InterPlay (Situation Room) is a body of work derived out of a simulated management training session staged in Gateshead Quayside in August 2021. The project employs applied theatre techniques both as a narrative device and thematic exploration.
Applied theatre is an umbrella term for practices outside of traditional theatre forms. Some of its techniques, such as simulation and role-play, is often used as therapeutic and educational tools designed to give individuals and communities a sense of agency and freedom of oppression. These techniques have also been co-opted for management training purposes, whereby, instead of generating a sense of agency, it’s designed to test or train participant’s ability to implement institutional or corporate agendas. InterPlay explores and exploits this paradoxical relationship by re-deploying management training as a performance – a simulation within a simulation - as a way to generate new fictions.
The situation room exercise was led by an Actor-Facilitator with three participating actors who were asked to assume professional roles within a fictitious organisation. The situation room simulated a crisis with taskforce in charge of preventing an environmental disaster at a manufacturing plant. Dramatic twists and moral dilemmas, skewed towards the ridiculous, pressure the participants to act under pressure in an exercise designed to test participants in crisis management and challenge them in terms of accountability and empathetic response.
InterPlay is the result of experimentation, research and development funded through Arts Council England’s Develop Your Creative Practice Award.