectively generate strategies to mitigate problematic dynamics or processes?
The people whom you invite to this performance will shape the nature of the session that we offer. Some things that you might consider as you think about possible audiences are:
- If you have people in leadership positions present (whether of your department/unit, or the university as a whole), it will send a clear message that the institution/organization supports the goals of the session and has made change in this area a priority. However, some participants may feel uncomfortable engaging in candid conversation if people in leadership positions are present and/or if those same leaders have sent mixed or negative messages about their commitments in the past.
- If you have people with dissimilar roles, positions, or disciplinary situations share their ideas with each other, it can be a great way of breaking people out of conceptual or behavioral ruts. If you invite individuals of a similar rank, situation, or discipline, it provides a common base of experience for quickly identifying issues and/or strategic interventions.
- No matter the rank and role of your audience, your participants will likely have a range of social identities known and unknown to you that will affect their experience of and participation in the session. If you are arranging groups/tables, you might want to be mindful of group composition so people do not feel exposed or fetishized for their ideas or positionality.
Players sessions include theatrical material and facilitated discussion that allow our audiences to think through the issues raised in a session with our performers and each other. Our sessions typically last between 90 and 120 minutes. Choosing a shorter session time may help attract a larger audience (as we know, academics are always busy!), but it will limit the depth with which we can explore the issues presented. In certain rare instances, we do offer shorter and longer session times based on the issues discussed and the goals of the event.