Annette Tierney set up her theatre-based learning company Theatre at Work in 2012. As part of the Boost My Business initiative, she spoke to Fiona Alston about how they help companies build better cultures and the impact Covid has had on their delivery.
"We help organisations improve their culture. Everything we do is all about behaviours, why people do the things that they do at work every day, and how all the different things that we do, how our choices, our actions, even our conversations can really influence the culture around us," explains Annette Tierney.
"It's not just about telling people what to do differently at work," she continues, "but engaging them as to why they need to do it, that's the important bit, that we specialise in. Helping people understand why they need to make different choices or maybe do things a little bit differently, to create a more effective and healthier and safer workplace," she explains.
The team at Theatre of Work dramatise incidents which have happened in the past or create bespoke plays based on a specific organisation's culture. The audience are encouraged to engage in discussions.
"It’s all about facilitating people to find their own solutions, rather than telling them what to do - we find that much more effective. It's all about helping people look at something and reflect on it and understand why it's important to them," says Tierney.
Covid has changed the delivery method of the company. Where they used to perform their scenarios in front of a live audience in a theatre or boardroom, they have now taken their performances to online webinars. They are also doing more film that previously.
"Everything we did in the past was around people gathering, you know, and we would run workshops, anything from ten people to 400 people at a conference," she says. "People can't gather more in the way that they did so we've had to adapt to what we do - we're doing much more online work now."
"We still have the power of story, which is great, and we can still use our scripts. The online webinars are still very interactive, we get discussions going based on the scene that we play," adds Tierney.
Theatre of Work have filmed a short film called Conversations at Work: Covid-19 which covers understanding attitudes and behaviours, self-awareness, avoiding conflict, the individual impacts and influencing others.
It was broadcast during a free webinar last week and due to interest, it will be broadcast again on September 16. You can find more details here.